Monday, October 12, 2009

The Great Invasion of Sidmouth Town

Ravencam's finest hour as the 1000 voice workshop explodes onto the streets of folkie-town.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wonderful Videos of Em

These gorgeous film clips are the work of the delightful Emily. We recommend her to you. If you like her work, you will find more here.

Enjoy their delicious noirness. (and blancness of course).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Spooky

Across the skies we have come, trailing clouds of stories. The first half is now done and it is time for this little spooky to return to the forest. The blog has been a little neglected of late, but more news will follow in a flashback kind of a way.

The tales must be told. The invasion of a seaside town, the day the raven danced, and the many wonders of the castle.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Where we are

The way of the Spooky Man is complex. Our path is strewn with fallen hair and lined with black fabric. We come together in various combinations determined by geography, circumstance and whim. Each of our journeys, both individual and collective, is different, as we explore the vast territory that lies between the thug and the wimp.

We bond around the call to sing. Loosely organised (and both loose and organised) we form a single rank: from tops, though bottoms and ultimately to the middle. We sing what we are told, but we do so in our own way. We remain motionless, but we each have our own way of moving. We are both fleet of foot and slow to move. We are first among our peers, but often last to arrive. In our private lives we can be found on the loftiest academic peak and on the vilest sinks of human depravity. The spooky Man is both special and an Everyman in black.

Our colourless costumes span our varied histories and approaches to life. We are one-horned Viking. We are the pirate, the lost and confused, the overly-confident and the wise. We are occasionally in complete command of all before us and sometimes lost in our own crowd. We are often just jazzed to be on the show. We are pointless. We are grand.

Beards, hats, and a black-clad wall of sound. We are the Spooky Men.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

From time to time and place to place

The raven faces down the accused bird-nappers in Cambridge:

Stirling eats the weight of his face in "Trio of cheeses, fried egg and chips"

Ash was unavailable for photographs, dye to non-compliance with a 1-way sign while cycling.

John was left behind at Toddington Services (sniff).

And thw workshop at Warwick attracted a largish crowd. Much learning was disseminated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boil water, the baby's coming.


A tea urn on the baptismal font marked our visit to Leeds. This combination of complementary, yet conflicting themes typifies the tension which can be a feature of Spooky gigs. There is the creative, the "new", the hope for what might be, contrasting with the need to stop and relax, to ease the burdens of the day with refreshments. Perhaps even the hope of a biscuit.

There were fortunately, no calls for babies to be anointed during our performance. No names were distributed. No tea-bags harmed. Rafters were however filled and there were gleeful crys for more and more. We obliged. Veni, vidi, visa (we came, we saw, we merchandised).

We made time on our long drives for the seeing of the various sites by which we passed. And see the sites we did. Sites of great significance. Sites that would make the sorest eyes soar. The Angel of the North seemed to us to encapsulate the spirit of pointless grandeur which we dedicate ourselves to pursuing. Enormous, bold, proudly overlooking its home and ultimately unable to do anything about that which it observes. Spooky.

There was indeed much driving to be done. Each day saw us in a new place, new motorway services to explore, new roundabouts to go around. Ravencam recorded much of both the places we went and the peoples whom we passed as we went there.

This photo shows the good billeting folk of Ashton Keynes, a village full of welcome and loveliness. The tiny Thames flows through this village. Like our tour it is sweet and pure but later becomes a torrent passing through the smoke that is big.

In the course of his wandering about, your correspondent discovered the perfect solution to the "hat-hair" dilemna which plagues all the Spooky Men:

Stylish, timeless and durable, it is sure to become the model for future performance-wear.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On discipline and driving

This disturbingly-marked school bench indicated to us that the good burghers of Corbridge take a stern view of schoolboy misbehaviour. We approved of their approach generally, but had some misgivings (fear does not always make you louder).

We took part in several knowledge-dissemination sessions at the Corbridge Middle School. All were well-pleased.

A sunny day in Sheffield sees the battle-hardened and world-weary Spooky Men progressing purposefully towards Oxford and all that the fabled city of learning has to offer.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Expository, Accusatory and Catatonic

The three stages of the Spooky Man are these.


The cycle of the Spooky Man begins with the exposure of his most inner and outer selves. To the world he bears both his tuneful melancholy and gleeful chirpings. This first stage is often violently extroverted. There are occasionally instances of conflict as the Spooky Men come together, as each strives to be expository first and thus establish themselves within the group. (In extreme cases, Spooky Men have been known to begin their exposition at home before travelling to their performance sites, thus placing both themselves and others at risk - exposition and driving do not mix). Spooky behaviour mellows over time and so inevitably, all Spooky Men move onto the next stage.


After weeks, months or even years of exposition, Spooky Men usually move on to the next stage, the Accusatory Period. In this phase of development, the Spooky Man will typically act out feelings of generally unjustified victimhoodliness. They feel as though their exposition is being ignored, and that they are in danger of becoming homo incorporealis - an empty vessel of man-flesh, trapped between the world of reality and the frightening emptiness of spookidom. They are known to lash out at those around them. Even strangers' pets are not safe at this time.

At their most volatile, the accusatory Spooky Man has been known to sing inappropriately and breach the Spooky Constitution by wearing brightly-coloured undergarments without consideration of those around them.


The catatonic Spooky Man is possibly the most interesting variant. At least they're quiet for a bit. This stage rarely lasts for more than a few performances, before we once again see a return to exposition as the cycle restarts itself at the slightest provocation. The pendulum swings between pointlessness and grandeur as the inner Spooky Man strives to achieve balance between the forces of darkness and not-darkness that lie within.

(For further reading, see: "Where are the simple joys of maidenhood: the Spooky Man at rest and at play" by Grahams (various), 2009 etc.")

A recent example of a rapidly remembered performance can be found below. Our studies continue.

Ravencam is now active

Sunday, July 19, 2009

As good as the ones in the book

"As good as the ones in the book"

That was how our wrangler. Spooky Suze described the strawberries. Juicy, ripe and fleshy they proved to be.

Our first "performances" were all smiles, darkness and cheering. Little did we know what lay ahead (well, you don't, do you?)

This close up of an anonymous spookyman shows all too clearly what is possible if you apply yourself to your craft.

We rode into the night. Ghostly figures in a world apart. The man at the desk said he was busy but we could see he was alone. We determined the best course was to wait until he had finished serving the people who weren't there, they having decided to arrive later.

We were given "rooms" and we slept. We knew that we were not alone. The cards were black and impossible to decorate with black ink. We tried. There were tears, but fortunately not ours. The crowd screamed for more, but the road called us. They screamed for more again. No-ingly, we declined. They only stopped screaming when we threatened to take the last one back. We signed their gumboots and left.

The way forward takes us to the ancient settlement of the sage. More will follow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The journey through the skies

I have been propelled through the sky in a tube full of strangers. Arriving,dazed and blurry in Singapore's Changi airport, I went to sleep (at last) on a small square of carpet in between a post and a window. An hour of slumber, much more walking around. Through security ( no water on the other side). More carpet. Live news on the big screen in the passenger lounge(why do they call them that? Lounge suggests an unlikely level of relaxation. We looked more like a room full of zombies on the way home from holidays. "zombie air: the party never stops!")

Heathrow was only 12 1/2 hours away. I have a great deal of difficulty sleeping on long-haul flights, so I settled in for a movie marathon. I flew singapore airlines and chose to manage my journey with the following:

Elizabeth: the Golden age
The Departed
Gran Torino
The Wrestler
17 Again
The Great Buck Howard
Oceans Thirteen
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Minority Report
National Treasure: Book of Secrets

I don't think my life will ever be the same. In the fugue of exhaustion, close-quarter sauirming and random meal times that passes for the luxury of modern air travel, this vast array of cinematic excreta began to meld together (into one big excretum?). I think I remember Cate Blanchett and her massive hair enter the ring to wrestle Mickey Rourke for his big comeback. Tom Cruise drove quickly through several time periods I. Pursuit of Clint Eastwood for crimes against demeanour. John Malkovich loved his car.he could control minds but not his temper and knew about a secret book hidden in a compartment inside Nicholas Cage. Smart people in suits didn't carry anything ad they sauntered about their business. Then they ran a lot. And hey knew things that their less-well-dressed acquaintances would guess at all too late.

I wanted to wake from my flickering catatonia and warn them. "Hitler isn't dead! He's gone back to school as his former self to learn the healing power of love and basketball" he wil. Ride a Segway and rescue his daughter who's bee stolen by Franco-German Albanian Arabs. The credits brought me back to the plastic world around me. My neck hurt.

I checked the clock. 6 hours to go.

Heathrow. Travelodge and a big bed with my name on it await me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm back and able to admit that I was wrong.

I admit that I was wrong to be afraid of the Spooky Men. When they came for me that night, I was afraid. They are not to be feared. They are to be loved, to be honoured as heroes. For many young people growing up in the Britain of today, there are no bearded role-models. Clean-shaven chins are everywhere. With the help of a balanced diet and regular exercise, the Spooky Men's Chorale can turn your community around.

And that's why I have decided to do something. No longer a stander-by type of person, with no inkling of reaching out and touching those around me. I have said "Yes" to the call of the Spook. I will go forth with them. Yea, to the other side of the world I will go. We will move among those less fortunate than ourselves and spread the short and curly gospel of song that is the hallmark of the Spooky Men.

Brace yourself, world. We're coming.

Brother John.
Man. Spooky.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A voice from the past

A carrier-pigeon arrived today.  Inside the pigeon, we found a microchip.  The chip contained this short movie.  


: I've managed to sneak away and get to one of the machines.
: I can't talk for long
: I think they've found me
: I'll try to get messages to you whenever I can.
: I've got to go


More information is being sought.  It appears that attempts are being made to re-activate Mr Thompson.  This is a matter of the utmost urgency.

We are seeking further information.