One Eye Grey:A Penny Dreadful for the 21st Century Nov 29, 2008 13:12:15 GMT
Post by Calenture on Nov 29, 2008 13:12:15 GMT
One Eye Grey, issue 5, Summer 2008
One Eye Grey: A Penny Dreadful for the 21st Century
Published Summer Bank Holiday Weekend 2008, issue 5
As someone who’s rarely ventured outside of my native county of Cornwall, I find London a genuinely bewildering concept. A place which apparently has places, villages and hamlets and ‘nappy hills and valleys’ all somehow contained within a place that I used to think of as an oversized city. All a bit bewildering for me. It’s also fascinating, with so many locations and pieces of pocket history inspiring genuinely good – and often sinister – fiction.
The idea behind this magazine is that it easily fits in a pocket (A5 size, 60 pages) and the stories – usually 3000 words or under - can be read by someone hanging onto a strap on the tube.
I’ll take these in the order I read them: first of course I turned to Going Underground by one of this site’s members, Benedict J Jones: The narrator works in the London underground system, and he’s looking forward to the end of the working day when the call comes through that one of the trains has arrived at a station minus a carriage. Thoughts of enjoying tea with the missus are forgotten as he heads with three other workers in search of the missing carriage. When they find it, they’re presented with another mystery which leads them into an older place where evil dwells.
What they find has a splendid pulp feel, and the editor’s Death Line namecheck was inevitable.
The Second Cellar by Emily Cleaver is another good one. Professor Eckersley takes a short cut through the churchyard of St Giles-in-the-Fields and finds an excavation in nearby St Giles Passage. In the pit he sees an old brickwork archway. A cellar has collapsed and the road fallen through. The area has been of particular interest to the Professor, and from the mother and daughter who run a local bookshop, he’s learned of the labyrinthine passages that link many of the cellars. The labourer working on the excavation isn’t happy about the games played around the pit by the local children. “‘Pulling the fences out of place, scrabbling around in the ‘ole at night. Bloody dangerous. What’s this country coming to when a kid can scare a grown man?’” Splendidly spooky.
EC Chainsaw Massacre III by Martin Jones seems to be written for stockbrokers by a stockbroker. It concerns “Alan Meyers. No, not Alan Meyers Inc., or even registered trademark, nor yet Ph.D...” But what happens when someone puts himself on the line instead of an abstract company and the value of the market needs to be recovered? Not my cup of tea, but bearing in mind that the idea behind this magazine is that it’s easy to read on the tube, which has an awful lot of stockbrokers travelling it – you can see why the editor reckoned it would appeal.
More of these 8 spooky tales to come...
Black Prince by Daisy Pearce: Beth had called him Limey, and he’d called her Tex. It was their joke, and she’d crossed an ocean to be with him. But now as they move through the bright, smelly streets of the capital, he glimpses the man dealing the cards and cannot resist stepping away from her.
He watches the cards, but they’re so fast he can’t follow them; never can. If only he could catch the black prince...
“Just once more.”
“Very well, sir.”
A bitter tale.
The Temple of Bacchus by Scott Wood: Appropriately enough, The Temple of Bacchus on Coldharbour Lane is, in reality an off-licence. The young couple appear to have been hiking across South London with an A to Z, and now their enthusiasm for ‘histories and mysteries’, and their fascination with the true origins of old names, has Gavin impatiently feeling the baseball bat under the counter.
Could it be that the off-licence is built on the site of an old temple? Does a sacred spring still run in the cellar? Hermits lived near such places, and “This is Camber-Well, after all.”
There are certainly dryads and satyrs, but now they have taken the form of a drunken tramp and some squatters.
Beautifully written observations bring this piece to life.
Bank Holiday Weekend by Cee Gee: The holiday weekend is a washout but Shawnee reminds Tony that if he was still going out with laughing girl from Kentish Town, he’d be spending half of it stuck on the tube and the rest at some underground art happening. Tony knows this is true. She never had been one for the sunshine. Nor her mate Hexie, for that matter.
Proving, if there was any doubt, that the weird weather that’s been our lot in past weeks is due entirely to supernatural influences brought about by malign females...
Bird Man by Richard Burdett: “Rooks dotted the sky above him. You might have taken him for a ploughman, and the rooks gathering to pick on the fresh turned soil, but it wasn’t right. He walked too fast and I could see his face clearly, even at half a mile. A plain pale mask, with its eyes the only human bit.”
The tramp in Trafalgar Square explains why, in the heart of London, he has lived in dread of a bizarre rural deity. But now at last, because of Red Ken and a Kestrel, at last he knows peace again.
But for the narrator, fear comes sauntering across a ploughed field at 125mph.
The Toll Raven of Anerley Hill by Andrew Flynn: “I have always had this thing about ravens, a fascination mixed with dread, the relative balance of these emotions varying roughly in proportion to my distance from their object. Now, in the silence following the raven’s remarkable demand, there came into my mind a memory from childhood, an image buried away and un-thought for years, of a dead sheep in the bottom of a rocky gully on a country holiday, a smelly, broken corpse with holes where its eyes had once been, and a large black bird on a nearby rock jabbing its fierce, scythe-like beak into one of the missing orbs...”
The man has been climbing the hill to Upper Norwood, when he is stopped by the voice of a raven grimmer than the one that had disturbed Poe. It demands a toll, and the man doesn’t like the price or the knowledge that the raven has a ‘congregation’ waiting to bear witness and ‘receive’.
Receive just what, exactly?
Thank heavens for the young lady trainee curate and Delia Smith.
Consistently good writing throughout this one. A first class read.
Click the cover above, or this link to visit the One Eye Grey site and order the magazine.