Respectable Horror: C. A. Yates

Respectable Horror front cover

Respectable Horror front cover
The author of ‘The Holy Hour’ may perhaps be better known for tales of another type:

With regard to my story ‘The Holy Hour’ soon to be presented to you under the auspices of Respectable Horror:

Respectable, you say? Well now, it’s a good job you came to me, my dears, for it is well known about these parts that I am the very embodiment of the well-turned heel of etiquette, the nine-time retriever of Lady Windermere’s Fanny, the epitome of Respectability. Its goddamned quintessence, I say. Yes, indeed, I am all about the corsetry and manners, my sweetest hearts, the decadently clad dandy wilt throw no shade on me. My writings, for the most part, are not that of some rabidly cussing blood-crazed termagant, it’s not all effing and bloody jeffing, with dismembered limbs akimbo and boiling pans of severed heads on the stove – I mean, I once wrote a story about a Sub-Aquatic Opera Company, for goodness’ sake. That’s a positively cultural orgasm of respectability right there, a full on lah-di-dah rigour of protocol and decorum.

Don’t listen to today’s rabble, my loves! Theirs is the voice of indignity and ignorance.

Free yourself from the restraints of the heathenism of modern hedonism and run with me into an old-fashioned gothic phantasmagoria that will chill your spine and … well, actually, I feel quite foolish now, because there aren’t any creaking old houses, or sinister mazes, or spinster phantoms plaguing ruthless rakes in the night. No tastefully bosom-heaving heroines or gargantuous-foreheaded uncles with their eye on their innocent ward’s prize, no creatures that will cause the blood to run slow in your veins, and there are most certainly no books that will twist you into folly itself. There’s a wife; she’s alone and she’s sad. She might be me one day. I hope not, but I fear it.

Wait! There’s a church, they are très respectable, aren’t they? Well, it might be a church, or it might not now I come to think about it, I’m not a believer myself, at least I don’t think I am… there’s definitely a dog. Everyone likes dogs, all respectable households have one.

And no one – I repeat NO ONE – gets eaten.

Respectable? Fucking A.


C.A. Yates.

P.S. Blame The Cure. I do.

Monday Methods : Chloe Yates

Monday Methods

Chloe Yates


  1. Wake Up
  2. Wander around the house in my nightie trying to remember why I’m here.
  3. Existential misery.

    Puss knows existential misery
    Puss knows existential misery
  4. Cup of tea.
  5. Exercise (with varying degrees of success. There’s a lot of sitting)
  6. Wonder about showering. Sit at desk while wondering, check FB, peruse pointless articles, get distracted by a new episode of whatever Real Housewives is running (because I’m shallow), finally reminded to shower by the distinct whiff of me.
  7. Lunch
  8. Cup of tea.
  9. Remove damp towel from still slightly damp body and realise it’s already 2pm and I should have started work hours ago. Also realise that I’m standing in front of the office window and the blinds are not shut. Smile and wave at neighbours, exit office.
  10. Take ages agonising over what to wear for no reason at all other than it being a convenient procrastination opportunity. A writer should never miss one of those.
  11. Decide to buy only black clothes in the future. Think about nice black clothes.
  12. Dress
  13. Cup of tea.
  14. Sit at desk.
  15. Open Word.
  16. Stare at it.
  17. Cup of tea.

And so it goes.

I’ve never really thought about myself as having a “method”. Madness doesn’t count, apparently. There are no particular rituals, no self-flagellation (ok, that one’s a lie), no special foil hat, no Hail Marys and a shot of Tabasco before I hit the word mines. Last night, however, I was chatting to a gentleman who wanted to know about my work. He asked me about my process et cetera, and it occurred to me that I do actually have one… sort of. When I’m writing a short story, the original tale is always completely different to the final product because I rewrite it and rewrite it until it’s done. Sounds basic, I know, but it took me a long time to learn that words are not concrete, plans are not set in stone and clichés can be useful when your brain’s running on slow (like now). Turns out, words are malleable – they serve you the writer, not the other way around. They’re your clay not your boss. Reworking my work (ahem) is my method.

Secondly, no matter how shit bollock crazy a story may be, it’s always based on something concrete, something I’ve researched and used as a jumping off point. No matter how far away from it a story might end up, it’s always inspired by something I’ve found in the “real” world.  Plus, research is another excellent opportunity for procrastination. Brucie bonus.

So that’s my terribly sophisticated method and its revelation has undoubtedly rocked your tits off. Research, write, rewrite, rewrite… Plus yellow legal pads, pencils and a lot of scratching my arse, natch.

Drag Noir: Chloë Yates

The lovely Paulina Succotash

Kiki and Me
Chloë Yates
One night in the dim and distant long ago, I was working the graveyard shift at that notorious punk drag dive, Axolotl Snot, on the grimy lower east bank of The City. The night outside was cold and inside the clientele wasn’t much warmer. One moment I was wiping down the ever-sticky bar for the hundredth time, the next I was slack jawed with awe as the infamous drag queen Kiki Le Shade sashayed into my world. She was a dame and she had balls. One look into those hypnotically glacial peepers and I was spellbound. She bent me to her will and I thanked her for every displaced vertebrae… At least that’s how I wish it had gone, but I’ve never worked in a bar and I’ve only ever admired drag queens from afar. I have, however, been in love with them since I was a kid.


Ideas of gender have always fascinated and appalled me. The way we step into the construct of gender identity at birth and then stick to it as though it’s all perfectly natural and right when it’s clearly absolute bollocks has plagued me my entire life. Arbitrary rules of behaviour and “deportment” (ugh) that depend upon whether or not you have a tallywackle or a witch’s cackle have never made the least bit of sense to me. I never understood why I was supposed to do this or that because I was a “girl” or why my friend couldn’t wear this or act like that because he was a “boy”. I just wanted to do the things I wanted to do because I wanted to do them. I believe that’s how everybody feels, deep down at least, but all too often life teaches us that stepping out from the baaing masses is fraught with castigation and derision – those wicked sharp whip licks of social control. Well, fuck, as they say, that shit.


The long and the short of it is I’m a fan of chutzpah, if you’ll allow me the indulgence. Bold, in-your-face, no apologies types are my number one poison, my idols and my role models, and who’s better at in-your-face than drag queens? Undoubtedly I have a romanticised view of them, but it certainly seems to me that drag queens make no apologies. More often than not it is their opportunity to act out, play up and throw their besequinned shit in the face of folks with wild abandon – and they seize it. Drag has never seemed like a mask to me. It is, rather, a medium for liberation. An excuse to be fearlessly bold, a ticket to kick the world in the tits while sticking your tongue out and wiggling your glitter-encrusted arse at it. That beautiful bright light of subversion being thrown so boldly in the face of a generally conservative world that pouts and frowns at “otherness” like we don’t all have secrets, fears, desires and frustrations that torment and thrill us, tickles me in all the best places.


Needless to say, I really wanted to write a story for Drag Noir but, after whacking my brain into inanimate object after inanimate object, I was stumped. Not because I couldn’t think of a million and one scenarios, but because I couldn’t think of the right one (some might argue I didn’t do that anyway but they can kiss my big fat bellend). Then I came across the song ‘Let’s Have a Kiki’ by Scissor Sisters. I can’t remember if it was on the telly or if someone posted it on Facebook, but it stuck in my head like only the most vicious of earworms are wont to do. It did the job though, one of those mental switch thingummies. I listened to that fucking song about eight million times while sitting in front of my screen and not once did my fingers stop typing. Kiki was pretty much born in one go, but she felt like she’d always been with me. First came the image of the faded drag queen, a shadow of her former self that long ago night at the Axolotl, sitting in a parking lot on one of those awful white plastic chairs, inches long ash clinging to a still blazing cigarette, lipstick smudged, wig askew. And I wondered what she was waiting for, because she was definitely waiting for something. Turns out, it wasn’t what I expected… which is just how I like it.

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