Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #3

Phil Cooper, ‘Bedside Lights Sprouting’, 40cm x 40cm, Acrylic on paper

The tunnel led into a much larger cave, its walls, ceiling and floor formed from old stained mattresses in different prints and patterns. Dim orangey light was given out by an assortment of bedside lights sprouting toadstool-like from the floor and walls.

Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 7 – The Bedrock Catacombs


In Chapter 7 of Chimera Book 1, Kyp Finnegan finds himself all alone in the Bedrock Catacombs after narrowly escaping the clutches of Madame Chartreuse and her two henchmen, the Berserker and the Tealeaf. Like everything in the world of Chimera, the Bedrock Catacombs are comprised of abandoned things – in this instance, all those old mattresses you see fly-tipped at the sides of roads.

For his inspiration this week, artist Phil Cooper focuses on one of the bedside light-come-mushrooms that grow out of the floor and walls of the catacombs – a moment of comfort and calm – before events in the chapter take a more sinister turn!


Chapter 7 takes place in the Bedrock Catacombs, a series of caves and tunnels, hollowed out of layers and layers of compressed detritus. The caves are lit by the glow of discarded bedside lamps, growing out of the walls and floors of the Catacombs like fungi. These images, in particular, chimed with me this week, as I’d been out walking in the woods over the weekend and found them alive with mushrooms and toadstools of all kinds. Some, I know, are edible, and others highly toxic; but which is which? I’ve no idea, so I’d never trust myself to take some home to cook. But the shapes and colours of the fungi always fascinate me when I find them each autumn. They just look so weird, straight out of a dark fairytale. So, a toadstool has found its way into the illustration for this chapter of Chimera, in the form of a children’s plastic lamp. There isn’t much time to sit and enjoy the warm cosy glow it casts though – the toe-biters are coming!

Phil Cooper, October, 2020


Some of Phil Cooper’s reference photographs taken in-situ in the Berlin woods, October, 2020


Phil’s ‘Toadstool light’ painting in development on his art table in his Berlin studio, October 2020



Chimera Book 1 / Chapters 1 – 5


It gives me great pleasure and a squizz of excitement to announce the first five chapters of my children’s novel, Chimera Book 1, are now available as podcast episodes, with subsequent episodes released on Sundays at 4pm. I’ll be sharing them here at Red’s Kingdom but you can find them on Spotify, Anchor.com, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and Breaker.

Lots of people to thank, not least actor, Dan Snelgrove, who has given Chimera its many voices and worked so imaginatively to bring this project to life. Big thanks also to composer, Andrew Fisher, for Chimera‘s thirty seconds of musical magic, and to artist, Phil Cooper, for Chimera‘s ‘book cover’. Phil is also creating special edition paintings to accompany the release of new episodes of the Chimera audiobook, which I’ll be sharing on here in due course.

I don’t want to say too much more, except if you’re eight years old or thereabouts you should enjoy this, and if you’re eighty years old, I think you’ll enjoy it too. A short synopsis follows, but why not just pop your headphones on, press play, and prepare to lose yourself to Chimera


“Kyp Finnegan is lost in Chimera after running away from the imposters pretending to be his parents. Chimera is as remarkable as it is dangerous – a fantastical world of lost properties in which bowties evolve into butterflies and abandoned sofas transform into snorting herds of soffalos! With the help of Atticus Weft, a sock-snake with a secret, Kyp must evade the clutches of Madame Chartreuse, who is determined to add him to her collection of lost children and imprison him in Chimera forever…”


Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 7 – The Bedrock Catacombs Chimera Book 1

Kyp opened his eyes to near darkness. He’d dropped into a tunnel, his fall broken by something springy and soft. Ahead of him there was faint yellow light, little brighter than a candle. He shook his head, as if clearing his ears of water. The green light was gone, but not quite yet the happiness it had given him, which persisted just long enough for Kyp to feel more lost and alone than ever. Atticus had lied to him.
  1. Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 7 – The Bedrock Catacombs
  2. Chimera Book One / Chapter 6 – The Mannequin
  3. Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 1 – The Mum and Dad Who Weren’t
  4. Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 2 – The Tentacle and the Tea Tray Bridge
  5. Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 3 – A Talking Snake
  6. Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 4 – The Oblivion Three

Tune in next Sunday at 4pm for the next instalment of Chimera!

anchor.fm/chimerabook1