January 2023: All Systems Go

Hey folks,

I know we’re only one month into 2023, but it feels like half the year has flown by already – I know, I know, time is a relative concept, but I hope it calms down at some point. This will probably be a fairly busy newsletter (I’ve even got some STUFF to SHARE) so let’s crack in!

The Usual

I always find that January turns into a month of calendar juggling, where I try and get some things in place for later in the year (not least so I have something to look forward to). And this year promises to be a big one in that regard – we’re in the middle of redecorating a large chunk of our house (because I finally ran out of patience with the horrible textured wallpaper), I’ve finally booked in some sessions to get the Japanese half-sleeve tattoo on my left arm done (I’ve had the right one since 2017 and the left is intended to be a companion piece to that) and we might even try and squeeze in a holiday.

On the creative front… hoo boy. Brigantia Vol. 2 is well and truly underway (and here’s a sneaky peek at our boy Veteris, from the prodigiously talented hands of Alaire):

I’m going to be running at least two crowdfunders this year (for a Prof Elemental collection and a collection of my oceanic sci-fi/horror Hadopelagic, with Neil McClements), with two more potentially in the running depending on how everything shakes out (Secrets of the Majestic, and Brigantia Vol. 2 depending on how quickly Alaire gets through the pages) – four campaigns might be a bit bloody much though, so I’m going to have to decide whether any of those can be pushed back to 2024.

What could this be about….? 👀

I’ve got a pitch floating around out there which I want to try and get picked up, and have just teamed up with an artist for another pitch which I’m very excited about.

And on top of all that, my band Ba’al have booked ourselves two weeks of studio time in the summer to record both a new album and a new EP, because we wrote far too much music (roughly 90 mins or so) and need to split it into two releases!

It’s a pretty daunting list, but I’ll put one foot in front of the other and get as many things ticked off as I can. Here’s hoping December’s round-up is a full one..!

The Record

  • 26 pages lettered for The Phoenix
  • 1-page anthology submission plotted
  • Worldbuilding and references for SPACE COWBOYS

Lettered a small book-length story for The Phoenix this month, which was v. cool and a nice little challenge. Definitely the most pages I’ve ever lettered over a couple of weeks, and I’d love to do more to really get my hand in!

That aside, as a consequence of the previous section (getting all my ducks in a row) I haven’t properly written anything all month. I don’t see a lot of value in scripting something that I won’t feasibly be able to get moving on for a long while – because by the time it’s the next project up, I’ll probably want to rewrite whole swathes of it. That stance will probably change as the year progresses because I have a few things outlined and ready to work on, I just need to get myself in the right mindset and find a balance (between day job, band practices, existing projects and just trying to have an evening to relax now and then..!)

The Tunes

Back to your regularly-scheduled “here’s what Chris is listening to” programming this month. First up, my favourite band The Ocean are back with this teaser for their upcoming new album – and they definitely have strong feelings about the current intellectual climate, going by the lyrics. After that, we take a trip through some vaporwave/cybernetic landscapes with new music from Boucle Infinie, Isaac Soto and Martin Ahm Nielsen/Code Elektro – close your eyes and let the digital wave wash over you. A brief orchestral break is courtesy of Aaron Grubb’s lovely rendition of Gerudo Valley (from the Zelda series), and then we’re into heavier(ish) climes, starting with Foo Fighters – I recommended Sonic Highways (both the TV show and the album) to someone this month and it reminded me how much I enjoy those songs, particularly this one with it’s orchestral vibe towards the end. The new Ahab album came out of nowhere (for me) but it’s excellent, funeral doom from under the sea. It’s followed by the excellent SONJA – trad heavy metal with a fierce as fuck trans frontwoman and great vocal lines. The last two tracks take us into more upbeat territory – Babymetal remain one of the most enjoyable bands in my rotation, and this song just slaps. Watch a live video for the full effect! And lastly, my favourite Ayreon album got remixed & remastered last year, so here’s a banger from the back end of the double album – a cosmic flight through space that laments the plight of our doomed world. Cheerful!

The Links


It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I absolutely adore folk horror – it’s right in the sweet spot of what I love about the horror genre, and can run the gamut from shlocky 70s classics like The Blood on Satan’s Claw to “elevated”, “arthouse” fare like Midsommar. I’m extremely curious about watching Enys Men at some point, and this feature both stokes that curiosity and provides some good context for the folk horror “boom” we’re seeing at the moment. Plus, it’s a little quicker than watching all 3 and a quarter hours of Kier-La Janisse’s (excellent) documentary “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched“, which is truly exhaustive in scope..!

I have a folk horror story idea kicking around (because of course I do, so does everyone), but because of how much the genre resonates with me, I’m very conscious of the need to do it “properly”. I don’t want to just shit out something packed with cheap scares and call it a day! The result is more reading and watching (research, rather) until I feel like I’ve got a good enough background to do my own twist on the genre. Watch this space..!

That’s all for this month – thanks for reading this far if you made it. We’re through the longest month of the year! Imbolc is round the corner and it can only get brighter from here on out, so take care of yourselves and find things to look forward to.



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