Fearless Vampire Killers: Halloween Blog XVIII WARNING VERY LONG!

I seem to begin many of my blogs halfway through a “spat” with at least one other member of FVK. This will be no exception! Drew filled the sand pit, now he has to play in it – and I’m building the sand castles.

So, without further adieu, here’s a list of reasons why this blog is late. P.s as you may have guessed, I luurve using bullet points.

  • On arriving in a windy, eerily quiet, pre-Halloween Beccles, I simply had no choice but to catch a documentary on Neil Young and watch it with my dad, as in London we don’t have T.V, plus we’re going to be astronomically busy bumpkins in the coming days (and months). In conclusion, this was my only chance to fit it in. After that I went to bed as I Knackered innit?
  • Woke up at 8am and loped off into the wilderness – knowing my leg wasn’t up to it – on a 45 minute, bastard-sword of a run – up Murderers Lane via Ringsfield and an old church I can’t recall the name of. Saw a gargantuan, solitary black dog lingering amongst the frost-bitten, sentinel like hay bales down by a little stream we used call the River Treeford. Seeing it there in the early morning fog sent a shiver alive all over me, and I turned what was supposed to be a light jog into a cowardly sprint. Needless to say I busted my leg in and couldn’t run yesterday, so woe is me. Hopefully I can run tonight. In fact perhaps it was a good thing, i was beginning to feel like a bit of douche-bag going on about running all the time.
  • Went to Norwich because Pommie (little brother) and oaiwehdo – disguising her name because she’d be embarrassed – (little sister) have birthdays coming up and so I needed to get them gifts. Also bought a cursive record and a thrice record I don’t have. Very Important. Also managed to find a DVD of the Spaghetti western Death Rides A Horse. Oxfam kicks ass!
  • 12pm – Really small coffee from a really small coffee shop called The Window with my dad. Also important.
  • 3pm – Home and then Dark Rum from big corporate red lettered shop in Beccles. First time I even think about blogging but then realise I have to wrap presents and make cards before Band Practice.
  • 5pm – With presents wrapped it’s practice time, and we’re rehersing Even Ghosts Forget. It’s a new song – lets hope it rocks like a mound of shattered of 7″ Vinyl pressings of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid!
  • 6pm-1am – Timids’ Party. Would’ve been anti-social to be blogging wouldn’t it? Watched a bit of one of our favourite B-movies before hand – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0858436/ 
  • Sunday morning – Death Rides a Horse. Must stress here that it was imperative I watched the film then as otherwise I would probably NEVER watch It. Back in the big smoke, at the flat, we have an allotted hour – two if we’re lucky – to watch T.V shows or films, and let’s be honest, no one but I wants to be watching Lee Van Cleef riding around to one of the THE GREATEST MORRICONNE SCORES EVER in a late nineteen-sixties revenge western, when we’ve got Buffy, Dexter, Your Highness, Walking Dead, West Wing, Scream 3, Fright Night, blah, blah, oink, to get through yet.
  • 12pm – oaiwehdo comes round because I wouldn’t get a chance to see her before christmas. Sibling bro-sis down, ask her how school’s going and find out she’s going to be seeing our chummeddyboos in Polar at the UEA with Rise Against. She asked if they were heavy and i said, “yeah, live they scare the hell outta me!” In a good way of course.
  • 3pm – I dig out (yeah I know the grammatical tense of this blog has gradually changed, but quite frankly I don’t river dance {give a damn} because I’m pugnasious like that in I?) a load of old video tapes from when we were kids (those wistful days when I wanted to be a film director) and find some hilarious gems. Strangely Elliot, Taken By Force, and even the “seminal” Poltermort. I even manage to extract some footage of an early Self-Titled (Drew and I’s old band) show at Sea Breeze in Lowestoft, February 2005. It’s delightfully awful, with out of tune vocals, out of tune guitars, no one seems to have learned the songs, and I barely move – my hands locked behind my back like some kind of chubby, adolescent Liam Gallagher. The highlights are definitely a Kurt Cobain-haired Drew, warbling out a classic rendition of his self-penned opus Voice Of The Tortured Souls (Thoughts Of A Dying Race Part 3), completely in his own world, ignoring the fact that neither Tom or Piers know what they’re playing! It’s so awful that I even come back on afterwards and say something along the lines of, “Well, now that’s over an done with, here’s Golden Touch by Razorlight”. Drew would be first to admit that VOTTS isn’t his greatest work, but it must be mentioned that it did end with a killer riff. But it was crazy, the room was packed, and we finished the set with a Rage Against The Machine extravaganza, playing Wake Up, before getting an encore and coming back on to play, Killing In The Name. Even then, while screaming “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!” I barely move an inch! TRIVIA. Kier is in the front row, and Shane films half of the set, while our old producer and half of duo Crystal Bats Will Vaughan films the other. Naan Naan was probably somewhere in Hemel with a hat on.
  • 5pm – Band Practice and then drive back to London listening to the P Man Stump and sleeping in my bear hat.
  • 9pm – Flat, finding food and sorting stuff out.
  • 10pm – Your Highness + various band things. R.E Your Highness – anything with a dismembered penis in it and I’m sorted. Saw it at the cinema also. A laugh a minute. Judge me not!
  • 12:30 – Tired munchkin. Bedtime.

So there, Drew! That’s why this is so late! But this has not yet even begun, for now let us wrap up warm and settle down into the belly of this blog (the bit that has something to do with Halloween.)

You may remember this from earlier,

“Saw a gargantuan, solitary black dog lingering amongst the frost-bitten, sentinel like hay bales down by a little stream we used call the River Treeford. Seeing it there in the early morning fog sent a shiver alive all over me, and I turned what was supposed to be a light jog into a cowardly sprint.”

Well, the motivations for my cowardly actions will be known to some, but for those not native to the wilds of East Anglia, all will now be explained. My lovely ladies and dashing gents, let me introduce you to The Legend Of Black Shuck!


“He takes the form of a huge black dog, and prowls along dark lanes and lonesome field footpaths, where, although his howling makes the hearer’s blood run cold, his footfalls make no sound. You may know him at once, should you see him, by his fiery eye; like the Cyclops’, is in the middle of his head. But such an encounter might bring you the worst of luck: it is even said that to meet him is to be warned that your death will occur before the end of the year.” (W. A. Dutt: ‘Highways & Byways in East Anglia’, 1901.)

Growing up in East Anglia, especially the area of Waveney Valley, which is home to many a ghost story and haunted house (the mysterious Roos Hall for example), the first ghost story you become aware of, isn’t Bloody Mary or some other Americanized, ghoulish monstrosity, but something very close to home; Black Shuck.

Now, black dogs are by no means native to East Anglia, on the contrary in fact, they pop all over the place, from Padfoot and Hairy Jack in the North, to The Yeth or Yell Hound of Devon, a headless beast, apparently the ghost of an un-baptized child. But let’s face it Black Shuck owns them all – I mean local rock heroes The Darkness even wrote a song about the old fiend.

Lets start with the name, I’ve read that the name ‘Shuck’ could be either from Old English ‘scucca’ (Devil, demon, etc), or from dialectal ‘shucky’ (shaggy, unkempt, rough-haired.) Most paranormal detectives tend to swing more in favour toward the latter, as though there are other places in England that use scucca in place names Shuckburgh, Shucknall, Shocklach, Shobrooke – not a single one exists in East Anglia. Leading them to think that part of the old language didn’t survive in the region.

So with that sorted lets look at the legend. There’re many stories caught up in Shuck’s big butted shit-hellstorm of a myth, but here is my favourite (and possibly the most popular.)

On Sunday 4th August 1577 an extremely violent thunderstorm shook the church of Bungay in Suffolk. Mid-service, a fearful-looking black dog appeared inside the church, in front of the parishioners.

“This black dog, or the divel in such a linenesse (God hee knoweth al who worketh all,) runing all along down the body of the church with great swiftnesse, and incredible haste, among the people, in a visible fourm and shape, passed between two persons, as they were kneeling uppon their knees, and occupied in prayer as it seemed, wrung the necks of them bothe at one instant clene backward, in somuch that even at a moment where they kneeled, they strangely dyed.”

Two were touched by the animal and were instantly killed. A third unfortunate soul is said to have shrivelled up like a drawn purse. On exiting the church the beast left charred paw marks on the door, and later that evening it appeared in another church at Blythburgh, seven miles away, also killing three people and ‘blasting’ others.

Scary, eh? And there’s more, thousands of tales of this beast, even sightings of it in the cemetery I lived opposite!

Now, of course the dog I saw, as far as I remember, was not cylclopic, or even triclopic! And it probably was just a farmers hound and nothing sinister at all. But who knows? Let’s see if I run into him next time.

Until my next letter, or in the case of running into Black Shuck, never…



136 thoughts on “Fearless Vampire Killers: Halloween Blog XVIII WARNING VERY LONG!

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    True Blood and Robert Pattinson in Twilight representing only the fang tips of a blood sucking army that includes representatives from as far away as Korea and Denmark. So why can’t we resist vampires? And more to the point, how do you get to be one? Now Halloween is here, allow me to explain.In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you’re reading via RSS, you’ll need to visit the blog to access this content.

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