Photography/Story-Telling: Inspiration Can Come From the Stangest Sources.

Many are the  times that I have related prosaic sources for my Earplug Adventure’s photographs: – from peeling paint to polystyrene packing pieces: cornflake boxes to drainpipes. But the latest must be the least inspiring of all. A badly-taken photo of the sun through the branches of a tree. See, even my bad photographs can be turned into something worthwhile. At least they can, if you’re a self-professed genius like me! I was about to delete the picture, when the aforementioned inspiration struck, and I asked myself: “How would this look as a negative?” Always a good place to start when you’re looking to create something all science-fictional and other-worldly.The results of this silent, rhetorical question are five pictures in sequence – which will, most certainly, absolutely, no-chance-of-being-omitted, be included in A Tale of Three Museums. I just don’t know how pertinant they’ll be. And here they are. Imagine, if you will, that you’ve  wandered from your cabin into the control room of a Scroton Five…

 

…as it travels through hyperspace. An alarm sounds, and you turn sluggishly to regard the forward screen…

“Ugh – what’s that?” You ask intelligently. Then a form begins to resolve…

Fortunately the ship’s defense system is automatic…

You’ve read Earplug Adventures before: you know what a bunch of shits End Cap Hyperspace Pirates are. There can be only one action. “Fire!” You yell semi-coherently, as you rush for the space toilet. “Now – for flip’s sake!”

And because the ship was built on Scroton, you know the weaponry is of the irrisistable kind. Moments later…blam!

The final shot is the original photographic balls-up. It’s not the sun shining through a tree: it’s a spaceship exploding. It’s obvious really – if you’re me. And because of that, you can re-enter normal space in complete safety, and go upon your interplanetary way…

 

The Scroton Five!

Ah, the Scroton 5. No, this post isn’t about a 1960’s British pop band by that name, which, I feel confident, never existed: but about the long-winded gestation of this ‘new’ space craft in the Earplug Adventure universe…

Originally this craft, and this craft alone, was to be named Scroton Five: but then I accidentally created this space battle shot…

Suddenly there were three more of them – and not one of them was slated to appear in the next Earplug Adventure: A Tale of Three Museums. So the single craft became a ‘class’ of space vessel – one of which was slated to appear in the next story. And, most importantly, it was to be piloted by none other than these guys…

…Yes, Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – the ‘stars’ of the next story!

My problem, regarding shooting scenes that featured them adventuring in the Scroton 5, was simple and singular. My space ship only had an outside. There were no interiors. And now that I no longer have access to a bloody great factory and everything inside it, finding inspirational parts to build the interiors became impossible. My shed didn’t help – being full of tools, garden stuff, and nothing that was any good to a desperate author. So it was back to my attic studio, and a prayer to The Saint of All Earplugs…

I began searching through several containers of earplug-related ‘stuff’ – with no luck, until I realised that one of the containers itself could be my saviour…

I call it a Domti box, because it (and several others) came home with me when I returned to Britain from Spain several years past, and were purchased (at a very reasonable price) from a shop named, unsurprisingly, Domti. This was impetus I needed. Soon the creative juices began to flow. Picking up an ancient LCD portable DVD player, I brought the two items together in a  holy union…

“Hmmm,” I mused, “If I were to put some space scenes on a DVD…Yeah, then build a control room floor that would sit above the working part of the DVD player…”

Cue the lid of a black box file, a tube of glue, and a few random widgets that had been tossed, willy-nilly, into the Domti box…

“Yeah, I can work with that.” I continued to muse. “But what about the reverse angle shots?”

Well box files have a lid and a base. The lid made the control room floor: the base could easily become a back wall…

So, a few minutes later, with the cutting and glueing complete, what did I have? Well there was the main screen and control panel, of course…

…not to mention a pair of seats for the pilots. There is also a cage behind the seats for the obligatory Ship’s Oracle – another of my regular inclusions/plot devices. Naturally I included a space toilet too…

After all, what would an astronaut do without a loo on the bridge? And some other items, for which I’ll invent a use when neccessity strikes…

At the rear there’s a window-type frame that might, or might not, look into an engineering section (when I’ve built it, of course)…

And a door that leads to…somewhere…

All together it looks like this…

…and this…

And when I populate it with a random crew…

And we see what they see…

…you know I have a ship that can kick literary ass…

Photographic Art: Making Something Out of Bugger All 1

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to present….The Space Testicle!

And just to prove that I created this wondrous inter-planetary gonad out of bugger all…here is the original shot of post-meal gravy boat dregs…

I’ll take a picture of anything and everything, me.

My Apologies, Earpluggers…

…but recent times have not been kind to your favourite author of silicone-based stories. It has proven difficult, in the extreme, to produce a ‘new’ Earplug Adventure. I have the story sketched out in my mind; but finding the time to shoot sufficient pictures is proving impossible. But I have managed to cobble together a montage of possible inclusions in A Tale of Three Museums, and I’d like to share them with you. Perhaps you’d care to comment on them. That would be nice. Give me a little pep-up and all that…

Not bad – right?

Tooty.

Just How Famous Am I?

When you’re a self-proclaimed literary genius, international author, and master chef, it’s monumentally important to discover just how famous you are. Or in the case of me – how famous I am. To this end I ‘Googled’ Tooty Nolan. Of course, strictly speaking, I should have punched in my parentally-given name. But, heck, I’m Tooty Nolan: I’ll do as I damned well please. But, anyway, I was reasonably pleased to discover that I’m averagely omnipresent. More importantly, so are my books. And even more importantly, it proves one of my assertions: I AM an international author. Look, the people of France can buy my books…

Not to mention India and Brazil…

Of course I’m well catered for in my homeland too…

And not just on Amazon either. Why, even Polish book retailers carry my titles…

Now, tell me, did you notice something peculiar about these screen-shots? Yes, none of them feature any Tooty Nolan books. Instead they display my best work. My ‘Silent’ Books – which is probably as it should be – because they really are rather good – in an old fashioned, very English sort of way. Well I think so anyway. Look, they even prefer them in Norway…

In most cases this pair of books sell through Barnes and Noble. So it came as a pleasant surprise that even that respectable retailer is willing to stretch it’s street cred by including Earplug Adventures…

And why not: wonderful prose and stunning photography rolled into one genre. It’s a no-brainer. Talking of no brains: oh dear – look at this…

Oh no – even Walmartians can read my books. The operative word being ‘can’. Maybe they have that right: unfortunately they don’t choose to exercise it. So far Walmart have sold exactly none of my books. Why aren’t I upset? 

So there you have it: clearly I am famous. Just not famous enough to keep the Bank Manager happy.

P.S This is how my daughter sees her famous Dad. Er…not exactly flattering, is it!

Book of the Month?

I was surprised, when I checked out one of my books at Barnes & Noble, to discover that these books…

…bore a temporary label that read Book of the Month. Naturally I was pleased, and duly read the sample pages of the latter book. Here is a snippet from those pages…

When next I awoke I knew for certain that the world around me was real and tangible. There was a smell of straw and ancient timbers permeating the air. Once again I lay upon my back, but now the azure sky had been replaced by the sight of the cobweb-strewn rafters of an old wooden barn.

Sitting upright I discovered that I was alone – save only for the company of a wood mouse that searched amongst the detritus upon the floor close to the large double doors. It skittered away as I gained my feet. As it did so I discovered that I wore the combat fatigues from the vision of the past presented to me by Tasman. The strange, unrecognisable hand gun hung from an iron hook that had been driven into one of the oak uprights.

I felt a pain in my head. My hand discovered that someone had inexpertly wrapped my head in a bandage. I was relieved when it came away unbloodied, and the pain subsided.

Feeling better I decided to take stock of the situation in which I found myself. Firstly I knew that my name was Felicity Goldsmith.

‘A good place to start.’

I appeared to be some form of soldier. Or was I a paint-baller? The thought appalled me. No, I was certain that I’d never been a paint-baller.

‘What else?’

I knew a boy who has eyes like a goat. It was odd that I didn’t think of his eyes as particularly unusual.

‘Again what else?’

I came up empty. Try as I may, I could find nothing more leaking out from my closed-off memory. I knew that I should have felt fear – or at least an appropriate portion of apprehension – with the situation. It was quite possible that I was brain damaged, or I’d simply lost my mind. But Tasman’s calm demeanour, and his gentle delivery had staved off the panic for another time.

‘Or preferably never.’

With nothing better to do I climbed to my feet. I felt stiff, and wondered if that was what octogenarians felt like all the time. I then placed the weapons belt around my waist; and made for the large rickety double doors.

Upon emerging from the ancient barn, I wasn’t surprised to find myself standing in an old flint and brick walled farm yard. Beside the barn there stood several lichen-coated brick buildings originating in several eras. They all showed the evidence of a great passing of time, and it occurred to me that the farm might not be a working farm, but was instead a farm museum. The area was littered by the detritus of years. Old farm equipment lay about that looked not only decades out of date, but possibly centuries. Masonry crumbled here and there, and the roof of one particularly old outbuilding had been stoved in. Patches of briar were encroaching, and weeds abounded everywhere except the areas that were either paved with concrete, or cobbled. I could see young animals corralled at several points within the farmstead. From my position I could make out small numbers of sheep, cattle, pigs, and goats. Through a gap in some mature trees I discerned a pond upon which ducks sailed less than majestically. From a rickety edifice beside the charming flint farmhouse emerged the sounds of chickens clucking contentedly.

I was still studying the inexpertly erected chicken coop when a boy of roughly ten years emerged from the farmhouse. He held an empty wicker basket in each hand. Without noticing me standing there in my incongruous ‘uniform’ he let himself into the coop through a shaky wire door.

“Hello…” I called in what I hoped was a friendly inquiring tone.

The boy looked up. His recognition of me was instantaneous, and he smiled broadly, before dropping his baskets; letting himself back out of the coop; and dashing back inside the farmhouse.

“Tasman,” I heard him calling as his booted feet thundered up the stair to the upper floor, “Felicity’s up and about!”

I smiled as those same two feet then raced back down the stair; carried their owner across the yard at break neck speed; and then stopped dead in front of me. I then received a hug that almost crushed the wind out of me.

“Oh Fel,” he breathed, “I never thought you’d ever open your eyes again.”

I had no idea who the urchin was, or why he was so glad to see me, but it was nice to be wanted.

“Thank you.” I replied. “It’s nice to be back: Where have I been?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

These books are also available at Amazon, Lulu, Apple iBooks, and various others. And very nice they are too – if rather violent at times. Well they do feature genocide, so a little violence is to be expected.

 

 

A Tastier Taster and a Promising Promise

Do you remember these guys?

No? They appeared in an Earplug Wallpaper. Hair vs Hat, I think it was called. Well, they weren’t a one-off. They – Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – are going to (finally, at last) appear in an Earplug Adventure. And in a very important role too. In fact they are going to tell the tale of A Tale of Three Museums – using a very nice little scout ship that enjoys the moniker of the Scroton Five…

…to search for The Porthole of Everywhere…

…which will display The Museum of Future Technology…

…in two timelines and two distant spacial locations – making three museums in total. Gosh! Imagine! How will I ever manage to keep all of these disparate threads coherent within my aging (and not always rational) brain? With difficulty, that’s how.

Well hopefully I’ve whetted the appetites of any Earpluggers reading this. Also hopefully, I’ll get the time and opportunity to shoot the pictures and write the script required to produce the story. At the time of writing this, the vagaries of life are creating barriers to the completion of my literary and photographic plans: but, fear not, I shall persevere. You will see another Earplug Adventure. I just don’t know when.

Tooty.