In a little bonus episode in between our explorations of the Cthulhu Mythos, we have a reading of a short piece by HP Lovecraft. A strange little tale, almost a prose poem, in which we first meet the Crawling Chaos, Nyarlathotep!
It's cult film time again, and this time we are back to the 1980s for a slice of Arnie sci-fi action! Yes it's The Running Man, directed by Paul Michael Glaser - Starsky himself - and loosely based on the Richard Bachman novel, which itself was really a Stephen King novel. Bad impersonations and some very bad language ensues... DIRECT DOWNLOAD - COMMENTARY CLUB 14 - The Running Man
In this episode we continue our exploration of The Mound by HP Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop. Firstly we uncover the history and evolution of what is now called the Cthulhu Mythos - how it emerged in Lovecraft's writings and how it was developed by other authors. And then we explore the links The Mound has to other works in his canon, investigating the strange lost lands mentioned, the secret history of the earth, and cataloguing the eldritch races encountered in the tale.
Welcome back dear fiends to another rummage in the 'Orrible 'Ouse of Terrible Old Tat! Last time we recounted the glorious ascent of the Fiendish Feet, an early '90s spooky snack that rose to dominate the world! Well, the chiller cabinets of your local Asda anyhow... However all empires fall, and despite being seemingly unstoppable, time was running out for the Fiendish Feet...
For three glorious years, the Feets marched on, an unstoppable force of horror and bad puns. But of course things were to come to an abrupt end in 1992. And what finished the Foots wasn't the rise of some rival product, but an enemy within. Freaky faces and painful punning names aside, the real draw of the Fiendish Feet were, well, their feet! People liked this funny yogurt pots that totter on two little legs, and so what did St. Ivel do in the black year of AD 1992? That's right, they ditched the charming pot with legs design. Yes, St. Ivel had became St. Evil, and committed the cardinal sin of changing a successful format.
In November 1991, they had launched yet another spin-off range, this time jumping on the then very fashionable fromage frais bandwagon. Basically dairy firms had realised they could sell less yogurt, in smaller pots, and for the pretty much the same price, and therefore maximise profits from the gullible public who didn't realise that it was just a thicker yogurt and not the proper cheese derived French dish at all. And so, we got Fiendish Feet Fromage Frais - little mini-pots, weighing in at only 50g, and sold in packs of three not four. This diminutive trio consisted of Tiddly Wink (raspberry), Masked Menace (apricot*), and Sneaky Beaky (strawberry). Now thanks to their smaller size, these pots didn;t have the well loved, and indeed well moulded, pair of legs and feet. Instead the lower half of the pots were contoured to give the impression of two legs. And frankly it just wasn't the same.
However St. Evil, I mean, St. Ivel thought differently. Perhaps the pots were cheaper to make this way. Anyhow they pushed ahead with this new format in 1992, and introduced the pretend leg contoured pots to the main range. However some one had an inkling that this change wasn't going to play well with the Feet Faithful, and hence the final two rangers were rebranded as Fiendish Faces. Firstly we has the "Real Fruit Yoghurt" range - which saw the original foursome reborn. And then later there was a range of Fiendish Faces Freezable Mousses in August 1992. But this was to be the final end for the Fiendish Feet.
For not only had their raison d'etre, their legs and foots, gone, but this final range couldn't be bothered to do a range of flavours. Yes, we had four new characters - Snow Joke, Freddy Frostbite, Drip Dastardly and Eski Moan - but the trouble was they were all strawberry flavour. And hence unsurprisingly the range came to an end. After all, what is the big deal about being able to freeze a mousse anyway? It might be handy for parents doing the once a month big shop, but hardly a selling point for their spawn.
But that wasn't quite the end, the Fiendish Faces once again reappeared in the late 1990s. However this return was to be short -lived, as they returned in their smaller fake leg contour pots, again losing their own fiendish USP. Likewise these made a similar error in pitching to grown-up rather than kids. These were "bio pots" - now that might be a big magic buzz word for the kind of people who wanted "and this was made with fruits that agreed to be the dessert in the first place" assurances all over the packaging, not cartoon monsters and bad joke names. They are generally of the opinion food just have lots of sciency sounding words on it, and picture something natural like a picture of a twig on it. Meanwhile the only things bio that might excite the average kid are bionics and biological warfare. And with that double fail the revived Fiendish Faces vanished rather quickly.
However if they'd brought back the pots with proper legs and feet... Well, that could be a different story....
For the full history of Fiendish Feet, do visit http://www.radiofeeds.co.uk/fiendish/ which has pictures of all the characters and lots of the merchandise! You'll believe a bumbag can have fiendish feet!
In this episode Mr Jim Moon delves into the background of the classic weird tale The Mound. We discover how HP Lovecraft came to write it for Zealia Bishop, and dig up the local folklore and old American history that inspired it. We also explore the strange theories of hollow earths and legends of lost races, and finally discuss its literary forebears from the likes of Poe and Jules Verne. DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 122 - The Secrets of the Mound
Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOGORIA family here -
This is a another little experient mucking about with my Korg Volca Keys and the Arturia Keystep. The Volca is running a little sequence I slapped together while on the Keystep I added some nice malingering chords from a church organ soft synth in Ableton Live. Yes, basically keeping it simple, like what I am ;)
Incidentally, the cover art is a repeated shot of some of the amazing stained glass windows in Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse which I recent visited on my honeymoon.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth Introduction We are about to embark on the most ambitious reading Mr Jim Moon has so far attempted - the classic novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth by HP Lovecraft. In this episode we introduce the tale which will follow in five chapters over the next month! DIRECT DOWNLOAD - GREAT LIBRARY OF DREAMS 49
HYPNOGORIA 99 - Innsmouth Reflections
In this epic length episode, Mr Jim Moon delves into the mysterious history of Innsmouth. We uncover what inspired this tale, the origins of the Deep Ones, its links to other tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, and about the life and times of HP Lovecraft himself.
In the final part of our long running saga investigating horrors from the deeps, Mr Jim Moon nets a shoal of movies that owe something to The Shadow Over Innsmouth by HP Lovecraft. The movies are Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979), Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Dagon (2001), Cthulhu (2005) and Cold Skin (2017)
Welcome back dear fiends to the 'Orrible 'Ouse of Terrible Old Tat! Now then when scholars of the scary gather together and talk of horror themed tat aimed at kids, generally the 1970s and early 1980s steal the limelight. Conversations revolve around spooky snacks such as Horror Bags crisps, Mummies sweets, and Haunted House lollies. However in 1989, several strange creatures waddled into our fridges and would haunt chiller cabinets throughout the '90s - the dreaded Fiendish Feet!
No one really knows where these bizarre creations came from - were they the result of some cheap charlie fuelled meltdown in a marketing office kitchen? Did some bright spark reckon they could create the dairy equivalent of the popular and long-running snack Monster Munch? Or were they merely the product of some boffin announcing that plastic moulding had advanced to a point where you could make yogurt pots with feet? Who knows! Perhaps it's a mystery best left unsolved. However what we can confirm was that the Fiendish Feet range were made by leading purveyor of dairy and dessert products St. Ivel.
As we have mentioned in other explorations of assorted novelty themed snacks, in the '90s there was a distinct shift in the casual eating market. While in previous decades assorted sweets, snacks and munchies had been designed to appeal to kids, in the late '80s some one, probably a hideous yuppie, had the revelation that the pocket money market wasn't where the big bucks were. After all, kids had very little money - they were paupers and povs when you thought about it! They'd didn't even have a filofax, nevermind a ten grand performance bonus burning a hole in their pockets! And so increasingly the snack market set its sights on the grown-ups, and one resulting boom area was posh ice creams for grown ups, and supposedly healthier snacks in the shape of assorted low fat yogurts and mousses.
So then in this context, it is all the more bizarre that in November 1989 a quartet of weird beings appeared in stores. Sold in multi-packs of four, the Fiendish Feet had arrived. The original four flavours were Spooky Wooky (banana flavour), Fangs a Lot (strawberry flavour), Frank 'n' Stein (raspberry flavour), and Rattle 'n' Roll (chocolate flavour). Weighing in at 125g per pot, they were a decent sized yogurt, no health food thimble servings here, and despite being low-fat, they sported some classic tasty flavours.
Despite their somewhat bizarre concept and appearance, Fiendish Feet quickly became a huge hit. And more bizarre two legged horrors were soon scuttling into fridges across the land. Firstly poor old Fangs Alot would often be given some time off, and have some seasonal substitutes taking his place in the multipacks - a snowman themed beastie called Ivor Cold Toe (strawberry) at Christmas, and the self explanatory Hot Cross Bunny (also strawberry) taking over his spot at Easter.
A second range soon followed too. Called "Dairy Desserts" this was a second multipack featuring new characters - Howling Wilf (banana), Horrible Herman (strawberry), and Pharaoh Nuff (chocolate flavour). Meanwhile Dooya Finkisaurus brought us a new flavour - toffee apple. Oddly Pharoah Nuff was later replaced by a character called Slurpy Burpy, and no one is sure why. Possibly because they'd misspelled "pharaoh" and feared the ire of the nation's teachers. That's not a fact, but I'm going with it...
In July 1990, a third wave of Fiendish Feet saw St. Ivel changing tack slightly, for this new additional quartet were sold separately, rather than in multipacks of four. This range was dubbed "Monster Mousse" - perhaps the clearest clue we'll ever get that the origin of the Feet was indeed a dairy copy of Monster Munch crisps. Anyhow, this range brought us Tongue Twister on old favourite strawberry flavour, and a return of Pharaoh Nuff, back on toffee duties. But the remaining two of the Monster Mousse quartet were offering brand new flavours - Snortilla the Grunt gave us black currant and Melting Marvin delivered orange.
The following year St. Ivel shook the range up again - this time literally! This new foursome of Fiendish Feet were the Tremblers, which were descripted as "yogurt jelly with sauce". Basically the yogurt came with a fruity syrup sat on the top and the idea was that you gave the pots a good shake to mix the two together before opening. Why they weren't called something more fitting like "Spooky Shakers" I'll never know, but then again I don't like cocaine enough, or indeed at all, to work in a 1990s marketing agency. Anyhow, the Tremblers were - Trembling Trev (strawberry), Flossie Flame (banana and toffee), Moaning Mummy (orange), and Mesma Eyes (redcurrant and raspberry).
There was no doubt about it, the Feets were a smash hit and kicking all competition to the kerb. And like many novelty snacks of yesteryear, there were various offers to get assorted Fiendish Feet tat in the usual collect tokens from the packets deals. There were mugs, fridge magnets, bumbags, and storybooks. And at one point, probably drunk on the success of the Feets, some bright spark tried to expand the range into savoury spreads with the creation of Cheesey Wheesey. Sadly the cheese-based variety didn't catch on, leaving poor old Cheesy Wheesey as the only one of his kind.
There was seemingly no stopping the march of the pint-sized fiends. However it was not to last! In the shadows, an enemy lurked, a fearsome foe that would bring down the empire of the Feets...
NEXT TIME - Discover who killed the Fiendish Feet!
With Netflix's mega-hot series Stranger Things returning for a third season, it was somewhat inevitable that I was going to do a podcast on it. Now one of my favourite things about this show is the fact that the Duffer Brothers pay attention to every little detail. For example, they spent a long time just designing the font for the titles, searching high and low and trying many different variations until they got one that evoked 1980s paperbacks properly for them. Likewise the Stranger Things theme is a wonderful bit of old school synth.
Now when this season rolled around, I was listening to the theme with new ears. For, as previously detailed on this blog, I've recently started exploring the world of synthesisers and conducting bizarre sonic experiments on various unsuspecting instruments I have acquired. It has been a lot of fun, and it is fascinating to relisten to favourite bits of music, and now, understand how synths work a bit more, get insights into how they were created and recorded. Now in the case of the marvellous Stranger Things theme, you have a melody line that is being played by a sequencer, occasional modulated by a synthesiser and with another synth or two adding all those long lush deep chords and whooshing sounds.
Now I am nowhere near proficient enough yet to recreate the full theme, but the notes for that melody line were quite easy to find with a little mucking about on the Arturia Keystep. Having got the line noted down, I then programmed it into my Korg Volca Keys - a very nice (and cheap) little analog synth that makes all manner of classic '80s synth sounds very easily.
So to make this track, which isn't quite a cover version of the theme, I simply let the sequencer play the melody and hit record on the DAW. As the melody played, I got to work with the filters and envelopes on the Volca Keys and modulated the sequence live, warping and mutating the sounds of the notes. So then the resulting tune was one track recorded in one take, with only a bit of production being tidying up of the fade in and fade out. It was certainly very fun to do and a good example of how just twiddling assorted knobs and dials can radically alter the sequence playing. And of course this is the joy of working with hardware synthesisers - both hands flying over the control panel, shaping and sculpting sounds live. While you might might not be playing any notes as such, the experience and process is actually very similar to improvising music on a keyboard, pushing and nudging a tune on the fly and hoping it does descend into a horrible mess of noise!
In this podcast, we're returning to the little town Hawkins where once more weird events are unfolding. Is this a series too far for the Duffer Brothers, or just another chapter of a never-ending story? Such are questions answered by Mr Jim Moon in an in-depth but spoiler-free discussion of the show! DIRECT DOWNLOAD - HYPNOGORIA 121 - Stranger Things 3
Find all the podcasts in the HYPNOGORIA family here -
It's classic movie time again, and in this podcast we chatting along to one of the all-time great horror comedies Shaun of the Dead! Making his feature debut, director Edgar Wright pits Simon Pegg and Nick Frost against the ravening dead in the world's first zom-rom-com! DIRECT DOWNLOAD - COMMENTARY CLUB 013 - Shaun of the Dead
As a prelude to our forthcoming Shaun of the Dead episode, we thought it would be fun to revisit the Spaced episode where Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg first encountered zombies! DIRECT DOWNLOAD - COMMENTARY CLUB - Minisode 001 - Spaced Art
Ghost-written for Zealia Bishop between December 1929 and January 1930, The Mound is an epic novella of subterranean worlds and ancient horrors by the great HP Lovecraft. This classic tale of the Cthulhu Mythos tells of ancient civilisations, lost worlds, alien races and dark gods, inventively fusing together ghost stories, cosmic horror and science fiction. Begin your journey here...
In which our hero journeys to Binger, Oklahoma to investigate the wild tales and old legends of a haunted burial mound, reputed to be the home of two frequently sighted ghosts...
In which we learn more of life in the subterranean blue-litten realm of K'n-yan, hear about the mysteries of red-litten Yoth, a deeper darker elder realm, and the black horrors that dwell in the abyss of N'kai...