I spent all day yesterday heavily researching a new short story, by which of course I mean chatting with friends on Facebook and tweeting Mark Gatiss. I like the idea of cool people hanging out on Twitter mainly to dispense hair advice to the masses, but I wonder if they feel the same way…

The thing is, Mark Gatiss knows about the Victorian age. He knows a lot about it. If you’ve read Lucifer Box, you’ll know that he knows.

The other thing is, you can’t trust Gatiss to answer his tweets when he has a creative Empire to run and hasn’t the faintest idea why you’re contacting him about pomade. He probably (and rightly) assumes you’re one of Moriarty’s minions. So I asked the FB hivemind (who are beautiful and clever to a woman/man) and  it turns out that pomade may well have contained bear fat.

I also discovered that bubbies are a Victorian slang word for boobs, and that sailors liked to have mermaids as mastheads because although having a woman onboard was bad luck they believed bare breasts on a ship would ward off rain. It’s a practice still in use today! *

And I even got round to booking a hamster taxidermy workshop and writing FIGUREHEAD, a new short story.

NEWS JUST IN: That rather clever historian and presenter chap Matthew Sweet has kindly informed me that Victorian gentlemen did indeed often use bear fat pomade, and it was sometimes lime-scented. Who knew?

* No it’s not.



  1. Bella Williams Said:

    I love the idea of bint being a causal turn of phrase we could use to refer to our circle of friends. Maybe we should make it our mission to reintroduce this misunderstood word into common parlance?

    • Bella Williams Said:

      Haha… just realised I commented on totally the wrong thread. Go me – queen of the internet!

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Shannon A Thompson

You need the world, and the world needs good people.

one bow...

Malena Lott Putnam | storyteller. strategist.

D.E. Atwood

...writes books she wants to read...

Kip Wilson Rechea

Write, travel, eat, repeat.

Encyclopaedia Vanitatum

a dictionary of spectral curiosities

Sarah Hans

Author, Editor, Educator

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