Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Strange Costumes Part III: Playing the Field – The Music

Kev cradles his bass paternally.......
Kev cradles his bass paternally…….

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally found some time to put the finishing touches to the third instalment of the Strange Costumes ‘Altered Book’ project that I’m working on in conjunction with Atlanta-based artist and writer Shelley M House. There will be a video version of it later.

As with the previous two, the rhythms are very African influenced. To create the rhythm track, I recorded four or five ‘live’ drum parts using a multiple drum pad module that you play just like a normal kit. for each track, I altered the parameters so the pads triggered different drums and percussion effects. The final, multiple drum track is quite insistent and chaotic, so I opted to overlay a vocal in a sixties, psychedelic ‘lazy’ style, to balance the speed of the piece.  The lyric is dictated very strictly by the words Shelley gave me, in her meter and order, and this, above all else, gives these musical pieces their unusual structure and form. I cannot escape into a chorus, and I have to find ways to fit words in that may conflict with the rhythm. It’s a lot of fun!  You will notice that some of the lyrics are hard to understand. That is because I have gone for an overall feel for the track, and to clearly enunciate them may have compromised that. The music is designed to be listened to in conjunction with reading the lyrics within Shelley’s art pieces. I’ve reproduced the lyrics below, with the small changes I made highlighted in blue:

Fantastic information we find in the field.
Tasty instrument, hear it play, food he likes. (Tasty instrument, hear it play)
Searching shallow ends for frogs and fish, we get too close and find that edges have snapped.
In scenery sharp and strange we play;
very vivid, very thin, and very fond of fruit.
I hope the tree-top toucan can support all the weight.
See the colorful two, overlap and sway,
planting the seeds of the future.
Penknife and pine, the hungry fulcrum faintly tips.
Our friends are prying and peculiar. Stories are told. Perfectly attractive, bold and yellow, red and blue.
We pick out our decorations so carefully.
We find seeds and weeds for large appetites, all of them eating out of habit.
Muddy mouthfuls make it difficult to speak.
Entire worlds are reduced to hums and beats.
Hands and arms, legs and feet, tiny twitters, a deep low beat. (tiny twitters in a deep low beat)
Graceful games turn frantic in a storm.
Run and frisk, high and low, coming in and out of sight. Quick and urgent, they cry, they cry.they cry, they cry…cry…

Words by Shelley M House, Music by Kev Moore

The breakdown in the middle begins with the gradual layering of sampled African choral vocals, mixed with tribal drumming and nature samples steadily building in intensity to re-introduce the main theme.  As the track fades, it departs a little from the trance-like single chord structure and I introduce some changes in the synth chords underneath, so that the lead guitar can be more expressive. The bass line remains the same however, and its always a nice effect, to keep the bass the same and change the underlying chords.

So there it is……enjoy!

You can listen to the first two parts of the series by clicking on the links below:

Strange Costumes

Draped in Strange Feathers

Kev Moore

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Art, books, Ca' Puccini, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Music, Music, Shelley's Altered Book, Shelley's Creations, Sound recording, writing | , , , , | 15 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 21 –


(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 20)

Operational Headquarters, British Army Intelligence, Cheltenham

General Sir George Lacey drained the last vestiges of his innumerable cups of coffee and stared at the phone, willing it to ring. Where’s the sense of being sat at the heart of the intelligence community if I haven’t got a damned clue what’s going on? He thought bitterly. He ran through the events of the last few hours in his mind. At least the Stealth support for the team at Millau reported nothing untoward, so it would seem Tobias and his men had so far executed their plan to the letter. But what was going on in Ambialet? The loud, insistent buzzing of the phone abruptly dragged him from his introspective reverie.
“General Lacey.” The General listened impassively as he was fed the latest intel on the situation in Southern France. It seemed there had been reports of several large explosions in the town of Ambialet within the last hour.
He replaced the receiver. “Good luck, Ben” he said to himself, staring at a map of the town. He hardly had time to marshal his thoughts when his phone buzzed for a second time. It was General Alberstein.
“George? We got trouble.” He proceeded to brief Sir George on the suicide mission against Polyflex. By the end of the conversation Sir George had promised his opposite number a rigorous enquiry to try and route out any spy in their midst. It was unthinkable that they had been compromised so easily.
“They must have a sleeper, Thomas, it’s the only answer” said Lacey.
“It’s a damned scary one, George” said the General, “Let’s flush the bastard out” .

Main Entrance, Ambialet Monastery

Bakti and Iqbal were pressed hard against the rock, only ten meters from the Monastery doors. The great studded oak structures silently mocked them, daring them to enter. Anwar was some twenty meters further down, urging his comrade on. “Sunil, now! Join me on this side, there is cover!”
Sunil delayed, just a fraction of a second. Stephenson was lying uncomfortably high inside the facing wall above the main entrance, his Hauser falcon crossbow pointing through the ancient archers slit in the old stone wall. His target had hesitated. That moment was all he needed, the deadly steel bolt rocketed down, burying itself in the chest of the hapless invader, who fell in the dust at Anwar’s feet. Stephenson rolled away, just as a burst of machine gun fire blasted his position.
“Anwar, run!” yelled Bakti, breaking cover with Iqbal, their machine pistols jumping in their hands, directing fire above the great entrance. A stray round caught Stephenson in the leg, and he screamed in agony. The three Fundamentalists charged forward, nearly at the gates, when suddenly, from either side of them, emerging from hidden stairways that led into the crypt, the dust covered figures of Bryan and Thompson ran, machine pistols at their hips firing as they went. Bakti, Anwar and Iqbal seemed to go into a grotesque dance, riddled with hundreds of rounds that slammed into their bodies, and continued on, splintering the great oak doors behind them. Blood issued from their mouths as they fell, as one, in a bloody heap in front of the Monastery.
“Thompson, go check on Stephenson, I’ll recce the immediate area, see if there are any more of the buggers.” Said Bryan, slamming a fresh magazine in, wiping the dust from his eyes.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

Next instalment: Sunday April 19th

April 13, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 20 –


(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 19)

The Presse shop, Ambialet

In the bedroom down in the village, Akbar was readying the fourth grenade. He had barely put his eye to the viewfinder when a single high velocity round exploded through the lens and buried itself in his brain, causing immediate and catastrophic damage before exiting in a pink cloud of matter and bone debris. Already dead, Akbar’s body crumpled to the floor, in a grotesque parody of a pilgrim at prayer.

Back in the devastated monastery, Ben Tobias was marshalling his men.
“Okay, the RPG’s neutralised, but we don’t have much time. A small task force has made cover beneath the Monastery and will be seeking incursion to mop up any survivors. There are at least five of them.” He turned to Henri, who had jumped down from the table and was shouldering his weapon.
“Henri, I think you should get your people out the way we came in. We’ve two inflatables hidden beyond the tree line by the river fifty meters upstream. You can use them to get out of the immediate area. My men and I will try and neutralise this invading force. You can’t be caught. You need to get out and regroup.”
Non!” Henri was indignant. “We will not run and leave you to fight our battles, Lieutenant!”
“Henri!” said Ben desperately, “You have intel that these people will extract from you, one way or another. If we’re captured, we can’t tell what we don’t know. It’s better that way,” he said, his face an unreadable mask.  Henri thought for a moment.
“An honour, Lieutenant” he said, extending his hand. The men held a firm grip for a few moments.
“Now go, Henri, get to safety, and send a transmission to British Army HQ when you’re secure.”
Henri ushered Marie-Christine and the others into the passageway Ben and his men had used earlier. He turned and called over his shoulder as he was disappearing into the darkness within the great stone fireplace.
“Live to fight another day, Englishman, and we will endeavour to do the same”. He raised his hand, and was gone.
Ben spun round, all business now. “Corporal Vann, take Bryan and Thompson with you and cover the lower levels. We need to try and contain them down there. We can’t be sure how many of them there are, and I don’t want them having the run of the place.”
“Sir” replied Vann, as the three men took off down the relatively undamaged staircase.

Bakti had watched the devastation wrought upon the Monastery with satisfaction. The incursion team were all pressed up against the face of the rock, covered in the dust and debris that had showered down following the attack. They prepared to crouch and run zigzag up the exposed path leading to the Monastery entrance. Bakti checked his watch. Why hadn’t Akbar fired the fourth grenade? He activated his comm. link. “Akbar? Come in. Fire the fourth grenade! Repeat, fire the fourth grenade!” Static was his only reply.
“The infidels have neutralised the RPG. There will be no cover fire for our assault on the entrance. Allah will protect us. Mustafa, return to the bridge and maintain position in case we need cover fire for our departure. Anwar, hold a position at the base of the path, count off thirty seconds then follow. We will zigzag in two pairs, thirty seconds apart. Iqbal, you’re with me, we’ll lead off. Go!”

Henri and his ragged band made their way slowly through the tunnel, reaching the steep gradient that would take them beneath the River Tarn to safety. The further they went, the more they could taste the dust in the air, irritating their eyes, sticking in their throats. Suddenly, in the darkness, they saw it. A huge rock fall had collapsed the tunnel dead ahead. There was nothing for it. They would have to dig through with their bare hands.
“The torches, Dryden, bring them here, we have work to do!”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 21)

April 5, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Bubble Boy – 22 –

Bubble Boy - 21 - , by Miki

Bubble Boy - 22 - , by Miki

(Original German Version)

(Bubble Boy – 1 –)     (Bubble Boy – 21 –)

Tiwoo was not at all happy with this decision, in fact she was very angry. Really, she thought, now that it was becoming fun, that little coward wanted to go back home! She started shouting at Bub, as loud as she ever could. But well, she certainly had not as frighteningly powerful a voice as Barbra and what she thought would sound scary to Bub sounded only like one more of her silly and boring tiwoos.

No,  Bub was not impressed at all by her screams. But yes, he was scared, so scared, first by the skulls in the desert, and now by these horrible creatures, that he had only one thought: to run away as fast as possible and to hide in a safe place. Not that the castle was really a safe place, but well, he hadn’t really a choice, our poor boy, had he?
Tiwoo hesitated. She looked back with nostalgia to the wood. You must understand, this was the place where she was born, and she still felt her roots to be there… of course not roots like these big creatures called trees, but roots nevertheless! But then she thought of Barbra… yes, she was a tremendous little witch, but she had got used to her, and Tiwoo knew that deep in her heart, Barbra loved her.

What should I do now, she asked herself? The wood, yes it was her home, but to be fair, although there was a lot of creatures in the wood, she had always felt quite alone and cold among them. She thought a while longer, but in the end, she couldn’t really face the thought of being alone again, and chose Barbra and her castle!

She let a last deep sigh out, thinking “Why always me?”, and after a last sad glance back to the wood and waving goodbye with one of her big wings, she followed Bub. But she felt a deep weight on her owl’s soul. She comforted herself telling herself that in fact she could always revoke her decision and fly back to the wood if she needed to one day, she knew the way now. But deep inside she also knew that this was an irrevocable decision, that her real home now was in the castle, with the ugly, always angry and impatient little witch Barbra!

On the way back to the castle, Bub looked up to the sky, checking if the moon was back. But it was not there. not really, there was now just a very thin pale curved line where it used to be, and above all it no longer had any eyes.  The sky was almost black and empty now, apart from tiny little yellow points which were nothing at all compared to the wonderful ball of light with the big round eyes. Bub felt very sad again, wondering if the moon was gone for ever, and somehow he couldn’t bear this thought. This is what happens when one loses friends, a normal thing, but Bub didn’t know anything about it and felt simply sad and  alone.

Finally they arrived at the castle…

(next instalment on Thursday 9th April 2009)

By Miki

April 3, 2009 Posted by | animals, Art, books, Cafe L'Arte, Cafe Literati, children, literature, Miki's Paintings, Miki's Tale Bubble Boy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Atlantic Bridge – 19 – (apologies for the delay!)


(Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 18)

The Presse shop, Ambialet

Two more of the incursion force brought the RPG launchers and the grenades themselves up into the bedroom. The other two immediately began to assemble the long tube and tripod in expert fashion.  It took just three minutes to assemble it, calibrate the laser night sighting, and draw a bead on the old monastery looming high on the rock across the river. The man who had been first into the shop touched his communicator. “Commander Bakti, RPG launcher in place and targeted. Awaiting instructions.”
Bakti was down at the Northern end of the bridge with his number 2, checking the approach up to the Monastery via the winding road.
“Leave Akbar with the launcher, the rest of you assemble here by the bridge. We will advance on foot along the road.
“But why not use the Humvee, Commander?  We will be well protected by its Kevlar coating” ventured the soldier.
“Cowardly dog!” spat Bakti, “You think about your own pathetic self-preservation! The Humvee will surely struggle to cope with the switchback road to the target, it will slow us down, make us a vulnerable target. As a foot force, we are many targets, and more manoeuvrable. Some of us may die. That is Allah’s will!”
“Praise be to Allah” mumbled the soldier, chastened.
“Now, tell Akbar to be ready for my signal. Get the men down here now.”
Bakti turned his attention to the Monastery, the lights glowing within its ancient stone walls. The dawn was fast approaching, the first fingers of light teasing the eastern horizon. Today will be a glorious day for us, he thought, the infidels will die for having the temerity to resist the word of Islam. His eyes sparkled with religious zeal. Meanwhile, the four men had assembled behind him. He touched the communicator. “Akbar, fire when ready, four grenades, a minute apart. We should have reached cover by then.”
The last vestiges of the night were ripped asunder as a great plume of smoke and fire erupted from the bedroom window arcing murderously across the river and slamming into the ancient building. A huge explosion rocked its foundations as rubble cascaded down the hillside. A huge pall of dust and smoke began to drift across the town. The houses of Ambialet remained resolutely shuttered, wanting no part of what was being visited upon them.

The five men were already running across the bridge, machine pistols sweeping the area ahead of them. As they reached the other side of the bridge, still on the open road and exposed, another rocket propelled grenade followed the first, this time arcing higher, dropping into the roof from above. The top effectively blew off the Monastery. Ancient beams cracked and gave way, sending their deadly weight down into the chaos below.
The great hall was in disarray. Resistance fighters were running everywhere.
“Henri!” shouted Ben. “We need a location for that grenade! Grab that table!” Henri ran over and they heaved the great oak table over to the wall. They jumped up onto it, smashing the great stained glass window with their weapons.   Ben raised his night sight and scanned the village below. He could see five figures, down in the roadway, they’d obviously crossed the bridge, but they were only carrying machine pistols…he tracked back to the village.
Suddenly, flaring bright green in his night sight, he saw it, streaking towards them, a third RPG!!!! “Incoming!” he screamed.
Henri and Ben leapt down and took cover beneath the table. Marie-Christine and Dryden  leapt into the kitchen and hid beneath the benches. Then it hit. Or more precisely, it entered the gaping hole left by the first grenade, blasted through the ground floor and exploded in the crypt. The world seemed to shift on its axis. Enormous cracks began to appear in the floor of the great hall, and just then, one of the ruined beams came crashing through the ornate ceiling, pinning two fighters to the floor. Trying to ignore their screams, Ben shouted, “Henri! We have to take out that bastard, or we are all dead.”
Henri looked to his compatriots in their suffering. “Merde, you are right.”
They clambered from beneath their hiding place and back up onto the table.
“Henri, it’s the upper window of the Presse just before the tunnel I think. Can you hit it?”
Henri looked at him. “How do you say? Has the Pope got a balcony?” he smiled a thin smile and raised his weapon, poking the barrel through the gap left by the great window.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 20)

March 31, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, politics, religion, writing | , , , | 7 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 18 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 17)

Polyflex Industries Biomolecular Culture Shed Number 1


The security team that were just about to override the security lockdown outside the airlock were only afforded the privilege of hearing the first enormous explosion, the first of six beats of a terrible tattoo, that obliterated Culture shed number one. It incinerated the building, anyone nearby, and the strangely calm occupant, head bowed, within. An incandescent fireball shot into the night, accompanied by the last of the tremendous explosions, and if Bert Dwyer hadn’t already been on the phone, red-faced with anger receiving news of the sabotage, then it surely would have woken him.

The Bridge at Ambialet

The black Humvee was parked behind a stand of trees. The six men were already out of the vehicle and busy. Bakti and his number two had taken up position by the old stone bridge across the River Tarn. Two men were unloading equipment from the rear of the Humvee, and two were stealthily approaching the Presse at the end of the village.
With practiced ease, the first to the front door produced a small diamond cutter and created a hole in the glass, pulled free with a suction cup. He reached in and undid the deadbolt from the inside. The pair ran inside, and in doing so, activated the old-fashioned tinkling bell above the door.
“The bedroom! Now!” barked the first intruder. The murderous pair rushed through the Paper shop, all caution abandoned, sending racks of magazines and sweets flying. They were halfway up the stairs when the owner appeared on the landing, half-asleep and confused. A small whup sound emanated from the silenced machine pistol, set to single shot, and almost immediately a tiny dark red hole appeared in the forehead of the shopkeeper, his eyes briefly registering surprise before the light faded from them and he fell to the floor. The two men were instantly leaping over his body into the modest bedroom above the shop. The shopkeepers wife, covers pulled up to her chin, gasped in shock as the men appeared. She leapt out of the bed towards the bathroom, taking a single step before three red flowers blossomed in her back.
“Take the bodies to the cellar” said the first intruder. He raised his communicator. “Commander Bakti, RPG position established, send in the hardware.”

Dwyer Residence

“Godammit! I’ve given you my security clearance code, now get Alberstein on the line NOW!!” Bert Dwyer was shaking with rage. What the hell was happening in this country? You couldn’t even take a leak without some goddamn towelhead trying to blow your ass to kingdom come.
“General? Some wiseass has just reduced my Number One Culture shed to ashes. This is gonna seriously impede the project, but you know what? That’s the least of our worries. How the hell did they get wind of this?”
The General let out a long sigh. “Casualties, Ben?”
“Five. All security, and good loyal men, all blown to pieces, except the gate guard, Ted Akerson, he’d been with the company twenty years, Thomas, they shot him in the head.”
“Jesus.” Alberstein ran his hand across his buzz-cut. This was a major worry. Someone close to the project was leaking like an old fishing boat.
“There’s a containment team on the way. I’ve got local law enforcement to cordon the area, but I guess they’re long gone.”
“I’m gonna need protection down at the works, General, I have to build a new shed, we can’t work with less, and if we lose another, we’re in real trouble.”
“Bert, whatever you need, it’s yours. I’ll put Ed Newsome on it right away, he can liase with your people. In the meantime, I need to find out who the hell is blabbing. If we can’t plug this leak, the project’s dead in the water.”
“I’m not sure I like your choice of metaphor, Thomas” replied Dwyer bitterly. “I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of this project and the whole limey co-operation thing, but I gotta tell ya, Thomas, nobody puts Bert Dwyer out of business. Get Newsome to call me at the works. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
Alberstein was left holding the receiver, lost in thought. Where to start? Career histories. Everyone that worked in the immediate loop. He needed to go through them with a fine toothcomb. He called his secretary at home.
“Donna? Sorry to wake you. I need you to get on to night shift in personnel. I need classified background files on everyone associated with the Unity Project, and I need it yesterday. Also, when you get into the office, put a request in to the British Government, we’re going to need the same from them.” He replaced the receiver, turned to the red phone that sat on the right of his desk. The Presidential hotline. He envisaged a sleepless night. He picked up the phone. “Mr.President, we have a situation…..”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 19)

March 23, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Bubble Boy – 20 –

Bubble Boy - 20 - , by Miki

Bubble Boy - 20 - , by Miki

(Original German Version)

(Bubble Boy – 1 –)     (Bubble Boy – 19 –)

But although he knew he was in the wrong place, he couldn’t help continuing to look at the amazing scenery, the play of the waves crowned with  millions of pearls falling at his feet and rolling back again into the sea. And also, far away beyond the horizon, Bub could see a red light in the sky, and again it reminded him of something which filled his heart with nostalgia. It was the second time now that he’d had this kind of weird sensation and he began asking himself what it could be and if it meant something. And he thought that perhaps he would find out, going along the other two paths..

Bub had a last glance at the fantastic scenery and then walked all the way back to the crossing. As he arrived there, he decided to go on without a rest, uncaring of Tiwoo, who was protesting with a great flapping of her wings and loud screams. The owl was not so tired this time, as they had had such a long rest by the sea, and she was hoping to find a way to free Barbra while Bub would sleep. Strangely enough, she started to miss her little Witch, was impatient  to see her miserable face again and hear her awful screams of anger.
Strange, isn’t it, that when we are separated from the persons we love, we soon start to miss even what we most hate in them! Yes, love is such a mystery…

Anyway, she didn’t understand Bub’s sudden zeal, She even started again to think about the possibility of scratching out his eyes. But well, as a wise owl she knew that such an important decision had better be thought on twice, and she decided to wait a little bit longer. To be honest, she hadn’t yet seen everything in Barbra’s land, and well, her longing to see her was still not so deep that it demanded immediate action. Waiting a little bit longer would just make the reunion sweeter, wouldn’t it?
This is why she spread her big wings and flew behind Bub Southwards.

Bub ran and ran and ran… the ground was soft and became softer and softer, so that each step was harder and harder. No wind was blowing anymore and the air was hot and dry. The ground was made out of millions of fine grains, similar to the ones he has seen on the beach. But here it was not pleasant, the tickling under his feet really felt like fire and an oppressive smell was lingering all around.

If you are quite clever and well travelled, you might have understood that Bub was now standing in the middle of the desert. Of course he had no idea what a desert is, but he already knew that he didn’t like it.
“Could this really my way?” he asked himself
But then he suddenly saw a weird plant with thorns, which again  reminded of something, something he believed he had seen somewhere a long time ago. And this something again woke in him a nostalgic feeling like the one he had had before.
This is when Bub suddenly understood one of the most important things in the life of all inhabitants of our big universe: without really being aware of it: he was in search of something!
In case you are wondering what I am speaking about: normal people, grown-ups above all,  with a rather more sophisticated vocabulary and experience than our Bub, call it something like „the search for the sense of existence”, or „the meaning of life’, or  “what the hell I am doing here on Earth?” You surely have heard many of them asking these questions with terribly sad faces, haven’t you? So you exactly know what I mean!

But Bub of course hadn’t a clue about all this philosophical mumbo-jumbo. He just understood that that something he was reminded of all the time was simply what he was searching for. And this is why he hoped, in spite of the heat and the awful smell, that he would find HIS something at the end of this way.
He started to run again, but the sand was so heavy under his feet, heavier and heavier, and he only moved forwards agonisingly slowly.

Even Tiwoo was out of breathe. She was now sitting on Bub’s head, and let him carry her through the desert, screaming and moaning and crying that this was not acceptable and that they should go back.

Only Barbra in her bottle had really nothing to moan about. In fact the liquid around her was quite cool, and finally, exhausted after some nights without sleep she had fallen in a kind of meditative state. Well, this is how she called it always, and how some people call it when they don’t want to admit that they have fallen asleep. A strange habit, isn’t it, when one considers how nice it is to sleep! But I am quite sure that she was sleeping, and perhaps even dreaming of glass balls and bubble boys.

Anyway in the meanwhile, weird things had begun to appear on the ground, things which looked quite scary somehow. Things which strangely reminded Bub of the picture on the poison bottle. And then, suddenly, it was there, exactly the same thing as on the bottle: A SKULL!
And without knowing what a skull really is, Bub found it so scary that he screamed.

And not only HE screamed, Tiwoo too, but of course much louder, as she knew all about skulls. She instantaneously took off from Bub’s head  and flew away back to where they had come from, as if the devil was behind her. And without a thought,  Bub turned around and followed her, running as fast as he could….

(next instalment on Thursday 26th March 2009)

By Miki

March 19, 2009 Posted by | animals, Art, books, Cafe L'Arte, Cafe Literati, children, Miki's Paintings, Miki's Tale Bubble Boy, painting, women, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 17 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 16)

American High Command  10pm, EST

“Do you know if they made it?” asked Alberstein of General Lacey.
“I’m afraid its radio silence until we know the outcome of the mission, General” answered Sir George. “I’m sure you understand that the need for secrecy is paramount.”
“Hmph, I don’t hold with all this pussyfootin’ around, Sir George”
complained Alberstein.
“General, we didn’t want to alert the Alkies that we knew that they knew of the location of the Resistance H.Q.” explained Sir George patiently.
“Jesus! It’s like a goddamned John Le Carre novel” shouted Alberstein down the phone. Sir George held the receiver a little further away from his ear. “Believe me Thomas, I know how you Americans are keen on going in gung-ho and shooting up Dodge, but I really feel this has to be handled with kid gloves for the time being. There’ll be plenty of time to shoot everybody later,” he added drily.
Alberstein had a grudging admiration for his British counterpart, but he struggled to keep his natural instincts in check. He’d been harangued in the Senate and the Press for being a warmonger, but he stood by his principles. If it hadn’t been for all those goddamned laissez-faire wolly-assed liberals giving ground over the last few decades, they wouldn’t have to contend with this terrorist shit-storm now. The whole of the Middle East would be a freakin’ ashtray, and everyone could get on a plane or work in a tall building in peace. Nevertheless, the professional soldier in him saw the wisdom in what Sir George was saying.
“George? Do me a favour. Just call me when the team reports mission complete, will ya? And let’s hope to God its good news.”
“Good news for whose God?” answered Sir George, before adding, “Goodnight Thomas, I’ll be in touch.”

Henri got up and strode across the vast hall, clasping Ben firmly by the hand. “Quelle Surprise!” he beamed at Lieutenant Tobias and his men, before his expression darkened. “Your message said ten men…”
Ben Tobias told of the loss of the two men, one dead, one missing.
“I am truly sorry, Monsieur, rest assured that they will be remembered, as your countrymen were before them, in the two great wars. I’m sure you know, since the occupation, the War Graves Commission no longer have access to the Cemeteries of your dead, but the French people continue tend them lovingly, and fiercely protect their memory. It is a matter of honour.”
Ben nodded. “Merci, Henri. Now, let us get to work. I’m sure you have an inkling that your Malachi may have revealed your location to the enemy, just as I’m equally sure that you have a contingency plan. You know this area, I think it best if my men augment and support your own preferred defensive positions. I believe we will still have the element of surprise. With the exception of two men, whom I’d like to station outside the monastery as advance look-outs, my men are at your disposal.”
Bon,“ said Henri  “but first, we eat!”

Polyflex Industries Biomolecular Culture Shed Number 1

The dark shape left the sanctuary of the shadows and ran in a low crouch across the compound. Just beyond the huge steel entrance gate, a pool of light from the security flood illuminated the beginnings of a river of blood, spilling from the fatal head wound of the gate guard, lying prone in the darkness.  The running man never looked back. Reaching the airlock door of the culture shed, he inserted a magnetic card attached to a decoder. A small red glowing panel on the decoder showed the microcomputer processing thousands of combinations, until, abruptly, the display turned to green and the airlock opened with a whoosh. The man slipped inside, closing the outer door and adjusting the pressure correctly so as not to trip the alarms. He replaced his silenced H & K, still warm, in the holster in the small of his back, and took out half a dozen packs of what looked like kiddies plasticine from a small holdall.
Each had a small digital timer attached, and a peel-off base. The man stared down the length of the vast, two kilometre shed. A narrow walkway stretched out ahead of him, and to his right, the giant roadway section, incomplete, raised up on an enormous endless metal workbench and under strange lighting, growing silently.
The man discarded the holdall, peeled the backing from the base of the packs, and hooked them onto his belt. He began jogging along the walkway, every three hundred metres or so, in a fluid motion he would whip a pack from his belt, set the timer and expertly stick it beneath the workbench. He reached the end of the culture shed, a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead, but breathing steadily, surveying his handiwork. He smiled thinly, and set off at a sprint back to the airlock. He was about twenty metres from the door when the alarms sounded all over the compound. Someone had found the body. He willed himself to run faster. He heard the airlock double click as he slammed into the door. Retrieving the card and decoder, he re-entered the access code. The light remained a continuous, mocking red. The man let out a long slow breath. He removed his black lightweight leather jacket, and folded it purposefully, neatly, placing it on the walkway. He sat, cross legged, bowed his head and closed his eyes.
“Allah’s will” he said, as the first of the timers counted down the final seconds…

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 18)

March 16, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , , | 2 Comments

Bubble Boy – 19 –

Bubble Boy - 19 - , by Miki

Bubble Boy - 19 - , by Miki

(Original German Version)

(Bubble Boy – 1 –)     (Bubble Boy – 18 –)

Bub ran the whole way back to the crossing and once there he slumped down to the ground. Everything had been so exciting and exhausting –well, no wonder, Bub was really not used to physical exercise and fresh air!- so he really needed some rest now. And in fact before he was aware of this he felt asleep.

Tiwoo, who had spent her time in the air fighting against the wind gusts and whirls, felt very tired too. She didn’t get much exercise and fresh air either in Barbra’s castle, since she didn’t take her anymore on her night flights. She fought awhile against the sleep as she saw the little boy sleeping, thinking that this was the occasion to free the Witch from her poison bottle. But even sleeping Bub kept his two hands deeply thrust inside his pockets, as if he could read Tiwoo’s mind!

The day after, well… I mean at some point later, as day and night didn’t exist anymore in Barbra’s land, only night, our three heroes woke up. To tell the truth, Barbra hadn’t slept at all, trying to find a way to escape while Bub was sleeping, trying especially all kinds of magic code and naughty words, resulting in nothing, absolutely nothing happening. But although she was a tiny little Witch now, she still had a big will and much strength of character, and she would never give up!

As he awoke, Bub chose to go towards West. The way was as straight and as long as the one leading Northwards. Bub noticed that here too, some light appeared at the horizon, but the wind was much more tender, more a light breeze than a storm. It even seemed to carry with it a pleasant smell which made Bub feel comfortable, kind of. The farther he walked, the stronger the smell became and finally Bub really felt wonderful, perhaps for the first time since he was born.
Bub didn’t know about the power of smells in our lives, but I am sure you know… just think of the smell in the kitchen when your mother is baking pancakes… it is as if nothing bad could ever happen to you again! And this is why, remembering the inner voice, a thought crossed Bub’s mind:
“This must be the right way for me! “

And this is why, Bub  started to run, impatient and curious to see where the way was going. Soon he heard strange noises, quite loud, sounds like he never had heard before. It didn’t sound  like the awful screaming from Barbra, nor like the “Tiwoo Tiwoo” from the bird, nor like the sound of the wind in her wings. It was  a darker sound, and although it became louder and louder  it had something calming and reassuring. It was a feeling like with the smell before.

Soon Bub arrived at a wide yellow surface which seemed to be made of something totally different from what he knew. The feeling under his naked feet was extremely pleasant, slightly tickling but wonderfully soft, quite warm but not too much, just the right temperature.
You surely have understood by now that the yellow surface was a beach and that the  nice stuff under Bub’s feet was sand. And as always in our  world, where there is a beach, there is a sea, or at least a lot of water. And in fact judging by the violent sounds the water was making now, directly in front of Bub, it could only be a sea , or perhaps even a wild ocean!

The water indeed was very wild, and the waves, metres high, greatly impressed our little boy, breaking down in front of him in thousands of little water tongues which seem to leap out of the big blue mouth just to lick Bub’s feet. The water was cold but Bub enjoyed the caress around his feet. It was both scary and fascinating at the same time, and in spite of his fear, Bub stood there a long long time, watching and enjoying  the scenery and all these new pleasant feelings in his body and brain. He loved to see the millions of water pearls floating upon the foam, making the water looking like thousands of  princesses dancing in a court ball. Not that he knew really much about princesses, but I do believe that all children in the world, even the ones born in a soap bubble, have an intuitive knowledge about princes and princesses: they have simply belonged to their world since the beginning of time!

But as much as he loved it, it became clear to him that the way ended here, by this wall of water. No way he could go across that infinite mass!

(next instalment on Thursday 19th March 2009)

By Miki

March 12, 2009 Posted by | Art, books, children | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 16 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 15)

The Monastery, Ambialet

Henri had returned to the main hall.
“Henri, what did you mean by…” began Dryden. Henri cut him off.
“It seems, mes amies, that we have been afforded some assistance by our friends and allies in the United Kingdom. To be specific, I expect to be joined for dinner by ten of his majesty’s finest fighting forces. It seems that our fears about poor Malachi were well-founded. We are threatened, and soon.”
Henri grabbed a coffee from the pot and sat down at the end of the long table, lost in thought.
Dryden looked a little confused. “So, I should really prepare a little more food?” he asked, dubiously.
Henri smiled at him, a weary smile. “Of course, my friend. One cannot fight on an empty stomach, non?”

“I’ve found it, Lieutenant!” exclaimed Percy. A curious grinding sound filled the recess they were standing in. Percy had his hands in the air. It looked as though they ended at the elbow, but closer inspection revealed he had pushed a great stone upwards into the ceiling. Evidently counterbalanced, it was now operating some unknown ancient mechanism.
“Look!” said Vann. In the right hand corner of the recess, a whole section had slid back and sideways to reveal a narrow, smooth-stoned passage heading steeply downwards.
“Let’s move” said Ben. The men filed in, ducking their heads, into the darkness beyond. “How did you find it?” asked Ben of Percy.
“I noticed a faint inscription on it sir, just like that one.” He pointed to a stone protruding out of the otherwise smooth wall.
“Clever” said Ben “The reset. Let’s keep the Cathars’ secret, shall we?” he pushed the stone, and, protesting, it eventually slid flush with the wall, and the huge stone door slid sideways and out to block the entrance once again, plunging the passageway into total darkness.
“Flashlights” ordered Ben. ”Let’s move!”
The passageway wound its way down quite steeply, and rivulets of water sparkled on the walls in the play of their beams.
“We must be moving under the river” said Corporal Vann.
“Yeah? Who’s to say the River hasn’t flooded this passage further down?” said Withers, nervously. A tough soldier, he nevertheless fought a constant battle with claustrophobia. Ben answered him.
“Unless it has flooded in the last two years, I think it’s safe to say the intel from L de L is sound. They’re hardly likely to give us an emergency incursion route and then drown the cavalry, are they?” He kept it light-hearted, knowing Wither’s fears. He’d read the files on all his men. He liked to know who he was taking into combat.
“If you say so, Lieutenant Commander” replied Withers. With some effort, he pushed his fear back down, and moved on.
Eventually, they felt the passageway bottom out and begin to head upwards. The rock became drier, the air fresher. At some point, Ben noted, they seemed to have emerged above ground, and he sensed they were within the Monastery walls. Suddenly, the passageway abruptly ended. Dead ahead, at shoulder height was another rock with a faded inscription. Here goes nothing, thought Ben as he pushed hard against it, and the passageway filled with light. Another stone doorway had slid out and sideways, revealing a large hall.
Bonsoir” announced Henri from his chair in greeting, as Dryden, Marie-Christine and the others stared open-mouthed at the eight black-clad soldiers emerging from the fireplace. “A glass of wine, peu t’etre?”

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 17)

March 8, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, religion, writing | , , , | 3 Comments