Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #11

Phil CooperBertram 40cm x 40cm, acrylic on paper

‘Welcome to the Museum Room,’ said Bertram proudly. ‘This is where I come to remember Gregory Gimble, who was saving up for the Speed-Steed skateboard in the window of Mrs Tiffin’s Toyshop. This is where I come to remember the promise Gregory would have me make each time he entrusted his pocket money to me; “Keep it safe for me, pig. Keep it safe”. This is where I come to hear again the conversations Gregory would share with me last thing at night, his dreams of racing wheels, of the rush of the wind, and of all the daring tricks he would one day perform in front of Muriel Proops, the girl with the blueberry bubble-gum who stood by the drinks fountain.  This is where I come to remember what it was I was meant for.’

Chimera Book 1/ Chapter 15 – Whirlitzer


“Sometimes I have an idea about what a character in Chimera Book 1 might sound like, or look like. Then I hear Dan’s narration and suddenly the voice he gives to characters is how they will then sound in my head for ever more. It’s like they really only could sound like that. The characters taking centre-stage in the book at the moment are good examples; Whirlitzer, Doctor Ossifer and Bertram have always been a joy, but Dan has brought them to life in such a delightful and thrilling way. This week I decided to try an illustration of Bertram, the cute but rather bolshy little skateboarding pig. And I LOVE his voice, ‘rules, rules rules’. How could I resist?”

Phil Cooper, January 2021


Phil Cooper’s Bertram painting on his art table in his Berlin studio, January 2021




Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 15 – Whirlitzer


Dim the lights, get comfy, it’s time for the next instalment of Kyp Finnegan’s continuing adventures in Chimera, the realm of lost things…


Last time in Chimera Book 1:

‘You’ve been very kind,’ Kyp told the members of the Souvenir Society after they’d eaten, ‘but Jamie and I can’t stay here. Madame Chartreuse has got Jamie’s brother. We need to find him.’

‘The whereabouts of her collection is a closely guarded secret,’ said Sir Regulus. He hesitated. ‘Even from her most trusted agents. Its location will be somewhere inaccessible, some remote, forbidding place.’

‘There is one who might be able to help,’ suggested Doctor Ossifer, his brain pulsing alarmingly. ‘An ancient metamorph by the name of the Sin King.’

‘Sin King?’ Jamie said unhappily.

‘Rumour has it he’s made his home out in the Badlands beyond Thingopolis.’

‘The Badlands,’ said Jamie. ‘Great.’

‘We’ll find him,’ said Kyp confidently. ‘But first we have to find our way out of here.’

‘Find your way out?’ snorted Whirlitzer, as he entered the Museum Room. ‘There is no way out of Oddznbodz.’

Chapter 15 – Whirlitzer

Listen to all previous chapters at anchor.fm/chimerabook1


Coming soon to Red’s Kingdom: Chapter 16 – Return To The Plummet Pit


Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 14 – The Souvenir Society


It’s time to keep your next appointment with the weird and wonderful world of Chimera, the realm of lost things…


Last time in Chimera Book 1:

To the two boys, the carousel stallion said, ‘You’re not welcome here. Go, and do so quickly.’

‘Go where exactly?’ asked Jamie.

‘I don’t care.  Just leave before you’re seen.’     

‘Too late,’ said Kyp.

The cave was filled with movement.  Hat stands that moved like stick-insects dropped down from above to investigate the two boys with inquisitive prods. A grubby armchair-ape shuffled forwards to sniff them.  A plump, pink soffalo with tiny pointed feet blinked at them from beneath tassel-like eyelashes.  Knitted glove squids shimmied above their heads, propelling their colourful bodies through the air in fits and starts.  Comb centipedes scuttled between their feet.  

Kyp looked down to see a small knitted clown holding his hand. 

‘Give it to me!’ the clown implored, tugging Kyp’s fingers. ‘Just a little piece, that’s all.  The Picaroon Widows will do the rest.’

A yellow glove squid grabbed Kyp’s other hand, its short stubby tentacles enveloping his fingers.

‘Don’t be selfish,’ it squealed. ‘Give it to me! Give it to me!’ 

‘I asked first!’ snarled the clown. ‘It’s mine.  Mine!

The carousel stallion reared up on his hind legs, scattering the crush of creatures to the edge of the cave.  

‘Silence!  You have forgotten yourselves!’

‘Then tell them to leave,’ demanded the clown.  ‘Their presence here mocks the Jetsamelite Decree!’

 The crowd jeered in agreement and Kyp began to fear the metamorphs would attack.  

Suddenly, the whole cavern shook.  The ceiling slumped. Squirts of smelly water gouted from the walls.

‘Heap-quake!’ cried the metamorphs.

‘The shovelisks have returned to the Plummet Pit,’ said the carousel stallion. ‘To the safety of Flotsam Potshole.  Quickly!

Chapter 14 – The Souvenir Society

Listen to all previous chapters at anchor.fm/chimerabook1


Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment, Chapter 15 – Whirlitzer – coming soon to Red’s Kingdom!


Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #9

Phil CooperThe Shovelisk, 40cm x 40cm, acrylic on paper

“A new noise assailed their ears, the piercing wail of sirens. The chamber lit up with an array of revolving lights, as out of the tunnels appeared dinosaur-like creatures with yellow skin, and massive jaws supported on long necks. Their eyes were as large and bright as headlamps and instead of legs, they propelled themselves forwards on one black rubbery foot. The yellow monsters began to scale the rubbish heap, taking great scoops of debris into their mouths. The heap quaked violently.”

Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 13 – The Plummet Pit


“I moved to Berlin a couple of years ago and one of the things Berlin is very good for is second-hand bookshops. My favourite one is just up the road from where we live and one of my recent purchases is a book about the British artist Graham Sutherland. During the second world war Sutherland was an official war artist and some of the images he made from this period were included in the book. They really chimed with ideas that were springing to mind whilst I re-read Chapter 13 of Chimera last week; dark pits and claustrophobic tunnels, grinding machinery throwing up sparks, and a glowing, molten-hot colour palette. Kyp finds himself in a nightmarish place in this chapter, it seems to be a case of ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’!”

Phil Cooper, December, 2020


Phil Cooper’s The Shovelisk painting on his art table in his Berlin studio, December 2020




Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 13 – The Plummet Pit


I’m very excited to announce we’re back after our short season break – and before we pick up where we left off with Chapter 12’s cliffhanger, a short recap of the story so far…


Previously in Chimera Book 1

Kyp Finnegan’s parents are not who they appear to be. How can they be? They made Kyp leave his home for a new house, and his old school for a new one. Worse, they made him leave Sprat behind too – his best friend.

Kyp’s suspicions about his mum and dad are confirmed when the three of them visit an old junk shop, Open Sesames, where he overhears his dad plotting with the junk shop’s rather mysterious shopkeeper to replace him. Kyp runs away into the junk shop, where, quickly lost, he is pursued by some monstrous tentacled thing. Kyp has no choice but to go deeper into the strange labyrinth of the junk shop, where he encounters three mysterious figures. At first, Kyp mistakes them for his parents and the shopkeeper – they’re not! – and Kyp soon realises he is in terrible danger.

Fortunately, Kyp is rescued by Atticus Weft, a giant talking snake, who tells Kyp all about the strange world of Chimera. Chimera is the realm of lost things, but there is a way for lost properties to return home; first, they have to travel to the city of Thingopolis and join all the other lost properties at the Temple of Miscellany in the great Cavalcade of the Lost. Next, the cavalcade must travel together to the sanctuary of Saint Anthony, from where they can be returned to their previous homes and owners. In the strange and dangerous world of Chimera, there is only safety in numbers for lost properties trying to get back to their owners, and Atticus explains why.

The three figures Kyp encountered were the Oblivion Three; the Berserker, a giant marauding toddler that loves to smash things; the Tealeaf, a mosquito-like creature that feeds on a lost property’s elsewhere light, and Madame Chartreuse, who covets lost children because they shine most powerfully. Elsewhere light is the light being cherished imparts to an item of lost property. Atticus also reveals Kyp has been infected by the fugue, a forgetting infection the tealeaf carries on its long horrible fingers. Slowly but surely, the fugue will rob Kyp of his memories until he can’t remember who he is or where he came from. He’ll need to get home before that. He’ll need to get home and fast.

En route to Thingopolis, Kyp and Atticus encounter the broken remains of other lost properties that had been travelling to assemble at the Temple of Miscellany. Atticus explains the Berserker attacked them, their Elsewhere lights snuffed out. Lost properties without an Elsewhere Light are fated to remain in Chimera forever. Upset, Kyp runs away from Atticus and quickly gets lost in the fog. Kyp is upset because he has no Elsewhere light – and little wonder considering his mum and dad wanted to replace him! Kyp meets a shop-window mannequin, who is also lost in the fog. The mannequin warns Kyp about Atticus’s intentions, before revealing herself to be an agent of Madame Chartreuse sent to apprehend him. In the nick of time, Atticus rescues Kyp from the mannequin’s clutches, and together again, they arrive at the foot of Perdu Peak, a great mountain, where Atticus disappears suddenly. Alone again, Kyp is cornered by the Oblivion Three. Madame Chartreuse tells Kyp that Atticus is actually working for her; he is a ‘moppet-drover’, his job being to shepherd lost children into her clutches as soon as they arrive in Chimera. Madame Chartreuse, whose green eyes have mesmeric powers, is just seconds away from ensnaring Kyp, when he falls down a hole into the Bedrock Catacombs beneath Perdu Peak.

The Bedrock Catacombs teem with lots of nasty critters, including ankle-snatchers, which grab anything unfortunate enough to come their way. When Kyp discovers Atticus has been captured by the ankle-snatchers, he tries to save the sock-snake. Now imprisoned together in one of the ankle-snatchers’ hoarding cells, Kyp and Atticus are forced to confront the secrets they’ve been keeping from each other. Atticus did work for Madame Chartreuse as a moppet-drover, and Kyp is responsible for everything that happened with his mum and dad. It’s Kyp’s fault they had to move house because he took the old silver locket from his mum’s drawer – which he was forbidden to touch – and lost it. Kyp concludes the old silver locket must have been very valuable, because after he lost it, his mum and dad couldn’t pay the bills anymore. Kyp tells Atticus he has been wasting his time trying to get Kyp to Thingopolis to join the Cavalacade; after all, he doesn’t have an elsewhere light. Atticus is confused, informing Kyp he has one of the brightest Elsewhere Lights the sock-snake has ever seen. Everyone else can see it, including Madame Chartreuse, who is coming for Kyp and will not stop! Knowing his mum and dad don’t love him anymore, Kyp realises it must be Sprat who is missing him so badly.

Kyp and Atticus are finally able to escape the ankle-snatcher’s hoarding cell when another creature imprisoned with them cuts a hole in the cavern roof. When Kyp and Atticus make it out of the Bedrock Catacombs, they encounter another lost child – Timothy Bean. Atticus accuses the boy of working for Madame Chartruse, recalling how he saw Madame Chartreuse apprehend him. Kyp explains Timothy has an identical twin, Jamie, and that it must have been Timothy’s brother Atticus saw captured. Kyp tells Timothy he recognises him from the news, as back in the Elsewhere World, everyone is out looking for the missing twins. Kyp vows to find Timothy’s brother and return them both to the Elsewhere World. At first, Atticus refuses to help, but then they are attacked by the concrete menagerie, a horde of murderous garden ornaments, and Atticus orders the boys to make for safety while he holds off the menagerie. Kyp just has time to see Atticus being mauled by a vicious concrete lion, before he and Timothy are themselves attacked, the two boys rolling down a steep hillside and banging their heads together.

When the boys awaken, they find themselves being transported on walking sofas towards the great city of Thingopolis. The sofa carrying Kyp informs him that Atticus Weft is certainly dead. Moments later, Kyp and Timothy are arrested by a squad of armchair apes and escorted through the chaotic city. Kyp sees the Cavalcade of the Lost gathering in readiness at the Temple of Miscellany, but he and Timothy are under arrest and unable to join in it. Instead, they are brought before the Phawt-Gnoks Oligarchy, the three mayors of Thingopolis – Czar Samovar, Polly Honeydew, and the Bijou Cabal. While the Phawt-Gnoks Oligarchy bicker with each other over who among them is the most important, Kyp and Timothy await to be interrogated. When finally, they do get the chance to speak, the two boys are found guilty of spying for Madame Chartreuse in an effort to steal ‘the clavis’ – whatever that might be! – and they are sentenced at once, the floor opening up beneath their unsuspecting feet, the two boys falling away into darkness below…


Chapter 13 – The Plummet Pit

Listen to all previous chapters at anchor.fm/chimerabook1


Watch out for the next instalment – coming soon!

Chapter 14 – The Souvenir Society


Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #8

Phil CooperThe Temple Of Miscellany 40cm x 40cm, acrylic on paper

They now arrived in a large, open square surrounded on three of its sides by formal rows of orange feather dusters. In the middle of the square was a large crystalline structure made entirely of glass display cases, some square, some cylindrical, with bell jars on its roof. Lit from within, the building sparkled in hues of ice-green and frosty blue.  Thousands of objects surrounded the building, their Elsewhere Lights combining to create a dazzling display.  Kyp stopped and stared.

Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 12 – The Phawt-Gnoks Oligarchy


Things move quickly in Chapter 12; we meet several new important characters and discover new important places. It’s a rather dizzying experience and I can only image that Kyp’s head was spinning by the end of this chapter! For the illustration this week, I’ve gone for the Temple of Miscellany, mainly because it’s really quite different to anything we’ve encountered before. The crystalline glass structure, glowing from within, has a bit of a sci-fi quality to it in my mind’s eye and it made me think of early 20th Century paintings, like Lyonel Feininger, the Italian Futurists and the constructivists, exploring shiny new materials and clean, geometric shapes. As the new characters we meet will be around for a while, I thought I could explore them in later chapters, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to paint the Temple of Miscellany when Kyp first encounters it…

Phil Cooper, November, 2020


Phil Cooper’s The Temple of Miscellany painting on his art table in his Berlin studio, November 2020




Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 12 – The Phawt-Gnoks Oligarchy


Welcome to Chapter 12 of Chimera Book 1. Apologies, loyal listener, yes, we’re running late again, but I think when you listen to this chapter, which is a tour de force of voice talent, you may appreciate why a bit more time was needed in the recording studio!

We’re at the halfway point in Kyp Finnegan’s adventures in the realm of lost things, and so as to give Dan Snelgrove’s vocal chords a bit of a rest, we’re taking a short ‘mid-season’ break, with the next instalment going out on Sunday, December 13th. Put the date in your diary! Until then, settle back and enjoy!


Last time in Chimera Book 1:

‘Run,’ said Atticus, and the two boys did, sprinting towards the edge of the plateau.  Kyp looked back to see the lion pounce, pinning Atticus to the ground.  He saw white lint fly up into the air and blow away like snowflakes. 

‘No!’ Kyp screamed, looking around for a weapon.

A dark shape swooped suddenly from above, a concrete eagle, its beak lethal, and its talons out-stretched.  With a sudden sharp squeeze, it picked up Kyp by his shoulders and carried him into the air.  Kyp struggled furiously, the material of his jumper tearing, and then he was falling back towards the ground. He slammed into Jamie and both boys staggered backwards in a tangle of limbs. The eagle screeched, plunging towards them, but they were rolling down the embankment, their descent throwing up clouds of dust.  

On and on they tumbled, until finally, the boys’ descent came to an end, their bodies crashing into a gaudy sprout of feather dusters.  Jamie cried out as their heads banged together with a nasty crunch.  In the moments before passing out, Kyp was aware of an exciting murmur. 

‘Just look at their Elsewhere Lights!’ 

‘Are they dolls?’ 

‘No.  Look, they’re not even chipped.’

‘Puppets then? Are they puppets?’

‘No strings.’

‘Statues?’

No.’

‘What then?’

‘I don’t believe it.’ 

Something touched Kyp’s face.  There was a gasp of amazement. 

‘They’re children.’

Chapter 12 – The Phawt-Gnocks Oligarchy

Listen to all previous chapters at anchor.fm/chimerabook1


Tune in on Sunday, December 13th, when Chimera Book 1 resumes with…


Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #7

Phil CooperConcrete Eagle, 40cm x 40cm, mixed media on paper

A dark shape swooped suddenly from above, a concrete eagle, its beak lethal, and its talons out-stretched.”

Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 11 – The Boy In The School Uniform


“I found Chapter 10 so touching, and Dan’s narration really brought out the emotion in the dialogue between Kyp and Atticus; I was quite teary by the end! Chapter 11 is very moving in parts too, but for the illustration I’ve focused on a scene that has a completely different emotional bandwidth – sheer terror!  There are plenty of scary moments in Chimera, and the scene towards the end of Chapter 11 where the concrete sculptures and garden ornaments come to life is definitely one of them for me.”

Phil Cooper, November, 2020


Phil Cooper’s Concrete Eagle painting on his art table in his Berlin studio, November 2020




Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 11 – The Boy In The School Uniform


Apologies! A little later than advertised… but certainly worth the wait!


Last time in Chimera Book 1:

‘Last one out is a toe-biter!’ announced Kyp.

Atticus hushed him.  He pointed with his tail to the body of the shear-shrike lying on the floor nearby.  The creature was covered in a crust of dirt, inches thick, its beak clogged with muck. 

‘We’re not alone,’ whispered Atticus.

Only now did Kyp see the cavern’s walls, floor and ceiling were crawling with large brown beetles.  There was a loud popping noise, as one launched its fat, drab body into the air, trailing grey powder from its backside. 

‘Dust-bugs,’ cautioned Atticus. ‘Try not to -.’  

His warning came too late; erupting like firecrackers, the beetles took off in unison, the air turning black and unbreathable with the dirt sprayed from their bottoms.  Kyp staggered towards what he hoped was the exit from the cave, dustbugs ricocheting off the walls all about him like artillery shells.  He managed to crawl his way out of the cave and stand up, a dust-cloud surrounding him.

Atticus?’ 

Over here!’  

Kyp froze.  

If Atticus was ‘over there’ then who, or what, had touched him on the shoulder?  

Chapter 11 – The Boy In The School Uniform

Listen to all previous chapters at anchor.fm/chimerabook1


Tune in next Sunday at 4pm for the next instalment

Chapter 12 – The Phawt-Gnoks Oligarchy


Phil Cooper / Painting Chimera #6

Phil CooperFossil, 40cm x 40cm, acrylic on paper


Hey,’ said Kyp, and he touched Atticus very lightly with his hand. ‘Back home there’s this museum.  It’s full of great stuff.  It’s got a dressed flea and the horn of a narwhal. It’s got snakes in great big tanks and dinosaur bones and dodos, but there’s nothing like you there.  There’s a circus me and Sprat would go to, Fatty Barnstorm’s.  He’s got a tiger called Pinstripe and there’s Petula, the human projectile.  She gets fired from a cannon.  People ooh and ahh, but if they saw you, Atticus, if they saw you, they wouldn’t believe their eyes.’

Chimera Book 1 / Chapter 10 – Caramels & Coconut Cracknell


As usual, with this chapter, I was spoilt for choice with so many vivid images conjured by the words. In the end, I chose to depict a fossilised dinosaur from the museum Kyp describes. I have very fond memories of going to the local museum with my grandmother when I was a little boy. I was completely entranced by the butterflies and insects in glass cases, a giant stuffed lion called Nelson. and the rather dusty, hushed gloom of the galleries. It was a magical place, a place of extraordinary things, like postcards from strange worlds that one day I might visit…

Phil Cooper, November 2020


Phil Cooper’s fossil painting on his art table in his Berlin studio, October 2020