Nightmares in the Sky: Gargoyles and Grotesques is an coffee table art book, with photographs of gargoyles by f-stop Fitzgerald and an introduction by Stephen King. It is a nicely done book, but the introduction wasn’t all that.
f-stop Fitzgerald and Stephen King — Nightmares in the Sky: Gargoyles and Grotesques
Although Marc Glimcher, who originally asked me if I would write an essay on gargoyles as a kind of preface to the book of extraordinary photographs which follows, thought that I would be the “ideal person” for such a piece, I had deep doubts.
Nope. Couldn’t be done. How’d you image to get all those singers in the same place at the same time? Nope. Won’t happen. Justforgetaboutit. And besides, he’s not that big on touring/playing live anyway. He’d rather be working in his home studio like the hermit he is. So, no, it cannot be done.
And yet, despite all that having been said for a million times over and over again and again, it did happened. It really, really happened. Sixteen vocalists, an awesome band, just three shows (okay, and a tryout and public dress rehearsal), two years in the making, but: it could be done, and it happened. Ayreon Universe was the first time one could see Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon project perform live. And the Missus and I, we were there.
Was it awesome? Of course it was. Epicly awesome. Going in I didn’t really have a clue what to expect, apart the if you have that singer, they are surely gonna play that song, and as it turned out, the set list was great. Most of my favorite Ayreon tracks were played, and there was only one song that fell a bit flat for me, and that was “Collision”, which seemed to be the ‘watch us play really fast’ song, which was played very fast and was a bit of a tuneless drone.
If I had to pick a favorite moment, it would either be “Dawn of a Million Souls” sung by John JayCee Kuypers, or the mighty Damian Wilson completely stealing the show during “And the Druids Turned to Stone”:
In a few months there will be an official recording of this show available, for those who missed this epic show.
Arjen Lucassen presents Ayreon Universe, September 16, 2017 at 013, Tilburg
Vocalists (in order of appearance)
Mike Mills (Toehider), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Robert Soeterboek (Star One), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Anneke van Giersbergen, John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Maggy Luyten (Nightmare), Damian Wilson (ex-Threshold, Headspace), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Jay van Feggelen (Ayreon), Irene Jansen (Ayreon), Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories)
Marcel Coenen (lead guitar), Ferry Duijsens (guitar), Johan van Stratum (Bass), Joost van den Broek (keyboards), Ed Warby (drums), Ben Mathot (violin), Jeroen Goossens (flutes, woodwinds), Maaike Peterse (cello), Rob Snijders (percussion on Comatose, drums on And the Druids Turned to Stone), Peter Vink (bass on Intergalactic Space Crusaders) and Arjen Lucassen (guitar on The Castle Hall and Amazing Flight)
Prologue (Mike Mills)
Dreamtime (Edward Reekers)
Abbey of Synn (Robert Soeterboek)
River of Time (Hansi Kürsch, Marco Hietala)
Prologue: The Blackboard (Mike Mills)
The Theory of Everything, Part 1 & 2 (Mike Mills, Marcela Bovio)
Merlin’s Will (Floor Jansen, BVs)
Waking Dreams (Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen)
Dawn of a Million Souls (John JayCee Cuijpers)
Valley of the Queens (Anneke van Giersbergen, Marcela Bovio, Floor Jansen)
Ride the Comet (Jonas Renske, Maggy Luyten, BVs)
Star of Sirrah (Mike Mills, Maggy Luyten, Hansi Kürsch, Floor Jansen)
Comatose (Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen)
Day Sixteen: Loser (Mike Mills, BVs, Maggy Luyten)
And the Druids Turn to Stone (Damian Wilson)
The Two Gates incl. Band Introduction (John JayCee Cuijpers, Irene Jansen, Damian Wilson)
Into the Black Hole (Tommy Karevik)
Actual Fantasy (Edward Reekers)
Computer Eyes (Edward Reekers, Robert Soeterboek)
Magnetism (Tommy Karevik, Anneke van Giersbergen, Marco Hietala)
Age of Shadows (Marco Hietala, Hansi Kürsch, Floor Jansen)
Intergalactic Space Crusaders (Damian Wilson, Maggy Luyten)
Collision (Tommy Karevik, Marco Hietala)
Everybody Dies (Mike Mills, Hansi Kürsch, Tommy Karevik, Maggy Luyten, Floor Jansen, BVs)
The Castle Hall (Robert Soeterboek, Damian Wilson)
Amazing Flight (Jay van Feggelen, Arjen Lucassen)
Day Eleven: Love (Edward Reekers, Marcela Bovio, Ed Warby, Robert Soeterboek, BVs)
The Eye of Ra (Damian Wilson, John JayCee Cuijpers, Floor Jansen, Irene Jansen, ALL)
Stephen King had a story he didn’t know how to finish. Richard Chizmar — owner of Cemetery Dance Publications, who have published quite a few deluxe editions of King’s books, and a editor and writer as well — offered to take a crack at it:
Et voila, as they say in France: Gwendy’s Button Box.
The story is a relative lightweight in King’s oeuvre: a man in a dark suit (his initials? R.F., natch.) gives twelve year old Gwendy a box with mysterious buttons—can she be trusted to use its powers responsibly? The novella is only a hundred-twenty-something pages long, and not a whole lot happens. This is perhaps why, while promoting the book, such a big deal was made of the novella’s setting. You see, apart from some minor appearances, the town of Castle Rock had been left alone since 1991’s Needful Things. It’s a nice touch, but it doesn’t make the book anything more than mostly harmless.
Stephen King and Richard Chizmar — Gwendy’s Button Box
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs.
Link Text and Location Copier, my first Firefox add-on, has officially been published. It allows you to easily copy the text and URL of a link (or the page title and URL) from the context menu. Right click a link, select the appropriate formatting (plain text, HTML, Markdown or BB Code) and paste it wherever you like. Who needs social widgets if you got an add-on like this?
I have got two more things left on the roadmap: internationalization (translations), and customization (add your own formats). After that, I might even see if I can get it to work in all other browsers that use WebExtentions (Chrome, Opera, Edge).