Author Archives: Shell Keeley

Goodbye to the Ghosts: a short story by Cath Bore


His frown eases as I give him my mouth.

‘You do that every time,’ he says, but only after I’ve finished.

I pretend not to know what he’s on about. ‘What, swallow?’

‘Every time I mention the ghosts, you go down on me.’

‘Well, stop mentioning them and I won’t bother.’

‘I don’t want that! I want…’ He sulks.

‘Tell me what you do want,’ I say.

‘I want you to get rid of the ghosts.’

My heart sinks. ‘They’re not going anywhere.’

The ghosts in my head remind me of things. If you don’t have memories, what

have you got? When I forget, they nudge me and retell stories. He doesn’t like me

bringing up the memories, says they disturb him, reckons the memories are wrong

and my ghosts make them up.

‘The ghosts are from your past. I’m your present.’ He pulls his face.

‘They can share the present with you,’ I say.

‘I want you to stop talking to them.’

‘Not happening. Tell me what you want, apart from the ghosts.’

He starts listing things.

‘Anyone can do washing up,’ I say. ‘And housework.’

‘Not you, obviously. I mean, look at the state of those bedclothes.’

After what we just did, what I did, all he sees are untidy sheets?

‘Just give it a try,’ he says.

And I do. He’s right, I’m not very good at housework, at first the skirting

boards show only marginally less dust than before, but then I learn how not burn

to toast and start putting a meal on the table every night, made from scratch. I get

better at it all and soon build up a repertoire, my mouth kept busy talking cleaning

tips and reciting recipes. The ghosts in my head go quiet and I miss them less, I start

to think maybe they do belong in the past after all. Old memories aren’t much use

now, not if they don’t tell me how to starch a collar or bake artisan bread.

‘Just call me Mary Berry,’ I laugh, one night.

‘How about I call you Nigella?’ He winks.

‘No. Mary.’

The next night he tells me how boring I am nowadays.

‘I want the ghosts to come back,’ he says suddenly, throwing himself onto my

clean sheets, turning them into a crumpled chaos.

I ironed those sheets today, made each smooth and nice and here he is

rolling around in them.

‘Well they aren’t coming back, ever,’ I say.

‘You’re no fun anymore.’ He sits on the side of the bed like he used to after he

complained, thighs slightly apart, expectant.

‘Who says I used to have fun?’ I push him out of the bedroom, slam the door

shut, get on my knees and start to mend the mess he made, flicking the swirls and

whorls flat with my fingers.





Cath Bore is a Liverpool based writer and a wonderful woman. If you would like to see more of her fantastic work or have a nose at what she’s up to you can visit her at




Second Life, a Post by Syndathim

Originally posted over at 

It was wet, the roof had been burnt off but Garrett had to admit that the Old Forge sold good beer. Garrett lifted up his tankard and downed the remaining contents, relishing the liquid that he hoped would erase the memories of the past three months. As good as the beer was, his thanes missing eye would always be a painful reminder of how bad it was in Feorbuend; that town had been a brutal nightmare.

Feorbuend, home of the Hall of Aetheling though currently infested with barbarian orcs intent on pissing on five hundred years of history. His thanes grizzled face once again summed up quite how bad things were. In fact Garrett always maintained that the best thing the Young Bear had was a face like a barometer of life. When things were going to be good soon – the thane would smile. Right now he just looked weary; weary and drunk.

1239899_10153285331305424_1145713650_n ————————-

About a month ago I left Portsmouth and went to field near Northampton where I basically disappeared off the grid for four days and got immersed in my second life at Empire; a LARP system run by Profound Decisions. LARP is widespread enough now for me to safely ignore trying to explain what it is and if you don’t know what it is then just Google it. What I will do is talk more about Empire itself.

Part of me feels a bit weird pissing off and leaving my wife and non LARP friends and family behind when I go off and become Garrett – my latest character. Nonetheless there is something utterly awesome about getting kitted up in badass costume and then acting like something I’m not. Garrett is simply an apothecary who is rude to people, lazy and in all honesty a bit of a brutal sadist. Where else in this world can you comfortably tell someone to fuck off and blame it on being ‘in character’?


At Empire I feel I can do as much or as little as I want and still enjoy the event. I can drink, dance, sing, laugh, fight, plot, whatever. It’s a second life in which I can choose to be a lazy scrounger or, if I was more motivated, the Emperor of the whole freaking game. In fact, some people are getting so ingrained with the plot that naturally they now need to worry about getting protection just in case someone admires their extreme wealth and power. With each event that passes there is more depth and complexity and just like in real life you can be overwhelmed with the detail. Unlike real life you can comfortably not give a fuck and not worry about ruining your life (well your real life at least).


I’ve been to two events so far and the weather was shite at both. One reached -14 degrees Celsius at night and the other was so wet that most of the paths became boggy. I didn’t care in either case because I had such a good time regardless.


I could wax lyrical about how great the battles are, how awesome the camps look and how peoples costume is sometimes jaw dropping. There are still improvements to be made but these will be achieved in time I’m sure. Ultimately there’s as much point me talking about my second life in the real world as there is for Garrett to talk about real life at Empire. All I can say is that if you like glamping, amateur dramatics and Game of Thrones then come to Empire.

Beach Sloth Reviews The Curiosity Cabinet

Now that we have our new website, it feels fitting to post the review of our first ever issue onto it. Beach Sloth wrote some awesomely kind words. If you want to know what’s going on in the lit world (especially that of the ‘alt-lit’ community) then give his blog a read and follow at


The Curiosity Cabinet is quintessentially English. I knew that immediately. Didn’t even have to do any ‘research’ I felt the English in my bones. Look at the cover. Read the title. A cabinet full of curiosities is such a traditionally quaint way of saying things. It beats the American way of introducing things, with the uglier language. ‘Oh yeah, in that cabinet are some shrunken heads and drugs’. If you call it a curiosity cabinet though, you’re fine. Nobody is going to bother you. They’ll think you’re a perfectly charming young lad who has a penchant for curiosity. And I do like this little publication. Everything is here, a lucky list of seven: art & photography, poetry, film, short stories, musical things, a diary, and articles.

                Elise Cochin begins the photography section. Her work appears to be ‘on the fly’. The way she puts it is ‘capturing a sincere moment’. I like that she uses both color and black/white. Her photos seem warm to me. Chris Sutcliff presents a piece of art dedicated to his long-lost red balloon. We lose red balloons as children. Those are the balloons of our innocence. ‘You aren’t your job’ really strikes me. I remember somebody telling me ‘Your job defines you’. I hope that isn’t the case. I want to be more interesting than a mere office worker. I want to create beauty in the world not simply exist as a paper shuffler. Andrew John Craven likes his steampunk. The pictures have a silly quality to them. My favorite is definitely the last one, which is really absurd. Wonder why he doesn’t remove his jetpack. Peatree Bojangles has the best name. She creates dark, weird pictures.
                Alexander Mark Kennard writes about forgetting time in airports. To me, airports don’t represent time. They represent an absence of time. Airports kill more time than any other location. Nor does it even matter with all the ‘time zone’ rubbish going on. I’m here. Yes, I went across the pond to find my own curiosity cabinet. Let me know what you think about it.  James Seymour writes about her. You might remember her from places like ‘your dreams’ and ‘other people’s dreams you happened to stumble upon late at night’. I like the simplicity of the piece.  Connor D’ Arcy gets lost in a fairy tale. Feel he would have been better off nibbling lightly on the poisoned apple.  Keziah Hodgson writes four affectionate poems. They are dedicated to someone; I’m not entirely certain who. But they are rather tender.  Dave Shaw (different from the Canadian poet Dave Shaw) clearly dislikes some night creatures. I’m talking about ‘party people’. In the daytime they dissolve, melted by the sun. At night they run amok.  Adam Johnson has a bleak vision with ‘A Day in Your Life’. At least you get to dance. That seems good.
                Emily Jane Curtin and Michael Burrin have a nice, quiet little movie. This is a really tender piece. I like some of the shots they have. Probably my favorite visual is the shot down the staircase. It looks so domestic. Think that is the sweetest angle in the movie short movie. Even ‘father’s’ voice has kind, pleading quality to his voice. I also like how rarely they rely on dialogue. Most of the film is driven by the visuals, by the sunlight streaming through lonely windows rather than any ‘over-explanation’ of the situation.
                Max Dunbar writes an incredibly bleak short story. It is beyond brutal. A few times I felt extraordinarily sad about the process of aging. Guess that’ll happen to me someday. I’ll be all old and gray living alone in a house with nothing but silence. Ian Adamson deals with the story of a non-joint bank account. The details feel a bit bleak, bus rides and long lines. Glad I live on the internet instead of real life. Real life is hard. Evie Lola has an entire story about wonderful, wholesome family fun. Feel it is pretty darn enjoyable. Refuse to actually give away the plotline. Expect a lot of violence. Amy Louise Crossley writes about the power of dance music. I love dance music though I never really got into the ‘club’ scene due to my extreme lack of energy.  Sian S. Rathore and‘E’ kill it. They defeat emotions. One of brings up the past. The past dies. Apparently E’s friends have ‘eager hands’. I hope E’s friends are using their hands for good, like constructing roads and bridges. Love the exchanges between them. They make me long for more articulate friends.
                Amanda Coban writes one of those ‘live music reviews’. I feel a bit nostalgic reading it. Perhaps I will begin writing about the concerts I attend once more. Now that it is the summer I can start doing that again. I love the name of the band, The Darvaza Hole. Anybody who engages in obscure geographical references is alright with me.
                Renee Boudoir is a burlesque newbie. She apparently travels rather far to live the burlesque lifestyle. The burlesque lifestyle includes cupcakes. I may join the burlesque lifestyle for this only reason. I promise to tease very, very slowly.
                Jonathan Paxton reminds me of my hours spent in front of a computer. I spend hours on each tweet yet others get over 50 re-tweets for stuff like ‘Ate some food’ and ‘Hey’.Let me be the Ringo Star of the alt lit scene. I’m okay with that. Phil Jackman digs, well, it’s a complicated issue.
                The Curiosity Cabinet is a sweet, optimistic collection. I like the dedication. Usually these sorts of things have only poetry. Diversity is good. Different forms of art help to show off the many different ways of expressing oneself. Sometimes I forget about the visual. I get lost in words. Here in this cabinet I’m lost in everything. That’s a good thing.


Hello there faithful curios… I thought I would give you a little update with how our re-launch issue is coming along.

We are working along side the amazing James Seymour (who is actually a knitted dinosaur) to make this new BUMPER issue look spectacular. We can’t wait to showcase your amazing work and let you read and download our new issue in it’s full glory.

We can’t wait and hope you can’t either!

Exciting News!

We are pleased to announce two very exciting interviews that we will be featuring in the next issue of The Curiosity Cabinet. First off, we have an interview with award winning author, Matt Haig and we also have an interview with musician Shannen Bamford to coincide with the launch of her new E.P ‘Paper Planes.’  Can’t wait? You can wet your apetitie below:

Matt Haig

British Author and journalist, Matt Haig, has been described as “Delightfully weird” (Gerard Woodward, The Guardian) and so, will fit in perfectly within the pages of The Curiosity Cabinet. Author of ‘The Radleys’, ‘The Dead Fathers Club’ and most recently, ‘The Humans’, Matt has an ability to access the most delicate of human emotions with hilarity and warmth, as well as being a bit odd just to balance it out. He also makes lists, which in my opinion, means he’s a good egg.


Shannen Bamford

Shannen Bamford is singer-songwriter from Liverpool, UK. This month sees the release of her first ever E.P. Shannen’s soft, lullaby vocals can be compared to the comforting pitter patter of raindrops on your window pane when you’re drifting off to sleep. Shannen writes her own music and plays several instruments as well as running a popular open mic night in Liverpool based in Central Perk coffee shop. A display of pure talent and dedication to her passion, we can’t wait to get our interview with the beautiful Shannen.



Logo Competition

We recently held a competition for our Curiosity Cabinet Logo and one for our ‘banner’ as well. If you missed it, we had some great submissions and ended up with two lovely winners.


Amy’s logo will appear throughout the magazine as as our profile pictures on our social networking sites. It will also appear on any flyers/cards and we are pleased to announce that it will also be our front cover for the re-launch issue of The Curiosity Cabinet!! We adore it. It pretty much sums up the magazine and it has a cat on it…so it couldn’t get much better.


Here’s how it’ll look on the website



Our banner will be used throughout our social networking and across our website. The lovely Becky Shaw has been a great contributor to The Curiosity Cabinet over the past year and designed our fantastic Halloween cover. Again, sums us up perfectly. Cobwebs, typewriter font, ink stains and a creepy little bunny in a Victorian-esque frame.


As you can see our readers chose well! The winners will be receiving a book each in the post soon from the Hidden Classics collection. Make sure you keep an eye out for these beautiful pieces of art in our magazines.