I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
For the sake of Twitter characters and in looking for something a little more punchy, I’ve now decided to call this feature The Graveyard Shift. (#GraveyardShift)
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to email@example.com
A new shift is about to begin and the warden is…
Hello! I’m here to pick favourite things and talk about The Bumper Book of British Bizarro, so hold on to your garters.
HaHa Sound By Broadcast
For the album I pick Broadcast’s The Haha Sound. I still can’t believe we lost Trish Keenan to swine flu! I fell in love with their psychedelic 60s/modern electronica sound. It reminds me of long summers in Bath.
The rest of the band did the music for Berberian Sound Studio, and one of their songs was inspired by Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. Also they did a strange Folk Horror album with The Focus Group. I love them.
For the luxury I’d pick a giant, extremely comfortable bed inside an old, Art Deco cinema, where I can watch any film I want including lost silent films.
Alice In Wonderland By Lewis Carroll
The first book I choose has to be Alice in Wonderland. It inspired me to write these bizarre, surreal stories at Primary School that I thought were absolutely hilarious. I’d be in hysterics while the teacher read them aloud and the rest of the class just seemed annoyed and confused, which made me laugh even more.
My stepdad had only known me for a few months before he got me The Giant Book of Zombies for Christmas. There were some really good stories in there. It was then that I knew we were going to get along, and we did. On my wedding day I thought I would be the only one dressed like a weirdo, then he turned up to give me away in a bright rainbow suit. We were like naughty children walking down the aisle. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Junky & The Naked Lunch By William S Burroughs
I read Junky and Naked Lunch by William Burroughs (also Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess) when I was around 17. I had just discovered this world of cult films and literature and it was like a weird, melty light bulb went off in my head. I wasn’t keen on Junky at first but I loved the grossness of Naked Lunch, because I was a teenager. I got into David Lynch, Japanese horror and other oddities at the same time.
The Elephant Vanishes By Haruki Murakami
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami sent me further along my descent into weirdness while I was at college. I kept putting it down because I was really confused, but then I’d pick it back up. I liked how it didn’t pay attention to reality.
The Collected Dorothy Parker & The Complete Stories Of Leonara Carrington
My collection of The Complete Dorothy Parker short stories and Complete Leonora Carrington short stories are entwined in my mind, even though they’re quite different.
They kind of represent both sides of my writing brain, the light-hearted (though she could be very biting) humour of Dorothy and the strange darkness and weird playfulness of Leonora. I’m fascinated (obsessed) by frothy 20s culture, I describe my attire as ‘psychedelic flapper,’ and Dorothy really represents the time. Leonora was a little later but she was important to the Surrealist movement, even if they didn’t recognise it at the time.
Me reading But The One On The Right by Dorothy Parker:
And White Rabbits by Leonora Carrington:
7 Best Short Stories By Daniil Kharms
Next are the short stories of Daniil Kharms. I love the Russian Absurdists, their free falling, uninhibited barminess is where I belong. Anything can happen. A nose can free itself from the body and do much better than you in life. People can fall from the sky, and you can’t get much stranger, sillier or sadder than Daniil Kharms.
He died for his silliness in a Russian prison. That’s why I get so confused when I see people defend Soviet Russia, because they tried to wipe out some of my favourite word people. Anti Capitalism I’m all for, but Stalinism is not the way to go.
I don’t have a specific book to recommend, but this audio documentary by Tim Key (another favourite of mine) is very good:
The Palm-Wine Drinkard By Amos Tutuola
The Palm Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola follows the same kind of rules as the absurdists, in that anything can happen, but there’s an added bonus of African folklore.
It was controversial because Western critics derided its simplistic writing style and unfamiliar frame of references, and African intellectuals thought it painted them in a bad light. I love it though because it’s a guy just unleashing his weird into the world, letting his brain leak whatever it wants.
Here’s me reading a small section:
Sightseeing By Michael Onofrey
This is a bit sneaky because I’ve technically picked 8, but I enjoyed this a lot. Sightseeing by Michael Onofrey literally follows the spirit of bohemian Paris through the streets. More of a hallucination than a narrative, it takes you to underground clubs and famous landmarks, and shows you the Paris you see in your dreams. It’s very pretty.
So that’s it! Keep an eye out for stuff I have coming out, there’s new stories here and there and more soon.
The biggest project I’ve been working on lately is The Bumper Book of British Bizarro with the gang (our Twitter: @BizarroBritish).
All proceeds are going to Mermaids UK, the charity for gender diverse young people.
We’ve got loads of really good artists and writers, like Will McDaniel
Quentin Smirhes and Frank Key, whose stories have appeared on the Drabblecast podcast. There’s lots of talented new people too which I’m really excited about. Keep your eyes on the prize, or whatever. I don’t know. I’ve been thinking too hard.
KR: Keep an eye on @BizarroBritish for all the latest details and release date.
Madeleine likes to read and write the unusual, the surreal, horror, dark fantasy, weird fiction, bizarro and any other weirdo tag you can think of. Madeleine is a truly unique author that I insist you follow on Twitter and via her YouTube Channel. If you are having a bad day go search for her and just feel revitalised. She is sunshine in a bottle, a true one of a kind. She describes herself as a Psychedelic flapper, weird fiction writer, creepy stuff lover and hideous face puller.
Follow Madeleine on Twitter: @MadeleineSwann
Visit Madeleine’s Website: www.madeleineswann.com
Check out Madeleine’s YouTube Channel HERE
No one knows where or what Tower Ltd Surprise Packages is or why it’s sending gifts to complete strangers across The City. All they know is that each package is the best thing that’s ever happened to them…or the worst.
In one box is a packet of seeds that allows you to grow your perfect date. In another there’s a cupcake that causes anyone who eats it to grow eyeballs all over their skin. There’s also a parcel with a mousetrap that turns all your enemies tiny. Or you could receive your autobiography, which when signed, makes your every thought famous. Or maybe even a key to a secret door that leads to another dimension where all your unfinished and abandoned projects exist. But with each package received comes both fortune and misfortune that will surely result in unexpected consequences.
Like a season of episodes from The Twilight Zone or Friday the 13th The Series, comes a collection of dark and humorous stories from the premier British female author of bizarro fiction.