Strange the World episode 4: Adam Millard airs LIVE this Sunday 5/25/14 at 7pm CST.
This Sunday I will be interviewed LIVE on "Strange the World", one of the most in-depth interview shows for authors on the internet. Your hosts Kevin Strange and Sean Ferrari will be bombarding me with questions, and I'll be doing my best to provide them with suitable answers (I think that's how it works). And because it's fully interactive and live, you can get involved by posting comments and questions in the YouTube chat section, as well as connecting your own webcams and chatting along, just like people did before the internet was a thing.
Strange the World episode 4: Adam Millard airs LIVE this Sunday 5/25/14 at 7pm CST.
There are so many important things I want to talk about in due course – the pathetic coalition government dragging us back into the dark ages, global warming and the threat it presents to us as a species, and treading on Lego blocks when heading across the landing in the dead of night to use the lavatory – but for now I want to discuss something much more significant, something so controversial, even Joan Rivers wouldn’t make a joke out if it.
I want to talk about tattoos.
Now, those of you that have seen me naked will know that a good proportion of me is inked, and the few that haven’t had the pleasure of seeing me naked, well, sorry about that, but this ship has sailed. My back pays homage to my favourite horror characters – Captain Spaulding, Reagan McNeil, Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Jason Voorhees et al – and the rest of me is made up of zombies, skulls, tribal, and Tim Burton stuff. I often glare at the bare sections of my body with contempt. Sometimes I yell at my right leg,“Why can’t you be more like your brother?” and in time, I know my right leg will fall into line, because this is my damn body and it does what I tell it to (especially now that I’ve been teetotal for three years).
Tattoos were once a sign of rebellion. An argument with your parents and off you went to the nearest parlour to get something garish and offensive scribbled across your forehead. For me, my first tattoo was symbolic, a simple guitar design on my right forearm at the age of sixteen. “Sixteen, you say?” Yes, but I had three hairs on my chin and another two elsewhere, so as far as I was concerned, a tattoo was the perfect way to celebrate my adulthood. It wasn’t a rebellious tattoo, and my mother knew I was getting it. By the time I turned eighteen, I had two more large tattoos. You see, I was about to enter the British Army, and I thought it would make me look tougher than my meek frame suggested. For some reason I confused the Army with prison, and I quickly discovered that it mattered not one iota who had the most tats in the platoon, or if they were even spelt correctly. It’s pretty easy to forget all about your ink when you’re being CS-gassed half to death in a small wooden hut in the middle of nowhere.
When I left the army, I set about collecting as many tattoos as possible. Once a week – usually a Wednesday, because it was fish-finger tea on Wednesday, a simple repast for someone who’s lost a lot of blood – I would put myself through three or four hours of pain, and I would look forward to it, like some sadomasochistic, fish-finger-eating reprobate. My brother (who is now an extremely successful tattoo artist, for which I take all the credit – you’re welcome, bro!) painted me like one of his French girls, and it wasn’t long before a greyscale horror mural filled my entire back.
Was that enough? Could I move on to something else, perhaps piercings, or glue-sniffing? Not on your Nellie. For one, I don’t like needles. But you’ve got sixty tattoos, you muppet! Yes, but there is a huge difference between a tattoo needle and those Zulu daggers they use to extract blood with, and I’m almost certain that thing the dentist uses to administer lidocaine to the gum is the same lightning rod that impaled Father Brennan in The Omen.
Tattoos hurt (yes they do, so stop being a big man/woman and admit it) but they’re incredibly addictive. Ask anyone who’s recently been inked if they would ever get another, and you’re likely to discover that not only would they get another, but they’ve already booked up for it, and the one after that, and they’re now considering a full sleeve and a portrait of David Cameron on their arse-cheeks.
Society’s attitude towards tattoos is changing, too. There was a time when a simple Chinese symbol tattoo (21. egg-fried rice) would prevent its bearer from ever getting a job, a husband, a heart-transplant. Not anymore. If employers strictly enforced a no tattoo policy in 2014, they would find themselves very lonely in the canteen at lunchtime, sobbing into their cappafrappacinolatte, wondering where it all went wrong, and how long it was going to take to clean the toilets that afternoon. Even the Queen has a tattoo – just a small one of Easy Rider-era Dennis Hopper on her inner-thigh, but they all count.
Tattoos are on the increase, but so is tattoo removal. In the US between 2011-12, laser tattoo removal treatment increased 32%. Another survey is being carried out to find out just how many of those removed tattoos were of President Obama. I’m pleased to say that I’ve never regretted a tattoo enough to expunge it from my flesh, but buried deep beneath the large Batman logo on my stomach is a girl’s name. Needless to say, things didn’t work out and Batman came to the rescue. Getting a girl- or boy-friend’s name etched on your skin is asking for trouble. Marry them first, and then if you’re still together twenty-five years later, get a Batman tat instead. Both of you get superhero tats to celebrate your silver anniversary. You’ll thank me later.
Finally, I want to mention something that drives me crazy. And those of you with tattoos will already be sick of this question. “What are you going to do about your tattoos when you’re old?” There is no right answer, and “My tats will be the least of my worries when my arse is hanging out and I’ve forgotten where I’ve put the car keys, or if I can even drive,” is apparently not acceptable. So I’ll leave this image here, which answers that annoying question better than I ever could.
You guessed it, didn't you? You knew that words fell out when I opened my mouth, and yet you still clicked on the link. That, my friends, is the power of social media, and while I loathe those click-bait articles, I often find myself hovering over them, trying to figure out just what happens next to the trampolining cheerleader, or how the deathbed letter from the dying squirrel ends. Usually, the cheerleader ends up in traction and the squirrel runs out of ink, but that's beside the point. What matters is that our interest is piqued enough to click, and that is all these websites want.
Buzzfeed and Upworthy are the purveyors of this method of content marketing, often with headlines such as, "This Dolphin Tried on This Size 10 Primark Dress - What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind!" How can you not be intrigued by such an absurd headline? So away you click, instantly directed to the website to read all about the cross-dressing Flipper. If you're really lucky, the website will then share that link on your own Facebook timeline, saving you the trouble completely. And from there, all your friends will see that you couldn't wait to read about Dolly the Dolphin, and will want in on the action. They click, they share, they too are disappointed by the outcome of the article. And round and round it goes, a shit-covered windmill and you're standing right under it.
Clickbaiting has become such a problem that there are rumours of Facebook - who are so wonderful when it comes to advertising (does this blog support Sarcasm 7.0?) - attempting to get it banned. To which Buzzfeed might say, "OMG FB Tries to Ban Clickbaiting - You'll Never Guess What Happens Next!"
It's all a way of getting us, the gullible internet-browsing public, over to their site so that they can have their dirty, wicked way with us. Whenever I leave Buzzfeed or Upworthy, I always feel violated, checking myself over for sores or itchy spots. Sometimes I sob, "I didn't want to go theeeere! I...I didn't need to know how good the Eskimo was on the bongo drums, whaaaaaaaa!" But by then it's too late. Not even a wipe of my recent History and a hot shower can change the fact that I fell for it yet again.
So, the next time you see a clickbait article - just like the one that got you here - take a deep breath, close your eyes and count to a hundred. By the time you open them, "You'll Never Believe What Happens to this Obese Chipmunk!" will be so far down your news-feed, not even Mark Zuckerberg will be able to find it.
My new bizarro novella, Hamsterdamned!, is now available from the magnificent Strangehouse Books. You can read a brand new interview with the publisher here, in which I discuss writing, SyFy movies, and why I look so damn cool.
Amsterdam. The sex and drugs capital of the world. Where weed is legal and smoked alongside coffee in one of the city’s many koffiehuises.
It’s Mike’s stag-do; one final weekend of debauchery before marrying – and along with four of his friends, he intends to paint the town red. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones eager to paint the town red; six evil hamsters escape the delivery-truck and stumble upon a contaminated batch of space-cake. With the euphoria they experience comes a side-effect none of them could have anticipated. The hamsters start to grow.
Hamsterdamned! is the action-packed and comical tale of gigantic rodents and sex-midgets; of one-legged prostitutes and inept Dutch policemen; of camaraderie and one man’s fight to stay alive so he can marry the woman of his dreams.
The twenty third issue of the UK's most controversial weird fiction magazine features Adam's Lovecraftian story, Equilibrioception Revoked. Also featuring: The Body Bank By Charlotte Johnson Illustrated By Joe Young, Double Ganger By E.B. Hoight, The Passenger By Edward A. Taylor, Angus By Alexander Williamson Illustrated By R. J. Smuin, Ancestral Sins By Scathe meic Beorh, Squatters By Todd Outcalt Illustrated By Candra Hope, The Dink, the Donk, and the Pool Pile By Douglas J. Ogurek, And Then There Was Only Us By Kenneth Buff, I Know You By Shaun AJ Hamilton. Read the magazine Christopher Fowler calls "edgy and dark". www.morpheustales.com
Free Preview of Issue 23
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Issue #23 will shortly be available from Amazon.
He stumbles maniacally across the rooftops on the eve of the joyous day, being careful not to topple to his death. The sack slung across his shoulder is heavy
– much heavier than it was at the start of the night – and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to breathe, for fat men do struggle with such simple things, even when not dancing clumsily through the night. A slip almost sends him over the edge, and he drops to his knees, clawing optimistically at a nearby chimneybreast.
Cursing, he realises it’s of no use, and before he knows what’s happening he’s sliding down the rooftop, pushing snow aside. The crammed sack follows the fat man down as if loath to desert him, not after all they had
been through that night. “Ho, ho, holy shit!” the man
grunts as the rooftop disappears beneath him, replaced by air. He has time – mere seconds, but long enough – to picture what they would say when they opened his sack, how people would recoil, turn aside and vomit in the fresh snow. They would gasp, and sob, and cover their children’s eyes with tremulous gloved hands, and he would be dead before them, the anti-Santa, his unwrapped gifts strewn across the snow, soaking into the fleeting
As he folds up with a nauseating crunch on the silent street below, the lips beneath his silvery beard curl into a perpetual smile.
Every year, without fail, Bobby ate baubles. His parents refused to keep them in the house, but at Christmastime, their son would find a way to satiate his incongruous hunger.
“I’m going to Jerry’s,” he called from the front door.
Dan, Bobby’s father, leapt up from the sofa. “If I find out you’ve been eating baubles,” he said, “you’re grounded for a fortnight.” But he knew that such threats were pointless; Bobby was an addict, as dependent on glittery decorations as an alcoholic was on cheap booze.
When Bobby returned that night, with sparkling lips and a sorrowful expression, neither parent reproached
him. In time, they hoped he would seek help, but for now their support was superfluous.
“We should be thankful,” Dan told his wife,“that Christmas comes but once a year.” And yet Abigail – Mom – was far from grateful, for it was she that cleaned the blood from the toilet bowl, watching the fleshy shards intently as they flushed away.
And the oddest thing about it was: Bobby didn’t bother with Easter, said the chocolate eggs tasted
The Marionnettiste of Versailles and Other Oddities, Adam's new collection of short stories, will be released in March 2014 as both a paperback and digital book. Featuring 25 stories, 7 of which are previously unpublished, The Marionnettiste of Versailles is a must-own for fans of the weird. To pre-order the trade paperback now, click on the Paypal button below. Not only will you receive this collection of bizarre and horrific stories before anyone else, but Adam will also sign and personalise your book for you before despatch. Just include your personalisation message in the Paypal message box upon checkout.
Bizarro Pulp Press, the awesome guys behind my novella, Skinners, have a great offer on this week. By purchasing one of their tees from Skurvy Ink, you will also get a free book of your choice. Click here to purchase, and once your purchase has been verified, send a message to Pat at Bizarro Pulp Press instructing him which book to send. There are great titles from Chris Kelso, David Bernstein, Vincenzo Bilof, Grant Wamack, myself, and many more to choose from. This offer is open for one week only, ending on September 22.
Electricity can be a killer. If you're not careful you could find yourself singed to a crisp, or worse. This brand new article from Professor Swick offers advice on how not to die whilst wiring a plug. The Mad Scientist Journal publishes great articles from some of the most brilliant minds. Read Adam's (Professor Swick's) article, and many more, here.