Dear readers, tonight with me is Fitzsimmons Noakes, the modest captain of the airship ‘The Centennial Kestrel’, the fastest Channel-Runner in business I am told. 

We were actually hoping to interview Miss Alice Kittyhawk about her adventures, but she  had pressing obligations in London and sent Captain Noakes in her stead.

Captain Noakes has a peculiar way of speaking which might sound a bit odd to modern ears, and we suspect that this particular interview is NSFW. You have been warned.


No offense, but I was expecting one Miss Alice Kittyhawk… erm… Mister…?

Cap’n Fitzsimmons Noakes, at your service. Alice asked  me to come, said I’d be better at it cause I never shut me sauce-box. Damfino why,  I am more quiet than a nun what took vows of silence, ‘onest Guv, you’ll find me jaws are locked tighter than the creamy thighs of a……

Yes, quite, so you can tell us something about Miss Kittyhawk? How long have you known her?

Since she was a nipper, used to perch on me knee and I’d sing her a ditty or two, didn’t I? Not that dull patriotic rubbish, mind you, proper songs like ‘Ere’s to the Grog and Lily White Thighs. I’ve ‘eard Alice whistling the tunes aboard the Kestrel, proud as a peacock I were, to know I been such a good influence.

By the light of a candle I happened to spy
A pretty young couple together did lie
Said Nelly to John if you’ll pull up my smock
You’ll find a young hen full as good as your…..

I get the gist of the song, thank you. Was this in the village of Rottingdean?

Yarr, Rottingdean in Sussex. I were crewing for Alice’s old man, you see, on The Salty Mew, the fizziest aerocraft on the south coast at the time. ‘Er dad were John ‘Awkeye, you must ‘ave ‘eard of ‘im? Course you ‘ave, everybody ‘as!! Cap’n ‘Awkeye being famous in…..erm…..the business of logistics.

Logistics?

An ‘onest businessman, just like me. Innocently skirring cargo from A to B as it were. But the damned Rozzers took him down, didn’t they? Ambush. That were back in ’69. After that I met Alice a few times, she were turning into a proper popsy-wopsy and no doubt making ‘er old man in ‘eaven proud, skirring ‘er own skyskiff, The Liddle Mew.

More logistics?

Yarr. After that I didn’t see ‘er for a long time, until that recent ‘ullabaloo in Amsterdam. I was in a spot of bother, you see, and in she walks. Didn’t even recognize ‘er at first, turned into the jammiest bit of jam, so she ‘ad, bang up the elephant, enough to turn the ‘ead of a blind tot-hunter and make a vicar twirl his twiddle-diddles, pardon me French.

Can you be more precise about that ‘spot of bother’?

A bit of chancery that were. Me old chuckaboo and I…..

Would that be First Engineer Moylan?

Yarr. We’d skirred the Kestrel to Amsterdam to mind our own business, as ‘onest folk does. Next thing we find ourselves in a TimePol cell waiting to ‘ave our ‘eads removed from our necks, would you Adam and Eve it? And Alice, being the bricky and jemmy popsy-wopsy she is, strolls in, cool as a cucumber. She were quite insistent we come with ‘er. Now I ain’t one for interfering with the Law, am I? If the Law says me ‘ead needs chopping off, well then, being a good  citizen I’ll give ’em all the assistance they need.  I’d never fizzle out on me civic duties for no good reason. But I own John ‘Awkeye  a favour or two so I ‘d no choice but to go with Alice. Being an ‘onourable man I like to pay me debts, so I does.

Can you tell us a little about the Kestrel?

Does a ‘obbadehoy dream of getting ‘is daddles on a pair of coker-nuts? Course I can. A fine winddrakar, the Kestrel is, and after a few special alterations of me own she’s the fastest Channel-Runner in business.

Channel-Runner?

Well not a proper Channel-Runner like them devious ‘ornswogglers what cheat the Queen of ‘er rightful dues on imported goods. I’m an ‘onest businessman you see, not a night-flier, I swear  on me granny’s gin-drenched liver. We…..erm…..provide day excursions for orphans…..ah….mid-flight picnics for church parties, transport bibles to chuck down at the French,  Catholic ‘eathens that they be. That sort of thing. Christian charity, me being a law-abiding and godly man and all.

Rumour has it that you pulled a Robur? At night too. Isn’t that extremely dangerous?

Proper flummut. You’d be off your chump if you trusted a nickey foozler to pull off a Robur. It were right ‘eroic of me and I don’t praise meself often now on account of being a modest man. Of course, the rest of the crew chucked in their bit, but I were the mastermind, weren’t I? That were a fizzing bit of nobby flying, even if I say so meself. Made a doormat of the Cloggies, they weren’t left with a feather to fly with.

So what are you engaged in now?  Some well deserved R&R?

Gorblimy, you don’t ‘alf talk funny, do you? Damfino ‘ow folk know what you’re rabbiting on about ‘alf  the time. It ain’t none of me business but you’d be daft if you didn’t learn yourself some proper English.

I’ll do that, thank you. What I meant to ask is what are you doing now? What happens next?

Well I ain’t parbanging about. I’m a flag unfurled, got a proper respectable job now, so I does. But while I am awaiting for Alice to come back I’m playing the camel in Brighton, mucking about with the lotties and totties in the music ‘alls, ‘aving me some nanty-narking hogmagundy with jammy dollymops, savvy?

Erm…..not entirely, but I gather you are having fun? You mentioned that Miss Kittyhawk is away……

Keep yer ‘air on. I told you I’m as discreet as a bishop tickling a choir boy’s trinkets. Secrets are secrets, mum’s the word, my lips are sealed. Don’t want you to go telling everybody now, does I?

Actually, I was going to publish it, print it so people can read about Miss Kittyhawk’s adventures.

Make a stuffed bird laugh! That ain’t a problem then, is it? Nobody reads these days, ain’t got time for it when there are far better things to do. I thought you’d be chaunting like a song-bird, can’t ‘ave that now, can we? But print away. Alice ‘as gone to London, so she ‘as. Mixing with the ‘Upper Sukkles in Westminster and other such places where toffs meet. All very important mind you. That Minister of Lost & Found will try to draw Alice into their political meddle and muddle, that’s as plain as a pipe stem.

So Miss Kittyhawk is in London receiving new instructions from the Minister?

That’s what the Minister thinks, but Alice is a proper bit of frock, she’ll ‘ave ’em on a bit of toast, mark me words, she’ll batter through.

I gather then that your gallant heroism will be required again?

Absolutely, there ain’t an ‘air on me ‘ead doubting that.

Ahum, with all due respect, you’re bald.

A trivial detail, nothing but a trivial detail. Alice is no mean aeronaut, but skirring the skies is flummut business, all the more so if it involves not just the ‘where’ but also the ‘when’, if you know what I mean. Nothing but the best will do for John ‘Awkeye’s daughter, which happens to be meself and the Kestrel. Modest as I am, I can hardly deny that, can I now? We don’t want to shoot the brown so we’ll take the egg instead.

Right, the egg. Well, I certainly look forward to reading about your new adventures in Time Flight Chronicles Book 2: Brightonesque. Thank you for your time Captain Noakes, and enjoy your recreation time.

Been a pleasure, Guv, good luck with your scribbling and Fair Winds to you.


Nils Nisse Visser is from everywhere and nowhere (having lived in the Netherlands, Thailand, Nepal, the USA, Tanzania, the UK, Egypt, and France), currently living in Brighton, England. He has published two historical YA books (Will’s War in Brighton and Will’s War: Exile from Brighton) and three novels of his Wyrde Woods saga: Escape from Neverland, Dance into the Wyrd, and Forgotten Road (the protagonist of which we interviewed before). These are a combination of fantastical folklore, historical fantasy and magical realism. Visser is obscenely proud that two of his short steampunk stories were included in the Writerpunk Press anthologies. Encouraged by Writerpunk Press he took the plunge and wrote  his first steampunk novella, Time Flight Chronicles Book 1: AMSTER DAMNED, relating the adventures of PI Alice Kittyhawk in Amsterdam. The John Hawkeye incident in 1869, mentioned in the interview, is described in detail in ‘The Rottingdean Rhyme’ (also featuring Alice Kittyhawk and Fitzsimmonds Noakes) and can be found in the most recent and utterly bodacious Writerpunk Press anthology: WHAT WE’VE UNLEARNED – ENGLISH CLASS GOES PUNK.

You can find Fitzsimmonds Noakes on the pages of Amster Damned.

Join us next week to meet a young man stuck in school for a century – all because he’s an immortal creature of the night with dark powers. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.

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