Welur is Polish for the word velvet. This is kind of obvious when you say the word. It sounds a lot like velour, which is another word for velvet.
Because ever since I saw Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere on TV in 1996, I have wanted to write something that reflects the surreal genius of that story. It will never happen. It is impossible to write anything close to that without it being a pale imitation. There is no homage to be made to a story like that.
But among the characters of London Below seen in Neverwhere, are a strange group of women called ‘Velvets’ - a sort of vampire who steal the heat from their Human victims. That was the basis of my idea for this story - a Velur, an Eastern European creature that kills by seducing men and taking their heat.
All of the pubs and clubs mentioned in this story are made up except for O’Neill’s on Trinity Street. Usually I do mention real places in Cardiff, but since the After Dark Club is already fictional I decided most of the places mentioned in passing might as well be made up. That area of Cardiff between Trinity Street, Castle Street and Womanby Street, taking in St. Mary’s Street and High Street is a warren of small clubs and pubs of every sort and theme.
The story about the Chinese restauranteur who committed suicide by slitting his wrists in the deep freeze is true. It didn’t happen in Cardiff, and nothing went into the chow mein that shouldn’t. Apart from that, I don’t think I ought to say any more about that. But it makes for a rather startling little aside to this story.
Having decided to have a Polish character in the story, I looked up appropriate Polish Christian names and surnames and came across the name Dudeka. It was at that point I decided that the Human immigrant ought to be a football player, and he naturally had to be a goalkeeper. Anyone who knows much about the English premiership in the past decade will have heard of Jerzy Dudek, former number one keeper for Poland and Liverpool. The similarity of the name just tempted me. Anyway, it meant that I could make Aleksy a well paid man who could afford membership of the After Dark Club and a basement apartment for his vampire lover.
St. John the Baptist Church in Trinity Street is a rather pretty place. It has been seen in the background of a couple of Doctor Who episodes, specifically the street scene with Astrid in The Voyage of The Damned. It doesn’t really deserve to be the venue for a showdown between Jack and the Velur.
The Scott memorial clock tower in Roath Park lake is something I really wanted to get into a story. It really isn’t something I could get a whole plot out of. But it fitted nicely here as a place to hide Welur embryos.
Pontcanna Bridge was a place I came across while idly following the River Taff on Google Earth. It is a striking landmark which inspired quite a few posted images on the Google Earth database. It gave me a second place for the Welur to have struck.