An L.H. Grey/Richard Charles Stevens Dark Fusion
Nine Inch Nails Beside You in Time
Bird in a Gilded Cage ~ Artist Unknown
Dear friends and loved ones, today I bring tidings of tremendous joy. You see, riversofgrue.com has been in the process of undergoing something of a transmutation over the past few weeks and is no longer simply a blog. As you read this, we are unleashing not one but two new pages to the site and it is with positively inhuman pride that I announce this. Having been something of a rogue trader for the past four years, since the site’s inception in 2013, I am now a man with incredible steeled purpose and set to take this sleeping giant to the very next level and way beyond that. Anyone you knows me well should be more than aware that this has been my sole goal for some time now; to dedicate my life to this passion of mine and watch it truly flourish as I always believed it could and would. But I hadn’t the vaguest ink blotch how to actually make that happen. It is with a swell of pride unparalleled that I declare that I do now.
Artwork by Owen Perry
The thing is, for as much as it may have seemed that a master plan was in place, it wasn’t. I certainly knew the direction I wanted to take but never once suggested I wished to do this solo. Indeed it has been my dogged belief that this is a journey we can all undertake together. However, for all my very best intentions, it often felt as though I was sinking in quicksand. You see, for as much as my desire for the cause has never once been in question, my will to continue has been severely tested. Stuck in a perpetual loop of swirling guilt over a decision that eventually cost me a relationship with my son, the edges have come closing in around me frequently. This all came to the bloodiest of heads in December and, while heart-puncturing to the über-extremities, I finally received myself some long overdue closure. No more feeling liable for an act that single-handedly determined the course I’ve been on since 2013. Granted my bittersweet parole.
Artwork by Rimel Neffati
Anyroad, we’re not here this day to ladle on the melancholia curd. As while there are things in life that we cannot change and grim realizations we need to accept, there’s also beauty to be gleaned from every last breakdown. That is precisely what has transpired as I can genuinely say, with the most euphoric tremble in my tone, that I have never once been happier in my life than I am right now, in this very moment. Let’s not varnish the vagrant here, I still snack on the rumps of dumpster rodents, and remain the poster boy for a not so fresh outbreak of new-age scurvy. But who said infinite riches had to be monetary? Granted, it helps when you slide your hand into your trouser pocket and feel something other than a randy groper, but it would take more than a banker’s cheque for $2 million to trade the towering inferno currently raging to the rear of my sternum. And there have been a number of reasons for this spontaneous combustion.
Artwork by Fátima Ruiz
I’ve needed the unconditional love of others to make it through what I like to refer to as my own personal Battle of Trafalgar. And I’ve been bowled the fuck over by the support of numerous souls who’ve continued to see me through this period. Sure there have been the odd judgement call by those who believe I’ve taken full absence of my senses and that’s ultimately out of my control, but those who know the very essence within me should be more than aware that I’ve actually been coming to them. With sense comes great feeling. Yeah, I’ll offer that one my official endorsement. It doesn’t take a qualified love doctor to suss out that I’ve been all about the endearment on social networks. The terms to these exchanges have been simple – there aren’t any. Whether or not any kind words have been reciprocated has been utterly irrelevant in the greater scheme of things as I’d take giving to receiving any day of the calendar year.
Artwork by Charlie Isoe
Should I have it in my power to raise a smile, a hope, or simply a blushing goblet of claret, then I’m in like Helmuth pre-flop and minus the tactical Ray-Bans. And pretty much as far as the eye can discern, it’s been sweetness and light all the way. I’m reluctant to turn this affectionate address into an awards ceremony and trust that my interactions through my chief stomping ground, Twitter, alone speak volumes on my behalf. All in good time but the past five weeks have been about laying some sturdy foundations and, behind the crimson veil, things have been downright feverish in pitch. Fresh content may have been sporadic, but my presence on social platforms has remained as consistent as feasibly possible. You see, we’ve been working around the clock and back again to mix the cement and, after a few final tweaks, the Citadel is now well and truly live.
Artwork by H.R. Giger
Hold those groans, but let’s start with the site’s new-fangled layout shall we? I appreciate this could prove a laborious exercise so have packed my deepest rosy red dimples especially for the occasion. I’m guessing you’ve ascertained that the site’s entire presentation has undergone something of a pre-Spring makeover. As dear old Tartan terror Mrs. Doubtfire would say – I don’t work well with the boys, because I used to be one. The new theme affords far grander mobile support and feels far more in keeping with the vision I had for Rivers of Grue way back at conception. Sitting beneath the title on your smartphones will be a social menu, linking directly to my Twitter account, my fair lady Grey’s Instagram Dark Corner, and our soon-to-be resurrected RoG Facebook page. Scroll to the footer and you’ll be able to email either one of us directly, and this leads exquisitely into the first of this evening’s reveals.
As of today, L.H. Grey’s long-running Etsy store is no longer active. Instead, her beauteous art shall be exhibiting and selling exclusively from here under the tantalizing title “Antechamber of Autopsies Macabre” – Grey’s words and ain’t they beauties? I cannot even begin to explain the swell in my bloodiest heart at being entrusted the very soul of an artist whose work I downright cherish. I implore you to check out her wares and would like also to remind you that the gallery will be updating and streamlining constantly from hereon in as it assumes its ultimate form. Her art speaks for itself and to the tune of a multitude of screaming volumes. In addition, our trademark Dark Fusions have enabled a number of prints to be further immortalized through prose and provided even more subterranean meaning. Of all the poems I’ve released thus far, “Heel.” is hands down my personal darling and I can so see the title image on print in the near future.
Why stop there when the Grue Family is connected to the nines and back? We’re talking potential merchandise, potential publishing deals, and I’m currently attending a business mentor programme which is merely a dozen or so brain-freezing PowerPoints from supplying the funding to make this a very clear reality. You could say Crystalline and I’d shine like the craziest diamond if you did. You see, suddenly there’s a plan, man. And it is far more grand than I’ve elucidated beforehand. Better yet, there’s a whole infrastructure building here and you fine people are wired directly to the mainframe. With each subsequent expansion comes fresh opportunity to change the lives of those who’ve weathered the most tumultuous of storms alongside both of us. Fortify something beautiful and true. Hence the quote beneath the Antechamber’s banner.
“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” ~Auguste Rodin
While reinvention is hot topic, I feel it only right to commence a second celebration, in honor of another fresh addition to the home page. Muse Noir: The Prose Palace of L.H. Grey is also just a click away now and this is as intimate a share as I’ve ever been deeply humbled to reveal. Grey may be known primarily as a visual artist but there’s a lot more to the Elusive White Rabbit than acrylic painting, mixed-media art, assemblage, photography and the manipulation of imagery. There’s also the bloody beating heart of a timeless poet. And one who received no formal training or schooling to boot. As a self-taught scribe, I not only get this but ferociously respect this. Just like Keeper, Grey inhaled her inspiration from numerous sources, but not with the purpose of imitation. These tools enabled her to mix and match techniques; until which time as she located her own true voice as an artist. And what a majestic tongue she lashes.
Maketh no mistaketh, she is the most genuine, thoughtful and sweet of almost humans and a fiercely dignified creature. Show her love and she’ll reflect that straight back to you and with boundless sincerity I might add. But her poems and art alike lean decidedly more into the macabre. It is here, along the Grey-Chapel Path, that the Ripper lurks in the shadows. Here where the blackest heart beats through its ivy entangled rusted cage. The way she channels the darkness within truly is extraordinary and, since our very first chance meeting, I’ve never once gotten anything other than the most dazzling of light from her. I’ve read and re-read the gifts we are about to receive on occasions far too numerous to tally. And I can state with vehemence that the hydrogen bombs are about to start dropping.
Just a little heads up on a few other ideas in the offing. With the most unshakable of foundations now firmly set in place, we can begin to branch out and touch all the souls who shine their light personally. As Keeper, I’m already brimming with master plans, just one of which will be a follow-up to Kreepazoid Kelly’s first of many starring vehicles, “Krazy”, spotlighting the other half of the Neuro-Twins, Sharon Lawson. Beyond that, I plan to write an affectionate love letter to the most adorable angel on four bear paws, Gemi, for my dear sister Gayle Frank, appraise a number of independent films that have remained sidelined through this metamorphosis, and mix up the output as I always do. Also keep your eyes peeled for a Grueheads War Room of sorts very soon, dedicated to sharing the work of our glorious horror family. Meanwhile, my Lion-Hearted White Rabbit and I shall thrash out all manner of the merges stacked like dominoes in The Vestibule of Dark Fusion as we speak. Prepare for all manner of madness as it is this which we court. The very most handsome of madness.
A dash of harmless empowerment need not go to anyone’s head, provided the diodes are wired correctly. We bleed this day with swagger not because we’ve inhaled one too many of our own vanity vapors. No capers. Not here. Said reinforced self-belief comes courtesy of those who’ve seen us this far and even those who lost sight of us there for a second. After all, we’re all only almost human right? Together we have proved just how much better we can be and that very much makes this an event in our eyes. Rivers of Grue has been a blog since 2013 and I can now announce January 18th, 2017, as the night we came home. Grey and I have refurbished this Citadel through our otherworldly devotion for one another and the burning passion to inspire the fire in every last one of us. Thank you for reading, thank you bleeding, not to mention believing. But most of all and from the bottom of our very bloodiest heart – thank every last one of you for quite simply being. We see you.
True. Real. Sincere. Crystalline.
Imagery and audio arrangement by L.H. Grey
Prose by Richard Charles Stevens