The manifesto is very simple, if the music that is offered to the label is sufficiently different and does not ape current trends and fads then it will probably find a home in the German Shepherd kennel. Requests were sent out and a delightful pot-pourri of styles and genres emerged. From — Bury, Greater Manchester. The band are currently working on an album. The Get — we love this band. They are great live, they write memorable songs, and they have a unique, sometimes unashamedly ramshackle sound.
From — Bournemouth, Leigh on Sea etc, down south somewhere. This is a band with a lot of depth. From — Cambridge, east of Northampton. Poppycock — working with Una Baines and her collective of musicians is always a pleasure and she offered up a live recording of the band from The Crescent in Salford.
From: Manchester. Perhaps slightly less dark than the tracks on the EP this offering is from the same sessions and indicates his ability to create an epic sound. We predict great things. Always making a point whenever they can this one has a much needed dig at the scenesters that hang around in clumps reeking of their own self-importance.
From : Salford, Greater Manchester. Staggs — probably the most fascinating duo on the label in that they continually create tunes that both amaze and confound. Main vocal man Michael T Scott has a wonderfully acerbic outlook on the world at large. Music man Ridley is able re-invent well known sounds and turn them into something new. Staggs Disco is from one of their releases before they joined German Shepherd.
Deserving of international acclaim I reckon. Passage of Time — sounds influenced by Miles Davis together with more contemporary electronic textures. The closest thing to jazz on the label.
From — Eccles, Salford. Greater Manchester. The featured tune is a reworking of an old song and a hearful paean to Manc-land. From — Ashton-Under-Lyne. Moff Skellington — a genius, an iconoclast and a dealer in optical creosote. His wordplay is completely unique, the aural equivalent of Salvador Dali. As I may have said before, on many occasions, my crusade is to get him much more exposure and recognition.
From — Abstercot. Rose Niland — we love Rose. She has a magical voice, she writes breathtaking tunes, and her words are memorable.
Soulful, psychedelic and bluesy. From — Manchester. The Electric Cheese — captivating alternative rock with a unique sound. This trio is gaining a growing reputation as a must see live act. From their first EP with the label. From — Chorley, Lancashire. The band has recently undergone a line-up change and the track on the compilation is an indication of things to come perhaps, a more powerful more rock oriented sound.
All these setbacks. Cat eating her Pork N' Beans, this guy with his goofy vehicle, it was getting dark and Rivet City would be closing soon. She peeked up from behind her cover. The guy was yelling something in some language she didn't understand. The only thing she could make out was that he sounded drunk? She heard the engines turn off and then footsteps coming toward her. Her fingers flexed in her Power Fist. She was in a bad mood now. Domingo turned his head back and forth across the top of the tank, looking about briefly to see if anyone else was around before he pulled himself out of the tank and stumbled off the side, none-too-elegantly faceplanting into the hard-packed dirt of the Wasteland's floor.
Taking a few seconds to lift himself up, he pushed himself to his feet and shook his head. In perfect english, he responded: "Sorry, I'm a little bit inebriated at the moment. Who are you, and where are you going? Stefanie started chuckling. I'm Stefanie McRae. We were headed to Rivet City. Cat ate my Pork N' Beans," she said, pointing to the dog that was emerging. Strauss, Worthington and Riley were all getting up now.
The drunk man looked at the dog and then at Stefanie, then at the dog, then back at Stefanie, then once more at the dog before saying, "That's not a cat. Inebriated indeed. Roarke was pitched backwards by the impact of the bullet. Either the shooter wasn't a confident sniper, or they were aiming for his head and hadn't compensated for a drop in the bullet's trajectory. Roarke lay still for a second, taking a few deep breaths to make sure he didn't have any injuries his adrenaline was trying to hide.
He signalled to the nearby soldiers that he was ok, and stood back up. His own snipers were already returning fire. Three of them recorded kills. Only the Crusade or BoS would have had the backbone to take a shot like that. Given that he was rapidly approaching Crusade territory, Moore was trying to have him eliminated so as to avoid a war he couldn't win.
By killing Roarke and letting hundreds, if not thousands Roarke had yet to complete a head count of bloodthirsty soldiers loose on the Wastelands. He waved a medic away. His armor had stopped the shot. At least the lad that had shot at them earlier wasn't still following them.
He'd have used an AP round and taken off Roarke's head. But the Colonel had more important things to consider. One of his patrols had brought in a CCI agent. The poor spook had probably spent enough time stripped to his underwear with his feet in a bucket if ice-water. The interrogation probably wouldn't take long. And if the man was unco-operative, Roarke would just have to cut off one of his feet, give him a single crutch, and force him to march with them until he broke.
Domingo hiccuped a bit as he turned slowly towards Riley. You're a strange one, Riley. He looked briefly at the dog and its odd-looking backpack before he turned back from the dog and back towards Stefanie.
I just came from Rivet City, and I was going to drop a weapons shipment at Megaton But I can turn around for a quick detour. Most of them are explitives, which only means one thing. Thomas cursed Roarke's name several times, punched his messenger, and sat down in the trenches. Who had authorized the men to open fire? It was hopeless now! They'd have to fight the enemy in an open, fucked-up battle.
Worse, it would be their own flesh and blood. He looked towards his messnger. The unfortunate soul had been the one with whom Thomas had relieved his anger. Tossing a bottle cap to him, Thomas gave another set of orders to him for relay to CCI, then set about the business of attempting a crude set of negotiations.
If it failed, maybe he could call reinforcements from New York. It would take days, maybe weeks, for any type of help to arrive from the north. Frustrated, Thomas leaned against a trench wall, slamming his fist into the mud and stnading in the rain.
Stefanie quickly hopped up on top of the Sherman, as did the rest of the group. Domingo hopped in and Stefanie heard the engine growl as the tank lurched forward.
Stefanie looked toward the shadows. The raiders mustn't've been around long, the ruins had been nearly totally clear for the last month. Regardless, the tank swung back around and headed for Rivet City. She looked back at the trailer where Worthington and Cat were, then back at Riley and Strauss, who were readying ranged weapons. Stefanie scampered along the hitch to where the weapons shipment was and looked for a ranged weapon.
A Power Fist was not going to do much good if a firefight broke out from the tank. She'd left her Scoped. She popped a Buffout as she dug out a hunting rifle and a few rounds of. She loaded the clip and sat tight, waiting for anything or anyone to appear from the darkness. She looked at a minigun next to her and shook her head. She had no clue how to properly operate that thing. Strauss looked at her quizzically, judging her confusion, then shrugged as she noticed him.
Great, now they think I'm a drugged up idiot who lives for Pork N' Beans she thought. Maybe she just should've stayed home with Jeeves and ridden the storm out. Aaron cursed. For once in the past few weeks, he was actually getting some good, well-deserved rest, and this happens.
Raiders he guessed, he'd seen a bunch of them around here recently. Aaron had considered relocating, but his current home was so isolated. Nobody knew of it, it was out of the way from any wasteland creatures to linger into, and it had a good supply of food.
He rose, shoeing away a familiar rat that had been living with him, and he grabbed his Ak He's had the same rifle from when he left Austin, luckily it used the same ammo as the rifles around these parts. Aaron looked to the window, seeing the thin rays of light shine through the makeshift barricade. He peered out of one of them, taking a few seconds to adjust to the light.
Below him was the same Sherman tank he saw in front of Rivet city not but a few hours ago, except this time it was being chased by raiders. There were about three, maybe four people inside of the tank, two of them shooting. The raiders were casing them, running faster than the normal human. Aaron shook his head, he thought of the amount of drugs those anarchists inject each day, it made them nearly superhuman. Disgusted by these people, Aaron jutted his rifle out the gap between two boards.
He aimed down the sights on one Raider readying a missile launcher and shot. The first shot hit him in the shoulder, causing him to lose grasp of the large weapon. Aaron ended it by firing another shot into the poor soul's head. His weapon was surprisingly accurate for what model it was, but Aaron has spent quite some time tinkering with it, making it 'More effective'.
He smiled and continued to fire. Two raiders fell dead, one laid bleeding out of a very serious wound. Unlike his forgiving brother, Aaron did not care for the lives of strangers. The only people he really cared for was his family, and one of them was missing right now. The tank riders looked at the source of the shooting, that led to Aaron. He kicked some of the boards out and showed himself.
I'll meet you guys there! Aaron didn't take the time to hear a response, he just grabbed his things and left for the downed bridge. So much for that home Stefanie ducked as shots whizzed by her head as she sat in the trailer.
She nozed her hunting rifle over the rail of the trailer and fired a couple of shots at the approaching Raiders. One shot hit out of the five she fired as she emptied her clip.
She hit the raider in the shoulder, but to her dismay, he got back up and kept coming. She cursed. The raiders' fire pattered across the hull of the tank. She fired another clip off. The shosts all missed. The bouncing of the tank, combined with her lack of awesome shooting ability made it very tough to achieve a hit. She popped in a Buffout and fired off another clip. She stood up and looked ahead of the tank as the raiders began breaking off pursuit.
Rivet City was thankfully within huge view. The large looming aircraft carrier so very inviting. Stefanie was looking forward to a drink at the Muddy Rudder. The Market was closeed for the night, but the Rudder was always open.
The Sherman ground to a halt and Stefanie got out, putting the hunting rifle back in the trailer. She put her Power Fist back on as a figure emerged from the darkness. Riley was much better with his telekinesis right now, he could lift one of them at a time as long as Riley didn't move. But that was a setback, so Riley didn't bother trying, instead he just jammed the weapons of his enemies. Riley then began to move debris from a building on top of the raiders.
Strauss was spraying glowing red death as fast as he could tap the trigger of his Laser Rifle in the general direction of the Raiders. Bastards wanted his robot, his armour, his weapons, this guy's tank. And probably Stefanie's body.
And Cat. And that random dude up there's cool haircut. They weren't getting any of it it. Not by a long shot. To Hell with ammunition conservation! One of them seemed to pause to whack his gun a bit, apparently checking for a jam, so Strauss took the liberty of incinerating his face when the distraction presented itself. He glanced over at Riley, who seemed to be in deep concentration, and shrugged.
He's probably yelling at them in their heads or somethin', he thought as he dropped his rifle for a moment and prepared a grenade. As Strauss's grenade exploded, a large bang could be heard on top of the building next to them, a giant rock was being rolled off the side of it. Riley's nose was bleeding, but nobody or him seemed to notice. The rock then fell off the building and landed in the crowd of raiders.
Aaron grasped the wall as the explosions rocked the ruined building, apparently these guys didn't hear what Aaron had said not but 5 minutes ago. Staggering to a window, he watched as a large bolder crushed a good amount of raiders on the ground level.
Two or three stragglers tried to escape, only to be taken out by Aaron's bullets. He looked around, it seemed clear enough. The young fighter scaled down from the third story he was on, meeting up with the tank people as they were looting the raiders, as well as killing off survivors.
He recognized one of them, the tank driver, from Rivet City. The guy still seemed a bit tipsy, but much better then from the last Aaron saw of him. Hoisting his rifle on his back, Aaron went to greet his companions. He approached the tank driver, "Ran into a bit of trouble I see, damn good thing you had that tank.
They might have stolen my hair. The man had three followers, one skinny-lookin' girl, probably an addict, and two frustrated white guys. She has toned muscle from her pit-fighting career, which still goes on in fight bars.
Stefanie dropped over the side of the trailer. She looked at the new guy who'd just emerged from the building. She placed the Huning Rifle back in the trailer as he approached. Behind them, the form of Rivet City loomed. She looked at Riley. He grinned lopsidedly and wiped the blood from his nose. That falling rock had really saved the day.
She looked at the man who'd just approached the group. She wiggled all of her fingers to fit it properly. The man in front of them had put his gun away, so he obviously was not an enemy.
Leastwise not now. Stefanie extended a hand. Fireman She knows. She's just smart enough not to mention it in front of a newcomer. Aaron chuckled a little, he wasn't sure if this woman was trying to show off or what, but he did underestimate her. Now closer, he took back his earlier thought of her being an addict. Aaron bowed his head, "Aaron Edward Ramsey, Ma'am, no part of any organization or group, just searching for someone.
Upon looking back, he noted one of the men to Stefanie's left, a man with a bleeding nose. Aaron didn't recall any real fighting going on with the raiders, and nobody got hit or anything. He stared at the man for a few seconds, thinking. Afterward he turned back to Stefanie, "Why exactly are you lot headed to Rivet City? Riley wiped his bleeding nose.. Finally it stopped. Headaches were gone, but now he was having random nosebleeds every time he attempted to use his ability further then he could..
Fireman He used it around her at the end of the D. Plus it's been a month since then. Im' sure they'd talked since then. Stefanie looked at the man. She turned to take a look at Rivet City. Now the Market is closed, so I'll prolly hit the Muddy Rudder, then shack up in the common room for the night. I don't know what these two are up to. If you're not runnin with a crowd, I'm ure you'd be welcome to run with ours, though we're kinda scattered all over D. She figured she'd better stop talking soon, before she did overstep her talking bounds.
You couldn't just trust everybody out here. This Ramsey seemed good enough though. Aaron crooked his head. What did she mean by 'we're kinda scattered all over D. He thought these guys were just some travelers, not some organization. With all the war going on here recently, he wouldn't be surprised if these guys were a part of it.
And that's the last thing Aaron needed, a war on his hands. But he was hungry, and it was seldom that Aaron passed up a drink. Against everything he mind was telling him, he accepted the invitation.
Aaron stretched, he still had barley woken up. He looked to Stefanie, then to the rest. They don't look like an organization at war, but looks can be deceiving From the tank he heard his tipsy comrade yell something at them, most likely something about getting ti Rivet City. Aaron went with the flow and agreed, "I'm with him, we should get to the city, never know what comes out at night. Luckily nobody noticed, weakness was something never to be shown in the wasteland. Jay had told Aaron that, Jay had told Aaron everything.
Slowly, Aaron walked to the tank, deep in thought. Stefanie sat back up on the tank. Rivet City was in view. It'd only be a couple minutes. They did have to get out of the streets before nightfall. This newcomer, Aaron Ramsey, seemed like the quiet type. Troubled even. Maybe he was just weary. Ramsey looked at her as if she'd just crawled out of a hole.
Which she did if you read an earlier post. Stefanie nodded. It was time to stop asking questions for now. I was from here originally, then I got sold. He tried to rape me. The guy who bought me put me in the pit fights in Zanadu. It's a slaver town. Full of fight pits, brawl bars, and of course The Cell. Spent the last five years killin' and cripplin' men and women that they sent me up against.
I still fight now, but I do it for a living. Can't be more honest than the blood, sweat, and tears put into it. Gets me caps and prestige in Zanadu. I'm 22 now and I'm pretty much feared in that town. Nothin' says 'don't mess with me' like snappin' a guy's neck in front of half the city. My last master was killed in a slaving raid when I was We had a bet; if I outlived him, I'd be freed. That's what happened. It was kind of sad though, because even though he was my master, he was pretty good to me.
Didn't beat me, or hurt me, or try to rape me. Taught me a ton about fighting and shooting. He respected me. He just needed me to make him caps, that was the deal. I got a healthy cut of course, but slaves in Zanadu can't do much with caps.
I was champion on five circuits and fought twice in The Cell. She thought for a second that she'd spilled way too much info on herself. Oh well, she was close enough to be able to handle herself if he tried something, though, she figured he wouldn't. The tank ground forward and closed the distance to Rivet City's ramp in a few minutes. The group climbed down and headed up the gangway. The night guard nodded a welcome and Stefanie looked over to see Strauss stop the drunken Domingo from falling off the deck.
They went inside. Domingo, still wearing his leather tank driver's helmet, stumbled across the gangway to Rivet City, once havint to be steadied by Strauss to keep himself from taking a plunge over the rusty railing into the radiation-permeated Potomac below. Nodding a quiet thanks, Domingo turned towards Stefanie. Marcus Andrews sat in the muddy ruder with his XO Alexander.
The crusade were dieing and in his view that could only be a good thing. He paused to look at the note Alex had given him regarding what was left of there forces. It was definetly not good they had left there Opressors in new york and out of the 50 reinforcements from new york only 5 of them were in power armor.
He looked up from his drink to see Strauss a Girl and that tank driver enter the room "hello boys drinks on me". Where'd you go man? However, he had manged to regain his blance and lose some of his, well, drunkness. Oh, great, one of the assholes from the cave , Riley thought to himself, "Hel-" Riley said but was cut off by a random drunk screaming jibberish. Then just as Riley tried to say it again, the drunk screamed again and then threw a bottle of vodka at Stefanie.
Stefanie was outraged at the vodka all over her clothes, and whacked the man in the face with her Power-Fist before he could throw his Whiskey. The Security then came and beat up the drunk before throwing him off the boat. Can you have Jeeves just randomly fins your location right about now? I wanna add weapons to him! Two uniformed Security officers mumbled something to eachother before picking the man up and carrying him upstairs, presumably for deposition in the Potomac.
Shit, anyone smoking in here? Jack was heading back to Rivet city. He and Jacob split up to further avoid the Crusade, and he was reaching the building.
His grandad was like that. He had a big Union Jack plate on the mantelpiece and a photo of the Queen hung in the hall. He was a patriot and a Tory, living in his three bedroom terrace in one of the poorest streets of the town. He said he was too young to fight in the First World War and too old to fight in the second. Was 38 too old to sign up? Maybe it was. Or maybe he had a reserved occupation in the tannery. That was ancient fucking history. He passes the waste ground where the jobcentre used to be.
Where he used to sign on. He was classed as a PV. Some of the houses round that way had been condemned because they were slowly sinking into the soil, an old waste ground for the soapy. She never liked it. She wanted to live by her mum and dad in Brookvale. Not up there. Not with the scousers. This was a compromise. They went to see a few houses on Halton Road, Sea Lane way. It was too close. It was too far away.
The soapy was long gone by the time he was born. He only remembers it being the old Crosville bus garage and where the RNA used to be, near the subway that leads to Victoria Road. The fair would set up there sometimes. He had many memories of those places. There were no new memories to displace them with. They were given the day off from school and forced to wave shitty plastic Union Jacks along the spur road. Even then, he knew it was fucking bullshit.
He saw her as she passed, this Queen with her moron smile. Like a trapped rat. This day coming back from The City was hot. He felt sick. The bus had called in the depot as they changed driver. He spewed up all over himself and his nan. She slapped him all the way home. The Dukey lad is winning and the other gyppos join in and kick him half to death. Paula is French kissing him and gently rubbing his dick under the table. He cums in his zip pants. He was from Dukesfield.
He captured a load of German prisoners on his own during the Battle of Morval. Morval Crescent is off Boston Avenue. They would meet the scousers from Halton Brook there. Morval was the front line; on one side, the scousers, on the other, the woolybacks. Todger was a hero. He got back. Never had to buy a pint again in his life. There were hundreds from the town less lucky. Sacrificed to their lords and masters, their flags and fatherlands, their names carved into the cenotaphs and he wonders about the stone masons that carved those names and whether they felt any guilt at surviving the war to end all wars.
He reads these old local history books. It fascinates him. What they did and how they are remembered. These pricks with streets and islands and buildings still bearing their names. John and Thomas Johnson mortgaged their soap works to fund the supply of coal to the Confederates during the American civil war.
The steamships they sent from England were all lost during the shelling of Charleston, South Carolina and the Johnsons were declared bankrupt in Charles Wigg, their agent, appealed to Liverpool Exchange to rescue this fine and noble enterprise.
In the Johnsons sold their interests and land and were declared bankrupt again. He and Judah Philip Benjamin were the financial agents of the Confederate government. The Antonica ran the blockade of Mobile, Alabama with a cargo of 22, pairs of shoes and 30 tons of gunpowder. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property.
You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers, the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly. This was demolished in the 60s and Halton Lodge Primary School was built on the site, although the gateposts remained. The same gate posts he passed every morning as he walked into Halton Lodge Juniors. On his first day at Halton Lodge, the cock of the school, Nige Wilkinson offered him out on the fields behind the shops on Grangeway.
He knew they all wanted Nige to win. He let Nige come to him. He was a strong kid but he managed to trip him up as he rushed forward and booted him in the face, then stamped on him and was pulled off by a few of the other lads.
Nige tried to get up, so he punched him a few times and he stayed down. Some of the girls were screaming. An old fellar came to split it up. He walked away. Nige never split on him. It was the only fight he had at Halton Lodge apart from the last day before the summer holidays when they were leaving to go to the secondary school. Brophy thought he was the school hard man. Brophy tried getting them all off, running after them like a dickhead, shouting orders at kids that would never have to hear his bullying words ever again.
Everyone scattered but he stood there and Brophy grabbed him by his jumper and threw him to the ground. He got up and punched Brophie in the face, which seemed to startle him.
The teacher just stood there, open mouthed, so he punched him again. Over the Old Quay bridge. It was red hot. Hottest weather he could ever remember. Every day. A hundred degrees they reckoned. Jonesy was going to The Heath. All the Mersey mud has cracked like a proper drought. They walked down to the edge of the water, all this black sludge rising to the top between the cracks until their legs were totally covered in this stinking, oozy shit. He got home and ran a bath and scrubbed at his legs for ages to get this stuff off.
Processes known to have been dealt with on site at this time include ICI, :. ICI was the Governments largest industrial agent and the largest investment of all was in the research, development and manufacture of war gases.
He knocks at the door with the hot bag that is burning his small hands. His nan answers. She looks angry. She always looks angry.
She snatches the chips off him and walks quickly into the kitchen, takes out one large plate and a smaller one, then with her hands picks up the red hot chips in a claw grip and throws them onto the plates.
She has about three times as many as he does. She butters a few slices of white bread and cuts them in half. She places the bread on the side of the plate and hands the small plate to him without a word. He wakes up in a stairwell on the Southgate estate. He tries to remember how he got here.
He tries to stand but wobbles and falls back against the wall. He laughs. He shouts. Not pity or aggression or amusement. He can smell weed. He was talking to this girl. Him and Moggy went back to her flat. There were three kids sat on the settee. One of them tries to lift him up as gently as he can but he stumbles and falls back against the smooth, yellowing concrete of the stairwell and cracks his head on one of the steps, feels the blood wetting his hair.
It was built in three phases providing homes in the form of flats, maisonettes and houses. A distinct heating system with individual pre-payment heat controls, is installed at Southgate and provides partial central heating and hot water to each dwelling.
Fitted kitchens, convenient power points, a television aerial socket, external meter cupboards and waste disposal fitments are standard provisions for every dwelling. There are no gas mains to Southgate, so cookers and fridges should be electric.
On the ground level of phase 1 are 3 bedroomed maisonettes and 2 bedroomed maisonettes on the deck level above. On the top level with access by stairwell are 1 and 2 bedroomed flats. Each square is intended for the use and enjoyment of the families living around it.
And one is irresistibly reminded of him on visits to Runcorn New Town as it grows into the city it will one day become.
In Shopping City, opened by the Queen last May and now all but fully let, a housewife told me why she liked Runcorn. Harrison, is minimal. We have made great use of landscaping, not only round the houses but on the industrial estates as well. As a result, we find that people here are treating things with care. The news that the public housing in Runcorn New Town designed by James Stirling is to be demolished by the Warrington and Runcorn Development Corporation only 13 years after it was completed cannot fail to elicit a feeling of schadenfreude in anyone has ever had to live or work in one of his buildings — as I have.
The deep irony of the Runcorn saga is that although the housing is prefabricated it is not high rise. The real failings at Runcorn stem from the inflexibility of the adopted form of construction and, as in so many cases, from inadequate maintenance and bad management, it is certainly wrong that, in this instance, Stirling should be made scapegoat for the whole architectural profession,.
But doubts must remain. Why did the local authority choose this particular estate for dumping its problem tenants and why are other housing schemes in Runcorn new Town not also proposed for demolition?
At Runcorn, Stirling was possibly the victim of an idiotic brief, but in this latest episode in the great national tragedy of post-war public housing, it is not the architect who deserves sympathy or, in this case, the local authority, but only the usual victims: the long suffering tenants,. Angry residents of the notorious Legoland council estate are to lobby parliament this week in an attempt to save their homes from demolition.
The decision to knock down the Southgate estate in Runcorn designed by the acclaimed British architect James Stirling, and famous for its plastic-clad houses and porthole windows, was taken on Tuesday.
David Binns, general manager of the Development Corporation said that it decided on demolition after a survey predicted high repair costs on the estate over the next 15 years. They re-renamed Southgate as Hallwood Park. Moggy had long gone by then. They moved him to Castlefields, in a flat even worse than the one he had on Southgate.
He got bad on the gear. They kept the pub though. The Monk! The Merry Monk! It was never fucking Merry. Changed its name to The Hallwood Raven. Hallwood Park had originally been the site of a medieval deer park called Northwood or Halton Park. However, there was still enough of Northwood left in the 17th Century to allow King James I a day of hunting, records in showing that there were deer in the park.
Timber from the deer park was also often used for repairs to Halton Castle. Hallwood Park takes its name from the estate of Hallwood, the birthplace and former home of Sir John Chesshyre, an extremely important lawyer in the early 18th Century.
A former wing and stables of Hallwood Manor are better known to us today as The Tricorn public house. The Hallwood Raven, a former Greenall Whitley pub, opened in October as the now legendary Merry Monk, originally serving the people of the radical new housing estate called Southgate. This estate, designed by Sir James Stirling, was built in two phases and finally completed in After a seven-month refurbishment, the pub reopened in as The Hallwood Raven, by which time Southgate had been demolished and replaced by the more traditional housing estate, Hallwood Park.
Moggy was just another one that was doomed before they were even born. They walk around with a death sentence stare. Young Bowman for example. Moggy lasted a bit longer, he was surprised that he got to forty to be honest. Maybe it was suicide, maybe he fell in, off his head as usual, probably scoring. There are accidents too. Young Nello was hit by a stolen car, Gibbo fell through a roof working on a demolition job.
Franny Lowe got trapped inside a fucking commercial oven. Fuck man! The universe is just a circle. Every now and then he cuts a tiny piece of skin from his body.
It started when he was eleven or twelve. He took his penknife and peeled a hard piece of skin from his left knee and he enjoyed the pain and soreness. So every time he feels totally fucked off, he gets out his old knife and slices a part of his flesh.
When she left him he cut loads of skin off the bottom of his feet. He carried on walking. It fucking killed him. He had to see the doctor when it got infected. That was his first stint in The Brooker Centre. Dosed him up into a slobbering wreck. He looked around at the fucking nuts he was stuck with and he tried to leave.
He punched the walls, wrecked his room. They gave him a big shot of juice and shipped him out to Winwick. He uses cheap felt tips to colour in the drawings. His latest one is a sparrow hawk. The sparrow hawk is his favourite bird of prey. Better than eagles even. He likes its yellow eyes and its speckled chest. He likes how it stands, the shape it makes. His new mum has got two lads and a girl.
It hovers and then swoops down really fast to catch a mouse or maybe a vole. He was watching the kestrel one day when he saw the girl and the man in the grass. The girl was in his school, a few years older than him. The man was about the same age as his dad. He ran away. He saw the girl in school the next day and she just looked at him.
He saw the man once outside the betting shop. The man saw him. The man looked at him, flicked a ciggy on the ground, stamped on it and walked back in the bookies. It seems to pulse. The wallpaper next to his head is breathing. He can hear it. He can see it. They make a noise but not a breathing noise just like a faint buzz. The whole wall is pulsating. They all open their mouths and howl then dig a hole in the wall and crawl inside.
The hole closes after them and the room starts to spin. He screams and his nan comes in. She wordlessly drops him at the iron gate and carries on her way to the hairdressers for her weekly appointment.
As he walks in, the Bowman twins immediately gather their gang and he attempts to walk to the other side of the yard where the lone teacher smokes his rollie. They cut him off before he can get there and force him behind the toilet wall.
He takes their punches and their kicks. He tries shouting but it never helps. It is the most un-Christian place on earth. At first exercise books and writing slates could not be afforded. Instead there was a large, narrow table in the form of a shallow trough filled with fine sand, which was smoothed over with a ruler and the children wrote on it with their fingers. This primitive device was very useful but it made the school so dirty that it was abandoned to be replaced by writing slates.
It used to be gardens here, not really tended to, more of a hide out for people shagging or taking drugs or drinking. He walks under the curly bridge that leads over to Greenway Road. He was a decent swimmer and would dive in, to show off. When he came up his foot was bleeding and there was a deep gash in his sole.
He had to go to the hospital. Get it stitched but it got infected and went all green. Layer upon layer of shit. He told them. They asked his name. He asked them if they knew his dad. The lads offered him a fag. He had a smoke with them then walked back over the bridge, looked down at the river and the canal and wondered if anyone could survive a fall into the water from that height.
His grandad told him that him and his mates would hang from the cable car on the Old Transporter Bridge when they were kids and drop into the cut. One lad misjudged it and hit the gantry wall then fell back and drowned. He watched him arguing with this woman and then he went back in and the woman walked back in a bit later. He stood in the doorway, smelled the ciggy smoke and the stale ale and could hear laughing and shouting. Pubs thrilled him. What good would it do?
His nan told him to clear off and his dad called her a twisted old bitch and said he was glad her daughter was dead because she was a slag and had been shagging Tony Derbyshire behind his back. His nan flew at him and he pushed her away.
She fell back into the hall so he went into the kitchen and got a carving knife from the drawer. He held it in front of his dad. His dad screamed as blood spurted out and his nan got up and slammed the door shut. He could hear his dad screaming outside, shouting. His nan started crying.
He knew then that he loved her more than anyone else in the world. Old Town v New Town. Wools v scousers. He misses the black, leaves it right over the fucking pocket. Farrell smirks. The scousers whoop. The scousers roar. Joey Lego throws a pint at Farrell, it hits him right in the fucking face and smashes. All the shops have gone. He was arrested again last year for breach of the peace.
He went up to the two young, attractive, female Witnesses and he took a copy of their tract and began reading it and they tried to speak to him, tell him about God and all that shit. Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. If she had just told him the truth. If she had just come clean.
Talking to him. Flirting with him. Why did she always lie to him? She said he was imagining it. Greg was just a friend from work. Greg was her line manager.
Greg was married himself. Greg lived in Stockton Heath. Greg sent his son to private school. Jonah was wide awake. It had to be tonight. Yes, it had to be tonight and he had formulated a plan of sorts. It was his duty to avenge those who had poisoned his father, who had poisoned this town for a century or more with their waste, corrupted it with their wealth. No-one knew.
The engineers, the planners, the architects, the directors, the managers, the workers, the shareholders, the council, the aldermen, the masons, the rotary club, the Conny club, the Labour Party, the unions, the contractors, the newspapers, the environment agency, the church.
The entire town had been bought off, had been co-opted into silence, to say otherwise was to blaspheme, to put jobs at risk, to place families in penury, to piss on the altars of the Holy God, Chlorine. Collaborators in their own demise. Not after that night. It was impossible to prove. He knew that. How can you prove that fifty years of working inside that toxic Hell Hole was the cause of his disease, that it was the fibres and the powders and the gasses and the oils and the liquids that got on him, that got in him and not the fags and the whisky and the beer and the fatty food and the stress?
Cause and effect. Coincidence and proof. How could he prove that the reason why the town had the highest rate early death from respiratory disease in the country was directly caused by the shite that spewed relentlessly from those chimneys above their homes? They all sat around after the funeral and divvied up the remains of the man, made a gravy from his paltry bones. This is what it had to come to and, like most things in life, Jonah blamed that devil, Thatcher.
You give working class people something to conserve and they become conservatives; a home, a share portfolio, an ISA, a pension and watch how they shit on each other, laugh as they scrape for their pathetic crumbs of GDP. Mum and dad had bought their council house back in 83 for a knock down price, then sold it ten years later for three times as much and that allowed them to buy their dream bungalow on their beloved Malpas Road estate.
He bought shares in British Telecom and British Gas. He was a Daily Mail man through and through. And mum got a council bungalow in Weston Point where she still spends her days watching day time telly, filling in her Sudoku book, attending Tai Chi with Jean Lowe, content to have done the right thing by her kids and grandkids and to cook Sunday dinner for them all once a month. Yes, it had to be tonight or it would be never.
He had his bag packed with the tools he required or felt he may require for the task. He turned in his bed and was suddenly gripped by panic. He turned to Lisa, who was sleeping on her side as usual, the quilt pulled up almost over her still pretty face. He had already prepared the ground for his three am flit. There had been two burglaries in as many months and it was his turn on the alarm rota. Kenny had been called out three times last week but they were all false alarms, kids throwing stones probably or foxes or cats setting off the sensors in the yard.
Summer holidays were always the same; kids camping out and creating havoc. Yes, it sounded plausible. How many times had he stared at this fucking ceiling during his feverish bouts of insomnia?
Now Matty was at uni, there was only him and Lisa and he was finding it hard. It was all a scam, just a plot to con kids into thinking uni was a rite of passage. How many times had he endured their Mikey crowing about his pension and how he could retire himself soon, aged fifty five.
Failed to join this sacred sect, this elite group of men who gathered at the golf course and the ICI Rec and swapped stories of wage packets, annual shares and football. His dad used to play for Mond, then managed them for years. Mikey also played for them, captained them; Perfect Brother. Jonah never really had an interest in football. Another failing. Music was his thing. Punk rock. Mikey was a soulie, Jen was into Bowie but he was a punk.
How they skitted him every time he left the house in his tartan bondage kecks and his mohair jumper, his black hair spiked, his leather jacket covered in studs and painted with the Crass logo on the back. The Crass symbol was itself some kind of mysterious rune; a union jack, a self-consuming snake, an occult anarchist creature?
He would also copy the Anarchy symbol smashing the machine gun and do the stencils, spraying them onto walls on the estate. It says Ford! It says ICI! It says MSC! It says YKK! It says BICC! It says Bass. It says Schreiber. These were the options open to most men and women around here.
Or they were once. When Jonah left school in 81, slap bang in the middle of the biggest recession since the 30s, suddenly the ICI hereditary guilds pulled their ladders up from the Rocksavage walls. He was in. He was going to study art at college. It was another Crass sleeve, some image from the first world war. He also had CND posters stuck with sellotape to his wallpaper, which his dad would tell him to take down.
His mum took pride in the medals that her uncles received in return for their lives, defending the empire in Mons and Ypres. She kept them in a box wrapped in tissue paper on her wardrobe shelf. Jonah would get them down some times and look at them, feel their weight, smell the bronze. One was a small star shaped medal with a multi-coloured ribbon. It had two swords crossed under a crown. Industrialised death. Mass slaughter. Life goes on. Money makes the world go round. Fuck their medals! Do you know one of them spat at the picture of the Queen above the stage at the RNA?
They should bring back National Service. That was always the answer to everything. Make them become soldiers. It was no use arguing with them. Any of them. Michael goes and signs up anyway and elder brother, Sonny kicks off on him, tells him how their pop had to pull many strings to get him a pass. OK, in the end, Sonny dies and Michael goes on to become more ruthless and despicable than any of his mafia family but he overlooked that bit.
And Michael wanted to join the army. That was his way of rebelling. In the grand scheme of things, going to Widnes to study art and design was hardly in the same league but he still got the same kind of shit. It went deep. It had all come out when dad was pissed one night, whisky inside him after one of his meetings.
Meetings they knew nothing of, meetings that never took place at the Rec or the Weaver or the golf club for some reason. A lad at school once asked Jonah if his dad was a Freemason like his. He had no idea what this kid was talking about and asked his mum what a Freemason was. She just told him they were all a bunch of silly buggers who liked dressing up in costumes and controlled the council. He knew the building, the Masonic Hall at the back of York Street. It was a gloomy, foreboding place, windowless and fenced off, surrounded by wasteland.
The things you never understand as a kid, suddenly become a little clearer. Why dad went into a weird mood for a few years and packed in managing Mond.
Why they talked about emigrating to Australia and making a new start. It all fitted into place, maybe. There are no secrets in a small town. Someone always knows the truth. Things happen because of secrets. Someone is always hurt. The boy watched as the light engulfed his entire body and he began to float up towards the ceiling at first and then down so that he came to rest next to the hooded man infront of the priest.
The boy looked into the dead eyes of the priest and saw beneath them an endless void. The hooded man breathed heavily and coughed. The boy recognised the sound. The priest looked at the boy then addressed the men stood behind him. Under those fields in the Cheshire plain, we have vast deposits of rock salt, known to the Celts and the Romans, the Saxons and the Vikings. Second, we need water. Again, we have that too in abundance, both natural and man-made, in our rivers and our canals, our reservoirs and our pipelines.
We produce brine, the solution of our libation. Into the rivers and canals, under the rocks and fields we can discharge our necessary waste. And finally, Gentlemen, we require Holy Mercury. It is Mercury which is the key to our alchemy. We seek transmutation in mercury.
We seek re-birth and eternity in Mercury. Alpha and Genesis. Beginning and end. Mercury, the messenger of the Gods. Shall we devise a method of using mercury as part of our alchemical experiments, shall we mine the minerals of the Good Earth and place them in a crucible, pass them through a flame? Ah, sweet energy of fire. Fire, water, wind and air.
What value has gold to a God? What value has chlorine to those men of industry who transform it into other products and put it to other uses? Chlorine, gentlemen is worth more than gold, silver and diamonds, worth more than silks, spices and perfumes. We are lucky Brothers to live in an age where a man such as myself can apply himself to chemistry and build upon all the advancements of our illustrious forefathers, fellow Knights who think only of advancing their wisdom and utilising this for the good of all mankind.
Yet, here is the missing ingredient, the only power that man can harness to bring his dreams true, to unlock the universe; electricity. Our process requires an enormous amount of electricity to heat the cells and here we invoke ;. We construct our own power station to fuel our alchemy.
At Rocksavage we burn coal to light our furnace and we have our own fire rites. Just as the ancients did. Our process is successful because previous methods were too expensive. Money, Gentlemen. Abstract it may be but we all deal in the ways of commerce. Gentlemen, shall we seek the tablets of Senkerah and observe how the Babylonians calculated square roots and applied their formulas? Shall we see how they examine their reciprocals.
Shall we study their arithmetic and algebra, the quadratic formulae. Shall we divide the year as the Babylonians did into synodic months and marvel at how they came to their solutions? By their measurements and observations of the heavens and the rotations of the earth these men predicted the future, they foresaw eclipses and became Magi.
They performed magick but their calculations were used not only for the abstract amusement of philosophers, for the tables of astrologers and the measurements of architects but also to amass interest. Interest gentlemen. We all deal in profit and loss do we not? We all seek to measure our success and our worth by the colour of our balance sheets. Is it so unGodly to use our inventions to improve our circumstances, to set ourselves apart from the masses? Those who are unable or unwilling to devote their energies to self-improvement and the seeking of perfect knowledge?
We use these ancient calculus today, as we patent our designs, as we patent our rites and degress, as we build our factories and town halls, mills and money exchanges. Money lenders still provide us with the means to invest in our own plans and schemes and we all know the written and unwritten laws of business transactions.
It is men such as we that enable the world to turn on its axis, that bring mankind from the darkness into the light, to remove the shadows of superstition and heresy. Shall we peer into our crystals and converse with angels? Shall we de-cypher the tongues of Gods and devils, see their horns, touch their wings. Oh Satan! Oh Gabriel! Shall we transcribe their songs and climb the Arbor Raritasis? Which branch will you take oh seeker?
Will ye walk the spiritual path to all understanding and become one of the Invisible Magi? Shall ye seek Pythagorean Perfection.. Look upon this apprentice here Gentlemen.
He seeks the light, he seeks illumination and we are that light, we hold the key to his advancement. It was almost time. Jonah was staring at the ceiling. Lisa always blamed his insomnia on an over-active mind, a mind that was almost incapable of shutting down, even temporarily. He had the names of the districts, he had the plot all worked out, it changed every time though, he had the main characters sorted, their appearance, the way they spoke, the landscape, the message.
He had three or four ongoing sagas in his head, each feature of the ceiling would spark off a different story, a change in plot, it never stayed fixed, never stayed with him for longer than a few minutes before he was up and then they disappeared, as the fucked up reality of a real world kicked in. He thought it through one more time. It was insane. What he was planning to do. Yet it seemed to him, not only possible but necessary, in fact it was the only thing he could think of that would be both easy to accomplish and lead to massive damage.
Fuck it, it WAS going to be tonight. For his dad, for his family, for his townsfolk, for the planet. He knew that sounded grandiose, even in his own head but he was sincere. He breathed in heavily, opened his drawer, put on his undies and socks, opened his wardrobe, threw on a tracky and his trainers.
He opened the creaky bedroom door slowly, walked to the bathroom, washed and brushed his teeth, went downstairs to the kitchen. He thought about making himself a brew then changed his mind and opened the side door into the garage where his bag was already packed. His heart was racing, like his first time on speed.
Like his first fuck. Inside his second hand Astra, he looked at himself in the rear view mirror. He was almost fifty but felt almost seventy. It had to be tonight or it would be never. Such hubris! The lights of Castners and Rocksavage below shone into the abyss, declared to the universe that there was light here on earth, light of our own making, the light of man, the light of creation, the light of eternity and it shone out into the furthest reaches of the firmament and it never stopped, it never diminished.
It was eight miles there and back to the yard on Manor Park. It was still the short, warm nights of July, so he needed to be away by five at the latest.
Off the expressway, at the turn off for the Old Town, he suddenly stopped and grasped the steering wheel hard. There was no one on the deserted roads, he became faint.
Jonah had done his homework on these fuckers. He had campaigned against them. They called him a tree hugger. He ignored them. It had become something of an obsession with him. He kept his research files and all his documents piled up in the makeshift office where Matty used to sleep. He kept a secret pen drive in a locked drawer. He had a RAP folder. It was over ten years old this stuff now and the pollution had become worse. He tried to do his bit to highlight what was going on but people were apathetic and lazy.
He dug deep under that carcinogenic soil and one surname kept cropping up;. He knew the name only from Wigg Island, the wasteground in between the Ship Canal and the Mersey where they played during long, boring summer holidays. It had been knocked down after the war but the stuff they made was still dumped there. There were no fences to stop them, no warning signs, all they had to do was walk over the Old Quay Bridge and no one stopped them doing that either.
He did some more digging on the Wigg family. He and Judah Philip Benjamin were the financial agents of the Confederate government. The Antonica ran the blockade of Mobile, Alabama with a cargo of 22, pairs of shoes and 30 tons of gunpowder. These were the kind of people who poisoned this town: Slave traders.
Sugar plantation owners. Conferderate army funders. Blockade runners. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever.
You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly. The Johnson Bros of Runcorn mortgaged their soap works to fund the supply of coal to the Confederates. The steamships they sent from England were all lost during the shelling of Charleston, South Carolina and the Johnsons were declared bankrupt in Charles Wigg, their agent, appealed to the good and honourable men of the Liverpool Exchange to rescue this fine and noble enterprise.
In the Johnsons sold their interests and land and were declared bankrupt again. This was demolished in the 60s and Halton Lodge Primary School was built on the site, although the gateposts remained.
The same gate posts he passed every morning as he walked into Halton Lodge Junior School during the 70s. He joined all the dots; it all fitted together, all of it. You take African slaves to the West Indies and the USA, you plant sugar cane and cotton, you transport it back to England, you use slave labour in England to keep your looms running, day and night, you dig canals to transport the raw materials to factories in Lancashire and you transform it into clothes and sails and flags.
You export it using the same canals and ports. You treat leather, you refine sugar, you smelt iron, you produce alkaline and chlorine and the waste, well, the waste just flows out into the water or is buried under the soil or streams out of chimneys into the air. The more Jonah looked into these men, the more their names intersected. When he went bust during the American civil war, fellow soap magnate, Charles Hazlehurst bought it in and after his death it passed on to Francis Boston, another tannery boss.
The men brought in from Liverpool and Southern Ireland to make boots for the men dying in Flanders to protect the economic interests of the men in the big houses across the land. The navvys brought in to build the ship canal, the Welsh and the Irish and the country English who settled down and raised their families and worked on the docks, on the tugs, on the boats, in the factories that built the empire, the commonwealth that provided no common wealth and no empire other than the right to beat your wife.
He linked Hazlehurst, Johnson, Wigg, Boston, Castner and Kellner and slavery and pollution and he felt anger and he felt. The boy was stood next to the hooded man. The other men let out a low hiss.
Shall we invoke the Marquis de Thorn and Emanuel Swedenborg? Men of influence, men of brilliance, men of honour. These Knights provided our Brotherhood with rites and rituals for their own times but we live now in a different age and we must adapt our learning to new scientific discoveries, new ways of thinking, new processes and patents.
I have studied them all, taken their fruits and planted new seeds. Was there no more we could discover from the Wise Men of the East? I travelled amongst the Sufis and the Hindus and the Buddhists. I devoured the flesh of the sacred beast and was initiated into the secret rite of the Birhat Tantrasaha whereby I consumed the holy Eucharist, the Kula Dravya. In time those who traverse along this path will, by degrees, unlock the Temple door, using my secret and sacred key, a mystery yet unknown to all other fraternal brothers.
Here, I build upon the foundations of fellow Brothers. Yet, it is I alone, whocan illuminate the path and provide the key for those that commit to our rites. Those who wish to follow this path should not take this decision lightly. The knowledge of these mysteries are not without their dangers.
Kesh was positioned there for him with head uplifted, and as Kesh lifted its head among all the lands, Enlil spoke the praises of Kesh. Written on tablets it was held in her hands: House, platform of the Land, important fierce bull. The priest held his arms above his head.
A tremendous flame came from each of his palms and then burned out. The priest looked at him. Who wishes to touch the hammer and tongs of Vulcan, the cock and the wand of Mercury? It was his own. The boy was the man, the man was the boy.
The son was the father, the father was the son. What do I know of this man? All I know is that he is curious, that he is somewhat skilled and that he seeks enlightenment. I say to this man and others like him. This man, Brother Francis Jones performs a process at my plant. On its own, the process is not complicated, it demands manual strength and a degree of dexterity for which he has been instructed. It requires little mental application and so, due its repetitive nature, the man becomes a mere robot, performing the same task in isolation along with thousands of other men, each at their own tasks.
My factory is full of men such as this who are contracted to perform a variety of functions, some more demanding and some more dangerous than others. Many of these men, in fact most of them, progress no further than their immediate working environment. These men are essential for the successful manufacturing process that produces my elixir, for if all men had ambition who then would perform the menial tasks required to produce our materials?data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAKAAAAB4CAYAAAB1ovlvAAACs0lEQVR4Xu3XMWoqUQCG0RtN7wJck7VgEW1cR3aUTbgb7UUFmYfpUiTFK/xAzlQWAz/z3cMMvk3TNA2XAlGBNwCj8ma.