The Title of Death Having established the classic Waen Shepherd Fairburn story format with Great Space Battles and Waen Shepherd 2, it seems at this point I’ve finally convinced Mr Geraghty that I should be allowed to write whatever I like, whenever I like. And it turns out the previous two stories were just a prelude to something much more ambitious. Ward’s 7 - my own version of Blake’s 7, featuring me and my friends instead of the characters we see on TV - is a relative epic, spanning six chapters over a period of two whole weeks, proving that I can write a long-form story which, if not entirely coherent, at least has a consistent tone, with a cast of characters who share a common goal and remain pretty much the same people from beginning to end. It’s also beautifully, unintentionally funny, in ways that I could never have hoped to achieve if I’d written it to be funny on purpose. The ridiculous, unexplained events. The wonky dialogue with its blunt characterisations. The self-aggrandisement. The deadpan sexism. All of it combines to create one of the best stories I wrote as an eight year old, a massive pile of silliness which I’m proud to say might also be a great contender for worst story ever written by anyone ever in the entire history of humankind. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but what else would you expect from a man who used to describe himself as “Top Astronaut on Earth, alias 008?” The first thing to note is that this is inspired by Blake’s 7. Without wanting to spoil it too much for those who haven’t seen it, the show centres around a small group of criminals who fly about the cosmos in a stolen spaceship trying to foment a rebellion against a totalitarian regime called The Federation. Although it obviously appealed to kids like me (and not just like me - it was pretty popular at school on the whole), it was ostensibly aimed at adults, with a much murkier moral palette than other notable sci-fi shows of the time. As a result, it introduced kids like me to more interesting human concepts, usually things to do with survival and/or loss. They didn’t always win, and they didn’t even usually like each other. At its best, this gave it a witty, electric edge that chimed with other semi-adult stuff I liked at the time (like the comic 2000 AD). What I’ve basically done here is taken the essential concept of Blake’s 7 - a bunch of people on the run in a borrowed spaceship, fighting an oppressive regime - and replaced all the characters with new ones, most of them children I went to school with. That’s nothing out of the ordinary - I wrote lots of pieces featuring not just me but other kids at school, sometimes in large groups. What makes this one particularly interesting is that most of these kids aren’t from this school. They’re from my previous school in Airedale. They’re friends I no longer knew. The Characters of Cast John Ward was ostensibly my “best friend” at Airedale, though I have to confess I remember very little about him, except that he had dark brown hair, quite lovable big brown eyes and he wore a duffel coat. He once had a birthday party at his house, where I remember playing Dead Lions. And that’s it. Sorry, John. I never saw him or spoke to him ever again after leaving infants school age 7, and I’ve no idea what’s happened to him since then. I must have liked him though - he’s the leader of this group. These stories are named after him. That’s pretty high esteem from someone as blatantly egocentric as Waen Shepherd, the Greatest Astronaut on Earth. Matthew Bell, I have slightly stronger memories of. He was chattier than John, spikier maybe, a bit more emotional - not afraid to let off steam or talk about how he felt, but in a Northern, blokey kind of way. I remember him once telling me I was his best friend, and I (in my stupid, honest, naive, uncaring way) told him he was actually my second best friend, because my first best friend was John. Like I had to list my friends in order of preference. I remember how surprised he was, that he complained about it, but told me I was still his best friend anyway. And he was probably right - I’m pretty sure we had more to talk about than most people. More than me and John Ward at any rate, who I remember being much quieter. Maybe I did all the talking in that relationship, and maybe that’s why I liked him so much? Who knows? What I do know is they were both genuine friends, both pretty clever, and both very much people I could believe might be heroes. Louise Harrison was another friend from Airedale, who actually lived on the same council estate as me, so we saw each other a lot more often. But more about her later. The others are from Fairburn. Aaron Ross was in my junior class with Mr Geraghty, for the first year at least, before he moved elsewhere. Another blonde boy - I rarely meet them as an adult, but half the boys I knew when I was little were blonde - with an amazing smile, as you can see from this photo of him taken in the school dining room that year. And for the record, you pronounce it “Arran” - not “Air-un” like they always seem to on the telly. Simon Jackson you’ve met before, when he pushed my coffee onto my sausage roll at the village bonfire. And Argos the Computer - I confess I completely made him up. It was customary in the far-flung future of the 21st Century to name computers after shops. “I perfectly know!” It seems strange at first that someone who usually thinks of himself as the greatest sci-fi hero that ever lived would actually give top billing to someone else. But not if you know anything about the basic structure of Blake’s 7. When I wrote Move of the Galaxy (there’s no date on the page, but considering the dates of the stories either side of it, it’s from somewhere between January 30th and February 5th, 1980 - I’m guessing Monday February 4th, my intention probably to write a chapter a day over the course of the week), we were four or five episodes into the show’s third season, during which -- SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR BLAKE’S 7 SERIES 3 -- the lead character, the idealistic zealot Blake, had left the programme, and his clever, calculating, amoral co-star Avon became the de facto leader of the group. It’s clear that my character was meant to be the Avon of Ward’s 7. There isn’t much to go on, but the fact that he’s listed second and he has all the clever-clogs answers tells us everything we need to know. I never got this far of course, but it’s obvious I had a vague long-term plan for this concept, which involved copying the basic structure of Blake’s 7, then at some point in the future, having established the group, John Ward would go missing in battle, and Waen would become the leader of the group. It makes total sense. The fact that Avon was the most popular character in Blake’s 7 only cements it. So what’s this really about then? Why did I feel the need to write about John, Matthew and Louise at this particular moment? Was I missing them? Because when I look at everything else I was writing around this time, it looks like I’m finally finding my feet in Fairburn. This story might be rubbish, but it’s confident, life-affirming rubbish. Not the work of someone who’s pining for the past. This is breathless, excited anticipation of the future. Why am I linking it to my past? And what’s it got to do with Blake’s 7? I don’t know if it was conscious, but I think I’d probably latched onto something in Blake’s 7 that I related to on a personal level. I remember watching it every week, assuming the crew were actively looking to find Blake and wondering if they would ever find him. If you watch it now, it’s quite obvious they couldn’t give a toss about Blake, and I don’t blame them. But I ached to see him again - it seemed like the most important thing they could ever do, like the show wouldn’t find closure or feel wholly satisfying until we saw Blake again and found out what had happened to him. And that’s what was going on in my life too. Having left the place I’d spent the first seven or eight years of my life to start again in new surroundings with new faces, I felt a terrible sense of loss. It was hard not seeing my old friends and I missed them very deeply. Yes, I was becoming much more comfortable in Fairburn and was clearly making new friends too who would eventually be much more important to me. But Ward’s 7 might be me realising that it was possible to be excited about the future while still hoping to hold onto something of the past too. That maybe i’d see my friends again one day, and time wasn’t always a one-way street. Or maybe I just wanted a bit more time to say goodbye? The Elephantress in the Room Louise Harrison: Waitress. After the massive egocentric build-up I gave John, Waen and Matthew, could I have written anything more embarrassingly, insultingly sexist? Even now, I’m mortified. Especially because, of all the people I’d ever met in my life by the time I was eight years old, she was by far the cleverest, funniest, most creative and generally most brilliant all round. Louise was in the same class as me at Redhill Infants School and lived just a couple of blocks down the road on the same council estate as me in Airedale, so I saw her quite frequently, especially towards the end of my time there. We weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend - it didn’t work like that. But looking back on it, I think I pretty much hero- worshipped her. Not that she’d ever have known that. But I thought she was amazing. Like John and Matthew (and other people I vaguely remember like Leanne Carter, Jonathan Tyson and Dawn Murgatroyd), we were among the highest achievers in the class. I’ve a sketchy memory of Louise getting quite competitive with me about our relative reading skills, and being absolutely aghast when I got to the end of the Peter and Jane series a couple of days before she did. But she was generally better than me at most things. Louise liked a lot of the same stuff as me. Dinosaurs and space. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and the like. She was pretty nerdy - she had her own telescope, got terribly excited when Skylab fell to earth and hoped to find a piece of it if she was lucky. Quite eccentric too I suppose - she often used to play spontaneously-written songs at me whenever I called round, on a guitar she couldn’t quite play - with an infectious sense of fun, bags of self- confidence and a powerful imagination. I remember once a whole gang of us kids on the estate spontaneously broke into some kind of war, with two sides encamped at different ends of the estate. I was on the good side, naturally, and she was on the evil one. I remember chasing her down to just outside her house and pleading with her to join me on the good side of the war, but she’d chosen her side and remained adamantly my enemy. Then, as if to prove it, she yanked a stick from God knows where and threw it right at me. It stuck upright in the ground right in front of me, which I think shocked us both. I was baffled, distraught and vaguely terrified, but also awestruck at her conviction and ever-so-slightly turned on. She’d chosen a character for the afternoon and utterly committed to it, and that made her all the more amazing in my eyes. (Lou has since told me that she actually fell off her bike at one point and, when someone on my team came to help her, she totally refused any assistance from the enemy.) Lou’s Dad was a salesman but played in a folk band at weekends, which automatically made him posher than most Airedaliens. Her Mum was quite bohemian, at least compared with most of the Mums on the estate, with quite a well-spoken, authoritative voice. I imagine she could be quite scary if she wanted, with a voice like that, but she was always nice to me. I remember her once telling me I was a funny boy, and when I thanked her, she qualified it - “Funny peculiar. Not funny ha-ha.” I took that as an even greater compliment and thanked her again all the same. She took me and Louise to see Superman The Movie when it came out. It was so exciting. I’ve still got the programme. Louise moved to Ferrybridge around the same time I moved to Fairburn. Then we lost touch, until our parents accidentally bumped into each other in a supermarket car park some time in the mid-eighties, after which we vaguely kept in contact over the years, occasionally meeting up every few years or so to find out how things were going. Waitress? What was I thinking? Louise got a scholarship to Wakefield Girls High School, an independent fee-paying school for people who are actually good at stuff. Then onto UCL, after which she studied in Finland for a while before emigrating to Monaco, where she’s spent the best part of her adult life. I think she had a pretty high-powered techie job for a while - I forget what it was and am too lazy to ask - but last I looked she managed yachts for a superyacht management company AND ran a consultancy for the personal submersible market. So if you have any questions about deep sea diving while yachting off the coast of Monaco, I know the woman to speak to. But waitress? I can’t imagine she’s ever done that. That’s more the sort of thing I’d end up as. It’s the sort of thing I have ended up as, once or twice. But I was never good enough to make a career of it. Why waitress? Even if I really had to think of a stereotypical “woman’s job,” couldn’t I think of something better than waitress? Not that there’s anything wrong with being a waitress. But you know what I mean. What made me think waitress was even remotely suitable? Was it Chrissie Hynde, dressing as a bored waitress in the video for the otherwise strikingly feminist Brass in Pocket (it had recently been at Number One), forcing one critic to lament “I wish it had never been made”? Or was it the way women were portrayed in just about everything I ever saw on TV? Blake’s 7 being a case in point - every single female character in the main cast is introduced as the toughest woman you ever met in your life. Then within a couple of episodes they’re operating the switchboard and making the tea. Whatever the truth, sadly this is a rare case of a girl appearing in any of my Fairburn stories. Maybe it’s the age I was - gender relations would actually improve as time went on - but when I look back, it’s obvious that, when I was little, Louise Harrison was actually my best friend, and something about the way our world works made me overlook that completely. Future Sightings I carried on writing this story for most of the next fortnight, but it’s not the last we would hear of these characters. I made a couple of abortive attempts to revive Ward’s 7 the following year, one of them with an all-new cast of characters, but it didn’t really catch on. Both John Ward and Matthew Bell, however, would return in future Waen Shepherd stories, both of which feature actual emotions. One of them even has a girl in it. But not Louise Harrison, unfortunately, whose last appearance is in Rescue on February 15th. As for Waen Shepherd, alias 008, you’ll definitely be hearing a lot more about him. Oh and I almost forgot - what the hell is the Move of the Galaxy anyway? I wrote the thing and I haven’t got a bloody clue.
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
Darth Vader An autograph from a genuine stand-in
Clarke Hall The place and time where it all began… September 1679?
Sheet Lightning Waen and his Gran shelter from the sheet- shaped storm
Ward’s 7: Move of the Galaxy
JOHN WARD Leader of Ward’s 7, alias 009
MATTHEW BELL Top Engineer on Earth
AARON ROSS Great clown
SIMON JACKSON Aaron’s assistant
WAEN SHEPHERD Top Astronaut on Earth, alias 008
ARGOS The ship’s computer
LOUISE HARRISON Waitress
Waen Shepherd 2 Waen’s heroic antics in the far-flung future of 2007 AD!
Superman the Movie Souvenir brochure from when I went to the pictures with Louise
The Fugitive A man runs - but who is he? And what is he running from?
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Fiends of the Eastern Front Vampires, paraphrased from 2000 AD
Tedosaurus Prehistoric fun with a teddy bear the size of a dinosaur!
Apeth Badly-spelt high-jinks with a purple gorilla from outer space!
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
Supersilver Pharoid and Supersilver fight over the Great Micromid!
Super Jesus A special pin-up of your favourite Nazarene webslinger
The Origin of Electro Waen Shepherd, TV Star, turns evil and drains the city!
Giant Karza! Arch-enemy of the Micronauts grows to super size!
A-Maze-ing! The most unbelievable maze you’ve ever seen in your life!
Optical Illusion Time Amazing visual tricks that will boggle your mind!
ENGLISH 2 A general increase in manic stupidity and excessive violence
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
Happy Easter! A home made Easter card I made for my Mum and Dad
The Hulk Puny humans won’t be able to resist this amazing pin-up!
More Puzzlers A trio of ‘Make You Very Crosswords’ to make you slightly cross
Fury Falls Evel Knievel in a scary waterfall adventure with Split Sam!
Grobschnitt’s Page Meet Grobschnitt, the dome-headed Harbinger of Mischief
Ward’s 7:
Move of the Galaxy
The Title of Death Having established the classic Waen Shepherd Fairburn story format with Great Space Battles and Waen Shepherd 2, it seems at this point I’ve finally convinced Mr Geraghty that I should be allowed to write whatever I like, whenever I like. And it turns out the previous two stories were just a prelude to something much more ambitious. Ward’s 7 - my own version of Blake’s 7, featuring me and my friends instead of the characters we see on TV - is a relative epic, spanning six chapters over a period of two whole weeks, proving that I can write a long-form story which, if not entirely coherent, at least has a consistent tone, with a cast of characters who share a common goal and remain pretty much the same people from beginning to end. It’s also beautifully, unintentionally funny, in ways that I could never have hoped to achieve if I’d written it to be funny on purpose. The ridiculous, unexplained events. The wonky dialogue with its blunt characterisations. The self-aggrandisement. The deadpan sexism. All of it combines to create one of the best stories I wrote as an eight year old, a massive pile of silliness which I’m proud to say might also be a great contender for worst story ever written by anyone ever in the entire history of humankind. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but what else would you expect from a man who used to describe himself as “Top Astronaut on Earth, alias 008?” The first thing to note is that this is inspired by Blake’s 7. Without wanting to spoil it too much for those who haven’t seen it, the show centres around a small group of criminals who fly about the cosmos in a stolen spaceship trying to foment a rebellion against a totalitarian regime called The Federation. Although it obviously appealed to kids like me (and not just like me - it was pretty popular at school on the whole), it was ostensibly aimed at adults, with a much murkier moral palette than other notable sci-fi shows of the time. As a result, it introduced kids like me to more interesting human concepts, usually things to do with survival and/or loss. They didn’t always win, and they didn’t even usually like each other. At its best, this gave it a witty, electric edge that chimed with other semi-adult stuff I liked at the time (like the comic 2000 AD). What I’ve basically done here is taken the essential concept of Blake’s 7 - a bunch of people on the run in a borrowed spaceship, fighting an oppressive regime - and replaced all the characters with new ones, most of them children I went to school with. That’s nothing out of the ordinary - I wrote lots of pieces featuring not just me but other kids at school, sometimes in large groups. What makes this one particularly interesting is that most of these kids aren’t from this school. They’re from my previous school in Airedale. They’re friends I no longer knew. The Characters of Cast John Ward was ostensibly my “best friend” at Airedale, though I have to confess I remember very little about him, except that he had dark brown hair, quite lovable big brown eyes and he wore a duffel coat. He once had a birthday party at his house, where I remember playing Dead Lions. And that’s it. Sorry, John. I never saw him or spoke to him ever again after leaving infants school age 7, and I’ve no idea what’s happened to him since then. I must have liked him though - he’s the leader of this group. These stories are named after him. That’s pretty high esteem from someone as blatantly egocentric as Waen Shepherd, the Greatest Astronaut on Earth. Matthew Bell, I have slightly stronger memories of. He was chattier than John, spikier maybe, a bit more emotional - not afraid to let off steam or talk about how he felt, but in a Northern, blokey kind of way. I remember him once telling me I was his best friend, and I (in my stupid, honest, naive, uncaring way) told him he was actually my second best friend, because my first best friend was John. Like I had to list my friends in order of preference. I remember how surprised he was, that he complained about it, but told me I was still his best friend anyway. And he was probably right - I’m pretty sure we had more to talk about than most people. More than me and John Ward at any rate, who I remember being much quieter. Maybe I did all the talking in that relationship, and maybe that’s why I liked him so much? Who knows? What I do know is they were both genuine friends, both pretty clever, and both very much people I could believe might be heroes. Louise Harrison was another friend from Airedale, who actually lived on the same council estate as me, so we saw each other a lot more often. But more about her later. The others are from Fairburn. Aaron Ross was in my junior class with Mr Geraghty, for the first year at least, before he moved elsewhere. Another blonde boy - I rarely meet them as an adult, but half the boys I knew when I was little were blonde - with an amazing smile, as you can see from this photo of him taken in the school dining room that year. And for the record, you pronounce it “Arran” - not “Air-un” like they always seem to on the telly. Simon Jackson you’ve met before, when he pushed my coffee onto my sausage roll at the village bonfire. And Argos the Computer - I confess I completely made him up. It was customary in the far-flung future of the 21st Century to name computers after shops. “I perfectly know!” It seems strange at first that someone who usually thinks of himself as the greatest sci-fi hero that ever lived would actually give top billing to someone else. But not if you know anything about the basic structure of Blake’s 7. When I wrote Move of the Galaxy (there’s no date on the page, but considering the dates of the stories either side of it, it’s from somewhere between January 30th and February 5th, 1980 - I’m guessing Monday February 4th, my intention probably to write a chapter a day over the course of the week), we were four or five episodes into the show’s third season, during which -- SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR BLAKE’S 7 SERIES 3 -- the lead character, the idealistic zealot Blake, had left the programme, and his clever, calculating, amoral co- star Avon became the de facto leader of the group. It’s clear that my character was meant to be the Avon of Ward’s 7. There isn’t much to go on, but the fact that he’s listed second and he has all the clever-clogs answers tells us everything we need to know. I never got this far of course, but it’s clear I had a vague long- term plan for this concept, which involved copying the basic structure of Blake’s 7, then at some point in the future, having established the group, John Ward would go missing in battle, and Waen would become the leader of the group. It makes total sense. The fact that Avon was the most popular character in Blake’s 7 only cements it. So what’s this really about then? Why did I feel the need to write about John, Matthew and Louise at this particular moment? Was I missing them? Because when I look at everything else I was writing around this time, it looks like I’m finally finding my feet in Fairburn. This may be rubbish, but it’s supremely confident, life-affirming rubbish. Not the work of someone who’s pining for the past. This is breathless, excited anticipation of the future. Why am I linking it to my past? And what’s it got to do with Blake’s 7? I don’t know if it was conscious, but I think I’d probably latched onto something in Blake’s 7 that I related to on a personal level. I remember watching it every week, assuming the crew were actively looking to find Blake and wondering if they would ever find him. If you watch it now, it’s quite obvious they couldn’t give a toss about Blake, and I don’t blame them. But I ached to see him again - it seemed like the most important thing they could ever do, like the show wouldn’t find closure or feel wholly satisfying until we saw Blake again and found out what had happened to him. And that’s what was going on in my life too. Having left the place I’d spent the first seven or eight years of my life to start again in new surroundings with new faces, I felt a terrible sense of loss. It was hard not seeing my old friends and I missed them very deeply. Yes, I was becoming much more comfortable in Fairburn and was clearly making new friends too who would eventually be much more important to me. But Ward’s 7 might be me realising that it was possible to be excited about the future while still hoping to hold onto something of the past too. That maybe i’d see my friends again one day, and time wasn’t always a one-way street. Or maybe I just wanted a bit more time to say goodbye? The Elephantress in the Room Louise Harrison: Waitress. After the massive egocentric build-up I gave John, Waen and Matthew, could I have written anything more embarrassingly, insultingly sexist? Even now, I’m mortified. Especially because, of all the people I’d ever met in my life by the time I was eight years old, she was by far the cleverest, funniest, most creative and generally most brilliant all round. Louise was in the same class as me at Redhill Infants School and lived just a couple of blocks down the road on the same council estate as me in Airedale, so I saw her quite frequently, especially towards the end of my time there. We weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend - it didn’t work like that. But looking back on it, I think I pretty much hero-worshipped her. Not that she’d ever have known that. But I thought she was amazing. Like John and Matthew (and other people I vaguely remember like Leanne Carter, Jonathan Tyson and Dawn Murgatroyd), we were among the highest achievers in the class. I’ve a vague memory of Louise getting quite competitive with me about our relative reading skills, and being absolutely aghast when I got to the end of the Peter and Jane series a couple of days before she did. But she was generally better than me at most things. Louise liked a lot of the same stuff as me. Dinosaurs and space. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and the like. She was pretty nerdy - she had her own telescope, got terribly excited when Skylab fell to earth and hoped to find a piece of it if she was lucky. Quite eccentric too I suppose - she often used to play spontaneously-written songs at me whenever I called round, on a guitar she couldn’t quite play - with an infectious sense of fun, bags of self-confidence and a powerful imagination. I remember once a whole gang of us kids on the estate spontaneously broke into some kind of war one day, with two sides encamped at different ends of the estate. I was on the good side, naturally, and she was on the evil one, and I remember chasing her down to just outside her house and pleading with her to join me on the good side of the war, but she’d chosen her side and remained adamantly my enemy. Then, as if to prove it, she yanked a stick from God knows where and threw it right at me. It stuck upright in the ground right in front of me, which I think shocked us both. I was baffled, distraught and vaguely terrified, but also awestruck at her conviction and ever-so-slightly turned on. She had chosen a character for the afternoon and utterly committed to it, and that made her all the more amazing in my eyes. (Lou has since told me that she actually fell off her bike at one point and, when someone on my team came to help her, she totally refused any assistance from the enemy.) Her Dad was a salesman but played in a folk band at weekends, which automatically made him posher than most Airedaliens, and her Mum was quite bohemian, at least compared with most of the Mums on the estate. She had quite a well-spoken, commanding voice - I imagine she could be quite scary if she wanted, with a voice like that - but she was always nice to me. I remember her once telling me I was a funny boy, and when I thanked her, she qualified it - “Funny peculiar. Not funny ha-ha.” I took that as an even greater compliment and thanked her again all the same. She took me and Louise to see Superman The Movie when it came out. It was so exciting. I’ve still got the programme. Louise moved to Ferrybridge around the same time I moved to Fairburn. Then we lost touch, until our parents accidentally bumped into each other in a supermarket car park some time in the mid-eighties, after which we vaguely kept in contact over the years, occasionally meeting up every few years or so to find out how things were going. Waitress? What was I thinking? Louise got a scholarship to Wakefield Girls High School, an independent fee-paying school for people who are actually good at stuff. Then onto UCL, after which she studied in Finland for a while before emigrating to Monaco, where she’s spent the best part of her adult life. I think she had a pretty high-powered techie job for a while - I forget what it was and am too lazy to ask - but last I looked she managed yachts for a superyacht management company AND ran a consultancy for the personal submersible market. So if you have any questions about deep sea diving while yachting off the coast of Monaco, I know the woman to speak to. But waitress? I can’t imagine she’s ever done that. That’s more the sort of thing I’d end up as. It’s the sort of thing I have ended up as, once or twice. But I was never good enough to make a career of it. Why waitress? Even if I really had to think of a stereotypical “woman’s job,” couldn’t I think of something better than waitress? Not that there’s anything wrong with being a waitress. But you know what I mean. What made me think waitress was even remotely suitable? Was it Chrissie Hynde, dressing as a bored waitress in the video for the otherwise strikingly feminist Brass in Pocket (it had recently been at Number One), forcing one critic to lament “I wish it had never been made”? Or was it the way women were portrayed in just about everything I ever saw on TV? Blake’s 7 being a case in point - every single female character in the main cast is introduced as the toughest woman you ever met in your life. Then within a couple of episodes they’re operating the switchboard and making the tea. Whatever the truth, sadly this is a rare case of a girl appearing in any of my Fairburn stories. Maybe it’s the age I was - gender relations would actually improve as time went on - but when I look back, it’s obvious that, when I was little, Louise Harrison was actually my best friend, and something about the way our world works made me overlook that completely. Future Sightings I carried on writing this story for most of the next fortnight, but it’s not the last we would hear of these characters. I made a couple of abortive attempts to revive Ward’s 7 the following year, one of them with an all-new cast of characters, but it didn’t really catch on. Both John Ward and Matthew Bell, however, would return in future Waen Shepherd stories, both of which feature actual emotions. One of them even has a girl in it. But not Louise Harrison, unfortunately, whose last appearance is in Rescue on February 15th. As for Waen Shepherd, alias 008, you’ll definitely be hearing a lot more about him. Oh and I almost forgot - what the hell is the Move of the Galaxy anyway? I wrote the thing and I haven’t got a bloody clue.
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Waen Shepherd 2 Waen’s heroic antics in the far-flung future of 2007 AD!
Superman the Movie Souvenir programme from when I went to the pictures with Louise
The Fugitive A man runs - but who is he? And what is he running from?
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE