SEASON I BOOK I ALBUM ONE

CONVERGENCE

“It would be a lot quicker to write novels…
but I can’t resist the desire to draw…
and make music…”

How did it begin ?

“I was given a sketchbook as a gift… about 300 pages thick and a little larger than A5. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I’ve never been much good at sketchbooks… I tend to work in a very focused manner, project by project with a fixed goal or set of outcomes, usually for a commercial purpose. I had rarely drawn for the sake of it and I always admired those who did…

I had just come off a run of practical art books and was very much entrenched in commercial life, living in Italy and commuting to London to work in order to support my family.

How did it begin ?

Janette, (my partner for most of my adult life), encouraged me to use the sketchbook to just enjoy myself… so I did. I wanted to take the same approach to drawing as I did to music… to make it emotional, visceral, in the moment… from the heart. So I started doing these crude drawings… working rapidly in pencil then attacking them with inkliners and marker pens.

But I immediately reverted to form and tried to structure it… I tried to create an outcome but Janette kept interrupting me… “Stop thinking, just do it and see where it goes”… so I did.

I was travelling, spending a lot of time in airports and before long I was knocking out these drawings in departure lounges… trains… even standing in queues or waiting for buses… they just flowed out one after another, it was a book created on the move. After a short while I drifted towards using my song lyrics… songs that had been evolving for years… and it turned out to be the perfect match.

So, as I wandered around London between meetings… or inhabited that strange netherworld of solo travel portrayed in movies like ‘Fight Club’ and ‘Up In the Air’ the book took form and Subway Slim was born… or rather, came back into my life… when I looked back I noticed he had been around in one form or another for quite some time… waiting, watching, listening.

Convergence put itself together, naturally, over time… it was an organic process. After that, the question remained: where would Slim go next ? The answer came to me in a dream… and that dream led to the second book ‘The Ghost In Me’ with Subway Slim, once again, deciding for me where it would go”.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MAIN THEME OF THE STORY ?

“Disconnection. Calling it ‘Convergence’ sounds ironic but it shows these disparate people who cross paths but they all seem to end up disconnecting. Slim himself is an observer, rarely actually involved… so he too is disconnected. This theme emerged from a mixture of observations and songs that were developing in parallel and proved to be a foundation for the next development.”

‘Convergence’ was an essential prelude to the trilogy that follows… it sets the world of Subway Slim firmly in reality – an every day life that we would all recognise… and that’s important, because Slim’s understanding of what ‘reality’ means, is challenged in the stories that follow…

It was really important to me that we see Slim as a person who lives and functions in our present day world just like everyone else… and it was also important that we should see how disconnected he has become… because his detachment from life is one of the key things that he is forced to deal with in The Ghost In Me”.

THE MUSIC IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF ‘CONVERGENCE’

“Yes, the songs are really the narrative in Convergence, the story started without them but they soon found their way in and took over the thing, so it makes sense to talk about how the songs came together”.

Intro

“One of the joys of working on the Subway Slim music is that we have a lot of freedom… we are not working to the pressure of writing and recording an album and putting it out straight away – this is because it takes a long time to research, write, draw and format the videobooks and the printed books… so the music has a long time to develop. There is a swing back and forth between the two mediums and, over a period of years, we’ve allowed ourselves the space to work on a lot of music and let it find its way into the project in the place that suits it. Ironically, we don’t actually spend long periods of time working on the music because of the pressures of our busy lives – the process is actually very quick, it is just spread out over a long period of time with short bursts of intense activity… but it allows us to think of ideas and let influences and ideas come in. In the case of the Intro, the music had been recorded a long time ago… the voiceover was added right at the start and, much later, when the album was finished we went back and rerecorded the voiceover because, in the interim, Wes had learned so much more about my voice and how to record it… the whole process had gone full circle and we had finished where we had started”

Terminal

“Terminal was one of those songs that should have been a disaster… but wasn’t – and that was due to the talent of Jon Klein. I had gone in with several very disparate elements: Bach strings, an industrial electronic beat… and I was asking Jon for a ‘Randy Rhoads’ guitar solo.

Jon managed to make the whole lot work together and he even added the further twist of the accordion which one wouldn’t exactly expect to sit with the Bach strings and the metal guitar. It was a case of the parts adding up to being greater than the whole and when it came to do the vocal the identity of the song was so strong I did it in one take. It is by far one of my favourites – I’m so glad it came together the way it did”.

“Jon is an incredible person to work with and he contributed a huge amount… he is tirelessly creative, never stops learning, never stops trying new things’.

City By The Sea

“This was one of a suite of songs that came out of the summer of 2005 and sits with ‘My Favourite Drug’, ‘Fading Star’ and ‘Have To Say’. The lyrics for all three were written in one big chaotic document and I was working on all three at once not really knowing which lyrics would land where – eventually they all separated themselves out like oil and water. The production process took place over a long period of time and it seemed as though the songs were competing with each other… at different times one song would emerge as the strongest and then another would take over… all thanks to the tirless input of Wes… he just kept going at them… trying different approaches and I would come back in and suggest changes (God knows, he has the patience of a saint, but he also knows that Dark Side of the Moon wasn’t made in a day… or a night). At times we thought it would never end and things just didn’t seem right but they all came together in the end. I was sure that ‘Have To Say’ was the strongest but Wes did such amazing work on City By the Sea – he added a lot of new instrumentation to the track which allowed it to grow in a different direction. My original version had all the basic elements but it didn’t really work as a whole: I am still amazed by how Wes managed to craft it into something so cohesive, he managed to find a ‘through line’ which stayed true to the vision and emotional drive of the thing but managed to add so much more.

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It also contains my favourite lyrical passage:

You’re silences that cut my nights,
A second chance another life,
A secret passage in a book,
A page that turns, a glance, a look,
A turn of phrase, a parting shot,
The words we have, the days we’ve lost,
And in the end we’ll find our place,
No more mistakes to be erased”

Elliot Randall came in and loved it so he contributed some guitar – it was inspiring because he’s a legend and I thought his work would really stick out… but he had a deep understanding of it… he really resonated with it and I felt embarrassed because Wes actually had to point Elliots work out to me… but that was because it sat in there so perfectly, it was just an inherent part of the fabric of the song that my ears just accepted it on first listening… and that is the talent and experience of a musician such as Elliot: an ability to see deeply into the structure of a piece of music, to understand it and see exactly how it can be complemented. There’s also the fact that he’s a great guy so his genius kind of creeps up on you… you know he’s a legend but you still don’t see it coming.

Falling Apartment

“This was recorded in a very scarey building on the edge of a very scarey housing estate in Tottenham… there was an extremely heavy atmosphere that night… a palpable darkness… something sinister in the air…”

I was strongly aware of it. At one point I drove back down to Brick Lane where I was based at the time and I felt the same vibe right across town. I think that shows in the music.

A couple of days later I realised we had been recording on All Hallows Eve. Every lyric on the album was written because it had to be written… I had a reason for doing it… nothing came out for the sake of it.

My Favourite Drug

“One of the songs from the summer of 2005 but it didn’t come into it’s own until we revisited it in 2012. Jon had introduced me to Wes in 2004 when we did a show of Pink Floyd covers at an opera house in Italy… near Urbino, the birthplace of the Renaissance… and Wes was a huge Pink Floyd fan so he knew every note on every album… so it made sense to call him years later to see if he was interested in working on the project… and he was – because it’s a concept kind of thing. I’m glad he did because he’s been more than a producer… he turned out to be the best vocal coach I could wish for… and much more besides, we both see it as a journey. Wes has a very light touch… I keep finding things in the songs that he’s done… years later – I just didnt notice them before… and I think that’s wonderful because I would love to think that the music is the type that you could go on listening to for years”.

Natasha

“This came out of the same recording session as Falling Apartment so it’s tinged with same dread… which is appropriate given the subject matter. Elliott came in to do some ‘special effects’ which were also very appropriate.

It was originally titled ‘Serotonin’ and it wasn’t until I returned to the artworks to to do the final book and video that I realised it was straight out of the back story of Natasha… Natasha is a major character in the Subway Slim series… she arrives in the third book, The Memory War, where all the mistakes of the past come home to roost.

So this is the first glimpse of her – it’s what she is getting up to… or down to… while Slim is wandering around London staring at stuff. Natasha is… well, she’s the ticking bomb in everybody’s lives… she’s an event just waiting to happen.”

Dressing Room

“This was written, recorded and produced in a house halfway up a mountain in the tiny village of Force in Italy. We had just moved there and it was pretty basic… but I guess I had some clarity up there in the Apennine air because it came out fully formed. I think it’s one of my strongest lyrics… straight from the heart but with a lot of subtle word play involved.”

Fading Star

“This song killed me… we must have re-recorded the vocal ten times over eight years and I’m still not happy with it… it’s the opposite to ‘Terminal’ in that it should have just come together perfectly but it didn’t. I’m more than happy with the instrumentation and production work… I just never fully found my way into the song. If I played it live a lot I could probably nail it. Nevertheless, just because I don’t think it’s finished it doesn’t mean it isn’t. There comes a time when you have to let go of a song and let other people decide whether it’s complete or not.”

Have To Say

“Another of my all time favourites… I set out to do something and felt I got there. A great song to play live… it’s just about trying to get by… to get through life together…”

Miss London

“All the music for this was created by Jon who played me a short section and I went off and wrote the lyric… a metaphor for London – a harsh mistress who takes all and gives nothing in return… lots of double entendre inherent… but I was going through a hellish time and this song gave me the opportunity to vent and try and get some perspective. Asa and Alma (close friends of mine, both from Sweden) contributed some beautiful backing vocals… the only song that they both sing on.”

 
 
 
 

SEASON I BOOK I ALBUM TWO

THE GHOST IN ME

What’s the main difference between ‘Convergence’ and ‘the ghost in me’ ?

“‘The Ghost In Me’ was produced as a graphic novel with three act story structure, dialogue… spreads, frames, speech bubbles… you know, all the language of comics, and film to some extent too. All of which makes it very suitable for the print versions (which will consist of a book and accompanying album) but has presented new challenges about how to make the videobook versions… For one thing, it gives me the opportunity to do the spoken word which allows me to elaborate on the book version – with comic books you can‘t ramble or have long dialogues… you have to strip the dialogue right back… but with voiceover I can add extra dialogue – so the videobooks will differ from the printed books. Also, you don’t hear the whole album with the videobooks… you have to get the print book + album version for that.

We’ve done the same with ‘Convergence’: the print book and album version will contain full length versions of the songs which aren’t available with the videobooks… so the content varies depending on which version you look at… and the entertainment experience becomes different… it is something I’ll be experimenting further with if I can… adding different value to different versions.

The music was brought together to match each chapter or episode as we went along but it isn’t a musical – I couldn’t write a musical where the lyrics relate directly to the songs… that would kill it. Instead, the songs are like annotations or metadata that add to the tone of each chapter. Sometimes the songs are also like little offshoots that tell a different story about a particular character or one of the themes I’m looking at, or refer to something else that’s going on in their lives at the same time.”

THERE SEEMS TO BE A SPECIFIC THEME ABOUT DREAMS AND REALITY IN THE GHOST IN ME, CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT ?

Throughout history mankind has drawn a line between the two and this line has moved at different periods in time – the Ancient Greeks saw the line much further into the area we call the subconscious and thus the realms of fairies and satyrs, of monsters and daemons were categorised as real.

In the 12th Century the Christian Church moved the line again and in one stroke moved all the inhabitants and possibilities of the subconscious into the realm of demonology. Anyone subject to visions was now at risk. With the rise of science the parameters became hardened further and now we find ourselves in an era of ‘rational consciousness’ but what we percieve as consciousness may be down to where you draw that line. The alchemists, artists and visionaries down the ages continued to deny the existence of this line and, thanks to them we have the rich global culture of stories and fantasies that we instinctively understand and connect to.

In the 20th Century the Swiss psychoanalyst and philosopher Carl Jung put forward the theory that the subconscious was equally as real as the conscious and, by allowing our subsconscious to speak to us we could become fully whole – Jung believed the categorisation of fantasy and reality to be the cause of many of our modern ills.

The doorway to our subconscious is through our dreams and this is where my story began.

How did it begin ?

The first Act of ‘The Ghost in Me’ came to me in a dream.

I kept waking up, going over the story in my head… then falling back to sleep and dreaming the next scene.

Dawn came, it had been a long night… it was a beautiful sunny day, and I went immediately to my studio at the bottom of the garden, paid a couple of bills online, then wrote the whole thing up… (I was really fixated on sorting those damned bills out before I wrote it down).

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I had been more interested than usual in the work of Carl Jung and he had said how important it was to work with your dreams – allow your subconscious to speak – through drawing, writing and music etc. So I felt quite strongly that the process of putting this story down would trigger a series of events in my waking life that would lead to the rest of the story and, hopefully, effect a change in my own psyche.

I believed that by following the signs given by my subconscious I would embark on a journey – my life having an effect on the story and the story having an effect on my life.

WHEN DID YOU COMPLETE THE STORY ?

There was a break after I had completed the first act – life events took over me and it was four years before I returned to it, but I had experiences during that time that were essential to completing the
story.

It was also during that time that I saw how the music, the drawing and the storytelling fitted together – All my life I had been passionate about all three mediums but I had always worked on them separately. Whilst working on The Ghost In Me I at last began to see how I could make all three work together and it was getting Wes involved as producer and musician that helped bring that together… although, there was still a piece of the jigsaw missing and it wouldn’t be complete until I started working on The Memory War and had to figure out a way of releasing the material.

Now that it’s finished I am pleased to say that it is not finished… nor will it ever be. Completing ‘The Ghost in Me’ allowed another door to open that was closed until then… and that door has led to ‘The Memory War’ a story that has been fermenting in my imagination for nearly 25 years.

‘The Ghost in Me’ revealed itself to be the subject of my Animah – the female part of my personality. After the initial dream I began to see her in my dreams on a startlingly regular basis… She doesn‘t resemble Kristina – she is in fact, a brunette, quite short and dusky, not pale like Kristina. She changes appearance a lot but always looks roughly the same… and I always know it’s her because she doesn’t speak much and she’s almost always introducing me to a group of people or drawing my attention to something. Technically, I suppose she should disappear now that I have laid this particular ghost to rest… but life is never that simple… and to be honest… I enjoy her presence in my dreams.”

YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BREAKING DOWN A DIVISION BETWEEN THE CONSCIOUS AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS – OR AT LEAST THINKING IN THOSE TERMS. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR WORK ?

“The act of denying the existence of the dividing line is one of the healthiest things I have done as an artist – it has opened my life to a new sense of completeness and meaning and makes the act of creativity a pure and simple joy, always flowing… obstacles appear but they all seem to make sense. The process has tested me beyond my limits… the setbacks have been staggering and often seem unfair but, whatever happens in my life, I seem to find the energy to follow Subway Slim wherever he might go.

Allowing Subway Slim to move between the worlds of the ‘real’ and ‘the believed’ gave me the perfect structure for my own creative needs. I like drawing real things, real places and real people whether it‘s train stations or aircraft, architecture or the small details of everyday life – and I was influenced in this by my childhood love of the ’Tintin’ books by Hergé and later Milton Caniffs ‘Steve Canyon’ and Hugo Pratts ‘Corto Maltese’. But to set Subway Slim in a specific place and time did not allow me to indulge my twin passions for mythology and history. Allowing Slim to slip the bonds of time and space gave me the opportunity to follow him anywhere – he can exist in all worlds whether real or imagined: a paradigm that allows me to explore what I believe to be the great subject of the 21st Century: that of Quantum Physics – a branch of science that edges ever closer to Alchemy and Mysticism with theories that bring into question the whole nature of time, space and human consciousness – a notion that Slim and I are quite at home with.

So, enjoy the journey… but don’t expect it to end any time soon.”

 
 
 
 

SEASON I BOOK I ALBUM THREE

THE MEMORY WAR

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How did it begin ?

“So… I’d been developing this story for years… but it was a completely different set of characters – Subway Slim wasn’t in it. And I kept coming back to this thing, and it had gotten so big in my head that I thought I’d never get around to doing it.

Then, when ‘The Ghost In Me’ was over, it clicked that this could be a Subway Slim story… and the more I thought about it, the more it fell into place… it was an epiphany – the characters just exploded into life. I had taken so many runs at it over the years that those characters were just ready to start acting… so all I had to do was put them in situations and they just behaved as though they were real.

It was tricky to begin with and there was a lot of careful restructuring to do but it was such a great way to go forward with Subway Slim for a couple of reasons…
The first is that ‘The Memory War’ has a message and I felt a compulsion to get it done… and the second is that Slim has this whole world, this whole story established in ‘The Ghost In Me’… then suddenly it zooms right out and we see that ‘The Ghost In Me’ paradigm is just a small segment of something much bigger.

Slim has this past, friends and family, and it’s very messy… suddenly there’s all these real people that he has to deal with and, of course, with amnesia and his strange powers, he’s not exactly well equipped to deal with it… so he has to find the tools, and that’s what ‘The Memory War’ is about. It has these big historical and mystical themes but for the characters – it’s about how people adopt the wrong tools to deal with things, make a lot of mess then… learn how to go about finding the right tools… and the same thing roughly applies to all the characters in The Memory War.”

YOU HAD DIFFERENT METHODS FOR BOTH ‘Convergence’ and ’The ghost in me’… what about ‘the memory war’ ?

Well, I started producing ‘The Memory War’ as a graphic novel, the same as ‘The Ghost In Me’, but I was really struggling and the whole process of making the videobooks and using the voiceover and telling the story directly to the viewer myself was clearly the best medium for me… I get a huge buzz out of it… so I’ve switched. ‘The Memory War’ is being produced for the videobook first… then as a print edition… which is exciting… when I am producing drawings, staging scenes and writing dialogue… it’s a totally different set of rules than it is when I’m doing a graphic novel… I mean, you might think it’s similar… but it’s hugely different. Then I will also have the fascinating challenge of taking the assets from the online films (the artworks and the script)… and turning them into a print book. There are many subtle differences between the two mediums but the most notable is that we tend to work a lot in portrait format with graphic novels whereas film imagery is predominantly landscape – very side to side instead of up and down. So… I’ve turned my whole working process upside down and I’m working in a way that has very little precedent, at least in my mind.

Why did you decide to release it as these ‘videobooks’ ?

I was at a point where I had two books and albums almost completed and many more on the way, and it was then that I realised I was struggling with how to release them. My main focus had been on my own personal journey and the process had been about finding my life’s purpose, reading the signs and following the path, so to speak but finding the right medium has always been a challenge… There will be print editions and accompanying CD’s released but I had to look really deeply into what suited my working methods the best: I love music, I love drawing, I love narratives… but how could I really bring them altogether without going through the risky and highly compromising process of getting films made or the transient life of a musician ?

The essence is about storytelling. Just… pure storytelling.

I had for years been doing occasional storytelling events and I have a love of recording spoken word so it finally clicked that the only way to do this was to put the music and the drawings together into little films over which I could tell the story directly myself… and that really is the core of the thing… to be able to just tell the story.

So there were all kinds of difficulties with this… there’s a danger of everything become overcomplicated and there’s a huge amount of work involved in putting it all together even in the form in which it appears here… so it’s a matter of always trying to keep things this ‘simple’… and not getting caught up in ideas about elaborate animation techniques or using multiple voices… because then it becomes something else.

That’s always the difficulty with this… is it a band, a concept album, a book, an anime, a film ?

It’s all these things and none of them because at it’s core – it’s a guy telling stories and it’s really about getting right back to that place that we all love… Whether it’s the bedtime stories our parents told us, or gathering around the campfire to sing songs… it’s about staying with that essence and creating the timeless and eternal magic of storytelling: one person directly to another.

People are constantly saying I should pitch it as a film, or an anime, or a computer game – that I should do this that or the other with it… but what does that really mean ? I’ve been down that road before and it means spending all the hours of my life making contact, sending out proposals, getting hundreds of rejections, changing the scripts, changing the characters, packaging and repackaging and so on…

Is that what I am here to do ?

No… I’m here to tell you a story.

SO WHY IS THE MEMORY WAR SO IMPORTANT TO YOU ?

I had for years been doing occasional storytelling events and I have a love of recording spoken word so it finally clicked that the only way to do this was to put the music and the drawings together into little films over which I could tell the story directly myself… and that really is the core of the thing… to be able to just tell the story.

So there were all kinds of difficulties with this… there’s a danger of everything become overcomplicated and there’s a huge amount of work involved in putting it all together even in the form in which it appears here… so it’s a matter of always trying to keep things this ‘simple’… and not getting caught up in ideas about elaborate animation techniques or using multiple voices… because then it becomes something else.

IN TERMS OF YOUR METHOD – ARE YOU THROWING OUT THE RULE BOOK?

“Not at all – I was trained in all those commercial writing structures so they are in my muscle memory but, as I said, I am not working intellectually… I’m working emotionally.

Even though I naturally write in a commercially structured way I’m not waking up in the morning and saying ‘I have to have a twist here and a plot point there’ and so on – I can only work with material that moves me, scenes that I am passionate about. I’m not ignoring formula but I’m dipping into a deeper well of storytelling, always trying to connect with the pure essence of it and that overrides everything else. If you become a slave to the rules then the process becomes completely clinical and we’ve seen the results… those awful films that all follow the same pattern… we know what’s going to happen from the first scene…

in fact my teenage son said he switches off most films at the end of the second act because they’re just too boring these days –

Then, by contrast, you get all these anime coming out of Japan and blowing people away because they don’t follow those strict formulas but they are completely engaging anyway… because they go to the essence of storytelling and they’ve proved that the formulaic approach isn’t the only thing – audiences want to be surprised, they want the unexpected… we want to go on that journey not necessarily knowing where it leads and it seems that a lot of film studios seem to have forgotten that.

But I feel the same way as a storyteller – my scripts are thorough but I can’t say 100% where they will go, the course may change and I need that in my working processes to compel me to keep going… I’m still curious and excited to see how it turns out… I’m learning something about myself as I go along and that is the same feeling I get from watching a really good film or reading a good book – I feel like it had some impact on my life”.

THE ROAD AHEAD

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHERE NEXT?

“So I started looking at other stories I had developed over the years and I saw that they would all suit the Subway Slim paradigm… that if I put them together they could tell a much bigger story.

As I trawled through all my old notes and half-started projects and ideas I began to see that Slim had been there all along… he appeared in wildly varying forms and guises but it was always him in some aspect or another… but I could see he just wasn’t ready to come out and play up until recently… he needed the right vehicle.

Convergence marked a turning point in my creative approach because it was the moment that I began to write stories with the same intensity that I could apply to a song.

But I feel the same way as a storyteller – my scripts are thorough but I can’t say 100% where they will go, the course may change and I need that in my working processes to compel me to keep going… I’m still curious and excited to see how it turns out…

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I’m learning something about myself as I go along and that is the same feeling I get from watching a really good film or reading a good book – I feel like it had some impact on my life”.

When a person performs a song we embrace any emotional intensity they are prepared to put into it. But we easily forget to do that with writing and drawing… and especially drawing comics. That’s when I realised what was missing from my writing and drawing work. I had to apply the same feeling to it that I was putting into music.

After that I found I was able to re-write projects I had been working on and Subway Slim was the conduit for that – as soon as I put him back into all my older scripts, they started to reach the depth of meaning and emotion that I was searching for.

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE THERE IN TOTAL?

”So far I have six stories completed and a a seventh in rough form. The whole series currently comprises a prelude – (Convergence) and two trilogies.

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The first trilogy, titled ‘The Shadowside’ is ‘The Ghost In Me’ and ‘The Memory War’ and is then completed with a story called ‘Bloodlines’ ”.

WHAT IS ‘BLOODLINES’ ABOUT?

’Bloodlines’ is set entirely in India in 1857. I had spent two years and a lot of trips to the British Library to study a historical event known commonly as ‘The Indian Mutiny’. The subject has been utterly compelling to me and I can’t explain why I have been so drawn to it – it is horrifying, almost impossible to stomach at times… there were such appalling acts of brutality carried out by both sides in the conflict… but within it’s vast scope there are also incredible stories of altruism and loyalty on both sides and this is what appeals to me about it.

It is the lack of definition between good guys and bad guys… it fascinates me because it is real. In real life the concepts of good and evil are often spread through culture to serve the agendas of the powerful. The mantra of ‘If you are not with us… then you must be against us’ has been used by governments and religions throughout out the ages to control and enslave people. Films, books and popular culture all strive to make clear definitions between right and wrong… but the real world does not work like that. ‘Good people do bad things’ and vice versa and that’s an important cornerstone of my writing mythology.

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I refer to it in ‘The Ghost In Me’ and I explore the same ground on a more personal level in ‘The Memory War’. The principal characters would all be portrayed as ‘wrong’ in most contemporary storytelling – they are so deeply flawed that they would not be considered suitable as heroes… but I prefer to work with characters who can be heroes but still be wrong in the choices they make.

I should be clear here that I have a strong sense of justice… the idea that we shouldn‘t do bad things.. I’m referring to this in wider terms… not just the ambiguity of morality but the apparent nature of all things… nothing is ever black and white is it?

WE SEE THE SAME KIND OF THING IN MYTHOLOGY DON’T WE?

This is one of the reasons I am so fascinated with folklore and mythology – we see the same ambiguity there. Greek Gods have a propensity for behaviour we would consider appalling by todays moral standards and throughout folklore the creatures and spirits of the shadowside are more often depicted as morally ambiguous than as clearly defined good or evil. We regularly read of forest spirits who are malicious but also kind if well treated and it is rare to see them depicted otherwise… another point which seems to illustrate that a clear definition of good and evil is often just a tool for control – it is not necessarily useful to us… it is only useful to those who wish to control us.

In ‘The Memory War’ I look at moral ambiguity and the need to deal with one’s mistakes at a personal level, in ‘The Bloodlines’, I begin to look at it at a national level: when whole nations need to come to terms with their pasts and learn to deal with matters in a different way. Needless to say, I am still exploring the message but I feel it is relevant at any time in history where we continually see individuals and nations using this polarity of right and wrong to cause division and suffering where it is clear that the majority of people simply want to get along.

What is the answer to this ? I hope that ‘The Memory War’ and ‘Bloodlines’ will provide some answers. The methods I use to tell stories are not intellectual, they are emotional so I can only find my way through the forest of the story as best I can.

But… the whole thing is very much about waking up, becoming more conscious and becoming more capable, of increasing our faculties… and the process of creating the work has that affect… and there are some plans to involve the audience at a deeper level… to make the experience as immersive as it can be…

There is a recurring theme about ambiguity in general…

It’s about how things overlap – grey areas. It’s where the land meets the sea – it is shifting and ephemeral. Equally reality and the imagination overlap, the conscious and the subconscious overlap… science and mysticism now overlap ( thanks to Quantum Physics ) and artistically, I inhabit those regions. For a couple of hundred years now we have been very uncomfortable with that view – since the Enlightenment we have become very reductive and have created this world of opposites which we see in our every days lives as well as at a political level… but we are living in a time where vast numbers of people are either shifting away from that, or moving deeper into it.

‘Bloodlines’ completes a trilogy in which Slim and Natasha find out ‘who they are’… and it takes them a long time to discover that. The story completes itself at the end of ‘The Memory War’ quite effectively… ‘Bloodlines’ would ramp it up to a whole other level so that would be great to do. It will have done everything I set out to do… or I feel compelled to.

But there are detailed treatments and some scripts for a second trilogy, in which they then become active in ‘being what they are’… using their powers so to speak. The first trilogy is all about them as individuals… the second trilogy would be about them interacting with the universe they inhabit… but I’m not looking that far down the road right now.