Terror Scribes Gather in Bristol

BRISTOL TERROR SCRIBES 5/5/2012, a Remembrance

By Sue Phillips

The Terror Scribes have never invaded Bristol before and so the town did not really know what to expect. It decided that the safest option was to keep its head down and pretend that this was just another ordinary day. A casual observer might have been forgiven for thinking that all was as usual. The quiver of fear that ran through the streets went unseen, unfelt… but it was there.

So, when we’d finished terrifying the town with our feet we gathered at the Golden Guinea pub in Guinea Street, an ancient hostelry well suited to our needs. The landlord directed us outside to the terrace to wait while our dungeon was being prepared. Finally we were free to incarcerate ourselves down in the dark depths. A fine dungeon indeed, with flock wallpaper, inscrutable draughts and unaccountably comfortable sofas. Naturally the sofas caused some consternation with scribes more accustomed to chains, blood curdling screams and general discomfort; but we decided to tolerate this shortcoming and soldier on. As usual, longstanding members rubbed shoulders with new blood. It is not permitted to explain the significance of the shoulder rubbing to non participants, so please do not ask.

The purpose of the gathering was to witness the launches of a new book: Black Mirrors by Paul Edwards (Rainfall) and two albums: Waiting For Oblivion by Storm Clouds and a blues rock album from our terrifyingly talented Croak Froghead and Jonny Boa, in association with the deeply deep Jim Xavier. More details of the music as they become available.

The book, Black Mirrors by Paul Edwards was enrobed in a cover so dark, so mirror-like that it scarcely needed the deathly image that floated to its surface – or was that a reflection of the real me? After a raffle of donated books and a strange and mysterious vegetable slicer which all raised £55 for the Alzheimer’s Society, we settled down to listen.

Paul Edwards, author of Black Mirrors with his wife Mandy

Paul read from his book. He chose Bleeder, a dark and moody tale and then his wife Mandy read The Sea and the Statues, which was a beautifully deceptive story of a child and her mother living in a seaside cottage surrounded by statues. I have begun reading the other stories and can definitely recommend the collection. Paul’s family were there to witness the launch and to help him party afterwards. Typically of relatives of a horror writer, they are rather lovely, especially his two young daughters to whom the book is dedicated. Being so young, neither is allowed to read it until they are older.

When Adam Lowe arrived, he presented me with my copy of Terror Scribes, an anthology of stories by members old and new. Twenty-five tales in all and from what I have read so far, an impressive collection it is, beautifully bound and with a cover image of a ghostly gateway that perfectly suits the contents. My own tale The Third Possibility lurks inside, among the early pages. The book’s editors, Adam Lowe and Chris Kelso have created a balance of light and shade, humour and horror that ensures all contributors are proud to be included and readers feel drawn inside with no hope of escape. I could have said all this earlier, except that the post office ate my first copy before I even clapped eyes on it.

Strange, ethereal music played throughout the event, was it Storm Clouds new EP Waiting For Oblivion, or Croak Froghead, Jonny Boa and their confederate Jim Xavier? The two styles could not have been more different, with the lyrical, horror based music of storm clouds and gravel from the Mississippi river bottom clearly audible in the songs of Croak and co; but could anything have prepared us for the onslaught of eighties music that later ensued? The pain of the scribes was demonstrated when they began to jig around the room in a ragged circle yodelling loudly in an attempt to drown out the sounds issuing from large speakers. The more venerable scribes left in search of the traditional sustenance of chicken chat and other spiced dishes. Thanks to directions from the Edward family, a suitable restaurant, the Raj Mahal was found nearby. We were given a table near the window, overlooking the River Severn and comestibles were enthusiastically comested (is that a word?).

On our return we moved upstairs to the relative safety of the bar where there was a great deal of discussion regarding the genre and absent friends. Inexplicably, some scribes found themselves drawn back down to the music in the dungeon. We did not see them again, but heard the yodelling recommence.

When my OH and I left around eleven, the party was still going strong on both floors. I can give no information as to how it ended, but I assume the scribes finally quit the dungeon and crept out into the dark night.

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