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Miscellany: an introduction

Murder Ballads
Secret London

You won't find anything in this section that could comfortably fit into Murder Ballads or Secret London, but aside from that all bets are off.
What you will find includes:

Show Me the Bunny: Easter Fires in Texas. This piece describes my visit to a bizarre Texan festival which aims - in the words of its own literature - to "blend the local fable of the Easter Bunny with the deeply religious facets of Easter". I wrote it back in 2001 as a sample chapter for a travel book that ended up never being published. Fortean Times bought a much, much shorter version of the same story later that year, but this is the first time it's appeared anywhere in its full form.

We had no room to include Pace in that project, so I'm using the material about him here instead

Black Swan Blues: America's first Motown. Harry Pace did everything Motown's Berry Gordy did, but did it 40 years earlier in an even more racist environment. His Black Swan Records was America's first major black-owned label, and the first to record ground-breaking blues artists like Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and Fletcher Henderson. I stumbled across Pace's story while researching a blues programme for BBC Radio 4, but we had no room to include him in that particular project so I'm using the material here instead.

Follow PlanetSlade on Twitter @MoshpitMemories

PlanetSladeís second Twitter stream runs daily extracts from my diaries as a young music fan. These cover the years from 1975-1981, a period which included the glory days of UK punk. Between the ages of 16 and 23 I saw most of that eraís best bands play live in tiny clubs, bought more than my share of their wonderfully invigorating records and drank an ocean of beer.

Added in March 2014: The Unknown Alex

Peattie & Taylorís Alex is one of the longest-running strips in any British newspaper today, racking up well over 6,000 appearances so far.
      Since its 1987 launch, the strip has produced both stage and radio adaptations, a couple of dozen book collections and even an MBE each for its two creators. Not bad when you consider that its central character is a ruthlessly egotistical merchant banker whose main obsessions are his own wealth and status.
     In PlanetSladeís latest feature, we tell the story of a forgotten spin-off strip from early in Alexís career, often featuring the man himself, which appeared in a trade newspaper where I happened to be working between 1989 and 1992. The result was a run of 80 Alex strips which even his biggest fans will never have seen before.
     The piece includes ten sample strips from the spin-offís run, relates how the whole project came about and shares Russell Taylorís own insights into why its gags are surprisingly relevant again today. It all starts here.