Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
William Butler Yeats
Ahhhh, cinnamon buns. Yes that’s the heavenly smell coming from the Kitchen this cold Winter morning, when a tasty treat would warm both the body and spirit of just about anyone, I’d think. These cinnamon buns are courtesy of a Several Annie from Sweden by the name of Tindra who was apprenticed here under one of my predecessors nigh well over a century ago.
She claimed that the recipe has been handed down from mother to daughter for generations beyond counting, along with how to make proper cardamom coffee. Yes I know that’s a Turkish coffee tradition but family customs are oft times complicated, aren’t they?
So if you drop by here this morning by whatever means possible, you’ll find those cinnamon buns and her cardamom coffee waiting for you. If a certain traveler can make it here from really distant shores, so can you.
Christopher Finch’s Jim Henson: The Works: The Art, The Magic, The Imagination gets a well- deserved review by Cat: ‘This is another authorised project by the Jim Henson Company making it akin to Imagination Illustrated which I reviewed here. It’s even copyrighted by Jim Henson Productions! Unlike that book, it actually covers the life of Jim from birth, in a nifty little laid-in booklet. That’s after not one but three introductions by Harry Belafonte, Frank Oz, and Candice Bergen. Belafonte and Bergen were just two of the many, many actors who appeared on The Muppet Show.’
Cat also has a review of Kage Baker’s Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen: ‘This volume collects what was obviously a labor of love by Kage (which I can confirm as we had ongoing email based conversations while she was writing these) and kept them up even as her health declined badly in her last months among us. Kathleen has done us a service by editing this collection of the Tor columns in a volume you can read with considerable enjoyment and actually learn something really interesting at the same time!’
Grey says of Medicine Road that ‘I suppose it’s fitting, for a story about twos, that the creators are two Charleses. Charles Vess’s illustrations make this not-so-simple fable deeper and richer. Vess combines line drawing and painting in a way that makes his pictures simultaneously vividly life-like and fairy tale-remote.’
There’s a bar in the above novel where the Dillard sisters play called A Hole in The Wall, which de Lint borrowed from Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife. It’s possible that The Wood Wife is the first novel to take full advantage of the myths of Southwest USA and Mexican region. And Grey notes that it is ‘not only an expertly-crafted tale of suspense. It also stands squarely within the realm of modern fantasy. Windling’s Arizona desert comes alive with fey beings, shapeshifters small and great that are as mysterious and amoral as any European Fair Folk, yet practical and earthy and distinctively Native American in their coloration.’
Kage, author of The Company series featuring time traveling cyborg immortals who love chocolate, was a great film fan as you can see from Cat’s review of her Ancient Rockets collection above and it’s no wonder she liked this film: ‘Blessed with a cast that included Sir Ralph Richardson as the Supreme Being, David Warner as Evil, and Sean Connery as King Agamemnon (and a fireman), Time Bandits is a classic magical adventure story in the mold of E. Nesbit’s books, but with an updated edge and a sharper sense of humor. Unlike most candy-coated parables handed out to kids, it tells no lies and ends in a brutal and surprisingly exhilarating way.’
Denise dives into Heavy Seas Brewing’s Blackbeard’s Breakfast Salted Caramel Porter, a limited edition brew that adds a touch of candy to their popular porter. What’d she think? ‘I can add one more to the very short list of barrel age-ers that I will definitely seek out. Salted Caramel (let’s just call it BBSC) is a delightful, complex and decidedly friendly porter that will please the palate of any dark beer lover.’ Read her review to find out why she’s a fan!
Robert brings us a light-hearted comic about what could be the end of humanity. Seriously: ‘The Griff, scripted by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson, and drawn by Jennyson Rosero, is a story of the Apocalypse, told while said Apocalypse is happening. It was developed, we are told, from the script for a film — Corson is a film director — that Moore and Corson realized was never going to be made. And here it turned out to be ideal for a comic.
Gary enjoyed a big new four-CD set of folk music from around the world from Smithsonian Folkways. ‘The theme of the set is revealed by its title The Social Power of Music as it looks at the way music affects the lives of individuals and social groups all over the world. It’s primarily drawn from American music but includes a generous sampling of music from other traditions worldwide.’
Mike sees a legendary group: ‘The Dubliners are true legends of folk music, having now performed together as a group for 44 years. Many of the stories they tell of Dublin, are of a city that has all but disappeared in this day and age, and they are now as much a part of folklore as the songs and tunes that they perform.’
Robert has a look at a master musician, Keith Jarrett, as revealed in Radiance: ‘Keith Jarrett is a remarkable example of the phenomenon of the performer/composer. Although he is generally considered a jazz pianist — one of the finest — I first became acquainted with his work through his recordings of the twentieth century repertoire, as soloist in works by composers such as Colin McPhee and Lou Harrison. I guess that just goes to show that Jarrett has small patience with categories.’
A Welsh band live once caught the ear of Vonnie: ‘Crasdant plays music to warm your heart and tells tales to tickle your funnybone. This Welsh band played on a wet windy night that, they said, reminded them of home. The two sets of instrumental music for flute, harp, fiddle, and guitar, with an impressive bit of clog dancing thrown in were varied and fascinating, and the evening was over too soon. The concert was part of the excellent Celtic music calendar put together by Music-For-Robin, in the same venue as Pipeline.’
Who doesn’t love a library? No matter how big or small, a place where books are housed is always a comfort. In Coeru d’Alene, Idaho, there’s a library that may not be big, but is most welcome in the world. Made from the still substantial stump of a black cottonwood tree, this library looks as if Celtic sprites met Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings, and decided to combine their design expertise and make a snug book bolt-hole. Atlas Obscura visited this ‘Little Free Library’, and the photos are simply stunning. I wish I lived there, if only to visit that library a few times a month. Oh who am I kidding; a few times a week.
So what shall I leave you with for music on this this Winter day? What does tickles my fancy? So how about ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ by Joni Mitchell as performed by her on the fifth of August twenty one years ago on Max Yasgur’s Farm In Bethel New York? Yes it’s the Yeats poem done rather tastefully.