Dec 17, 2013

Moore’s Eclectic Emporium by Leah & Amber Moore

Photograph by David Ma, from The Quietus interview.
From pp. 261-263 of Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, the sold-out tribute-book published by Abiogenesis Press in 2003. 
In the following you can read the amusing and brilliant contribution written for the occasion by Alan Moore's daughters Leah & Amber. 
 
Special thanks to Leah and Amber Moore for the permission to post the piece on this blog. 
 
Moore’s Eclectic Emporium 
"Purveyors of quality merchandise, novelties, home furnishings and occult paraphernalia" 
2003-2063
© Leah & Amber Moore
The young reporter’s palms are slick as he knocks on the door. The glass pane is milky with cobwebs, revealing nothing of what lurks beyond. Thuds, clatters and a rasping cough filter from inside, wheezing and muffled swearing grow louder as someone, or something approaches…
“Hang on, hang on, I’m coming…. bloody reporters. Thought they knew we don’t open ‘til noon.  Yeah come on, pull up a…heap. You want a drink? Lemmesee…we got Mango and Lychee… urggh, I think that’s off. We got bio-yogurts, tea, peppermint cordial… or Absinthe. No? Suit yourself. I was just sayin’, we don’t usually open this early… company policy. No it’s no problem, just keep it quick. No he’s not here, his Royal Grand Egyptian wossname is at home, or in town or something. Probably anointing his sacred orbs.
    Yeah, we pretty much have the place to ourselves these days, keep it ticking over.  We are ‘purveyors of quality merchandise, novelties, home furnishings and occult paraphernalia’. Humph. Not that there’s much call for it. I said to him when he retired he might need something to fall back on in his old age… didn’t bank on this though. First we were just sellin’ the stuff he couldn’t shift through normal distributors… CDs, t-shirts, action figures. We had all his spare copies of stuff he did years back. He thought it’d be great, just sign a few dusty copies of Superlative #6 and we’d be sorted. Amazing how people don’t want to buy stuff if it’s covered in tea rings and fag burns isn’t it? The action figures sold at first, but when they did that ‘Imaginary ideas from outside inner Idea Space’ range, we couldn’t give ‘em away. How collectable can abstract concepts be anyway? Even if they do have twenty-seven points of articulation, and detachable accessories…people didn’t really see the point.  Then there was the fiasco about the novel… re-issued it with pictures… lovely pictures mind… but then the publishers decided to drop the text, and just put out the drawings. They’re still selling… colouring books, stuffed toys, the whole lot. Hear there’s a cartoon series planned. We don’t mention it to him of course… not to his good ear.
    The Magick line seemed like a safe bet, you know… flog a few incense sticks to the arty student types, few tie-dye throws… but no. His Holiness the Archduke of Spook said that that wasn’t good enough; he wanted us to sell the real thing. So a couple of phone calls later and we were the only retailer stocking the patented ‘Magick Al’s Occult Odds and Ends’ series. Need a thurible in a hurry? Chalk circles keep smudging? You get the idea. Needless to say, the denizens of Towcester aren’t really big on wands, so we’re still tripping over it all. Ever stubbed your toe on a grimoire? No? Didn’t think so.
    Yep, times are tough that’s for sure. But it’s not like we’re complaining… we have a pretty good life, the two of us. Bloody pair of spinsters. All we need is matching rocking chairs. What?  Boyfriends? Pah! Not for sixty years now. Not since we opened this place. Any potential husbands were either scared off by the Grand Vizier of Grump, or just couldn’t handle the idea of running this place for eternity. Bitter? No we’re not bitter. And anyway, there’s always pay-per-view. No, we got it pretty good here, there’s three rooms upstairs, although one of them is also the storeroom, so it’s pretty cozy bedding down between the boxes. We’ve got his old bath here as well. The bathroom was too small to put any other fittings in, but if you’re used to it, the bath can pretty much be used for everything. Well, nearly everything.
We did have a little shed out back, but he wanted that turned into a grannexe for his beloved life partner when he’s gone. So we’ll have to run this place and bed bath the queen of perv in-between times. “Could you sharpen my pencil dear? Not that one, the Jonquil one…NO! THAT’S CHARTREUSE!” I can see it now. We sell some of her stuff in here too, you know. Yeah, it’s the only thing that’s still selling. What does she call ‘em? ‘Tijuana Bibles’ I think. ‘Sjust a silly name for filth as far as I can see. We sell 'em under the counter, mind. Don’t want that stuff in the window; it'd get us raided for sure. We’re apparently under surveillance by no less than six major government organizations, and that’s not including the American ones. F.B.I., C.I.A., S.W.A.L.E.C., it’s like bloody scrabble! He says they’ve been after him for years… like he’s public enemy number one. He reckons they’ve been hiding over the road from him since that thing he did for the Christic Institute. Yeah right… and who says herbal tobacco doesn’t make you paranoid? Anyway, he’s got his place covered in so many protective spells and charms and amulets, it’s amazing that the gasman can even get in. We don’t have to worry here though, anyone tries to get in and we’ll beat them to death with enochian tea strainers. What’s that? You’ve got enough now? Are you sure? We’ve got plenty of stories yet…like the one about that time when he set fire to his hair on the gas ring, or when he bounced my head off the porch roof when I was a baby…no? Well at least take this as a gift… it’s a cold cast porcelain statuette of the ninth dimension… it’d look lovely on the mantelpiece. Maybe one of our...  Hey! Come back! You forgot your coat!”
The cobwebs flap and writhe around him as he claws his way out into the afternoon drizzle, gasping in deep lungfuls of blessedly pure air. His heart races, pumping blood to his trembling limbs, feeding them the adrenaline he needs to escape. As he races away from the leering shop front, he can almost hear voices, cracked and bubbling from behind the cobwebbed door.
    A hunched figure watches him run, barely human beneath it’s mop of multicolored tangles. Wheezing in between puffs on a foul brown roll-up, it totters over to a low chair and sweeps it free of papers and dust with one flail of its palsied arm. There is a creaking and snapping as it lowers itself into the grimy chair. From up the twisting vertiginous stair comes a rumbling. Dust is shaken from the ceiling and overburdened shelves and forms another layer on the tiny gnarled figure perched beneath. The syrupy light, which falls sluggishly from the landing above, is suddenly blotted out by the shadow of someone descending the stairs. Eventually, a towering figure emerges, its knee length black hair grayed with layers of dust and spiders nests. The eyes which glint from beneath this veil of filth are red rimmed, and dreadful in their purpose. The ragged breathing which accompanies its descent causes great clouds of dust to swirl and eddy in its wake. The hunched gnome looks up at this terrifying form, its eyes like glittering currants in a gray ball of dough. “Amber! We nearly had one! A real live man!”
“Forgeddit sis, they never stay long… you know the only eligible guy that hangs around here is Azmodeus; nice enough, but I wish he’d clean up his webs when he leaves. Yes, ever since we ran out of those Watchmen re-runs we haven’t had a hope of getting out of here. Might as well accept our lot and try that two for one promotion on Kabalistic fridge magnets. Never thought the Idea Space boom would crash like it did, perhaps the whole thing of everywhere being as close as the inside of your head got a little old when peoples’ mother-in-laws kept popping in from across the ether. We could have lived without the ‘Instant Space-Time’ memos direct from dad, and that was when we still had ‘personal’ lives! All that enochian chanting in-between gave me migraines.
      I remember the days, the shop was new and it’s not like we had a choice about working here… all those cherubim fluttering round the office, gnawing through the fax lines; no wonder I got fired really. I did think he went a little far with that ‘Glyco-Gram’ to your studio. Giant snakes nesting would be enough to give anyone writers block. Always gets his way.
Not that it was all bad, it was fun for a while; combing the goat hair on the book spines, air dusting the jars of teeth. It used to have such a mysterious air to it, I thought we’d end up with some of those tall dark and handsome Men In Black guys… never the way though. Here we are, older than should be allowed and sharing a storeroom with more entities than you can shake a wand at. Remember? We tried...
Maybe he’d let us retire if we could convince those creatures he summons to do a little work before they scuttle off? Of course that would be self-serving and an abuse of power… he didn’t think that when he started balding though; he was off chanting at anyone who’d listen before the first tuft hit the floor.
I thought the move from comics to magic would do him good at first… you know? He’d worked so hard building up his own little comics empire from nothing; I thought it was time for him to rest on his laurels and reap the rewards. Never thought he’d have the idea that material gain from non-magical work would pollute his ‘Ain Soph’ whatsit, if only we could've had him sectioned before he transferred the royalties to the retirement fund for archaic deities. Damn those ungrateful entities… sitting around drinking the amber nectar while I make myself Amber-knackered selling signed coffee mugs with their tentacles all over! You’d think they’d have at least let us off with middle-aged spread or something, some perk in exchange for giving up our inheritance.”
In the corner of the room, between stacks of faded boxes, a pinprick of light appears. Glimmering and growing into a cloud of sparkles. The papers that litter every surface flap and flutter in a chill wind which gusts from the glittering portal.  A shape is forming in the centre of the swirling vortex, the muscular coils of a serpent. Atop these coils sits a hirsute head. Its heavy lidded eyes peer from between the silvery fronds of hair, which drips like Spanish moss on either side. The skin sparkles with jeweled scales, carven into deep furrows by the passage of time. A forked tongue flickers from beneath a long moustache, and the beard which sprouts from its slender serpentine chin reaches nearly to the floor. It makes a noise, what could be a greeting, were it not so drenched in sibilants. And turns to bathe the wretched pair of hags in its bloodshot and baleful glare. “Oh hullo dad…”
“I’ll put the kettle on then…”

Leah & Amber Moore 2003

1 comment:

  1. Love the article. I'm a huge Alan Moore fan (his work, and his philosophy on spirituality). Is there any way of having the honor of photographing Mr. Moore? What are your social sites so I can follow your work?

    Rey Rey Rodriguez
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