Issue 2

Jarry_velo (3)

“Imagine the perplexity of a man outside time and space, who has lost his watch, his measuring rod and his tuning fork.”

Alfred Jarry
Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustrall Pataphysician

Issue 2 of Machineries of Joy is dedicated to the Nørwegian Surreal and includes contributions from:

Colin Beaver
Elizabeth Lovegrove
Jeanette McCulloch
John Rose
Matthijs Holter
Ole Peder Giæver
Ralph Lovegrove
Steve Dempsey
Tore Nielsen

Here is the PDF:

Nørwegian Surreal


Gala gave a card-reading, the player-characters explored the lost library of Nicolas Flamel and women keep falling from the upper floors of Parisian tenements. René Crevel is upset. Why do Bird-men suddenly appear? What is it that the PCs really see when they look in the mirror? And: how are the creatures from Une semaine de bonté escaping the Dreamlands? The PCs have persuaded themselves that Salvador Dalí’s bid for the leadership of the Surrealist movement is behind the various threats, thefts and privations they’ve suffered and they’re determined to crash the poor man’s Friday night orgy.

Concrete Cow 17

It’s this coming Saturday 18th March in Wolverton, near Milton Keynes:-

Concrete Cow

I’m offering the following game:-


The Society of Dreamers

Facilitator: Abstract Machine
Players: 3-4
Slot: Afternoon

Something is living in our dreams. We discover the Mnemosite in childhood, learn more during our youth, first meet as the Society of Dreamers as adults, then weave the facts of the story together before learning the eventual fates of both the characters and the Mnemosite. We are the dreamers who live in the dream.

Technique: scenes are framed by each of the players in turn, prompted by one of nine results blindly decided by the other players’ engagement with a bespoke Ouija board.

Playstyle: Nordic Dreaming; listen, don’t block, no need to complain or explain, everyone is equal.

This game may contain mature themes.

We’ll use an X-Card to moderate content anyone at the table finds uncomfortable – perfect for a weird, fast-moving narrative in which anything can happen. You just tap the X-Card whenever something you’d prefer wasn’t in the game arises and that’s it: no explanation necessary. It’s a way of being considerate without interrupting the flow of the game.

There’s more on the X-Card here:-

X-Card by John Stavropoulos

Catacombs No. 4

The first player-produced work of art entered our Dreamhounds of Paris game last night – Catacombs No.4 by Anton Du Marr, created by Space Monkey.

Du Marr emerged from behind a large rock removed from the entrance of a large cave with Romanesque arches by hominids with large, pronounced jawlines rimmed by teeth; he was carrying a collection of lidded eyes on stalks as if they were bunch of flowers.

“Make sure you include something of HIM in the portrait, Anton – a real piece of him, just as you did with the flowers,” Nicolas Flamel was saying. “There can be nothing that is fake about this painting.”

“Satellites” of surrealism “Crooked Bob” Notttingham and Edward Cody dined at Le Maldoror with new-found “Ally” of the movement Anton Du Marr, where Cody found an extremely fearful Robert Desnos hiding in its garret. Cody spent Charm to befriend Desnos and lent the former Dream Medium the use of his American accent for a radio jingle.

The player-characters discovered an upside-down cross in the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp – Du Marr’s religious faith meant that he suffered a severe loss of Stability when he touched it – then dined with Flamel (don’t ask what they ate) after a long and arduous journey through the Catacombs. One unique and dangerous text was exchanged for another.

Two days into A Week of Kindness and already the players are finding themselves drawn deeper, deeper into the darkness beneath Paris. Tomorrow (Wednesday) will see them keep an assignation under the light of a full moon at the Cimitière du Montmartre with a secret brotherhood known only as Là-bas.

Story of the Eye

What to do when you’ve been rewriting the same three hundred words over and over for five days? Why, skive off and read roleplaying supplements, of course.

Dreamhounds of Paris so far suits my artistic sensibility and sense of what a roleplaying game should be it’s actually slightly frightening. The real question is whether I’d most want to play Antonin Artaud or Georges Bataille. Or “Sex Hitler” (p115). There’s no way I’d be able to resist the impulse to introduce the Chance and Resolution cards from Itras By into the Dreamlands.

Work and childcare commitments meant that we were obliged to suspend our Bookhounds of London campaign until one of our number is able to return but I’m hoping to get back to Trail of Cthulhu at some point. Until then, my yearning to enter the shared imagined space of the Dreamlands exists only as a not-space of abysmal negation. Dialling up otherworldly assistance is probably a bad idea.




Her head, with its handsome and austere mask teetering ponderously on the bull-like pillar of her neck, was as big and as black as Marx’ head in Highgate Cemetery; her face had the stern, democratic beauty of a figure on a pediment in the provincial square of a people’s republic and she wore a false beard of crisp, black curls like the false beard Queen Hatshepsut of the Two Kingdoms had worn. She was fully clothed in obscene nakedness; she was breasted like a sow – she possessed two tiers of nipples, the result (Sophia would tell me, to my squeamish horror) of a strenuous programme of grafting, so that, in theory, she could suckle four babies at one time. And how gigantic her limbs were! Her ponderous feet were heavy enough to serve as illustrations of gravity, her hands, the shape of giant fig leaves, lay at rest on the bolsters of her knees. Her skin, wrinkled like the skin of a black olive, rucked like a Greek peasant’s goatskin bottle, looked as rich as though it might contain within itself the source of a marvellous, dark, revivifying river, as if she herself were the only oasis in this desert and her crack the source of all the life-giving water in the world.

Her statuesque and perfect immobility implied the willed repose of the greatest imaginable physical strength. The sweetness of her regard implied such wisdom that I knew, at first sight, there was no way in which I could show her my virility that would astonish her. Before this overwhelming woman, the instrument that dangled from my belly was useless. It was nothing but a decorative appendage attached there in a spirit of frivolity by the nature whose terrestrial representation she had, of her own free will, become. Since I had no notion how to approach her with it, she rendered it insignificant; I must deal with her on her own terms. Although her arms were the paradigm of mothering, the offered me no refuge; that women are consolation is a man’s dream. Her fringe of breasts allowed me no place where I could lay my head – they were not meant for my comfort, only for nourishment, and was I not a full-grown man?

And in that belly, rich as a thousand harvests, there was no treacherous oblivion for me for, at birth, I’d lost all right of re-entry into the womb. I was exiled from Nirvana forever, and, faced with the concrete essence of woman, I was at my wit’s end how to behave. I could not imagine what giant being might couple with her; she was a piece of pure nature, she was earth, she was fructification.

I had reached journey’s end as a man. I knew, then, that I was among the Mothers; I experienced the pure terror of Faust.

And she had made herself! Yes, made herself! She was her own mythological artefact; she had reconstructed her flesh painfully, with knives and with needles, into a transcendental form as an emblem, as an example, and flung a patchwork quilt stitched from her daughters’ breasts over the cathedral of her interior, the cave within the cave.

I was at a shrine.

She spoke.

Angela Carter, The Passion of New Eve (1977)

Dog-Faced Boy

They arrived at Itra-Troll on a tandem bicycle.

Dog-faced boy Rex Barker drew Mysterious Data, which manifested as a large bullfrog narrating a string of words concerning secret assignations with cat-people. Bowler-hatted accountant Algernon McGinty, meanwhile, drew Dead Lover, whereupon ex-wife Dolores appeared complete with imprecations at the gloom. The pair electrocuted Prokor Lem, fought The Archaeomancer, Pamela and fled from wooden robot Varvara-6 before drawing Bisociation for the collective dream of the Scientific Order of Itra-Troll, followed by Pseudoscience (4: Psychosexuality) and Ferrous Brocade, thereby discovering that the scientists were fuelling the research station’s dreaming machines by furious orgiastic confabulation. Algernon made good his escape by revealing (from under his hat) the only remaining piece of ingenuity left to him by the Machine God’s creativity-sapping lamp-posts. Rex remained on the station to help Varvara-6 with her efforts. He does not regret his choice.