The Mad Tree – A Ghost Story In Ten Silly Minutes

 

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that my writing partner, Jim Eaton and I have been working on a new short film over the past couple of months. Well here it is.

The Mad Tree is our homage to the ghost stories of M. R. James, with a little bit of our own silliness plugged in for good measure. It is the story of Mr Darcy Woodwind, a writer from London who falls afoul of a malevolent shrub. No real departure from our usual brand of daftness then.

The film is our latest attempt to inflict ourselves upon the 2 Days Later Horror festival. It’s the 10th anniversary of the event so it’d be really lovely if we get picked for the screening. I shall keep you posted on how things go.

As is often the way the edit was a total pain in the bum and after blowing a firewire port and having to run all over London, searching for someone who could capture the footage, I finally wrapped the edit up at 6AM the following morning. As a reward we’ve taken this week off from writing but we’ll be back into it after the weekend. The subject of the new project…radio. More soon.

As a final side note. It’s worth mentioning that Jack Gavin (who plays the lead role in this film as well as several of our other projects) is getting married today. Our best Bunker wishes to him and his lovely wife-to-be.

D
x

Advertisements

Photos from Beyond the Bunker Launch party: Characters and Creators 1

In the middle of the event was Imogen Banks, photographing furiously to bring you the finest pieces of photographic evidence of the events of the first Beyond the Bunker / Moon Launch party at the Square Pig in Holborn. With so much going on its difficult to choose what to shoot frankly but she did a great job of capturing the night – with characters, bands, guests, creators and a Moon head swinging around the place it might’ve been difficult but she covered the event brilliantly and is now the official Beyond the Bunker photographer. There are no benefits to that role at all. Throughout this week we’ll be posting the pictures of the night to give you a perspective of how it all went down…

The Moon of the moment...


Ray and Moon taking reviewing their latest case


Moon and Shades Rodriguez (Alistair Reith)


The Joker grabs a lolly


Moon Men: Dan and me (Steve) enjoy a moment before something else happens


Shades Rodriguez (Alistair Reith), Dan Thompson (looking cheerful), The Joker, Ray Barton (Lee Ravitz), me (Steve Penfold) throwing a punch

Moon Launch: All systems go, only one injury

The Moon launch last night at the Square Pig in Holborn went exactly as expected – in that everyone had a great time, everyone had a wicked time, enjoyed the book, the music was monumental and someone was almost killed, the local head of the housing association came to see what the noise was about, the music didn’t work for a while, sound checks involved running between a basement and the main bar, the bar manager came close to losing her mind and there was a threat of anarchists. So standard stuff.

We may have got even more guests before it started as the pub was surrounded by Police vans due to repeats of 150 anarchists (of an estimated 400,000 protestors) moving through town smashing bank and business fronts. Both bands were later than expected, Coldcallers were late because Paul Rich couldn’t decide whether to wear a leotard or not. True. Sweeney called after he was meant to be there saying he was getting on the bus. At 6pm it was myself, Skyskratcher and the bar staff. Jude (of Skyskratchers running up and down the stairs attempting the first multi storey sound check as the sound board was in the basement and the music was in the top bar). Some lads who were passing came in for one quick pint but were just as quickly followed by a lovely family who were meeting someone at the same address who I felt I had to let in. This flurry of activity caused me to miss an old gentlemen who came in, bought a pint for himself and settled into one of the comfy chairs before I’d noticed he was there. At 5.30pm I had guests, none of whom were there for the party, almost no acts, no comic books, no float and the possibility of anarchists. It was shaping up strangely.

Eventually Stephen Du Toit (Costume Designer) and James Eaton (of Roughlee Films) turned up followed by writer Jo Stokes. So we were off, soon to be followed by Artist and possible wizard Simon Rogers, then rampant irritant and possible gypsy king Ben Guibirelli but I had no comic books to offer them for they were with Dan. And Dan was still in Greenwich struggling with a PC.

In attendance (shipping in by Bus) were Paul Sweeney who blew it all apart with some neat asides about myself and Dan and a brief song about Pandas to kick things off, before the Cold Callers took the stage and took the place apart in the silliest way possible. A distortion in the mikes and the close proximity of the bar meant they came over more ‘Tenacious D’ than ‘Flight of the Conchords’ but they still went over brilliantly. They blew us away with a rendition of the Moon theme tune – an amazing translation of the events of Moon 1 that will complement the project for a long time onwards.

Complaints came in thick and fast from the local residents who chose to move in above a pub – a lack of personal responsibility there I feel – and this was only heightened by the oncoming seismic beauty of the Duke of Marmalade, named after a famous horse and with at least as much thoroughbred they tore the place apart with flowing rock even my auntie Susan enjoyed.

As soon as the drums began in the sound check, the bar manager, who was a picture of cool all night, came close to losing her mind. With each additional soundcheck of Bass, lead guitar and vocals it became clear that the rest of block’d be aware of a party taking place. Hilariously, the head of the housing association paid us a visit about the noise however being a producer for Music and TV had to acknowledge they were very good but too loud.

Finally came Skyskratcher, filling in for the notably absent Damn Jammage (I assume they got another gig) finished the night beautifully with exactly the lyrical, guitar waxing and blazing I expected from seeing their work online. Finishing with a bit of flair, Jude Benjamin electrocuted himself towards the end of the set, sending himself reeling to the floor. Shaken up, buzzing a bit and offered a free pint he was sat down on a stall and refused, on basic human protection grounds, not to continue the set though he was determined to do so. That man is a machine. A little, brainy machine god with a penchant for massive guitar riffs.

Amps blew before the start and two of the support for Skyskratcher made a mad dash across town to Crouch End and back again to bring us what we needed to be back before Coldcaller’s set finished. At the start of the evening there was no sign of Dan as he was hunched over a PC at his flat in Greenwich desperately trying to get a DVD containing the Beyond the Bunker video wall film to render. He succeeded, only to be defeated by the in-house AV. But none of thsi made a difference it was an epic night and nothing it seemed could derail it thanks to the efforts of those involved and the brilliant guests.

I have to say a massive thanks to Jude Benjamin (for sound checking from the basement and finishing with such a pirouettic denouement), Paul Sweeney and Drummond Bowskill for the light entertainment, Cold Callers for their beautiful rendition of ‘is it gay’ and apologies for forcing them to cut their set short – I’m deliberately not referencing one of the absolute highlights of the evening as I will be mentioning on the photographic report over the next couple of days. Thanks to Duke of Marmalade for keeping the Head of the Housing Association oddly content and Skyskratcher for absolutely nailing the end of the evening with aplomb and great music. The stage is set for another… watch this space for details.

But special thanks has to go to our respective fiancees, without which, none of this would have taken place. Fi manned the desk and blocked any and all marauders from entering unless they smiled and paid a fiver and Tori has frankly put up with my obsession with Beyond the Bunker for far too many years, including a very late request (1pm on the day), while trying to complete A-level Exams with her students for a mike stand. Both are the light in our lives and if it all folded tomorrow I confidently predict we’d still be the happiest chaps in the world thanks to our beaus.

There is more news coming but its almost completely redundant without a visual or audio accompniment so you will have to wait a little longer updates on how the rest of it went. But needless to say it went brilliantly…. oh, and we sold quite a few comic books – exact figures aren’t in yet… far from being over though Moon 1 will be available from Monday on Mail Order so you can enjoy the Moony goodness in the comfort of your own home, ward, dormitory, cell, lighthouse, tent without the threat of electrocution.

Cheers,

Steve P

Moon Launch: T-Minus 1 Day


This is it. Effectively 24 hours before the biggest launch of a UK Comic book in recent years occurs!! Moon 1 in your hands at the door with eclectic, funny and frankly lavishly awesome acts playing live for your entertainment inside! What more can you ask for? Pictures of yourself with a Moon for a head? Yeah, I think we can pull that off? A great venue topped off with friendly staff and frankly (for London) very, very reasonable prices for drinks! We’re trying to make sure we do what we can to make your evening as top muvva luvvin’ poppin’ as possible because quite frankly, we is nothing without ye.

Its been a long old road but here we are – finally, we get to see some of you luvverly people getting to handle the goods we’ve been bleating on about. Following this its back to the drawing board to kick start the next installments of Fallen Heroes and Moon and some secret little projects we have tucked away somewhere. So we’re just gonna max it up fully like on the night before getting back to the grind to bring you yet more Moony / globe trotting hero adventure. Tuck that in your trousers and schmoke it.

So, collected below is all you need to know about the event taking place tomorrow night 6-11.30pm at the Square Pig, Holborn, WC1V 6NX (just next to the tube – staggering distance I assure you). IT PROMISES TO BE EPIC!!

Firstly Moon 1 itself. A book that has earned two very good reviews so far (hopefully with more coming soon). From new friend of the Bunker Joe Innes at the frankly amazing Goodcomicbooks.com ‘like if Blackadder had been made by HBO’ and from Geekplanetonline ‘Overall this is a very British book, from Dan Thompson’s script which winks at the reader without ever coming across as smug to Steve Penfold’s artwork which feels as British as 2000AD while having a distinct style of its own, Moon is a title to watch out for and deserves to become a breakout hit. If Beyond the Bunker can keep up this level of quality they have a bright future ahead of them.’

The Acts confirmed for tomorrow night are –
Mr Paul Sweeney he who puts Imp into impresario. He shall wrestle the various live acts like a Lion Tamer might control wild beasts for the audience’s delight. His way with the world will intrigue and harangue you, exposing your vulnerable mind to a smutty world almost certainly beyond your ken. He be the most unceremonious master of ceremonies imaginable – perfect for us I say!! Mr Paul Sweeney!!

The Coldcallers – player with the lyric, bender of the music. These guys will twist your love of music towards something darker, sexier and infinitely more looney. Flight of the Conchords but perhaps somehow with even less grip on the world around them – Ryan Brannon and Paul Rich will be introducing the Moon theme tune to your unsuspecting ears at an undisclosed time during what will be no doubt, an amazing set…
Following a brief interlude we will unleash Skyskratcher! An eclectic group that swings between diving melodies and hard walls of guitar sound to take you on a frankly awesome musical merry go round in which you might be sick… but you won’t care. Led by Jude Benjamin on lead vocals, the band play with the effects button of your soul with wild abandon! And I’m not just saying that…. (I might just be saying that…) but they are awesome – I just don’t know how to talk about music.
Damn Jammage will not be playing a set tomorrow night due to technical difficulties however they will be in attendance and propping up the bar – if you have any memorabilia might be a good chance to sign them up.

… and finally, purely as a surprise guest we have one of the greatest villains in comic book history present at the gig. Having heard that the Beyond the Bunker wagon had rolled into town he stopped skinning the cat and rode along town on a teenager’s bike (leaving said childer in the gutter with a broad smile on his face…. Ladies and gentlemen…. I am pleased to announce THE JOKER will be in attendance tomorrow night to see what he can see. The Riddler will be refused entry… (THIS IS NOT A JOKE, IRONICALLY, THE JOKER WILL BE IN THE BUILDING ON THE NIGHT).

So mix that in a cocked hat and then we tell you its all for a fivers entry. What do you say to that (I say we undercharged but what are you going to do). Consider Saturday night a thank you for joining us on a journey to the MOON (maybe not back!)

To sign off we will I think use a section of Joe Inne’s excellent review from last week… ‘In this day an age, there aren’t many reasons why you can’t think big, and it’s nice to remember that comics are only as restricted as the creators imagination… something you probably won’t need to worry about with Moon, because the sky is nowhere near the limit.’

Moon – Official Trailer!!!

Moon – the comic about one astral body’s quest for revenge, justice and shandy – is finally here! To be one of the first to pick up a copy of the book you’ll need to get your pony loving backside to the BEYOND THE BUNKER LAUNCH PARTY this very month.

Please get this trailer circulating as much as possible. The book may be in print, but we need your help to get it into the hands of the masses. A book like this is only as good as its fans, which is why this comic is so badass.

Onwards and upwards, Bunkerites!

D
x

NOTE: THE ARTWORK IS FROM MOON 1, HOWEVER THE LIVE FOOTAGE IS FROM THE VERY FIRST MOON PROJECT ‘THE DAY THE MOON GOT TOO CLOSE‘ BY DAN THOMPSON AND PAUL WADE AND ITS SEQUEL BY DAN THOMPSON AND STEVE PENFOLD (WHICH MOST LIKELY WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY) AND HAS BECOME THE COMIC AVAILABLE AT THE BTB LAUNCH PARTY. AH THANKYOU. SP.