The stories in Dorothy

There was a stack of research that went into the writing of Dorothy. Actually there’s a cabinet full of research that went into the writing Twisted Tales. Thing is, I always figured that if I was going to write about something, anything, I’d better become an expert on the subject. Even if only temporarily.

So I guess in the instance of Dorothy, I turned me into a space history nut.

This song, which started as a tale about missing people (you can probably tell this in the first verse) ended up being based loosely on a tale I read from a reader’s digest published 1965. It was reported that supposed “lost cosmonauts” were heard drifting in space calling for help and Russia vehemently denying it ever happened. The reader’s digest article can be found here.

Here is a site dedicated to the lost cosmonauts.
The site includes the clips I have procured from the site for the song Dorothy. One of them features supposed calls of distress from a female cosmonaut during re-entry (which I have used) . Of course, the space enthusiasts amongst you will ask how the hell communications can still continue  upon re-entry since the ionisation in the atmosphere upon reentry will cut communications anyways. So there, I have my doubts on the stories. Still, these are the makings of a scary fairy tale that come from an era buried in secrets, espionage and fear.

Also good to know that all info in the Soviet Space Program was declassified sometime ago – which lists the cosmonauts who never flew, who perished in training and those who flew. It turns out that a few of those Lost Cosmonauts were never in space. Some, like  Vladimir Illyushin , after supposedly floating about in space for a bit, got to retire as an Airforce General in 1999.

There you go, you must never trust the storyteller. 

I’d ask you to read James Oberg’s article about the supposed missing astronauts. Rev up your search engines to look up various opinions about the lost cosmonauts.  Most articles debunk the rumours of the cosmonauts and have enough reason to do so. More importantly, I ask you to make up your own mind about these stories.I must admit that that is only the tip of the iceberg of what I had to read to feel up to writing it, but they give you an idea of what this all is.

My interest wasn’t to prove or disprove the validity of the lost cosmonauts conspiracies. That is after all, not my area of expertise. It did, however, get me thinking about people and non human beings, who have been sacrificed in the conquests for space, or even new technological frontiers . Those whose memory were, if only temporarily, hidden away in the intrigue of time and secrets in the era of the cold war.

I speak of course about Valentino Bondarenko.  He was a cosmonaut in training that died from horrific burns as a result of a pre-flight training accident in a pure oxygen pressurised environment. It took Russia 25 years to acknowledge his existence as well as the accident. The tragedy was that if this accident had been made known, it might have prevented the fatal fires in Apollo 1.


I have had the following other incidents in mind as I penned the song. Not all of them are lost, even in the world of secrecy and intrigue.
The publicly fatal flight of Soyuz 1 Komarov. Vladimir Komarov, the pilot was rumoured to have gone down cursing the engineers. Whatever the rumours were, it seemed that that there were indeed political pressures on the crew to fly an obviously unready craft riddled with problems in an attempt to beat the US to the space race.

Over yonder, USA claims further casualties in their pre-flight training who all died in the crash of the T-38 Aircraft.  Similarly, Russia loses their iconic Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in a space flight training procedure when he crashes the MiG-15.

It is important to remember that the space race wasn’t all about space. It has its origins in missile-based arms race post WW2 after German tech and personnel was captured by the then reigning superpowers Russia and USA. So it was no surprise that both countries were driving their space programs very hard and sometimes, due diligence went out the window and pioneering space crews got hurt or died.

Then of course, the non human sacrifices, most notable one being Laika. Laika was the first dog and the first living organism which was sent on a one way ticket to space. Space PR tells you Laika dies on Day 6 from oxygen depletion but was euthanised prior. Sources today will tell you that Laika was very likely cooked on Day 4, when the space cabin overheated. (Temp regulation wasn’t possible in program development timeline)

These are my Dorothies, where if you read the written version of wizard of oz wears silver shoes instead of ruby shoes in the Hollywood version. Silver heels, for some reason, make me think of the typical silver/white motifs worn by cosmonauts/astronauts.

So, here be my tribute to those who dared to brave the frontiers of science.

–the song, the tale, and the twisting of it. 🙂

Buy it here

on Bandcamp

and here on itunes



Watch it here

PS: JFK – who opens for Dorothy. His speech can be found right here. Have a listen!



Blog Catchup – Interviews in Melbourne

Wednesday morning 14th March. Here be the madness of interviews… so I thought I give you a snippet for the day.

The zither was packed, the hulusi was packed, I’ve spent the night on the kindly loaned couch at Carolyn and Lee’s and I’m up and awake at an ungodly hour of 0530hrs. Today be the day for interviews to talk about Twisted Tales…in Melbourne. Chryss had packed our day to the brim. I’m excited, but I miss the dream gods. Neeed sleeep but there is a full day scheduled for interviews today so I’m praying for my biological stash of adrenalin to kick in.

Screw it.

I need coffee.

Plane goes up…plane comes down…car…travel…mad morning melbourne traffic…then…

First stop is Studio 3 at ABC kids. I’m reminded by Chryss my publicist of AUM PR to reign it in..and behave. It is for kids, the show is for kids…so behave. This is insulting. I think I’m generally very well behaved and unoffensive (I have no idea what she’s talking about) . *0_0.

TV world is hyper, colourful and a little like a mad hatter’s tea party. Studio 3 hosts James and Liv are great fun. I crash land into my studio with my zither and hulusi. ( at their bequest I was supposed to bring strange instruments I play in…) Bright lights camera action, 2 takes and we’re done. James snuck in a marriage proposal ON TV in the madness…the answer is a quick no…it’s for his own good…really. Chryss believes I need to be more subtle with the media.

But how many ways can a girl say no? 0_0*!

Next stop is meeting Michael Dwyer from The Age/ Rolling Stone. Wow. It is strange…especially when I’m thinking that no one at drone work knows I do this yet. Michael is really nice…although he does declare that Lee and I are absolutely barking mad.He’s getting his perspectives wrong. I’m not mad, the rest of the world is just not very sane…but oh well…business of illusions this is…truth is…I’m really more interested in Michael’s life. Must be fun working for Rolling Stone…I wish I was doing the interviewing. I wonder what his life must be like. I wonder if he has a tale for me…

I’m nosy like that. My Storyteller is always hungry

and then we’re on RRR Melbourne Independent Radio with Alicia Sometimes and Lorin Clark. It’s fast becoming a blur now. I’m in the studio I’m out the studio. Craps…I’m not telling Queenie Chan’s story very well here. She’s the creator of the visual world to Twisted Tales and I’m not telling it well…am I telling it well? I need to mention Queenie more and I still need to talk about Twisted Tales more.. Oh gosh. Out of time…next interview. I feel like the white rabbit today.

Where the hell are we?

Oh good lunch. Lunch is a good concept.

Then we head to JMC Academy where I learn (apparently Lee already knows this), that Twisted Tales has become a project for study by the students at JMC. Wow. The irony, the insane honour. Considering that I’ve been nothing but a problem student growing up…being a study subject in a class that doesn’t involve my live vivisection is very refreshing…and pleasantly surprising. David Hunt who will interview us as host of later is the lecturer and the interviews begin again.

I talk about the process of creating the project, Lee talks about the logistics of managing and producing a monster like Twisted Tales. I had fun…it’s been strange sitting in a tutorial classroom again. I had fun though, telling the tales for today has put some perspective on how far Twisted Tales has come. I’m proud of us. More importantly, I hope the session was helpful to the students of JMC..if not…I hope we were at least entertaining 😀

Then off to , the only Gay and Lesbian radio station in Australia where we talk again with David Hunt about the album and promise to update him as it progresses. Aqua was there doing an interview too. Yup… The Aqua. Oh my gawd…I think I have their CD…their music was pretty fun after all.

This is all very mind boggling.

The day ends with an interview with Kingsley McGlew from Channel 31 for a program called Behind the Words. The episode airs in September so I guess I won’t give too many spoilers.

Mad rush back to the airport. 3 celebratory glasses of alcohol with Lee, who has been doing a very full day of driving. Day ends. Midnight landing at home…

Hmm…and I go back to being a paper pusher in 6 hours at drone world. Here’s hoping work doesn’t find out until I don’t need the money any more.

My life is curiouser and curiouser.

Next post: Twisted Tales beginnings…Queenie Chan and myself. I’m having so much trouble being chronological.









Dorothy journeys round the interweb

Dorothy from Twisted Tales has surely travelled. Her Royal Madness is very happy and has ordered me (by holding my last piece of radish ransom…) to put all the links by all the awesome people round the internets who have so far put Dorothy on their blogs and publications here:

Lost at E Minor

artsHub Featured Artist Profile

ABC’s Rage TV music video program

ABC’s Dig Music digital radio station

Spotlight Report



The Curious Brain | Tansy Rayner Roberts

KiKi & Tea

I should also mention the Tweet by Neil Gaiman. Since her Royal Madness was indeed very happy about this occurrence and upped my radish rations for that day. Here’s hoping she does it again. (the rations I mean)


 Really loved this video and song – 

Thanking you for the linkage! And a hearty Congrats to Her Royal Madness’ collaborators Manga Artist Queenie Chan and The Commonist!!

This post is written by The Goat. Most times he wears a mask and prances about on stage while her Royal Madness performs. Online, he has recently been ordered to write all the publicity stuff. In some cultures, he is referred to as the town crier, but this isn’t quite accurate. He doesn’t cry…he mostly bleats.

Blog catchup – Dorothy launch recap

Well Spiderlings.

I meant to post this last week – after the March 7th. But as you will soon see I got pretty busy…so the first of blog catchups

this is me at the end of last week (and this week actually). Splattered on the floor…slightly concussed with a happy kind of accomplishment and mostly very proud of my fellow creators, my little growing army of deviants, and …myself.

Twisted Tales – episode 1 – Dorothy launched last week amidst some very good things.

A nice little write up on spotlight summarises it all here.
Highlights include:
being feature artist of AIR – and a very kind write up to boot!
A nice mention by the dream king Neil Gaiman (only one of my favourite novelists!!) –

 Really loved this video and song – 

A snapshot of NOW and beyond.

From the front lines…

Twisted Tales continues to grow…like some alien blob. Except it’s not pink. I hate pink. Pink tastes funny and smells like rubber. So…our latest addition to the not so little project include the boys from Coolshite on the Tube.who are going to build and build on the tale that is Twisted Tales with a little extra something only they can do….and you’re going to hear about that soon.!

This is the first good thing.
More about the other good thing soon…with Lucid Edge.

Twisted Tales Theatre Show

Another piece of news is that my manager, Lee and I have been over at Adelaide all last week for APAM – also known as Australia Performing Arts Market.  We’re there to develop an in Theatre part of Twisted Tales. We figured that the universe was built, it’s been hard going…why not make it more challenging? Why not grow it some more? Because it is there I suppose?

Times like that where you think…there’s masochists…then there’s us and George Mallory (Mr Everest)

Pitching a big universe like Twisted Tales to a bunch of international festival directors is hard work on the cranium. Especially when you’ve only got 2 minutes to talk about it. A couple of booked lunches and drinks with delegates post pitch tells me…perhaps we did ok and all being equal, overseas travel is finally going to be on the cards. We shall see…the Theatre aspect of Twisted Tales gets a start now but won’t see completion until at least end of next year.

So it was 4 days of rather intense hard work, finishing another grant application to boot, doing last minute additions to the brand spanking new site you see here..made possible by the code God Karsen from Kwikweb, and doing all the other crazy stuff that comes with the territory of releasing a new song into the market…which really translates to us getting less sleep than Tyler Durden. (No I haven’t started making slogans, started fight clubs or gone around making soap out of human fats…yet)

In short, you can probably surmise that Twisted Tales was a music album once upon a time but is fast growing to become quite something else by now. Whatever it is…it’s a whole lot bigger than just little old me now.

Then to top it all off… an awesome awesome surprise launch party organised for me by my manager/producer Lee and his very lovely family. Which is just the perfect sendoff to the end of a crazy week. Chryss – my publicist who I’ve enjoyed working with immensely even flew in  from Byron Bay! So there we were…the week ending with sushi, bandmates, co-creators, co-creators to be again , vocal coach, producer, manager, publicist, and even Sebestian Chase from MGM (my head exploded) celebrating the beginning of an unveil of a mega uber mammoth project which is about to get bigger.

So hang tight spiderlings…this is your royal madness reporting from the front lines, flying by the seat of her pants and hoping to land on her feet.

next up: a post about how I met the lovely Queenie Chan which started this insanity and the amazing race of interviews

Yunyu is featured artist of the week on AIR

Read AIR’s wonderful reactions to Dorothy.AIR is Australia Independent Radio and it’s a huge huge deal that Her Royal Madness – YUNYU is made Feature Artist of the Week!
All this on the first day of release!
Read the very exciting review which says some really nice things about Dorothy, and her Royal Madness

Dorothy is out…with the silver shoes

We’ve worked hard….tks for being so very patient. Dorothy is now out and I’m a puddle of happy tired.
I’ll let u check the press release here
Meanwhile an uber uuuuuber nice review from AIR (Australia Independant Radio) which is a very big deal. We’re ARTIST OF THE WEEK!! And Dorothy just came out today! It’s like finding CAKE and then more CAKE!!

…especially when I read the following:
“She’s enigmatic, dramatic and maybe even visionary. We sincerely hope Yunyu finds an audience broader than the manga and gothic literature enthusiasts that currently make up her fanbase. If ‘Dorothy’ is a sign of things to come then the rest of “Twisted Tales” is surely going to be enthralling”

Read the full review here. Go I’ll wait here…you haz to reads it!!

Says some really cool things about the video too!!
It’s a really nice review. I wish I knew who the reviewer was. I like that my perceived strangeness is so well accepted. It’s all very flattering. 🙂
Ps: I’m not sure about being “visionary” I know I hallucinate alot…so I suppose that counts Pps: if you are having hang ups about why Dorothy has changed her wardrobe from those famous red shoes to silver.

Read this.

Dorothy only wore them to show off the technicolor technologies…so I’m giving her her lost shoes back.

First single of Twisted Tales – Dorothy Out now

Twisted Tales is a music-manga -animation album/collaboration that propels fairytales into a modern paradigm.

Yunyu, a triple j Unearthed winner teams up with New York Times #1 Bestseller Manga Artist Queenie Chan and leading animators the Commonist  to produce a multi-media music experience to be released episodically kicking off with the single and film-clip titled Dorothy.

Yunyu’s Dorothy has been blown away by the Kansas winds again. This time,a she is a cosmonaut finding herself stuck in space. Yunyu’s version is based on the urban legends of lost cosmonauts who lie forgotten in space. Here Dorothy muses that she’s not in Kansas anymore and that her magic shoes will not return her to Earth.

The film clip is a compelling animation that rivals the very best of animators.

Opening with JFK’s Rice University speech about the space program, Dorothy comes to life in a multi-media music experience that emotionally propels you into the dire predicament of being lost in space.


Buy the Music by Yunyu



Own the video
Own the music

Watch the film clip by The Commonist

Read the Manga by Queenie Chan

Great reviews from AIR


Read the full review here. Says some really cool things about the video too!!

Right at the beginning

It’s been a long time coming

There’s something in creating a concept album that reminds me of the fairytale called Elisa and her 12 brothers, the tale writes of Elisa who has to knit overalls made of stinging nettles to save her brothers The catch is that she cannot talk about what she is actually doing until she finishes her project, if she breathes a word, her brothers die. ( a complimentary remake of the whole tale is at the bottom of this entry…compliments of your royal madness)
Little did I know that with Twisted Tales, I was going to be taking a journey somewhat akin to Elisa. Except that the forces that be don’t really hold your brothers ransom.
Just your sanity.

Also bad, because your sanity is probably important.

So like Elisa’s work on the stinging nettles jerseys…
the process of Twisted Tales is at times painful, we can’t speak about it,And random people want to burn you for loafing around (as opposed to burning you for witchcraft)

But nevertherless, here we are, we are just a little more than 1 week away from release of the first single, there are stories and surprises in store, much goodies for my lovely and patient spiderlings, so let’s go back to the very beginning shall we? There is now much to share.

Of lost minds and writer’s floods

My manager, Lee McIver, decided that it was time to put my muses to work. We had met at Singapore’s International Arts Festival through Austrade and the first idea he put me onto was writing a new album…his suggestion unleashed a very loud kind of silent panic for me, which I kept very secret.

You see, after my debut album Spiked Soul, I had the worst case of the writer’s flood.

Before you congratulate me, and tell me to stop whining about nothing, let me explain that the end result of a writer’s flood is the same as the writer’s block, you finish nothing. The key difference is that I think the writer’s flood kills a lot more innocent trees than a Writer’s block.

I’m talking paper paper everywhere but not a page of use…

It’s hard to explain what caused the writer’s flood, I have a theory that this is somewhat the equivalent of a superpower gone out of control. So before you know it I am flouncing about the studio like some mutant musical word monster making no sense at all…not a pretty sight.

After much paranoia (oh my GAWD! I’ll NEVER WRITE AGGGGAAAAAIIINNN!!!!) and many hours of creative paralysis I realised that the only way to rein all that madness in was to write with very strict and limited rules – everything they tell you NOT to do in songwriting 101.

Why Fairytales?

I’d tell you that it was because of my dad…who always told me really remixed versions of fairytales…to a point where I remember getting in trouble with humourless school authorities. Dad’s version of 3 little pigs ended with Don Corleone from the Godfather being hired to kill the big bad wolf. I can tell you that I wanted to up the ante and hence made Twisted Tales, a concept album about rogue fairytales come to live in our universe.

Thing is like all tales, the truth is much less colourful than that…but no less stranger.

Twisted Tales is the result of Link Roulette partly played on

3 links that’s all, then pick one.
1st link – NSFW video of girls and eels – doesn’t count, internet is being a dick
2nd link – Eyeball tattoos – doesn’t count, internet is being a dick
3rd link – Fairy tales. – Ah well. Lucky me.
The rest as they say, is Twisted Tales history.

Your Royal Madness’ remake of Elisa and the 12 brothers

There is a tale of once upon a time, which features a girl, Elisa with 12 brothers. Like almost all stories, her father, the king is judgement impaired and marries a beautiful but insane woman scientist who practiced cutting-edge genetic engineering and found Elisa and her brothers to be ideal test subjects.

The Queen changed her 12 brothers into swans and sends them away. It is worth pointing out that since her process was still in beta, the mutation reverts itself on a 12 hour cycle – the brothers become human at night. She also tries to zombify Eliza but ran out of Datura and Tetratodoxins – important zombie ingredients. Queen banishes her Elisa in frustration and spends hours of retail therapy on ebay.

Alone in the banishment forest, Elisa stumbles onto a hippie colony and finds a herbalist who claims that knitting nettles into shirts will reverse her brothers’ bird mutation. Elisa decides to give this a try, she is also told that she must also take a vow of silence until the task is done for speaking one word will kill her brothers. Given that banishment meant that she was unable to afford basic healthcare insurance, she decided that this time consuming but affordable form of alternative gene therapy was probably the way to go, she decides to give this knitting thing a try.

While knitting, the following events take place to make her blistering task even more blisterer.

– A king walks by, decides she looks fetching, and marries her
– The Archbishop gets jealous that the king is now spending time with her, and trolls her with accusations of witchcraft
– The witchcraft PR campaign was very effectively run through social networks, and it was finally recommended that she be burnt at the stake by public demand
Despite all these distractions, Elisa continues knitting…random humans can be so distracting.

Just before the executioner prepares her barbecue, she tosses her near finished nettle garments to her brother swans waiting just outside the burn zone. Her brothers change back to homo sapiens, everybody’s happy. She’s declared innocent. (YAY Pom Poms all round!!)

Except the archbishop who was badly flamed for being a troll and is now bleeding money from libel suits (ok so it didn’t happen in the original…this is a your royal madness’ remake, (I think I’m allowed – Storyteller’s privilege – just ask the self righteous, female character lobotomising, moral imbuing storyteller Charles Perrault)

Till next time


Your Royal Madness


Next up: Collaborations, Manga artist Queenie Chan, Animators The Commonists.

Finally…the trailer for the first single of Twisted Tales

Ahh…here we be.

I proudly present the trailer for the first single off our new album project Twisted Tales…Dorothy. Dorothy discovers that her magic shoes will no longer return her home as she is the cosmonaut lost in space.

Twisted Tales is an international collaboration between myself, the lovely Queenie Chan (New York Times #1 bestseller Manga Artist) and aweso animation collectives “The Commonist

It is an exciting Music, Manga and Animation album that asks the question of what happens when Fairy Tales come to live in our modern universe.



Dorothy Manga

This is Queenie Chan’s take of Dorothy.She’s explained to me that Dorothy actually does meet Wizard of OZ in the end.

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