SCREAM TALKING: Table Of Contents

SCREAM TALKING: A collection of fifty short pieces.

1. The Lords Of Shouting

2. Shrieky Girls

3. Up All Night

4. Undertow

5. Voltage

6. The Walk

7. Death Is Not The End

8. Food Stories

9. Microcast

10. Lonely Animals

11. Strangeways

12. Superblast

13. Mass Murder For Percussion And Guitars

14. I'm Sorry

15. Ripping Yarns

16. ratStar

17. Echo Grey

18. Biological

19. Tumour

20. First Lines You Never Want To Hear

21. antistar

22. Future Underground

23. Side-Effect City

24. Dead Men's Pearls

25. Jesus Bones

26. Perfect Night

27. .never

28. Combat Media Hubs

29. Hits

30. antistarz

31. Catastrophe Black

32. The Only Living Girl In New Scars

33. Bedtime Stories At The Vale Of Tears

34. A Sad Bereavement At The Vale Of Tears

35. I Need You

36. The Candidate

37. How It Works

38. Your Actual True Hallowe'en Story

39. Morning Over The Vale Of Tears

40. Strange Machine

41. Love Will Kill Us All

42. You Know My Fucking Name

43. Elevator Lady

44. Spinsolar

45. Mind Gangsterism

46. Getting Colder

47. Degeneration Game

48. Lunchtime At The Vale Of Tears

49. Good Night From The Vale Of Tears

50. For I Loved New York City Just The Same

And: DIY MIND GANGSTERISM: Tools For Taking Over People's Minds Via The Internet - 1 * 2 * 3 * 4

The pieces constituting SCREAM TALKING remain (c) Warren Ellis 2004, all rights reserved. DIY MIND GANGSTERISM is ideological freeware for open circulation.

I am now elsewhere on LiveJournal. If you're interested in finding me, there's a clue to where I am in Echo Grey.

Once again, thank you for your kind attention over the last year.

-- Warren
  • Current Music
    Breeders - Fortunately Gone

For I Loved New York City Just The Same

No, seriously. You got me all wrong, miss. I'm just offering you a ride into the city. Honestly, miss, you have nothing to fear from me.

I got no dick, miss.


Ah, it’s my own fault. Born and bred in New York, I ought’ve known the risks, y’know?

I’m drunk one night, down in the subway,waiting for my train home. Dying for a piss, too. Well, I get to badmouthing some kid, thinking he’s going to just badmouth me back, just to pass the time.

So he kicks me in the brains, punches my guts halfway up my neck, and shoves me off the platform just as we hear the train. It was like it all happened in slow motion. I had time to see it all. Had time to be scared. Very scared, if you know what I'm saying.

I landed on the third rail about the same time I pissed myself. Voltage took the path of least resistance and all, and, um...

My dick exploded.

I sell lingerie now. Boss sends me out to all the prettiest ladies.

Ah, would you look at that. I love that moment where Manhattan just kinda unrolls into sight there. Don’t it just look like heaven fell down on earth?

I left my dick in New York City, but I love it just the same.

(And that's fifty. SCREAM TALKING complete. The post following this will be the contents linkstation for SCREAM TALKING -- it will be static and permanent.)

(I will appear elsewhere on LiveJournal. But you will have to find me.)

(Thank you for your kind attention. It's been a pleasure.)

-- Warren Ellis
  • Current Music
    Momus - I Refuse To Die

Bored on a Saturday night

Have some photos, while I consider how exactly to end SCREAM TALKING.

I have a plan post-mistersleepless.
  • Current Music
    kiiiiii! - 4littlejoy remix

DIY Mind Gangsterism: Part Four

Tools for taking over people's minds via the internet:

PDF995: haven't tried it myself, but it looks less Star Trek than fPDF. If you understand PHP and codemonkey things, you might want to look at fPDF too. Making PDFs is a useful thing, for making flyers, pamphlets, magazines, anything that you'd want to either emulate print or present print-ready.

Some years ago, I threw out the idea of PDF magazines circulated on the internet and presented as ideological freeware for license-free download and printing (these were the days before Creative Commons). A few people glommed on to that. I also threw out the idea of broadside ballads -- one-sheet pieces circulated the same way, to be printed out and disseminated. No-one went for that. Ah well.

Blogtours: explained here. "In a nutshell, a Virtual Book Tour consists of an author "stopping" at a given number of websites in a given about of time, the same as they would do at bookstores during a real world tour. At these stops, the author may be interviewed, may take over the site for a day and blog themselves, may answer questions from readers, get their book reviewed or do all four." There's a lot of flexibility in the idea. Be creative.

BitPass: written about before, here. It empowers micropayment via PayPal -- you buy a token and dole little bits of it out in micropurchases. It's the engine behind Mperia, which all you music types should take notice of right now. Mperia puts your music up as streaming previews, and then allows the listener to buy the mp3 with BitPass, at a price that you yourself set. Take a look at it. BitPass can be applied to pretty much anything. Say you've written a long short story, or produced a suite of photographs, a comic or an animation. You can stick a BitPass gate on it and charge, literally, twenty-five American cents for entrance. BitPass is like two clicks, if you already have a token, and a two-minute set-up if you don't. You may not get rich, but you may cover your hosting.

Similarly, I don't know anyone who's gotten rich off Cafe Press, but I do know people who've covered their internet charges. Cafe Press, for those who don't know, allow you to generate your own merchandise, from t-shirts and bumper stickers up to and including print-on-demand books, and make a little money off each sale. If you feel like really going for it, and making your own stuff to sell, you can either go the PayPal route or use CCBill to handle credit cards.

I'm going to toss out one quick idea for the artists. You want to create awareness of your work. You also want to protect your work from being usurped by other people, I know. Try this: make AIM icons, or even LJ icons, and watermark them with your brand. AIM icons are crap. People want good ones. Make some, put your name on there in a small way, and release them out into the wild. Sooner or later, people will google the name that's on there.

I really wanted to find some kind of free Flash thing, outside of Photoshow or Powerbullet (which is shit), but I couldn't. I had a copy of Flash at one time, but couldn't wrap my head around it. Flash is an extraordinarily powerful authoring tool the potential of which has barely been scratched. if you've ever seen the film LA JETÉE, you'll understand how a Flash slideshow with music attached can turn a photographer into a filmmaker. Flash can also be used to recreate the magazine in different ways. And that's something you could actually launch from an LJ. LJ won't take Flash files, so you'd have to host the file somewhere else -- use some free hosting, if you've got it -- but make the LJ the magazine's base.

Anyway. That's about all the tools I can think of. And this has run long enough as it is.

The next piece of fiction you see here will be the last piece of fiction you see here.

-- W

Good Night From The Vale Of Tears

And as Mr Radishes from the market garden stalks his rows with a
urine-stained cricket bat, beating his grotesque testosterone-sprayed crops
into unconsciousness for the night... the light grows low and the sky
bleeds pink like the naked albino with two and a half penises that Miss
Underdunn slashed to death in the women's changing rooms with her
inter-uterine device, at the end of that awful summer of dangly terror at
the Public Baths...

...and the sun goes down over the Vale Of Tears, twilight's last gleaming
shining in the cracked glass eyes of Inspector Kriegfick of the local
constabulary as he commences his nightly stalk of the village, blind as a
bat but guided by the unmistakable musk of Crime. Not for him the
transfixing, blood-flecked beauty of a Vale sunset. For him, there is only
the spoor of livestock-fiddlers, wife-covetors and the murky pheremonal fog
of furtive masturbators and their night manipulations...

And the sun slips under the unwashed blanket of Night, pulling the woollen
covers up to its round little chin, as the men of the village drink fresh
beer, the justly famous Vale Ale, from the skulls of Taxmen and Young
Folk... and the landlady of the Vale's single pub, Mrs Horrobin of the Womb
And Coathanger, wriggles on the age-smooth seat of the barnacled and
innard-streaked staff toilet, drinking water and making more Vale Ale for
her hated, hated customers...

And the sun sinks down into the sea of black like the vicar the townsfolk
caught sniffing old ladies' bicycle seats... the only moment of true
dignity the man ever had, they say, lowering manfully into Tearstain Lake
with a car tied around his neck. Though he did start screaming when the
Colonel's ducks got him. The Colonel's programme of eugenically
weaponising common wildlife was the glory, awe and unutterable private
shame of the county.

And the sun goes down on the Vale Of Tears, and the were-men in the forest
turn themselves into ferrets and hungrily shove themselves up the back
passages of the unwary, and the vegetables sing laments of the days when
their mothers and fathers were uprooted and used as sex toys in dodgy
videos shot in the Community Centre, and a strange, brittle and frightened
peace falls across the land... and this little piece of green and pleasant
England slept the kind of sleep known only to the perverted and the doomed.

Good night, children.

Good night.

-- Warren Ellis

(sent by mail)

Saturday Night Bits And Pieces

1. Two short videos taken with the Nokia 7610 phone. You'll need the current version of Quicktime to view them. The first was shot in North Beach, San Francisco on October 28, while waiting for Laurenn to pick me up. The second was shot in the Castro district on Hallowe'en, where Laurenn and I took a walk through the parade.

2. Finally, a how-to guide to Podcasting written in plain English.

3. If I got this link right, then making with the clicky should begin a Bit Torrent download of my episode of the cartoon series JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, "Dark Heart." I post this here mostly so people stop emailing me to tell me it's available.

4. Telepathine will get an updated playlist before the end of the year, so listen to the original playlist while you can.

5. Bored this weekend? Take a look at my special Fending Off Short-Term Memory Loss page. Among other things, you'll find links to twenty-odd mp3blogs (you know what those are, right?) and a couple of dozen radio stations..

6. Mistersleepless goes away soon.

7. One last Saturday Night Open Mic. Tell me something weird, funny, dirty and real. Include pictures if you can. Let me get one last look at you.

-- W

DIY Mind Gangsterism (part three)

This could run and run:

Mind Gangsterism, more than anything, is the art of colonising other people's brains. Grabbing their attention so that you can stab your art into their heads. Once you've established your hosting, you want to spend as little money as possible, but this is going to cost you some time. Maybe an hour a day.

You need to set up ways to talk to people, to tell them what you're doing as well as what you're thinking. Most people get nothing but crap in their email. Everyone likes getting interesting mail. You should think about setting up a mailing list. BUT -- you want to set it up so it's announcement-only. So people on the list only receive mail from you. That is crucial. As a Mind Gangster, you interact with the peasants and livestock at your convenience. And, as a Mind Gangster, you want people to listen to YOU, not all the jabberings of the aggregations of genetic rectal sweat populating your subscribers list. (By which I mean, of course, your Beloved Audience. Yes.)

Doug Rushkoff, as I recall, operates two mailing lists -- one for his announcement-style mailings, the other a regular community-style list where people can talk between themselves about his letters. So, if you just want Rushkoff, you just subscribe to the former. That's an option.

If you know someone who has a server and does listserv stuff, see if you can screw a favour out of them. Otherwise, use Smartgroups or Yahoo. I think Smartgroups is probably better, but take a look. If you have good hosting and know arcane things like PHP and, you know, things that make computers go, you can check out PHPlist or Mailman.

I've been running a mailing list forever. Since around, what 1997, 1998? Around then? It began as something called FROM THE DESK OF. I got a Visor handheld with a Visorphone module for wireless internet work around the time I shifted the list to a new server, and changed the name of it to BAD SIGNAL, whree it became more of a rambling email journal. It was, essentially, email moblogging. Today, BAD SIGNAL has 6500 subscribers. Being email, the simplest fucking thing on the web, it goes into desktops, laptops, handhelds and phones. It gets everywhere. This is Good.

Email lists tend to favour the people who use words, I know -- but blogs are obviously good ways to display and deliver art and sound, and mailing lists can reach people who won't hit your blog or LJ every day and aren't using RSS.

Something more specifically art-oriented is the Webcard system at You'll likely need someone who understands PHP -- I haven't downloaded it myself to look. Here's a demo of what Webcard does. Artists can have people make with the sending of their art, basically. Just brand the Art with your copyright mark, watermark or whatever.

Your art is your calling card. There's nothing stopping you making Webcards of your art and sending them to people yourself. I mean, don't spam great hordes. But you can get someone's attention like that.

Got bandwidth and want to go nuts? Videoblogging is getting simpler every day. In fact -- does your phone shoot video? Current versions of Quicktime now support cameraphone video formats. Here's a bit of code I found the other week. Remove the line breaks so the whole thing is a statement on one line, and it should work like a charm:

Won't work on LJ, but if you put it on a regular webpage, then anyone with a current version of Quicktime will see your video embedded on the page. Change the "autoplay" clause from TRUE to FALSE and they can start it at their convenience -- leave it as it is and it'll start the second it loads. And, if you experiment a bit, I have a feeling you could change ".3gp" (the futurephone file type) to whatever you've got, .avi or .mov or whatever, and alter the playback size accordingly, for the same effect...

Vlogging, videologging, will probably push off into a different area than regular blogs, as watching vlogs is unlikely to be something you can do undetected at work, which is still where something like half of all blogreading happens. But it's something you can do with a phone, a webcam or a digital camera. Sites like OnFuego are starting to crop up, offering limited hosting of vlogs. And my moblog system of choice, the fine moblog UK (okay, okay, I consulted to them) hosts camphone images and video.

A point about video art. If you are your subject, note this carefully. Mystique creates a devoted audience. Warts-and-all frankness creates an army of ferociously masturbating nutbags who think they know you and want to rescue and/or kill you.

When in doubt, pose and lie.

For free hosting of images, I would recommend Flickr, which is flexible, clever, and expanding its range of tools all the time. Check them out. Also, take a look at the Flickr Zeitgeist, a Flash device for websites. Being Flash, LJ won't like it. I have one on diepunyhumans, at the bottom of the left-hand menu bar. I put one on Tris' site as a kind of sliding modelling-portfolio viewer.

* * * * *

I still have to get through fPDF, blogtours, BitPass, CafePress, Mperia, Technorati, AIM, and the Creative Commons. Getting there.

-- W

DIY Mind Gangsterism 2: Podcasting

Podcasting is new. Not even six months old. But, for audio and video
artists, this could be important. You'll need access to your own hosting
for this one.

It works off RSS, the syndication system that allows you to aggregate many
blogs in a single window or program. The LJ friends list is a version of
syndication/aggregation. Don't worry if you don't understand RSS. I
don't. We have a way around this. Read on.

The idea behind aggregators is that you plug in the URL of a blog you like,
and the thing collects new updates to that blog while you're not looking.
It presumes you have an always-on connection, or at least a connection you
leave running for long periods of time. Aggregators sneak around in the
background, and silently hunt and download updates without you having to do
anything but, one time, plug in that URL.

Now, RSS 2.0 has a thing called "enclosures". You load a file into your
update and it downloads out to whomever has your blog on their aggregator.
I have no idea how you make your RSS feed do that, but there's a shortcut
for us stupid people, so read on. Do not be afraid.

Now, a guy called Adam Curry, who used to be on MTV in the States, devised
something called iPodder. Here's how it works:

You've got the URL of someone who puts audio enclosures in their blog's
RSS. You plug it into iPodder, and tell it to look at that URL overnight,
leaving your computer and net connection running and sleeping the sleep of
the just. In the middle of the night, iPodder downloads that audio file.
If you have iTunes and an iPod, then you leave your iPod plugged in. And
all the little machines talk to each other and shove that mp3 out of your
computer into the iPod, automatically.

I have an Archos, not an iPod, so all I do is plug in the Archos and
drag-and-drop the "My Received Podcasts" folder into it.

Adam Curry calls it "a filling station for your iPod."

And that's a podcast. Subscriber-only microcasting from your computer to
their mp3 player, fully automated. You just download iPodder or another
podcast-catching thing, and it's very nearly as simple as adding an LJ user
to your friends list.

How do you podcast an mp3? Well, I said there was an easy way. Google for
"dircaster". It's a PHP file. The site has it zipped using TAR, so you
might want to get a Mac friend to unzip it if you're on PC. You just want
the dircaster.php file.

Create a directory on your website -- say,

Open up dircaster.php in Notepad or similar and add the personal bits it
asks you for. Very simple. Save it as dircaster.php again (keep the
original file somewhere you won't lose it, just in case) and drop it into
the directory you created. Chuck your mp3 in the same directory.

Then tell people your podcast is at That's the URL they'll plug
into their iPodder.

And that's it. Seriously. You're done.

If you feel up to it, then before you drop your mp3 in, open it in WinAmp
or whatever, select it and choose "File Info" or similar from its options
menu. That shows you its ID3 tags, the data mp3 players look for to tell
you what the mp3's about. Fill out the fields, save, and then drop the mp3
into your podcast directory.

Do all that, and you've made a way to push your sound from your website
into the computer of anyone who's subscribed to you.

What has this to do with Mind Gangsterism? Well, obviously, it's about
building an audience, cult of personality and all that. But also, you've
made a way for anyone with an mp3 player to experience your work away from
the computer, automagically. Now, without them even thinking about it,
you've put yourself in their cars, offices, walkabouts, gyms, wherever.

And here's what I find interesting -- so far, 99% of podcasts are crap.
It's like the first six months of blogging -- it's techie guys talking
about techie stuff, podcasting about podcasting, bad rants by basement
dwellers and cubicle monkeys. It's the youngest content delivery system on
the web, and the early adopters are almost all boys who do code. There are
a couple of podcasts of music by unsigned bands, one sex-info podcast, a
lot of live blues and bluegrass recordings, a little experimental audio,
and that's about it for diversity.

And it's JUST AUDIO. It holds all the potential of radio -- real radio,
not the Clear Channel shit and talkshow bollocks they have in the States.
Anything you can do with audio, you can do in a podcast if you have the
tools. If actual artists get hold of this, then, in the next six months,
we should start getting monologues, dramatic readings, ensemble audio
drama, lectures, rhetorical word/sound presentations, more and richer
indie-music playlists, mad noise...whatever you can think of.

Oh, and this: enclosures will take any file.

I got a few people to hack the Dircaster PHP last night. Before I went to
bed, just for my own education and amusement, I podcasted a short video I
shot with my cameraphone a couple of weeks ago.

You can push video through podcast. You can probably also push Flash files
through podcast.

Obviously, a long mp3 or .avi is going to be a big file. But iPodder's
going to be grabbing it while you're in bed, so who cares? New content
there in the morning, and you weren't even thinking about it.

In hosting these things, bandwidth will inevitably become an issue. There
are ways around that, from donations to a Bit Torrent hack, but that's
complicated and messy and I'm trying to keep this simple. Podcasting is
still small enough that you're unlikely to hit that trouble straight away.
Use Google, keep abreast of things, develop some friends who understand
intarweb stuff.

It's small. It's young. Right now, a dozen committed audio/video artists
could turn podcasting right around. You could probably relate podcasting
to the Combat Media Hub idea (go back a few posts for the contents listing,
the essay's in there). It is ripe for Mind Gangsterism -- for reaching
into someone's head and seducing and menacing their brain.

You think radio and TV are shit and dead? Make your own.

-- W

(sent from handheld)

Lunchtime At The Vale Of Tears

"I don't understand it," muttered Mrs Upshott. "The pork should be
cooked." Nonetheless, the pig wailed like a child when Mr Upshott sawed
the carving knife into it, its blackened little eyeballs bulging from its
sooty face. The roasted apple hissed in the corner it splattered over when
the pig spat it out, boiling saliva spread over the parquet in thick ropes.

"I am a very hungry man," Mr Upshott sternly told the pig, "and you are
spoiling my lunch."

Its trotters, bound securely and decorated with little paper cuffs,
twitched in agonised fear.

Mr Upshott studied the pig sourly. He had, after all, been out since dawn,
herding the cows, and punching them in their eyesockets with his freakishly
large knuckles when they refused to gather into the Esther Williams-like
aesthetic formations he prized in his cattle. His private shed in the back
of the garden fairly bloomed with the Livestock Formal Dance rosettes he
had won at the Vale Market over the last twenty-five years. He worked
hard, and expected nothing more than a cooked lunch for his slightly
strange travails.

Mr Upshott peered at the pig who would steal his lunchtime peace. And
jerked upright.


Mrs Upshott's given name was not, of course, Marilyn.

"Madam," Mr Upshott ground out in rare fury, "you have sought to roast my
Small Wife."

"Bitch deserved it," snorted Mrs Upshott, busying herself by the stove.
"I've seen you buried to the scrote in the little whore over by the
cesspits where you thought no-one could see."

Over the blazing hob, she was carefully heating a tin buttplug shaped like
a warthog.

Out in the field, all of the cows were dead. The locals said that space
aliens did it in the night, because humans would certainly not perpetrate
such horrors on the arses of innocent cattle.

The Widow Upshott, alone in the night with her batteries, knew better, and
giggled like a schoolgirl.

-- W