Tuesday, March 31, 2015



Tuesday, March 24, 2015


 Philadelphia should be mighty proud to call Drones For Queens it's own. Practically Weapons is a fierce blend of Speed and Grind that dropped on March 10th, and is available on limited edition white vinyl. It's almost April, so check on availability pronto, but if you've missed out you can always download this awesome 4 track rager.

If you're in the market for some Crust/Grind/ Hardcore check out Parasight (Denmark) and Nervgift's (Sweden) new split EP. Is this a golden age for Grindcore? Because there sure seems to be a lot of kick ass bands around these days and this release from Modstand Records is no exception. Parasight has a track called Skulldozer that I'm going to put on everyone's mix tape this year. These two groups totally make me miss my days of fighting in the pit!
Do you like bands like Melvins and Shellac? THEN SAY GODDAMN! Stoner/Sludge Punks The Great Goddamn made something special just for you. Me, this is right up my alley. I'm one of those guys that thought Black Flag got really good with My War and I'd rather listen to St. Vitus or Crowbar over Metallica any day. Bangers & Hash is a groove heavy, low end bastard of an album and with warmer weather approaching this will be THE summer album for the cool kids that hate the summer time.
Out today from Void Assault Records!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


This story is not about Joseph ‘Goody’ Hawthorne. He wasn’t an exceptional person. He wasn’t well liked. About the only thing that could be said about Hawthorne, as a kid was that he had an unbridled curiosity and a mean streak a mile long.

This story is not about William Wilder. He was exceptional. Driven. Friendless, but by choice. His teachers fawned over his work ethic and inventiveness. Though they worried what the hell he might grow up to be.

Hawthorne came from a middle class home. His father worked at Bard’s Furniture factory and his mother was a waitress part time at Kramer’s Diner. He wasn’t unloved, just unnoticed. His parents spent most of their time at home half dozing in front of the TV while Hawthorne explored the woods that separated their neighborhood from Maupins City.

Wilder’s father was a busy man. A man people feared. On the outside the Wilder’s looked like a bunch of hillbillies. Their home was a two-story plantation style house that was as old as Maupins itself. It was nicknamed the Leaning Tower of Carter County. The vast yard was littered with broken down cars, rusted out farm equipment, and a bunch of mean guard dogs. Behind this white trash façade laid a nest of vipers. The Wilders were notorious in Carter County. They were old time moon shiners and grew marijuana. Back in the union days, they murdered strikebreakers and intimidated blacks and foreigners that the coal company tried to hire while the real miners were on strike. If there was a murder somewhere in the county, you could bet that William’s father Cecil and his brothers probably had a hand in it, but no one could ever pin anything on him.

Hawthorne would spend his evenings in the living room after dinner doing homework (or not) and then playing with his little green army men. Until he discovered girls, then he’d just stare blankly at the TV trying to hide his erection that’d pop up almost constantly. He never cared about what his parents were watching, but his interest was piqued when his parents had a rare squabble about what they were going to watch. His father insisted on watching the movie Helter Skelter, but his mother wanted no part of it. They both dug their heels in, but his father won and his mother went to bed. Hawthorne paid close attention to this movie, what was so special about it that made his parents actually talk to each?

Wilder didn’t care about TV either; he couldn’t care even if he wanted to. During school there could be no distractions from schoolwork. His father expected nothing less than straight A’s. William would be the last of the Wilders to have to get by with their fists or risk prison to make a buck. By God, that boy would go to Harvard and be a lawyer or something! So he didn’t see Helter Skelter, but he did read the book.

Both boys were enthralled with the wild tales of Charlie Manson and his ‘family’. For two disenfranchised kids with no friends in a dead end town with nothing to do, besides getting beat up by drunken soldiers or rednecks, Helter Skelter offered an attractive outsider identity that separated them from the rest of the chaff in high school.

Wilder and Hawthorne didn’t know each other, though they had both lived here all their lives. Had the Hawthornes known their son went to school with a Wilder they would have warned him to stay far, far away. Wilder’s father would have equally disapproved of his son hanging out with one of those typical pus bag American ass-wipes. Those shit heads with their asshole TVs and slave wage jobs, all red, white, and blue. Fuck them.

Wilder was wound up too tight for friendships and Hawthorne had nothing to say to anyone, but they found themselves sitting across from each other in the library. It was study hall during their junior year. At first Hawthorne was indignant about Wilder sitting down at his table, the little nerd, but as he unpacked his backpack Hawthorne became more interested in him. Besides a couple of school books, Wilder had a ragged copy of The Exorcist (Hawthorne loved the movie), a book on cults in America, and a book about Jack the Ripper.

“Have you seen Helter Skelter?”

Wilder looked up with a smirk at the head banger with the Manson hair and Freddy Krueger t-shirt.

That was twenty years ago and this story isn’t about them. Well, not just about them anyway.

(City Long Suffering; First Movement is available HERE)

Sunday, March 8, 2015


When it comes to reading novels the one thing I'm constantly in awe of and/or jealous of is certain authors ability to breathe life into their settings. To really make you feel like you're in a real place that you can go to, whether it is across the ocean or the cosmos (see Jeffery X Martin's Black Friday!). Me, I gave up worrying about setting when I gave up trying to write like Stephen King (9th grade). When I got into the Beats and punk rock my focus shifted to the interior lives of my characters or to politics. I wrote about the human condition, the internal damage from external woes. I was more concerned about emotion and psychic angst than what city it was occurring in. In the world I was building, it didn't matter what city it occurred in, because all the cities were the same-dead. And besides, they mostly took place in dim bars, cheap motels, tiny apartments, run down houses. If I told you the characters were in Houston, it could just as easily be Seattle or Phoenix or Nashville, because no one was going sight seeing and no one cared about what was going on down town anyway. They had girl trouble or booze trouble or law trouble. I was from the Jim Thompson school; "when a character walks into the living room, you don't need to say what color the couch is." (or pretty close to that, yea.)
 So I'm always a bit crest fallen, but excited to come across a writer who can really do location. I discovered David Southwell randomly on twitter (he's @cultauthor, by the way and I'm @holyrooster if you're interested) when someone retweeted a pic of his with the caption "J.G. Ballard Highway dub." I hit his page and found another pic; a street, rows of houses, devoid of life on the sidewalks, just lines of cars. It had the words "It's not liminal. Not abandoned. Not cool. It is a street and it will walk it's stories into you. #psychogeography"
Damn, I thought, that's good. His bio read '#Landscape punk and #Author of #books. #psychogeography #writing #DoctorWho #London #Essex #Hookland'. Cool, followed.
Next, what the hell is a landscape punk and what the hell is psychogeography?
I haven't had much luck with Landscape Punk, I feel like I get it, but I won't embarrass myself trying to explain it. Instead I'll direct you to Unofficial Britain and specifically their review of The Firepit Collective's To The Lost. I feel like that gets to the point well enough for us to move on.
Psychogeography is much easier. This is copied directly from the Wikipedia page;  "Psychogeography is an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and "drifting" around urban environments. It has links to the Situationist International. Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."[1] Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities... just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."[2]"
Do I fully understand that? No, I don't. This is new terrain for me, but we must always keep learning, exploring, growing. So I was in, what's this guy about? Well, it's pretty fascinating.
Southwell was a journalist before becoming a full time writer. According to his Wiki page, there are conspiracy theories about his involvement with the Secret Intelligence Service, which he acknowledges in his own books, of which there are nine. All about conspiracies and organized crime. All of which look like they could keep you up at night with worry. Here's his Amazon Author's page, right here. Hell, he was thanked as inspiration for a Doctor Who novel! How cool is that, fiends?
David's blog, English Dreaming, English Rain is also a great read, especially if you're hooked by the idea of Psychogeography.
Long story short, we started corresponding and David hipped me to his latest project, Hookland, the Phoenix Guide to Strange England County by County, as recounted by David Southwell.  It's being serialized in Wyrd Daze, which if you're unfamiliar with it, is an online zine you should really get to know. You've probably noticed the pages like the one to the right. That's how the pages appear on Wyrd Daze.

Here's what David told me when he sent me a portion to read; It's the psychogeography of a place that doesn't exist built around the real myth circuits, Albionic shadows and actual places of a 1970s childhood. Stories told in the form of the sort of travel that used to be given away at petrol stations, a cultural artifact from when the TV news carried UFO sightings and ghosts on their nightly bulletins along with reports of IRA bombs.

I'm told it is unpublishable, despite Brian Eno liking his appearance in it, but when the Guide is done, I'm looking forward to it being used as a shared universe. It's been a joy to see the short stories other authors have already set in it and I'm quite pleased it's being name-checked in indie British horror film.
Here's one of my favorite chapters...

Taking the road up Hardbone Hill, one spirals through fields and the scattered stone cottages that mark the edge of Harbone village, allowing you to read stories of quiet, contented country living in the ordered arrangement of hedgerows and gardens.
Rising till you hit the crown of the hill, you fall under the shadow of All Saints with its striking Norman tower. The church is the seeming centre of a wheel whose spokes are a series of green lanes and paths, leading to places such as Hardbone Hall and The Shepherd’s Steps – a beauty spot with stirring views across the Hookland Downs.

If one owns a pair of binoculars and uses them to look up at the 11th century tower, you can spy a band of carved fleas encircling the top of the structure. Expertly carved by a master mason, the giant pulex irritans seem to leap and cavort with demonic glee. According to local lore, in 1262, King Henry III was forced to spend a night in a Hardbone inn when fog descended and prevented him reaching his hunting lodge on the adjacent Kingsbone Hill. During his overnight stay the monarch was so troubled by fleas that in the morning he ordained that the church should evermore carry a warning to future travellers that the village was so infested with the creatures that no sleep could be had in its beds.

Visible traces of the hunting lodge on Kingsbone Hill are centuries gone, its stone taken to be reused elsewhere, its yard long lost under the turning of the plough However, when engineers were constructing the Hardbone transmitting station on the hill, they uncovered foundations of an enclosure and a set of cellar steps believed to have been part of the royal structure. Experts dated them to the reign of King John thanks to an iron key and two coins found at the bottom of the staircase.

These days, instead of the royal standard rising above the huddle of trees that stand on Kingsbone Hill, the sky is under command of the 435 ft mast of the Hardbone transmitter. Brutally stabbing upwards, the guyed steel latice contains UHF television transmitting antennas that broadcast television to Hookland and east Dorset. The mast has always been a controversial. Although the BBC and Independent Television Authority had identified a need for a UHF station for Hookland in the early 1960s, Hookland County Council consistently refused permission for them to extend the 200 ft mast on the site which had been built by the War Office in 1947. Covering a planning appeal on the matter in June, 1966, The Blaxwich Courier reported:

‘Councillor Bill Rushton accused the BBC of: “behaving like modern day Babylonian builders whose desire to build a humungous tower of hubris will blight the lives of everyone forced to live under its withering shade.” Councillor Charles Cryer attacked the proposal as: “The placing of a science fiction nightmare in the green beauty of our countryside. They may claim this vile spire will bring the delights of Sunday Night of the Palladium to all in Hookland, but I believe it will do nothing but invoke paranoia. If we allow the building of this, the strongest signal this ghast edifice will broadcast is that the BBC and ITA may do as they wish and the will of the people counts for nothing anymore in England.”

However, the Home Office overruled Hookland County Council and by 1969, the mast had been erected and was transmitting signals between 615.25-663.25 MHz. Despite the dire warnings of numerous councillors and local protestors, no problems seemed to stem from the operation of the mast until June 16th, 1975 when at 5:05 PM a news bulletin broadcast by the local ITV station Hookland Associated TeleVision was interrupted. Although largely considered a hoax, what followed has gone down as one the strangest episodes in British television history.

As newsreader Christopher Westwood read details of the Soviet Union’s launch of the Venera 9 space probe to Venus, a resonant electronic throb began to obliterate his words. The pulsing sound continued to intensify and at the point where it almost completely overrode the news audio signal, a voice announced: “This is the voice of Grimon, Commander of Attar Star Command.”

Electronically edged, blurred by echo and a sharp, insect like buzzing, the voice continued: ‘I am an officially appointed representative of the Galactic Federation. For many years now you have seen us in your skies. As lights. As moments of manifestation interpreted as metal floating above your comprehension. Now we speak to you, as we have spoken to your brothers and sisters across this planet that you call Earth. We come with a warning, you must change the current course of your race or you will destroy your world.’

For the next six minutes and always at a calm, measured pace that emanated authority, Grimon continued to deliver a startling message to teatime television viewers in Hookland. As the news ended, the voice continued to speak over a commercial break, announcing with impeccable timing: ‘Know that there are many false prophets and guides operating on your world who are not sanctioned by Attar Star Command. These beings are dangerous. They will suck energy from you – most often the energy you call money – and will put it to evil ends giving you nothing but worthless dross in return.’

As the screen showed the apposite Merrie Melodies cartoon Mad as a Mars Hare (in which Bugs Bunny is launched in a rocket to the home planet of Marvin the Martian), Grimon finished his message with: ‘You only have a short time to remove all weapons of evil. You must learn to live in peace with yourselves and be at harmony with the galaxy or you will be removed from it. I thank you for your attention.’ The pulsing began to subside, fading low enough for Marvin to be heard saying: “Well, back to the old electronic brain!’ as the broadcast returned fully to normal.

Within moments of Grimon’s message airing, the phones of Hookland Associated TeleVision, the police and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) were assaulted by calls from confused, frightened and alarmed citizens, distressed at what they had interpreted as a warning of possible alien attack. The next day’s papers spoke of an ‘Orson Welles War of the Worlds panic’ while carrying the IBA statement: ‘The Hardbone UHF television transmitter was compromised yesterday. It is one of the few transmitters which rebroadcast an off-air signal received from another transmitter, rather than being fed by a landline. As a consequence, it is open to this kind of signal intrusion. The unfortunate events of yesterday were caused by a hoaxer jamming the receiver in the wilds of North Hookland, not by little green men.’

The story was picked up by several international press agencies and soon Hookland Associated TeleVision was having to field calls from America, Brazil, Rome and Finland enquiring after the ‘message from space’. Italian paper La Stampa talked to Hookland UFO investigator Andrew Collins who refuted it was hoax, saying: “This has happened before with the 1971 flying saucer over Walton Green and with the Starman case at Holland-by-Spital in 1973. These messages seem to happen every two years. I expect the next one in 1977.’ The Chicago Daily Record spoke to a nameless IBA investigator who was quoted as saying: ‘The android clearly knew his
onions. You cannot go addressing the airwaves without a high degree of technical knowledge. The sort of potential culprits we are looking it will range from university professors to disgruntled television technicians. If we catch Grimon, he will be facing prosecution under the Wireless Telegraphy Act.’ They also captured the views of viewer Janet Macfarlane who said: ‘My daughter Tina was terrified. This science fiction stuff should not be allowed.’

Within hours of the hijacking of the TV signal, police had raided the homes of known members and associates of the Aetherian Cosmic Team (ACT) terrorist group, both in Hookland and as far away as London and Hertfordshire. While the nature and content of the message seemed aligned with the beliefs of ACT, police were never able to confirm any involvement between the outlawed organisation and the incident. Despite the fact that authorities would later adopt the official position that interruption was most likely perpetuated by students using equipment with a cost of less than £80, to this day many within the Hookland constabulary privately believe ACT must have been behind the hoax. In his memoirs*, Detective Inspector Roy Creamer, wrote:

‘The shadow of ACT never lifted from across the face of some of Hookland’s detectives. The shock of having to deal with those whose system of belief involved UFOs, channelled alien entities and psychic prayer batteries, stretched their minds too far. The average police officer, whatever his or her rank, is used to having to deal with extremes of human behaviour. Yet these extremes usually come from understandable motives – greed, passion, the frailties that rush into a life when confronted by overwhelming jealousy. To have to know that someone would kill and commit acts of terror because they believed themselves to be acting on alleged psychic orders from space ships in orbit was too much for some to take on board. For those officers, ACT infected them like a virus. They were forever seeing aliens and their ACT allies in all manner of crimes, from murders to missing children, bank raids to burglaries of electronic component factories.

‘At times, the paranoia seemed justified, even if it could not be proven. The Hookland Associated TeleVision broadcast interruption was a case in point. The perpetrators were never prosecuted and while the Home Office and Independent Broadcasting Authority were happy to settle on its being the work of never identified students, detectives investigating the case reached a different conclusion, believing ACT to be behind it. This was not just founded on the ‘Attar’ mentioned in the message being the Aramaic version of the Canaanite god Ashtar that the Aetherians were so fond of claiming had told them to blow up something. It came from the obvious sophistication and expert technical knowledge needed to not only build a transmitter and bypass the fault monitoring system, but to ensure no physical evidence was ever recovered by the authorities. Students may be clever, they may be sublime pranksters, but I have never investigated a case where they were also so scrupulously clean that not one single fingerprint was found. The same has to be said for rock stars and newsreaders.’

The police also swooped on electronic music pioneer Brian Eno, fellow musician Kevin Ayers and the self-labelled ‘cosmic prankster poet’ June Campbell Cramer. The trio had played a concert at the Royal Fortune Theatre, Blaxwich the night before the signal interruption and were due to play a gig on the night after it at the Brighthaven School of Art. However, just moments before they were due on stage on
June 17th , they were arrested and taken into custody for questioning about Grimon’s message.

When they were released without charge the next day, Detective Chief Inspector Frank Carter told the Hookland Messenger: ‘We had received information that the three had been behind the incident. Given their expertise in creating electronic sound, manipulating voices and devising situations to gain press attention, the tip off seemed credible. In an incident as serious as this, I will not apologise for pursuing any and all avenues. Despite what some may think, being on Top of the Pops does not give you immunity from justified police scrutiny, especially when we are doing to our duty to protect the public from the harm and panic caused by whoever was behind this rogue broadcast.’

At one point the suspicion even fell on the newsreader whose bulletin had been broken into. When the News of the World reminded its readers that Christopher Westwood had previously been an actor and had appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who and the Gerry Anderson series UFO. The coincidence caught the notice of detectives on the case. Their interest deepened when they discovered that Westwood had once written a science fiction novel under the pen name Christopher Tey. Entitled The Sirens of Thantos, it dealt with extraterrestrial contact – which apparently, when combined with a knowledge of television, was enough to warrant suspicion. Reflecting on this Westwood later told the News of the World: “I have been the victim of coincidence and grasping at straws by the authorities. I am glad its has been established it was the work of students. The idea that anyone at Hookland Television would have been involved is frankly even more ridiculous than a UFO invasion starting out with Hardbone.’

The furore caused by the Hardbone signal interruption echoed for several months. In November, 1975, during a House of Lords debate on terrorism, Lord Amesbury of Quarterford told his fellow peers**:

‘My Lords, I find it deeply troubling that the only resolution that has been offered to the incident is the nebulous smoke of it being the work of unidentified students. If they really did it, then it is shameful stain on the police that they have not been able to apprehend them. If students did do it – which I doubt – then it is also deeply worrying that a group of young people with an alleged budget of £80 can so easily hijack the airwaves. If we cannot defend the television sets of England from pranksters, can we truly expect to make them safe from the malign influence of Irish Republicans or other terrorist groups?

‘To even call this a prank or hoax is a misuse of language. This broadcast was a form of terrorism. It convinced many in Hookland and parts of Dorset that they had been transported into the realms of Quatermass or Doctor Who, but without any hope of being saved by some maverick scientist. In doing so it inspired true terror and has left many traumatised, not least the children who were watching. The power of this portal we let into our homes is so strong, we must defend against it ever being turned into a weapon of fear aimed at the public. The claim of students does not wash and the public deserve to know how this was done, by whom it was done and why it was done to them.’
During the debate, Lord Carter-Gore, known for his interest in psychical research and UFOlogy, added: ‘My Lords, what my noble friend and many others seem to be overlooking is that the broadcast may not have been a hoax. We need to seriously consider that Grimon may have been real. The referendum the British people may soon be facing next is not whether to leave the European Federation, but whether to join the Galactic Federation.’

*Lines of Inquiry, Roy Creamer (Vestal, 1978) ISBN 0-1944-5677-8
** Hansard, Tuesday, 11 November, 1975"

I love that! It's not expressly horror, no, but it does go nicely with and enriches everything Stranger With Friction is all about. I highly recommend checking out all the links above and following Southwell and Hookland on twitter and reading Wyrd Daze. And after you're done reading, why not go for a walk around you're town and indulge in a little Psychogeography, but never stop watching the sky, nerds!