Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Dance Hall

There is something that I have felt is missing from the different places that people have to go out to in this city, and not only in this city, in every city I have ever visited and/or lived in.

There are plenty of cafes, dinners, restaurants, bars, live music pubs and nightclubs but no matter how long I have searched for I have not been able to find what I have been looking for. An old style dance hall. I don't mean somewhere that you can go to dance with lots of sweaty drunk people as there are already plenty of places where you can do that.

What I mean are the halls from the 1930s, 40s and 50s that had live, large bands with brass and strings with large dance floors in the centre of the room surrounded by tables so that dinner came with an evening of entertainment and real dancing.

It's one thing that you see in old movies that makes me wonder whether putting up with one person for the rest of my life might be worth it, if only to go to places like that with them.

Of course the obvious answer as to why they don't exist anymore is that pop music arrived in the 60s and the way that people enjoyed music and evenings out changed dramatically, but surely I cannot be the only person in the world that thinks these places were wonderful and should not have been allowed to die out.

Especially when karaoke bars continue to thrive, though I will admit that whenever I have to go into any of them to find people; interrogate and threaten them, I will always make sure that a fight breaks out to do as much damage as possible to try and reduce noise pollution in the city.

Besides if Fred asked me out to dinner at a dance hall, I'd probably go.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas (I found Harry Lee)

On the first day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, upside down hanging from a tree.

On the second day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the third day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eleven girls' phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, whistling twelve tuneless bars, with eleven girls' phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down hanging from a tree.

This is what happens when Fred goes out of town and leaves Harry to fend for himself...and somehow I will still get blamed! What I really want to know though is why those teenagers weren't at home and asleep at 6am!

Monday, 22 December 2014

A day of time wasters

There are days in a private investigators life that really don't seem to get you anywhere. I'm sure it is the same in any profession but when you don't have savings, regular and stable employment or a ridiculously large inheritance to live off it can be a little more than frustrating when you are faced with a day of dealing with time wasters.

Having people constantly phone you and ask if you are offering Black Friday discounts is one thing, but to have people phoning and asking you to work for them and then not paying their bills and refusing any form of contact even to the extent of pretending you don't exist when you are stood a few inches in front of them.

Of course as annoying as that is, it is again but a passing frustration compared to having people coming through your door, asking for quotes for services, shaking their head and sucking air through their teeth whatever number you say and then try and negotiate a deal with you that invariably they then turn around and say "on second thoughts, I don't think I'll bother."

It really is something that more dead bodies aren't found in my office.

When you work for yourself it is always difficult making ends meet (what with people failing to pay their bills on time if they do at all) but when you have people coming through your door and wasting time, it really gets on your last nerve.

Fred tells me that I should be more patient as having a reputation for bad customer service is not a way to run a business. If I was a shop owner than I might agree but in a private investigator people don't want a happy, go lucky, sunny disposition. They want someone who looks like they can survive in the underworld and get them what they need - or at least everyone who seems to bother me wants that.

Harry on the other hand thinks that I should try and branch out into other areas, diversifying my business. I am not entirely convinced that offering to blackmail people to go to birthday parties or family events would be any more lucrative than the time wasters that I have to deal with no. I am also not sure that offering people tours of the crime hotspots of the city will be as popular as say studio backlot tours or maps to the stars homes.

Though I might not get shot at much and reducing my medical bills would be a very big plus...then again I wouldn't get to shoot as many people and where would the fun in that be?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Danger Danger Black Friday

There are many days of the year I dislike – Valentine’s Day, any day dedicated to something trivial like talking like a pirate, dress like a carrot, learn to speak Romulan, open your curtains whilst upside down, PI day (yes I know I have ranted about it before but it annoys me, okay!)  - but there is one day of the year which makes me want rip the phone out of the wall, shoot all television screens, delete the internet and barricade all shops’ doors closed.

Yes, I hate Black Friday.

I have no problem with people going out in hordes to get huge discounts on luxury items – what people choose to spend their time and money doing is their business. I don’t do shopping at the best of times except for visiting the corner store for food and the off license for my whiskey, tequila and other spirits so Black Friday doesn’t really affect my shopping habits.

Five reasons that I hate Black Friday:

  1. People spend a week phoning and asking whether I am offering discounts on my services over the Black Friday Weekend
  2. Harry turns up at my door every single year with a catalogue in hand trying to convince me that I need a plasma screen TV, surround system and media centre.
  3. When I am trying to follow people, the crowds, screaming, random outbreaks of violence and police presence make it very difficult for me to do my job.
  4. Fred buys lots of things and then tries to give me lots of useless gifts.
  5. My favourite weapons and ammunition specialist shops never seem to hold Black Friday sales.
The number of phone calls I have had this year alone have been enough for me to unplug my phone from the wall. Then when people started arriving at my office and demanding Black Friday discounts I had to chase them out of my office and even had to throw my phone out of the window after them.

When Harry turned up had I had to threaten to shoot him five times and shoot the catalogue out of his hand to make him leave.
Fred then turned up with only five gifts instead of the usual fifty. This year he had bought me a kettle to replace the one that Ryan borrowed and sold for drug money, a microwave to replace the one that exploded, a new phone to replace the one that was now lying down on the street in several hundred thousand pieces, an engraved cigarette case and a sofa bed.

So this year there was only one useless gift that Fred brought with him. When I asked him why the sofa bed, he said he was sick of sleeping on the broken lump of wood and padding that I called a sofa. I told him that he had his own bed in his own home that he could go home to quite easily but for some reason the sofa bed still made its way into my home and my old sofa ended up sharing the street with my phone.

Sometimes I think that Fred is far more manipulative than anyone gives him credit for.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


I can't just be me that finds cancellations one of the most annoying things in the world - yes there is something I find more annoying than Fred Barlow and cancellations are it.

The most irritating form it comes in is cheques. This is especially troublesome in my line of work as I deal solely in cash and cheques and there is nothing worse than when someone writes a bad cheque or writes one that will actually clear but then cancels it before I can put it in the bank.

This week alone I have had three, yes three, cheques cancelled on me so quite clearly something needed to be done and being a private investigator it really wasn't hard for me to find out where these deadbeat clients were hiding from me and took even less time for me to beat my money out of them. In my line of work you either get paid or you starve, or get whacked, or get walked all over by scumbags.

It did get me thinking though about other things being cancelled and why it is that you have no control over them. Bus and trains being cancelled are one of the more frustrating things for the general population since they often lead to people having to stand around in the cold and the wet waiting for something that is never going to come and on rare occasions does leave individuals stranded.

I tend to avoid public transport so that doesn't bother me too much though every time I seem to have to take a plane it gets cancelled.

The other form of cancellation that really annoys me is when TV series are cancelled - especially halfway through a series. The one that most people gripe about is Firefly, and yes it was amazing but there are other series like the Visitors, Sports Night, the Magnificent Seven and Caprica that were all cut short in their prime. It's one thing that Fred and Harry never seem to shut up about.

It worries me that most of their conversation seems to be orientated around topics like television and Star Wars and other things that they seem to talk about just to annoy me, but then again it is still better than listening to Rick and Harry discussing which of their female conquests that they have in common.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The case of the missing sock

It may surprise many people to learn that I do my own laundry. Yes, I do know what laundry is and how to operate a washing machine and even a tumble dryer. Even more shocking is the fact that I know where to put the washing powder/liquid and fabric softener so you don't end up with clothes that still have soap in them when you are ready to dry them.

I can even separate my dark clothes from my lights and whites - well I could if I had any white and lights and the same goes for delicate items - hosiery and lingerie have never really been something I'd had much use for, especially when ammo is a much better investment.

Granted blood doesn't really ever wash out and grease can be a pain, but on the whole I manage to keep my clothes clean enough that there isn't a repellent scent of body odor that comes wafting to the nostrils every time I open my wardrobe or my drawers.

Though I do have experience with laundry, I have never really understood why people make such fuss over machines "eating" socks. I mean it had never happened to me and on days when there really didn't seem to be anything else to discuss, Fred and Harry would bleat on about how one of their socks had got lost in the wash, or the machine had mangled one, or someone had put something red in with their whites - oh wait that's something different - but still not only did the sheer dullness of this topic numb my brain, the idea that rational people could blame a machine for losing their sock seemed utterly ridiculous to me.

Of course I voiced these views in a very adult and respectful manner...oh alright, I called them both idiots and told them they deserved shooting for exposing me to firstly boring conversation and secondly for believing that machines for cleaning had developed a consciousness that revolved around depriving them of their socks.

Needless to say it brought an end to the evening.

However the next time I came to do my laundry, I collected it from the washing machine, put it through the dryer, but when it came to pairing my socks I found that two were missing - one white and one black, and I am not talking about the kind of socks that you buy from any normal shop (they only sell really, really, really, really dark blue ones). Oh no this one sock that was part of a pair of priest's socks that Pastor Patrick had given me.

So I searched through the dryer and the washing machine and couldn't find it anywhere. I retraced my steps to see if I had dropped them anywhere, checked my laundry bag and went over my apartment and office with a fine tooth comb when it struck me that it seemed very convenient that I should lose two socks just days after I had ridiculed Mr. Wonderful and Mr. Sleep-with-everything-that-moves over their enjoyment of trivialities.

Both denied all knowledge of stealing my socks, so when a pair of red knickers got mixed in with both Fred and Harry's white shirts, it was complete mystery as to whom they belonged to.

You might call it petty, but pettiness works for me.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Bringing the Raven Siren to Life

Help our talented team bring the Raven Siren to life in our crowdfunding project on

Follow us: 

On twitter @TheRavenSiren

On Facebook 

Learn more about the Raven Siren universe on the wiki

The Style

The style of this series is rooted in the classic style of film noir but slightly modernized with influences from classic films such as Casablanca. The project will be filmed in colour and have colours muted during the editing process.

The costumes and setting are to be shabby in design, slightly worn on the other side of worse for wear. Though there is a modern twist to the classic film noir there will be a dingy and dirty feel to the piece that are indicative of the underbelly of the city that Siren inhabits.

About the Raven Siren

The Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren book series comprises of the following books:

Beginnings, the Kevin Metis Saga, the Derek Long Saga, Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld: Volume 1 & 2, The Case of Mrs. Weldon and Hunting the Priest Killer.

There is also a popular online blog that can be found at 

The Scripts

We are constantly working on the scripts in order to bring the shorts and web series of the Raven Siren to live and so far have one script ready to be filmed - Of All the Gin Joints and a futher three shorts that are being worked on. 

We aim to have a total of 6 shorts (between 3 and 12 minutes in length) before we start filming the Web Mini Series that has 6 epsiodes per series (between 10 and 30 minutes in length) and has a total of four series at the moment. 

After we have filmed these we have a a further 6 series that we want to produce contain 10 episodes with each episode being around 45 minutes in length.

We will be raising funds for each series separately and currently are focusing on raising funds for the six shorts. 

What we will spend the money on?

The budget for each episode is worked out seperately based upon the number of people involved, the length of the episode being filmed, the costume, the set, the props needed and length of time that filming takes.

Of All the Gin JointsBudget: £600

£69.18 - Siren's Costume
Siren's costume is made up of black, worn, working boots, black combat or cargo trousers, a long black trench coat, her trade mark trilby and a black tank top.

£58.95 - Simon's Costume
Simon's costume is made up of a three piece suit, minus the jacket with a crisp white shirt, red tie, dress shoes and braces.

£72.50 - Air Squib and Blood Shots hire
This piece of machinery is the safest way to operate squbs on a small scale and will allow of 8 takes of the same injury if necessary.

£25.50 - Siren's lighter
Siren's lighter is one prop that is consistent throughout the Siren stories from as far back as Beginnings: Part 2. It is a zippo lighter that has been a gift from Fred Barlow to show how much he cares for her though the design of the lighter it is completely at odds with her character and persona. 

£220 - Siren's Beretta M84 9mm
Siren's gun is one of the most important props to get right for this project. The reason it costs so much is that it is a metal replica that is not a BB gun. It fires blanks safely so can be used to film with minimal injury. We are currently looking at cheaper alternatives to this but so far the alternatives do not look real or are too dangerous to fire in the confines of the shooting space.

*We have found two alternatives to the Beretta M84 that cost around half the price and are currently investigating the safety of using them in our shooting space.

£40 - Food and Drink on set
This will include all coffee, tea, lunch and dinner for the cast and crew during the day of filming.

£60 - Travel & Transport to location

£53.87 - Cast & Crew Expenses

The StreetsBudget: £200

Siren's costume is the same as in previous short as are the props.

£40 - Food and Drink on set

£60 - Travel and Transport to location

£100 - Extra lighting equipment for filming outdoors at night.

The Fred & Siren AffairBudget: £600

Siren's costume is the same as in previous short as are the props.

£40 - Food and Drink on set

£85 - Travel and Transport to location

£300 - Pay for the actors and crew involved in the short as it will take place over several days.

£100 - location fees

£75 - Fred's Costume

Other episodes & budgetsWe currently estimate that each episode will cost around £600. Budgets will be broken down as and when we have a better idea of what each episode will entail but we shall be working to only have £600 per episode available.

The Plot "Of All the Gin Joints"This short film is set in the club that Simon owns and sees Siren and Simon locking horns over his criminal activities. The current set for the club is a dance hall club including stage and seating though this is subject to change due to the availability of the location.

The short is a battle of wits between Siren and Simon, a sharp and witty back and forth between two foes, one who is adverse to getting his hands dirty with violence and the other more inclined to leap to violence at the first opportunity.

This short has a place within the Raven Siren timeline between the stories Backtrack and The Shortest Day in the Kevin Metis Saga book.

Of All the Gin Joints Script (working script subject to change)

By c.s. woolley

Based on Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series by c.s. woolley

©c.s. woolley 


Siren is stood on the stage smoking a cigarette. Behind her is a table on which a bottle of gin and glass both stand along with an ashtray, her cigarette case, lighter and gun. There is a chair stood next to the table with her trench coat lying on it as well as a folder containing financial documents. She is dressed in dark clothing. Simon enters.


All the world’s a stage, the men and women merely pawns.


I think you mean merely players.

Simon walks across the theatre floor in front of the stage, slowly, then up the stairs to the side of the raised seating and along one of the rows of chairs to find a seat around halfway up the seating. Siren’s eyes follow his movement.


Where you are concerned, I think pawns is generous.


It’s been a long time since I last saw you. 


I tend to avoid socialising with people that make my skin crawl. 


That’s not what you said the last time we saw each other. 


You didn’t make my skin crawl then. SIMON Because I was paying you? 


We weren’t socialising when you were paying me. SIMON So what are you doing here if this isn’t a social call? 


I needed a drink. 


Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, you have to piss your money away in mine? If you were just looking for a drink you wouldn’t be stood on the stage. 


What can I say? I’m a sucker for dinner and a show. 


And here was me thinking that it was only policemen with terrible tailors that could turn your head. 


You wouldn’t know the first thing about turning a woman’s head, let alone mine. 


My ladies don’t complain. 


And what about your sister? 


Still think I had something to do with Fiona’s death? 


I think you were responsible for everything that happened to her. 


I paid you to investigate her disappearance, you got me the answers. 


You paid me to follow the leads you laid down for me. A two year old could have done it. What I didn’t know then was who owned this theatre. 


What can I say? I didn’t want you to get the wrong impression. 


Whatever impression you think you left, there was always something that didn’t quite sit right with me about the whole thing. 


You got paid, what more do you want? If you were looking for peace of mind then you chose poorly, Siren. 


I always have peace of mind, it helps not having a conscience. I could happily shoot you and be on my merry way without losing one wink of sleep. What I don’t like are loose ends. 


Life is an endless sea of loose ends, missed opportunities and failed relationships - or at least that’s what I am told your life is like. 


Loose ends tend to bug me, get under my skin and eat away until I’ve tied them up, so I looked into you and this theatre a lot more closely. 


So you’ve come down here for some long and drawn out discussion of my business undertakings? Are you really qualified to make such judgments? 


It took longer than I would have liked, but fortunately there are plenty of people willing to pay for information on their rivals. 


Switched to corporate espionage now have we? I thought you had more class than that. 


And I thought you had more brains than it takes to savagely murder your own sister. Turns out we were both wrong. 


If you could prove that you’d have Mr Knight in Shining Armour here putting me in handcuffs and dragging me away. 


Oh don’t worry, he’s on his way, but I wanted to talk to you first. 


You’re pathetic, you don’t have anything on me. 


Oh? I have these. The financial records for your club for the last four years and even a three year old could tell from looking at these that things just don’t add up. 


Since you never finished school I don’t think you can really speak with any authority about maths. 


No, but the police accountants can. 


What do you mean? 


The police accountants found all sorts of little anomalies - and when I say little, I mean about the size of Texas. 


You must be a terrible poker player, you really can’t bluff. 


So I looked into these little discrepancies and found out some very interesting things. 


Like what? 


It’s a wonder that you’re still open considering that business is so bad. 


I’m getting by. 


But how? A man who kills his own sister is hardly going to shy away from other felonious activities. 


You’re boring me now, Siren. 


Boring, moi? Well then I will just have to make my act much livelier. 


I’m sure you could, but I have a meeting to get to. 


A meeting with a Colombian flavour? Yes, Simon, I know about the Colombians and that it is their money keeping these doors open not yours. 


You’ve got nothing. 


I have names, date, meeting places and about forty men seizing the latest drug shipment to you right about now. 


You bitch. You won’t get away with this. 


People get away with crimes, not stopping them. You really should have sent more time in school. 


I won’t be brought down by an ill educated tramp. 


Good job I’m an ill educated psychopath then. 


So all the problems last week - that was you? 


Do you mean the disappearing drug shipment, the drug dealers that were arrested or the man from Essex that was found floating in the harbour who would have spoken with a latino accent before he ingested half the ocean? 


All of them. 


I wouldn’t know anything about them. 


You can’t prove any of what you are saying applies to me - you’ve only got your suspicions. 


Well you were never stupid enough to write ’I’m in bed with Colombian drug lords and killed my sister so she wouldn’t go to the cops about it’ down anywhere but these is plenty of other things you did put down.


I don’t believe this.


So I know, better than you obviously, that I’ve got you, lock, stock and barrel. It’s over.


I won’t take this lying down. 


You don’t have a choice. Try to run and you’ll find that hot lead makes it harder to walk let alone move faster.


You threatening me?


You asking?


You can’t threaten me in my own club.


Just watch me. 

Simon stands to leave the theatre and starts to move down the stairs. Siren picks up her pistol and shoots Simon in the leg. Simon collapses on the floor and rolls about in agony. Siren puts the gun down, drains her glass, puts out her cigarette, puts on her coat, puts her cigarettes, lighter and pistol in her pocket and walks out stepping over Simon as she leaves. Music composed by Emily Worrall and sung by Charlotte Hall fades up as she shoots Simon getting loudest as she leaves. 


The Cast & CharactersThere are only two characters that feature in this particular short - Nicolette Mace and Simon McGregor and are to be played by C.S. Woolley and Aaron Long respectively.

Nicolette Mace is a private investigator who is more vigilante than detective and is fixated with the ideal of vengeance being delivered under the guise of justice. She has a checkered past that has influenced her development into a slightly psychotic individual - the murder of her father, the murder and rape of her sister, her mother dying in suspicious circumstances and her own rape. She is seemingly without guilt or a conscience and has lost the fear that she had during a childhood of surviving being the daughter of a Private Investigator.

Simon McGregor is a club owner with a failing business that he is having to keep from bankruptcy through importing and distributing crack cocaine. Siren once helped Simon to find his sister, Fiona, however his upstanding credentials that he once held no longer act as a smokescreen protecting his business from Siren or those that have hired her.

C.S. Woolley appeared in the film Weekend (2011) and has appeared in several plays and musicals on stage that include Look Back in Anger (Helena), Black Comedy (Carol), the Importance of Being Earnest (Lady Bracknell) and Disposing of the Body (Kate).

Aaron Long appeared in The Last Road (2012) as the lead character of Toby and has just finished filming Feather-Light and Paper-Thin (2014) in which he plays the role of Lucas.

The CrewThe crew is a small but professional unit that operates under the name The Fastidious Monks.

Director - Jared Drake

Assistant Director - Michael L. Worrall

Screenwriter - C.S. Woolley

Composers - Michael L. Worrall & Emily Worrall

Costume Consultant & Head of Wardrobe - Sam Moden

Props - Sam Moden

Vocalist - Charlotte Hall

Best Boy - Charlotte Vivian

Producers - C.S. Woolley & Michael L. Worrall

Editor - Michael L. Worrall

Further additions to the crew are to be announced when availability is known. A health & safety officer will be appointed slightly closer to the filming date.

The Locations

These are to be confirmed based on availability & cost.

Why is this important?The Raven Siren book series is growing in popularity and the style of writing lends itself to being turned into short episodes very easily.

We set about putting together the Raven Series shorts and web series in order to see the books brought to life as well as complementing the stories, filling out the gaps between the stories and bring a dedicated and professional finish to the shorts and series that we are going to put together.
What we will do with the projectThe videos that we produce of the shorts will be available through the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren website that is currently in the design stages as well as on YouTube.

We will also be releasing the shorts and the web series in DVD format for purchase when we have enough filmed in order to make the DVDs good value for money.

The music from the series will also be available for sale through digital music sites.

Problems we may face

The potential risks of our project include delays in filming due to personnel being unavailable, equipment failing or breaking and the filming location being unavailable.

We have booked the locations for the filming in advance to try and ensure we have them available to us as well as keeping our equipment in the best possible condition. If any equipment were to fail or break we would be able to replace it within 24 hours.

Personnel have all been informed of the shooting date and call sheets will be distributed to make sure that everyone is on set when they need to be.

Please help support us in this by donating to the project and sharing about it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other forms of social media. We'll only be able to do this with your support!