In which Tim mostly talks about robots…

Posted: June 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Slowly but surely I’m building the Booking Information page. There should now be details up for my performance of The Court of the Queen of Claywood Flats. It is one of my favourite shows and I’m hoping that I’ll still be able to tour it for years to come.

On an unrelated note, I’ve been thinking about robots a lot lately. They have a seminal place in my love of stories dating back to the letters my step-father wrote to me as a child. I was young when my mother remarried. As an adult I wonder what it must have been like for my step-father to fall for a woman who came with a small, ticklish, sickly, know-it-all son attached. He moved away for a few months at the start of a new job, living in a bedsit while we sorted out the process of moving to join him. These were tentative times, early in our relationship, and there are few roadmaps written on how you’re meant to fashion a father-son bond.

I had given him a lego spaceman and robot to keep him company at work. He wrote me stories, the adventures that he’d overheard the spaceman dictating to his companion. I was too young to read his handwriting, which being “joined-up” seemed to hardly resemble the letters I was learning. My mother read them aloud to me instead. Now, as an adult, I haul them out from under my bed and what strikes me most is the gentleness in them.

I don’t normally tell stories from my own life or experiences, but this little exchange between myself and my step-dad forms a nice introduction to a tale I tell about the museum he worked in. The story will feature in my upcoming show Re-branding Beelzebub TM, which I’m hoping to tour in 2013. The show brings together of a pack of urban devil stories that have slithered their way into my repertoire without any sort of intent on my part, and I’ll try and keep you up to date here on the show’s progress.

But back to robots. Has anyone seen Richard Sargent’s Where’s Wall-E? picture that’s doing the rounds on facebook? It’s a great medley of popular robots. Enjoy it. See how many of them you remember. I’d like to put a shout out, though, to two of my favourite synthetic creations that didn’t make it onto Sargent’s image.

One is the incredible The One Electonic, or Mr T.O.E., from Evan Dahm’s Riceboy webcomic. This humanoid machine is a trench-coat wearing, hard smoking, film noir bad-ass. The One Electronic is on a quest to find the fulfiller of an ancient prophecy. He’s made a deal (possibly with God,) that as long as he keeps on the quest he is effectively immortal, but that as soon as he abandons the quest he’ll die. Riceboy is gorgeous and I particularly like the art for The One Electronic, whose face shows occasional images like a TV set hunting for an analogue signal. Furthermore, Riceboy is finished, a feature I usually approve of in a webcomic. The ending seemed a bit abrupt to me, but that hasn’t put me off T.O.E. and I hope you’ll be just as impressed by him as well. First page is right here.

The second robot I want to present to you all is Navvy Jim. He could never have made Sargent’s poster because he only ever appeared in text, as a part of the bizarre but wondrous world of Jenna Moran’s Hitherby Dragons. Hitherby Dragons is likely to be the subject of a whole blog post from me at some point, when I can fathom sufficient hyperbole to begin to describe it. It is, in its way and as far as I’m aware, the single greatest work ever composed in the English language. It is also flawed, inaccessable, geeky, monstrously vast, unfinished and very hard to recommend to people. However, a great taste of the epic is a short series of three linked stories written in May 2006 called The Dynamite Trilogy. Navvy Jim is the eponymous star of the first part, he is a Rock-Paper-Scissors playing robot so good at the game that he always wins. Always. In this short series, Moran captures the beautiful, alien and compassionate quality of the impossible mechanical being. He turns up in the third part as well, where he is awesome.

Anyway, that’s enough about robots and that’s all from me for now. Him downstairs and I need to have a long chat about this show we seem to be crafting together. Until next time!


2 Comments on “In which Tim mostly talks about robots…”

  1. 1 Qoheleth said at 9:04 pm on April 10th, 2014:

    As a fellow Hitherby Dragons enthusiast, I just want to double-check that you’re aware of Enemies Endure (a novel trilogy that stitches several Hitherby legends – including the Dynamite Trilogy – into a single, coherent story).

  2. 2 Tim Ralphs said at 9:13 pm on April 10th, 2014:

    Thanks for stopping by Qoheleth! My name is on a Indiegogo page as a backer for Enemies Endure, somewhere.

    And for those of you interested in buying it, you can pick it up here! for only $4.99

    I should say, in the interests of full disclosure, that I haven’t read the Dynamite Trilogy as it appears in Enemies Endure. But I suspect it’s pretty awesome.


Leave a Reply