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Speaking In Tongues CD

  [1] Daughter of Owls [5:30]
  [2] Instructions [4:58]   [mp3 Sample]   [?]
  [3] The Price [16:00]
  [4] The Sea Change [7:16]
  [5] The Facts in the Case of the
       Disappearance of Miss Finch [41:00]

    Buy the Speaking In Tongues CD »

Like its companion CD, Telling Tales, this was recorded in May 2001, in Minneapolis. Strangely enough, the luck of the draw means that three of the stories here will be coming out from Dark Horse in comics form, as interpreted by the immensely talented Michael Zulli, in 2004 and 2005. Michael did all the artwork for this CD as well. It all ought to have been meticulously planned, and instead is just a series of coincidences and accidents of the type that make the world work, and give solace to conspiracy theorists.

Instructions: This is a poem about what to do if you find yourself in a Fairy Tale. It is guaranteed to work. If you find yourself in a Fairy Tale, and, despite following these instructions to the letter, you are eaten by wolves or lost, never to be seen again, the publisher will refund the cost of this CD.

The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch is a mostly true story, and it has several real people in it, although I have made no attempt to imitate either Jonathan or Jane while reading it. These days Jane's hair is very, very red, but it was brown for a while, back when I wrote the story.

This is about the only time I've ever written a story around a painting - in this case a Frank Frazetta painting of a woman and a sabre-toothed tiger that was the cover image of the magazine in question.

The Price was originally published in a chapbook by DreamHaven (the chapbook was called On Cats and Dogs) and it is also more or less true. At least, the narrator in both of these stories is pretty much me, the house is my house, the cats my cats, and the family is my family. The black cat was just as I have described him. These days we have a new black cat, Fred the Unlucky Black Cat, who is about half the size of the black cat in this story, and who also sometimes fights things in the night. Of the cats mentioned in this story, I'm afraid Furball is no more, killed by a car last year, but the rest of them are still with us.

Daughter of Owls I love John Aubrey's writing more than is seemly - it's a marvellous, gossipy, informal, brilliant stew of information, rumour, history and anecdote. I recommend the collection of potted biographies that has been collected under the title of Brief Lives. This story was based on a sculpture by Lisa Snellings, of a girl surrounded by owls. I knew the story immediately, but didn't have a clue what the voice of the story was. I tried it as a poem, and it was terrible. So I wrote it in Aubrey's voice, and was happy.

The Sea Change was also inspired by a Lisa Snellings statue, this one of an undersea siren. I wrote it in a tiny mews house in Earls Court, with the beaches of my childhood in my mind, remembering the rattling noises that the sea made when it dragged down the pebbles. It was Kipling who called the sea the "old grey widow-maker", and it's a name I'll not forget.

Adam Stemple's been producing these CDs for me for over a decade now: this is the first time he's done the music himself - composed it and played it. If you want to hear more of him, his own CD is called 3 Solid Blows to the Head, and he's a member of the Tim Malloys and also of Boiled in Lead. Buy their CDs. Make him rich.