Hear Me Roar | Exhibit D: Hyena Hyena (Story)

Oooh boy… This case just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Long story short, it wasn’t a jaguar, it was a hyena! So, now determined to find whoever did this at all costs, Proctor and Gershwin are headed for what appears to be the centre of the madness, St Blaise’s Church.

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Hear Me Roar | Exhibit C: Conochaetes Praedonius (Story)

The story so far: Following fanciful rumours of an escaped jaguar, human remains have been discovered in Chester city centre. It soon transpires that not only have these remains been half eaten by some wild animal, but they have been purposely dumped in the city centre AND they’ve been eaten some time after death and, presumably, burial. To make things more complicated, irritating internet star Jessie Hobb, caught sniffing round the crime scene for views, was lured there by a tweet from one Gordon Gloucester. Gordon Gloucester, it transpires, is none other than the man who now lies on a mortuary table… If that sounds crazy, don’t worry, it is! We pick up the story the following morning as Proctor and Gershwin set out to discover what kind of animal they’re dealing with.

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William Harrison Ainsworth: A Forgotten Man

If I were to walk around Manchester and ask if people had heard of William Harrison Ainsworth, almost all of the answers I would get would be in the negative. I could spend a day, going from end to end along King Street, and I doubt anybody I met there, even those who vaguely knew who I was talking about, would be able to tell me much about him. William Harrison Ainsworth, truth be told, has been forgotten. In the city of his birth you won’t find a plaque or a statue or anything to remember him by, even on King Street, the street where he was born. The books that he wrote in his lifetime, books that were incredibly popular, aren’t available in the shops, though you can get a few of them as eBooks from Gutenberg and a few other places. William Harrison Ainsworth, I guess you could say, is now no more than a shade of memory. Continue reading

Hear Me Roar | Exhibit B: Verpa Vlogarii (Story)

There were rumours of an escaped Jaguar, but that is all they were, rumours… Until a mutilated, half eaten body turned up and an irritating internet video star was caught sniffing around the crime scene for views. Then, horror of horrors, it turned out the body hadn’t just been attacked by a wild animal, it had been fed to a wild animal, post-mortem… We pick up the story just as Proctor and Gershwin return to the police station to begin untangling the mess. People of the internet, I give you…

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The Real Blackadders

Blackadder Back and Forth begins with a claim that the Blackadder dynasty have ‘forever been at the centre of British history and society.’ Then, over the opening credits, we see a montage of various images depicting the Blackadder we all know being involved with events such as the Battle of Hastings, Thatcherism and the desert campaign of the Second World War. The montage is meant to reinforce the idea that they have always been there, always been a powerful influence on the course of history. It is nonsense, of course. It is only a comedy. But what if I were to tell you that there is a dynasty who have been a powerful influence on the course of British history, who have helped to shape its course and even change its direction? They have helped to crown and depose kings and statesmen, influenced our language and they have, at times, been just as opportunistic, treacherous, slimy and power hungry as their fictional counterparts. There is in fact a real Blackadder dynasty: The House of Stanley.

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Hear Me Roar | Exhibit A: Panthera Onca (Story)

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I would like to introduce you to a brand new serial which I’ll be releasing every Thursday throughout March. Freshly promoted to Detective Inspector, Simon Proctor is back on the streets of Chester and, with a new sidekick trailing two steps behind, he’s about to face one enormous headache- An escaped jaguar, possibly non-existent, an irritating YouTube star, unfortunately existent, and the ubiquitous dead body, sadly human. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, lend me your ears and…

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The Coffee House Interviews | The Spy Master

Another of the Coffee House interviews? Yes please! This time we’re going right back to nineteen twenty to meet a man who has spent fifty five years in the spying business, who has seen the world change before his eyes and who, over the last decade, has seen everything he has built threaten to fall down around him. At the door to our coffee house, on the banks on the River Mersey, I would like to introduce you, to Max.

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