Say, it might have been a fiddle,
Or it could have been the wind.
But there seems to be a beat, now.
I can feel it in my feet, now.
Listen, here it comes again!
Grateful Dead’s ‘The Music Never Stopped’
Ingrid, our Steward, declared earlier this week that today would be an Estate work free day as much was possible though the livestock would need tending to and otheir such matters. Mrs. Ware and her ever so talented Kitchen staff prepared a picnic of sorts so they could enjoy the day too. I even closed the Pub for the day as Bjorn, our brewmaster, set up taps of Celebration Ale, Albion Cider, Widdershins Mead and Banish Misfortune Stout at the top of the Greensward for all to enjoy.
There’s a pig cooking over the apple wood fire which should be ready in a few hours. Plenty of other fare as well — earlier today I saw corn ready for roasting, German style potato salad, lots of cheeses, fat sausages, a cole slaw with poppy seed dressing and lots of other tasty foods.
Indeed I’m finishing this edition earlier this week, so I too could take the day off. After you read this edition, join us on the Greensward for music, libations, food and other summery things.
First a public service announcement…
For fans and supporters of Peter S. Beagle who may have wondered what has been happening with Peter’s lawsuit against his former manager, The attached update is the latest filing by Peter’s lawyer. This Motion For Preliminary Injunction was filed on July 26, 2017. It asks the court to stop Conlan Press, or any of its agents, from selling and profiting from any of Peter’s work.
We highly recommend settling in with a bowl of popcorn and a tall cold one, and reading all of it. If you’re a fan or supporter of Peter’s, this will give you a look at the damage being done to him.
Please link, share, and let people know. This is a public filing, so let’s make it public!
Craig has a look at three mystery novels by the venerable Ray Bradbury, as collected in an omnibus. See for yourself why Craig says, Where Everything Ends is a trio of fine detective novels (together with the short story that provided the starting point) from Bradbury in his inimitable style. He plays with the conventions, but since he so obviously loves the genre, this is easily forgiven — embraced, even — because the end results are, simply put, fine additions to the canon. This series is also dear to fans because it is likely the closest thing to an autobiography we will receive from this man who has brought so much joy to so many people for so many years.
Denise has a novella by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar that may start off in the summer, but gets decidedly chillier as you turn the pages. Gwendy’s Button Box ‘I s a delightful slow burn of disquiet and dread’ that has our reviewer wanting more. ‘If this is how King and Chizmar work together? I’m hoping this will be the start of a beautiful friendship.’
Lahri says ‘Scottish & Border Battles & Ballads is a mouthful, even for a Scot, and the concept is a little vague if you are impulse-buying this book. These are not ballads about the Scottish borders and battles but rather ballads specifically about battles fought in Scotland and its borders. The distinction is worth noting, for you will find none of the magical Border ballads about Tam Lin, Thomas the Rhymer or Michael Scott the wizard contained within.’
Somehow, we’ve never done a stand-alone review of Steven Brust’s The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, which oversight Robert has corrected for us: ‘Steven Brust’s The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is a strangely deceptive novel. It seems, at first, fairly straightforward – a narrative about a group of artists trying to make it, interspersed with sections of a folk tale – but you start to wonder whether it’s really that up front or if Brust is pulling a Gene Wolfe and playing with your head – there seem to be all sorts of clues in the book, but are they?’
Gary says up of Quake, a sort of trad Nordic recording from Den Fule that: ‘When I was trying to find something that my good friend, a Breton girl of 22 who loves nu-metal music, would like, I pulled out Den Fule. Her assessment: “That’s really fun, kinda’ like Irish music, but it rocks.” This accomplishes in ten words what will take me at least 300 to re-iterate.’
Richard has high praise indeed for a Maddy Prior album; ‘Flesh & Blood is one of the finest CDs I’ve heard in years. Prior’s voice, always angelic, has never sounded better; and, with the able help of Nick Holland and Troy Donockley, she has picked material that does her vocal talents justice. Indeed, the collection is so captivating that I’ve had to take it out of my work rotation; after all, I don’t get paid to stand around and gawk dreamily to music.’
Robert starts off his review of Thomas Barth’s Beyond Black & White with a bit of a rant: ‘It is sometimes very difficult to get past the packaging of recordings to the substance (if there is substance, which is not always the case), particularly when dealing with new age music (“new age” being one of those categories we use for things we can’t quite fit anywhere else, similar to terms such as “psychology” and “photography”). If you really want to turn me off, tell me your music is going to take me to a higher spiritual plane — another of those truisms I can hardly believe anyone has the gall actually to say out loud, much less write down for publication. Why else do we listen to music, after all?’ Don’t worry, though — he gets over it soon enough.
He was much less exercised by a group of works by American composer Samuel Barber as presented in Adagio for Strings: Orchestral and Chamber Works: ‘There is nothing really radical about Barber’s music: it sits firmly in the mainstream of twentieth-century American music in the post-Schoenberg, post-Stravinsky modernist vein.’
A Figures of Speech Theatre’s Puppet performance is our What Not this time. In his review, Chris writes of a puppet theater that owes as much to Japanese drama and American-Indian Mythology as it does to Jim Henson and Sherri Lewis; ‘Among the complex issues they set out to explore with Anerca are cross-cultural interactions, the misunderstandings of language, and direct emotional communication. Rather than putting Western words into another language, they focus on the emotional tone, physical world and spiritual quest of the characters.’
The musical coda this time is, not ‘tall surprising, the Grateful Dead performing The Music Never Stopped’. So let’s listen to this song which was created by John Perry Barlow (words) and Bob Weir (music) as was performed on the 16th of 1976 at Passaic, NJ.