Showing posts with label General. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General. Show all posts

Saturday 11 February 2012

Kyle's Drawing from CLASH

Okay, Kyle is fictional, so no, this isn't really his drawing, but it is the image that inspired a certain scene.

In Clash, Kyle is at a loss what to do when his mother is in the maternity ward and her baby (Kyle's brother) is in an incubator in Special Care. He ends up doing a drawing so his mother can have an image of her baby by her bed - all because the other mothers in the ward have their actual babies in cots by their beds.

This scene was taken from real life.

When my wife had our first boy, he was in an incubator in the Special Care Baby Unit, and she was up in a ward where other mothers had their babies in cots - a bit cruel, but there you go. A decent ward might have put her in a side room.

For some reason I thought you weren't allowed to use cameras in the special care unit (there were some very premature babies in there under special lighting). So I nipped home, grabbed a drawing pad, pencils and set to work. I went back up to the ward and pinned the picture to the wall.

However, there is a spooky side to this story. When we lived in Washington, loads of strange things happened when Matthew came home. His mobile would spin on its own, the cat would go nuts for no reason... there were other weird things too, but the strangest was the morning when this drawing (in its frame) fell off the wall for no reason. This happened at 6am while we were still in bed. The bang woke us up, and I came downstairs to find the frame behind the TV. Rather than refix it there and then, I put in on the bookcase and went back to bed...

...That evening, we had a flood and every picture that was still hanging in our front room was ruined as water streamed down the walls.


Sunday 6 March 2011

Rock Music, Stage Diving and a Fire Crew - It's the Clash Launch Party

Thursday 3rd March was one of the craziest nights of my life. Rather than launch the book in a shop or library, I booked a theatre and got local teen rock band, Hell's Marauders, to play.

There were a few surprises during the night. The first was the cake Paula had made, with the full clash cover printed on the icing. The second was the fire engine in the car park.The third was being dragged up on stage to sing Anarchy in the UK with the band.

I think I might be the first author to do a stage dive at a launch party.

The fire crew were there thanks to Nev. Nev gave me some help on a few technical details in the novel. He was on call on Thursday night but wanted to come along, so he turned up in a fire engine with the whole crew.

Catnip editor Non Pratt got up to do a truly wonderful introduction, then I jumped up, grabbed the mike and screamed out, "HELLO FATFIELD!" - proper rockstar style!

I calmed down enough to do a short talk about YA fiction and a reading of chapter one. The band played punk and metal tracks while I signed books. When the books sold out, the band (Cai, Lewis, Mich & Simon) came over to tell me their suprise idea of getting me up to sing a Sex Pistols track with them - a childhood dream come true!

Many thanks to everyone who turned up: workmates, friends and family - some I haven't seen for years. All in all, the launch night of legend.


has landed!

Saturday 26 June 2010

Getting Soaked at Alnwick Gardens

Wake up, make sarnies, grab crisps, pop, kids and go...

It was fantastic weather up at Alnwick Gardens today. This time, we had the forethought to take a change of clothes for the kids and a towel. This is because there is a fabulous water feature there. It's a huge column that gradually fills with water. When the water reaches the top, a valve opens and water jets shoot up around it.

So yeah, the kids were okay - they had a change of clothes. But Matthew got so excited that we couldn't leave him out - and that meant someone would have to stand in there with him. Me.

But Matthew loved it, so I didn't mind walking around for the next three hours with a damp arse. The gardens are so fantastic that it wouldn't have mattered anyway. I must have been taken with it because I've agree to go to a garden centre tomorrow. Fancy doing something creative. Maybe a bamboo maze like this...

Maybe I'll just buy a pot-plant.

Colin Mulhern

Thursday 29 October 2009

Pumpkin 2009

Finished! I could clean it up a little, but I wanted to get the candles in.

and here's it with the lights out...

Colin Mulhern

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Pumpkin Head

I'm all fired up for Halloween (or Hallowe'en, if I'm really picky). However you spell it, it's a great time of year. I wish it was the big time horror fest that it is now when I was a kid. We never had pumpkins to carve; we used turnips, or suedes, if you're southern - we called them snadgies. They were cheap, but they were incredibly hard to carve. Pumplins are a doddle.

I'm busy playing with ideas for what to carve this year. This is last year's effort:

as modelled by Cameron. There were so many teeth, it was almost cut in two and started to sag after a few hours.

This year I fancy taking it to the next level. I had a practice this afternoon carving a photographic image of Matthew into a pumpkin.

The result is okay, considering it was rushed, but it's not as much fun as a scary face. So I think I'll keep to tradition and do a proper scary pumpkin, but I might go for 3D teeth or something.

Whatever I come up with, I'll post a pic. So come back soon.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Colin Mulhern

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Child Snatchers and White Vans

Lock your doors. Shut your windows. Turn out the lights.

No matter what, don’t... DON’T... leave the house.

This was the advice of a Year 5 girl yesterday morning, backed up by a group of friends, because... (cue haunting music) There is a man driving a white van, with blacked out windows, who is abducting kids from the streets around our school!!!!

Not true, of course. It’s an Urban Legend: the kind of story that sounds real, usually because the teller says something like: ‘It happened to a friend of my mam!’ hence their other name, Friend-of-a-Friend stories. Usually, the more macabre, the better.

When I was a kid I knew loads of these stories, and took great pleasure in scaring the hell out of kids bigger than me. Once, on a school trip away, when we were all supposed to be tucked up in bed, I reduced the hardest kid in the school to tears with a series of ghost stories that I swore were true. (Years later, this inspired a scene in CLASH).

I think the reason Urban Legends work so well is that because they are word of mouth, they come across as a shared secret, and in being told as, ‘it’s true – this definitely, definitely happened, honest!’ they have a stronger affect our imagination and natural fear of the unknown. You’re left thinking that if it happened to the kid in the story, it could happen to you.

And Urban Legends don’t just freak kids out. I’ve heard many, many stories told to me by adults, convinced they are true; convinced they have happened to a friend of a sister at college, or an Aunty out shopping, including such classics as:

  • The escaped lunatic hiding in the car

  • The axe under the driver’s seat

  • The flat mate’s scarf

  • The babysitters and the killer upstairs.

The internet has created new versions: Michael Jackson’s ghost on YouTube is a big hit (in the eighties it was the ghost in Three Men and a Baby, and further back there is the ghost in The Wizard of Oz, later debunked when the DVD showed it to be nothing more than a bird stretching its wings!). The April Fool’s Day virus is an annual event, and 9/11 resulted in hundreds of urban legends of terror plots and government conspiracy.

Basically, if there’s something you can gossip about that makes someone else look first in disbelief and then horror, then you’re halfway there.

Of course, this didn’t help the year 5 girls with their fear of the white van. One girl was in tears at the prospect of going home that day. Telling her it was just a story wasn’t enough. Luckily, I found an Australian newspaper reporting the very same story back in May. I showed her the most important line in the report:

Two days later, police informed the media that the attempted abduction report was false, that the young girl had made it up.

‘See how stories spread? It’s taken 5 months for that story to get from Australia to here.’

She finally nodded and agreed not to spend any more time worrying.

But there is another side to that story; the real curse of the Urban Legend...

If there is someone in our local area, driving a with a white van with blacked out windows, the poor bloke is probably wondering why groups of kids are pointing and screaming whenever he drives past.

colin mulhern

Saturday 29 August 2009

Fun With a Wheelbarrow

So far, most of my posts on this new blog are about Matthew. Can't resist this next one though. I'll justify it by using it for a short story.

I took Matthew in the back garden and put him on the trampoline, bounced him a few times (very tiring), then let him lie on the grass while I mowed the lawn. That's when I spotted the wheelbarrow. It's old and rusty and covered in dried concrete, but what the hell. With a blanket and a duvet it was ready to roll. Matthew had a quick tour of the street, bumping up and down the curbs. He had a great time. Then we returned to the garden and tipped him out - to squeals of delight.

The next post will be about writing. Honest!

Saturday 22 August 2009

Jolly Holidays

Just spent a week in Great Yarmouth. Had loads of fun with Matthew and his new chair. It certainly made the holiday a lot easier not having to push his old thing around. I should have included a picture of us in the Corn Mega Maze because there's no way we could have ever taken his old chair in there. It was full of bumps and furrows, and we managed to get completely lost.

Here’s a picture of me and Matty in the Model Village.

The Model Village is wheelchair friendly and works like IKEA – a single pathway taking you all of the way around, weaving around the various scenes and settings - but the path is very narrow in places and built up on either side with a wall... we had a few bashes, but went round twice.

I won’t bore you with details of everything there, but we had a fun packed week, perfect weather, and we definitely need to go back some time to visit all the places we missed.

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