Friday 3 December 2010

The Answers!

Last week, I did a little research project in which I tried to work out what proportion of my creative output I've actually got round to sharing with people.  The average answer, from four responses, was 51.25% - which has the interesting implication that I've only shared about half of the things I've ever created.

Anywho, for the benefit of anyone who found themself staring at that list and wondering what on earth I was yakking about, I shall now divulge The Answers, i.e. a new version of the list featuring the same 50 names, but now with added notes and things to explain who/what those 50 entities are.

The Primary Culprits

Before going onto the list itself, here's a brief(ish) overview of the major groups:

Universe XGT – a collective handle for a huge continuity co-created with my best friends Tim and Sarah.  Some of the more important bits of it have emerged into the public view in the form of stopmotion short films, including Alpha One’s Megalomaniac Quadrilogy, X-Battles GT, and The Probe Has Succeeded, but there’s also a big sprawling mass of largely unpublished back-story, most of which would be bad for your head.  Accounts for 10 of the 50 names on the list.

Cylinder and Miserable – my main webcomic; updated five or six times per week from late 2006.  Features lots of random weirdness.  Accounts for 7 of the 50 names on the list.

Grace and Caffeine – the weekly Christian comic strip which I produced for my church from late 2006 to summer 2010.  The principal cast had all appeared in other places first, but Grace and Caffeine was their biggest starring role.  Along with some smaller related projects, accounts for 5 of the 50 names on the list.

The Martian Ballet Trilogy – a series of computer-animated films, co-created with David Allwright, and revolving around the career misadventures of an inept Martian called Mike Half-Left.  We planned to make a fourth film, but it all seems to have ground to a halt, so I’ve taken to referring to the existing films as a trilogy.  Accounts for 4 of the 50 names on the list.

Megastropulodon – a short live-action film made for the final year of my BSc in Media Production, and a TV mini-series which I’m currently writing based on the same concept.  The name is borrowed from the big ugly mutant creature at the centre of the story.  Accounts for 3 of the 50 names on the list.

Intergalactic Hamsters - my BSc Media Production dissertation film.  Well, technically, Intergalactic Hamsters is the film within the film, and my dissertation (full title The Making of "Intergalactic Hamsters") is a spoof behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the collapse of the Intergalactic Hamsters project.  Accounts for 2 of the 50 names on the list.

The List Explained

...and here are the notes!

  1. Acid Gulps: a dodgy but popular soft drink from the Martian Ballet Trilogy (first appears in Martian Olympics, 2006).
  2. Albert S. Broccoli: an artificially-sentient broccoli from Cylinder and Miserable (first appears in Series 2, 2008), who acts as manager/butler/chauffeur/whatever to Cylinder the Cylinder.
  3. Alex Lanning: a biologist from Intergalactic Hamsters (2010); in the original story plan, Alex was supposed to be brilliant, but lacking in dress sense and other social graces, although this didn’t come out very much in the finished film.
  4. Arthur the Pensioner: a nice little old man, whose only appearance to date was in Arthur & the Punk (2006).
  5. The Blue Danube, with Walnuts: a random video I made back in 2007, which features me smashing up a tableful of small semi-edible walnuts with a claw hammer, in time to the closing couple of minutes of Strauss’ The Blue Danube waltz.  It wasn’t as wasteful as it might seem – we salvaged and ate most of the walnuts afterwards.
  6. The Binary Triumvirate: an alternative/experimental electronic music trio from Cylinder and Miserable Series 2 (2009).
  7. Black Antarctic Cryogenics: a huge cryogenics plant located underground in the middle of a desert, from Cylinder and Miserable (first appears at the end of Series 1, 2007).
  8. Bradley Stanton Park: a blindly patriotic American mountaineer, from a little animation project called Frozen Bones that’s been languishing in ‘development hell’ for quite a while.
  9. Cylinder the Cylinder: the ‘alpha protagonist’ of Cylinder and Miserable (first appearance 2006); also stars in Fort Paradox (2010 onwards).
  10. Distant Prayer – Fragment III: one of my very few musical compositions (circa 2005 ish).
  11. Deep Glass: sculptural work, made from stoneware clay with a hotter-than-usual biscuit firing, and the crushed remains of a Shloer bottle (circa 2006).
  12. Doctor Murkum: cyborg, drug-addled, hopelessly incompetent wannabe antagonist from Universe XGT, easily identified by his grey environment suit and its bulky helmet and breathing apparatus (first appearance circa 1998).
  13. Dyngaria: the name of two almost-but-not-quite unrelated stories that I’ve started writing.  The first incarnation was years and years ago, and unspeakably bad.  The new one is still in its infancy, but much more promising.  'Dyngaria' is also the name of one of the main settings of the newer book.
  14. Edwin (full name Edwin Leonard Hall): the thin, grumpy old chap with the white hair and the gardening skills, from Grace and Caffeine (2006, first appearance in other stories 2003); also stars in Fort Paradox (2010 onwards).
  15. The Essence of Fandom: a mixed-media drawing/painting thing I did a couple of years back.
  16. Emily Arkley: the purple one with the Vespa, from Day-Glo! (2007).
  17. Empire Theatre, Mars City: the theatre where Mike Half-Left’s troubles began, in the Martian Ballet Trilogy (first appears in the original version of Martian Ballet, 2003).
  18. Establisher II: the unmanned titular space probe from The Probe Has Succeeded (2009).
  19. The Fifty-Seven Meme: myself and certain friends of mine have noticed that the number 57 appears more often than most others, sometimes in the most unexpected places, leading to the theory that it is in fact woven into the very fabric of the spacetime continuum, and/or is deliberately stalking us around the universe.  I’ve made several intentional ‘57’ references in various media, in a tacit acknowledgement of its presumed metaphysical importance.
  20. First Dabox: the homeworld of the pragmatically-minded Grud race, in Universe XGT.  The orange chap with the five eyes in The Probe Has Succeeded (2009) is a Grud.
  21. Forkley: a fork-lift-truck type individual, from the ‘Ganaraner’ race of sentient machines in Universe XGT (first appearance circa 1998); also appears in Fort Paradox (2010 onwards).
  22. Fort Paradox: the name of both a recently-started cross-continuity webcomic, and its principal location.  I won’t tell you what the Fort actually is, as that would spoil the surprise for when we reveal it in the comic strip B]
  23. Gastropo Thrush: a molluscoid athlete from the Martian Ballet Trilogy (first appears in Martian Olympics, 2006).
  24. Gavin the Head: you don’t want to know.  Suffice to say it’s from Universe XGT, and if you’re going to try and comprehend Universe XGT, Gavin the Head is a very bad place to start!
  25. Greenchester: a little game I wrote in Visual Basic 6 in 2008.  Windows only.
  26. Harry Dixon: sort of cheating, this one: Harry was the main character from the short student film One in a Million, which I directed, from a script by course mate Stephen Boulter (2009).
  27. Hooper (full name James Richard Boris Montgomery Hooper): long-suffering assistant to the failed megalomaniac villain Alpha One, from Universe XGT.  Unlike most of UXGT, Hooper and Alpha’s misadventures have been published: in the stopmotion films Alpha One’s Laser Cafe (2008) and Alpha One’s Quantum Shampoo (2009).  A threequel is in production.
  28. The iKon Cinema: many years ago, back in the days when I used to make towns out of Lego and cereal packets, I decided I wanted to build a cinema.  It worked too, sort of, thanks to a system of paper strips with different scenes on them, which could be fed through a little ‘gate’ setup to emulate a screen.  The films were a bit rubbish, but it was an achievement at the time.  I could show you a picture of the remains, but they're really dilapidated, so it'd be a bit embarrassing.
  29. I See the Light at the End: my last and greatest sculptural work (to date, anyway… never say never): a 5 x 7 foot mosaic (btw, there’s that number 57 again, see?), built from over 400 custom-designed and hand-made tiles, at Farnborough Sixth Form College (2007).
  30. Jason Meddings: the reluctant ‘Chosen One’ from Megastropulodon Attacks! (2010).
  31. Lost in Minehead 2006: the official video from one of our church youth holidays.  I didn’t do the camerawork, but the project was turned over to me for post-production.
  32. Mark Coleridge: student filmmaker protagonist of The Making of “Intergalactic Hamsters” (2010).
  33. Matilda Ferguson: from a not-yet-published storyline in Cylinder and Miserable (due to appear online in 2011).
  34. Metaphysical Violation Drive: a type of airship propulsion technology from Cylinder and Miserable (first appears in Series 2, 2008, as part of Cylinder the Cylinder’s new vessel the Excylindrical).
  35. Mike Half-Left: ill-fated protagonist of the Martian Ballet Trilogy.  The serial job-failer first appears in the original version of Martian Ballet, 2003).
  36. Pascal Davis: a computer-nerd character who first appeared in his own strip, Pascal Davis and the Machines (2005), and then made a few guest appearances in Grace and Caffeine (2007 – 2010).
  37. The Prayers of Thousands: sculptural work, featuring plaster casts of people’s hands (2005).
  38. Quantum Shampoo: the titular substance from Alpha One’s Quantum Shampoo (2009) – I won’t tell you what it is here.  You should go and watch the movie!
  39. Redwood 257: one of the locations from a fragmentary script which I’ve been picking at on and off for four-and-a-half years.
  40. Rhugestian Swamp Dog: an omnivorous egg-laying mammalian creature, the size of a large dog or a small pig, with a long prehensile nose.  Those who recognise the species will probably know them as the green thing from The Probe Has Succeeded (2009), but in the wider context of Universe XGT, they are said to hail from the planet Rhugestis, not from Harcom-1, the setting of the stopmotion short.
  41. Ron Haggard: the self-proclaimed ‘Sidekick’ from Megastropulodon Attacks! (2010).
  42. The Square: a new-but-unwanted cargo ship surreptitiously rescued from the scrapyard and transformed into a notorious guerrilla warship, in Universe XGT.
  43. The Suitcase: the favourite biological weapon of the so-called ‘Evil Terrorists of Doom’, from Cylinder and Miserable (first appears in Series 1, 2007).
  44. Tarberford: setting of the very short-lived comic where most of the main cast of Grace and Caffeine began their existences.
  45. Tasmin (full name Anna-Beth Tasmin Linden): a new character who I’ve added to the in-development TV-series version of Megastropulodon.
  46. Tharryk: a massive and impenetrable prison galaxy in Universe XGT.
  47. Tom (full name Tom Thomason): the nice chap with the hooked nose, the bald scalp, and the liking for tea, often found behind the pulpit of Volesford Free Church in Grace and Caffeine (2006, first appearance in other stories 2003).  Also stars in the animated short film Goin’ Teapotty (2009).
  48. Turbo Gran: aged but invincible protagonist of the interactive short film of the same name (2008).
  49. TW-A42: a subcategory of the Doorwarden-series robots.  The A42 itself hasn’t yet made any public appearance, but it will soon enough, and one of its successors, the TW-C75, appeared in Vs. Doorwarden (2003) and its sequel (2005).
  50. West Spottlington: a largeish fictional town fifteen miles from Volesford, which is mentioned a few times in Grace and Caffeine (2008-ish onwards), and is also the setting of Megastropulodon Attacks! (2010) – although I couldn’t really say whether or not these two stories both take place in the same version of the town, or if they just happen to share the same name.  It’s never been stated in any published film or comic strip, but I've also decided that West Spottlington is the home of Pascal Davis.

So, there you have it.  I hope you feel all enlightened and stuff.  And for those who've got catch-up to do, happy reading!


- The Colclough

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