Other Work by Poppy Palin
A Nice Cup of Hinkpog
(This page is very much under construction. Please return!)
Nonsense Verse, Ridiculous Imagery and Miscellaneous Other Creative Outbursts
It was all action for the Bertmold-Sprangleys...
Before Poppy was ever a writer of mystical books, a tattooer of green-spirited persons or indeed an illustrator of beautiful images she loved to write and draw nonsense. In the great tradition of Lear, Gorey, Belloc, Milligan and, to a lesser degree, her ertswhile hero the late Mr Lennon, she has penned many verses and drawn many foolish pictures to accompany them.
Death of a Bombily
Here is a taster of both 'Unreasonable Rhymes' (or unseasonable crimes, even) and her latest 'on-the-side and off-the-wall' project, 'I Find That Most Inappropriate'.
Ernold ran after the shoe which hovered horribly in the air...
She hopes to publish both in some form before she is too dead but if anyone would like to help her out with this task now, that'd be just lovely!
A Smashing Goth Disco
And now for something completely different.
Modern (non-magical) Fiction!
This is a serious work of horror fiction and not for the squeamish. It was illlustrated by the infinitely talented Dave Kendall (see links page) and still has no publisher. It is part graphic novel, part novella.
WELCOME TO AVALON
This is Poppy's mainstream novel (as yet incomplete) which takes a wry look at Glastonbury and the whole of 'New Age' and modern pagan culture. It is a work of fiction, lovingly crafted, but to misquote the late Kenny Everett it's all done in the worst possible taste...
Here's the sample 'blurb'
WELCOME TO AVALON,
WHERE TRUTH IS DEFINETELY STRANGER THAN FICTION
When Louisa Berry goes to see a clairvoyant she is instructed that in order to find romance and adventure she should move from boring Luton to Glastonbury, a town famed for its annual music festival. It is not until Louisa arrives in Glastonbury that she realises that it doubles as Avalon, the magical Isle of myth, alleged home of the legendary Holy Grail and a New Age Mecca for many.
Whilst seeking the exciting new life and love that
she was promised, Louisa encounters many other pilgrims in situations so bizarre
that no psychic could
have predicted them. Firstly there is her sponge-obsessed landlord Jurgen and Case, her green-haired Goddess-worshipping boss. Then Louisa meets Kevin, an aging and probably psychotic punk, melancholy David Mensch with his morbid fear of ice, Faunas the frigid Druid and the compulsive-obsessive Lizbet who is convinced she is an alien. These few are amongst many others, all of whom are in Avalon searching for a version of enlightenment.
Living and working in the town, Louisa finds herself increasingly drawn into the spiritual maelstrom and it is only her contact with her dearest friend from Luton, the down-to earth Wensley, that keeps her from disappearing up one of her own newly discovered chakras. Following the other seekers in the vague hope that they will lead her to her destiny, she finds herself knee deep in the crop circle mystery, up to her eyes at mystical Avebury, flat on her back in festival mud and in over her head at the famous Tor of her adopted home. Ending up at a farcical ceremony at Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice, and still without the exciting love life that was prophesised for her, Louisa finds herself wondering how she ever got herself into such a mess in the first place.
Can Louisa hold on to her own integrity, and indeed sanity, whilst living in Glastonbury or is she destined to become another of Avalon’s spiritual casualties before she finds the romance that was predicted?
WELCOME TO AVALON shares the humour, pathos and downright confusion of living in the New Age, and especially in Glastonbury, ‘the holiest earthe in all England’, a place where visions are given and taken away in equal measure and dreams are sold alongside normal daily life in a Somerset town.
It is a tale which reveals that sometimes the things we search for are much closer than we think…
What follows next is a short extract
It was a word I hadn’t really heard before, unless you count Brian Ferry crooning it in that song that made the charts years ago, and yet here she was, this vision of wholesomeness, mentioning it ten to the dozen.
“You’ll know if Avalon wants you to stay or not. Some people are embraced by her and others are spat out. Avalon has a finely tuned sensibility for those who come to take from her and she doesn’t tolerate them for long.”
With this she looked me up and down an appraising way that the Buddha on her baggy tie dye t-shirt may have found unnecessary and then shifted her gaze meaningfully over to a group of worse-for-wear traveller types. They seemed to have formed a large many-limbed being on the bench opposite, a kind of big amorphous mass of greyish skin and blackish clothing that was emitting almost visible fumes of syrupy Special Brew. I blinked at this fascinating octopoidal image, feeling the need to shake my head to confirm its reality. God I was hungry again. And what was wrong with calling the town Glastonbury, anyway? More to the point when had the town become a she? If there was some sort of code here I didn’t understand it at all.
I’d only stopped to ask this woman where exactly the Warrior’s Way was and here she was almost interviewing me for my suitability for living in Glastonbury. Or Avalon. Or whatever it was called, I didn’t care much right now. All I knew was that I needed a snack before I went to see this room that I had seen advertised for rent.
“People like that,” she indicated the mass on the bench, “are not what Avalon needs.” She sniffed through an unfeasibly small and delightfully freckle-kissed
“This is the heart chakra of the world! Avalon is of the heart and it doesn’t need any negativity at all.”
She didn’t say whether I was what it needed and frankly I didn’t give a damn right now. I had to have food before I climbed that bloody hill to the house on Warrior’s Way. I felt like saying “step aside lady, it has been decreed by higher than yourself that I should live here!” but of course I didn’t. I just Mumbled in what I hoped was an sympathetic sounding cadence and moved off, leaving her tossing her winsomely wavy and utterly au naturel mousy hair and no doubt pondering whether there should some sort of formal vetting process for those who wanted to drive past that slightly crooked ‘Welcome to Glastonbury’ sign on the bypass.
It had amused me as I had driven in, singing along to Alice in Chains in my trusty powder blue and rust Fiesta, to see ‘you’ll never leave!’ inked underneath that polite salutation on the road sign. It had given me an affirmation that there were people of good humour to be found in the area and not just the gamut of ‘dirty, sponging crusties’ that some people, mostly Wensley, had warned me about. It couldn’t be all like that could it? After all, it was just a sleepy little town where ordinary people lived out their run-of-the-mill lives. The music festival didn’t go on all year. Filled with the positivity that came with certainty of once in my life doing what was right I had driven on, waving at the sign and singing even more loudly.
Yes, all had been tickedy-boo with the world just over an hour ago when I had parked up and only had to pay thirty pence for the pleasure. Now I was getting all agitated and my mood was definitely taking a dive. And who wouldn’t feel perturbed after spending fruitless time in a stifling and sour smelling public payphone kiosk phoning up the precious few numbers for rooms to let? And that was after visiting the oppressive tourist information office for available Bed and Breakfast rooms and drawing a blank too, whilst being eyed up and down by the snooty woman behind the desk as if I were a bluebottle that had settled on her Cornetto.
There had been so disappointingly few likely sounding places described on the faded cards in shop windows that every single call I had made counted. However, using the only working public phone for this desperate foray was a nightmare. I had tried to be heard as I talked with the handful of available landlords or house-sharers whilst competing with the sound of someone abusing the bagpipes outside the box, backed up by the thunderous pounding of dance music emitting from the cars that shot past me. That too had been overlaid with the nasal honking of a didgeridoo by the war memorial and the two very vocal women selling the Big Issue outside the pie shop.
Ah, the pie shop, a nice normal bakery that smelled of the usual warm and tempting things. Why hadn’t I braved the duo of contagious looking magazine vendors and gone in there while I had the chance? I could have done with a stout cheese and onion slice and a can of Coke. The shop I was now standing outside looked like the kind of place where you couldn’t by a decent packet of Walkers, only some hand-crafted Toad and Tabernacle crisps and a flapjack fashioned from filigree of organic owl and I’d be late if I started looking around now. Why did there seem to be so few recognisable shops in this place? Didn’t anyone ever need to buy a pair of knickers or a saucepan? It seemed to me right then, judging by the artfully constructed window displays, that the populace of Glastonbury must have lived on crystals, incense and unsweetened soy milk. Someone at work had been talking about ‘Breatharians’ in the staff room recently, apparently a cult that lived on nought but air and sunshine. It had been such an anathema to me that I had immediately unwrapped a Kitkat to affirm my own beliefs. Perhaps this town was where they came from, these food-spurning mad persons?
Sighing and trudging onwards I began to search my pockets for an old pistachio nut lurking amongst the lint. I was baking in my usual uniform of black and losing my cool mentally too. Out of the difficult phone box experience I had only had luck with one of the landlords, the rest had been vaguely rude or rudely vague, and I had arranged to pop up to see this apparently singular single room in fifteen minutes. In order to get a sense of where I was in relation to the town, and to kick off with some sort of attempt at fitness, I had decided to walk it no matter how uncomfortable it made me. The gritty heat of the street was making me feel dirty and itchy and if it hadn’t been for the fact that Ceres had predicted that I categorically had to move to Glastonbury, along with a whole host of perfectly convincing things that had given credence to her psychic decree, then I would have probably packed in all in and driven back to Bedfordshire after finding myself a nice bag of chips and picking up a souvenir for my Mum. I wasn’t usually one for being so pro-active generally but I had to stay in this sweltering, brooding little town no matter how hard it was for me…it was my destiny. Honestly.
I tried desperately to manufacture my previous ebullient mood back but I simply couldn’t see, on first viewing at least, what was going to be so splendidly uplifting about this rather grubby little wind-tunnel of a street whose high walls acted as an acoustic amplifier for every drone, belch and whoop of sound. Nor had I been soothed by its attendant green and pleasant hills which I had only caught a glimpse of, decapitated by the angle, as I tried to negotiate one of many roundabouts on the bypass. But if I gave up on what Ceres had given me as guidance then I may as well give up completely as no one else had ever offered me the possibility of a proper happy future as she had. Perhaps the Tor and the town would look infinitely more inviting after a meal and a shower? Well, I bloody well hoped so anyway.
I placed every ounce of my faith in Ceres’ words as I started out unenthusiastically for Warrior’s Way. Ceres. You don’t get many people in Luton called that. Well, to be fair she lives in the outskirts of Harpenden but still, you see what I mean. I bet there are at least five Cereses in Glastonbury and a smattering of Demeters and Persephones too. Too many of the places I had seen on offer as (apparently full) B and B’s in the tourist information place came with flowery names such as ‘The Indigo Retreat House and Healing Dharma Garden’ and gave names like Inanna Fairheart or Alec Bearpaw for their proprietors. Most odd. In Luton you’d probably get a room in ‘Haemorrhoid House’ run by someone called Chlamidya.