Nothing happened. We stitched in silence. At least we stitched without words. Having nothing else to listen to, I began to hear needle points puncturing cloth, threads drawn through, again and again, as rhythmically as breathing. Our breaths mingled with the sound, as though breath became thread, air became fabric. I stitched another corner carefully, thinking of other corners: in doorways, at field gates, walls joining at the edges of a house. My stitches pulling them together, reinforcing them… knowing how it was done, whatever it was they were doing, would be knowing how it could be undone… — Patricia A. McKillip’s Solstice Wood
May I note that author is one of the most favoured around here? Iain’s busy re-editing the edition we did, so we can offer up to you again as I think McKillip’s an author truly befitting Autumn. Should be up in October unless Iain gets distracted, errr, too busy.
It’s rather quiet in the Pub on this warm afternoon, as almost everyone who can be is outside either doing needed chores or just enjoying the unseasonably warm weather it’s twenty three out right now (that’s Celsius, mind you), with not a breeze to be felt. I’ve the windows open here airing the place out, which is something I rarely get to do this time of year. I do have a group of German tourists sampling ciders and chatting with me about northern German favourite foods we share in common.
I’ve been reading two favourite Autumnal works of mine that I keep close at hand for dipping into, Charles de Lint’s Jack of Kinrowan novels which he’s released as digital books, Jack the Giant Killer and Drink Down the Moon. You’ll find links in our review to purchase them which I think is a splendid thing to do indeed!
Yarrow: An Autumn Tale which is a Charles de Lint novel, gets a loving look by Grey: ‘Cat Midhir has stopped dreaming. People assure her that it isn’t possible, that she just doesn’t remember her dreams, but Cat knows they’re wrong. Where her dreams have been, there is only heaviness and loss. For Cat, this loss means more than it would to most of us, because she is that rarest of all dreamers, a person who returns to the same dream every time she sleeps. In her dream world live her truest friends and her only source of inspiration for the books and stories that have won her acclaim in her waking life…’
Welsh mythology in the guise of a well-loved novel gets looked at by Iain: ‘I must have first read Alan Garner’s The Owl Service some forty years ago when I was interested in all things concerning Welsh mythology. I wanted a hardcover first edition which cost a pretty penny at the time. I mention this because it’s now been at least twenty years since I last read this novel, which is long enough that when Naxos kindly sent the audiobook, I had pretty much forgotten the story beyond remembering that I was very impressed by the story Garner told.’
Richard has more pulp for us this week: ‘Turn On The Heat is the second of the twenty nine Cool and Lam mysteries Erle Stanley Gardner published under the pen name A. A. Fair, and it is widely regarded as the best of the bunch. It’s not hard to see why: The twists are extra twisty, the consequences extra serious and the plot twists especially ingenious.’
Robert goes back to a classic of science fiction’s Golden Age, Clifford D. Simak’s City: ‘To one who grew up on science fiction (and I really did — the first book I ever bought all on my own was The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Groff Conklin; I think that was about fifth grade. It was by no means the first science fiction book I had ever read — I really did grow up on it, starting with the Tom Swift series.) And even now, there are names that echo through the memory, the writers who brought visions to life that were fascinating, sometimes frightening, sometimes reassuring, and that made our universe larger: Heinlein, Sturgeon, Asimov, Vance, Pangborn, Clarke, Anderson, among many others. Not by any means least among those names is Clifford D. Simak.’
Denise looks at Brave: ‘Bairns, bodhrans and brogues…. Doesn’t everyone want to be in Scotland? Disney/Pixar is really hoping you do, with the release of their newest animated feature, Brave. I liked it. But I really, really wanted to love it. So that’s where the empty little hole in my soul is coming from. Though it is good to see that archery is the new black this season, with Brave taking up the bow & quiver alongside Katniss from The Hunger Games and Hannah’s…Hannah. Why before you know it, we’ll even get the vote!’
Jen is a person after my own heart when it comes to Autumn food cravings, as years spent busking on the road meant for me looking for simple, hearty food. She offers up this Mexican style casserole: ‘ This stuff will kill you, but you won’t care. It’s intense, dense, and more-ish. I’ve never really settled on one definitive recipe. It’s more about what’s in the house when the cravings: ‘This stuff will kill you, but you won’t care. It’s intense, dense, and more-ish. I’ve never really settled on one definitive recipe. It’s more about what’s in the house when the craving hits.’
OK, it’s Autumn, so I must offer up one of our favourite food reviews ever which is the Two Fat Ladies DVD set. If ever there was a series that felt like it was Autumn all the rime, it is that one Kathleen and her sister Kage wrote up. The series documented that they were brilliant English cooks who rode a motorcycle with a sidecar, drank excessively, smoked whenever they pleased and cooked using bloody great hunks of meat, butter and anything else that isn’t ‘tall good for you. And funny as all Hell as well which indeed the review is too.
Meanwhile, Denise dug into Golden Island’s Sriracha Pork Jerky and fell in love with the taste. ‘I’d love a barbecue glaze with this taste; think North Carolina barbecue blended with brown sugar instead of regular.’ But did she love everything about this tasty jerky? Read her review to find out!
The Oysterband are certainly a folk rock band now but Ed has a review of their very early years when they weren’t: ‘I stumbled onto the Oysterband several years back via a copy of Little Rock to Leipzig, received as a premium during a college radio station’s fund drive. This was blind good luck. The two CDs I had originally wanted were gone, so I picked this one based on its “folk-rock” label. I haven’t stopped listening to this band and now own ten of their CDs. As a devoted and possibly obsessed fan, when the chance came to review some of their earliest and long out-of-print albums, I jumped. I now feel blessed to have acquired this piece of their history. In short, these LPs prove that the Oysters were always good, but have nevertheless gotten much better.
Gary reviews a new disc from Canadian-American duo Courtney Hartman & Taylor Ashton, who make folksy Americana music. ‘Been On Your Side is a quiet album of rootsy chamber folk with a definite indie-pop feel to it. Both of these musicians have far-ranging influences, but a clue to the overall feel might come from Hartman’s cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” on her earlier solo album.’
Lars brings us a recent album by Maddy Prior, Hanna James, and Giles Lewis, Shortwinger: ‘If you look at the cover of this you might be excused for thinking this is another solo project. Prior’s name is in much larger letters than those of Hannah James and Giles Lewin. But do not let yourself be fooled. This is a true trio effort. Each member has written things on the album, each takes solos and each has arranged tracks.’
Robert has a recording by a contemporary American composer, a concerto developed from a film score: John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto: ‘John Corigliano is widely considered one of the leading American composers of his generation, which includes such luminaries as Morten Lauridsen, Terry Riley, and Ned Rorem. Commentators have characterized his style as “highly expressive,” “compelling,” and “kaleidoscopic.” In addition to symphonies, chamber works, and opera, Corigliano has also done film scores.’
Our What Not this week involves another trip to Robert’s favorite museum, Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, where we discover the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Hall of Jades. As Robert points out, there’s a lot more to see there than dinosaurs.
For our Coda this week, Robert came up with something fitting the season: A very lively performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘Autumn’ from The Four Seasons.
(Yes, we’ve reviewed this one several times, in recordings by several artists — just do a search for Vivaldi and The Four Seasons.)