To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due. — Hob Gadling, toasting upon Dream’s journey as told in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Season of Mists
Autumn is yet to arrive here with its promise of bonfires, fresh pressed cider, of blackberries fat and tart on their prickly bushes and pumpkins still ripening on the vine, but it’s also the time of year that we get fully in gear about getting ourselves ready for the coming Winter. So if you visit us on the Kinrowan Estate, someone will ask you to pitch in on some task or other that does need doing. So dress appropriately, have a good attitude, sturdy footware and you’ll be appreciated here rather nicely.
It’s rather quiet in the Pub on this warm afternoon, as almost everyone who can be is outside is either doing needed chores or just enjoying the unseasonably warm weather as it’s twenty three out right now, 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.
Denise has a fantasy that makes her long for the next book in the series: ‘What do you get when you take an assassin sick of killing, a petulant half-demon and his hubba-hubba aide “Nursie,” a barely pubescent girl who would leave a marathoner in the dust, and a cook so amazing she could make gruel taste like foie gras? The beginnings of Kage Baker’s The Anvil of the World, one of the most enjoyable romps I’ve had between the pages in a very long time.’
Robert looks at The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories: ‘This is one of those instances where I have to stop myself or go on for pages and pages. Let it suffice that, as I was dipping into the stories once more in preparation for this review, I found myself caught again and again by images bizarre, frightening and wonderful, less than willing to put the book down until I had finished whatever tale had caught my eye. As much of Roger Zelazny’s work as I’ve read (and at this point, I think it’s almost everything), I can’t offhand think of any better introduction.
Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett’s Point Of Dreams says Sarah ‘is basically a murder mystery. The city of Astreiant may be in a world where magic works and ghosts walk, but it’s still a mystery. That magic only serves to complicate things for the law enforcers, the Pointsmen, so called because their stations, and perhaps their beats, are known as Points. A point is also what a Pointsman makes where a policeman would say a charge. The people of Astreiant make their words do heavy duty.’
Warner says ‘The stand-alone fantasy novel is something of a rarity in this day and age, and Julie E. Czerneda as produced an excellent example of it. Czerneda is already an experienced hand in the fantasy genre, with 20 novels under her belt including award-winning books like A Turn of Light, but The Gossamer Mage is something truly special.’
Denise pops the top on a box of Dent Duett pastilles. ‘For those days when you can’t seem to make up your mind on what kind of taste you’re craving – which for me is just about every single day of my life – Duet has an equal amount of sweet and sweetly savory.’ But are they any good? Well, read her review!
Aurora looks at two versions of The Lion in Winter, James Goldman’s story of the Christmas Court of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor that wasn’t. One version has the pair played by Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn, the other by Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close. Read her review to see why she was surprised that she liked both versions.
Gary reviews a jazz recording by the Israeli-born duo Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai called Playing The Room. He was quite taken with the album, in particular one piece, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Kofifi Blue,” of which he says, ‘if this doesn’t have you flaneuring up and down the boulevard with your walking stick as you hum this tune, I don’t know what it’ll take.’
Gary also reviews a live recording called Roma by Italian flugelhornist Enrico Rava and American tenorist Joe Lovano, backed by a lively young rhythm section. ‘The program features only five pieces, all long works with lots of room for the players to stretch their ample improvisatory muscles.’
Gary’s not done with jazz yet. He has one more called Jazz and Art by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with 10 songs dedicated to and inspired by modern American visual artists and their work. ‘Although it’s played by a large ensemble that some may think of as old-fashioned, this music is as richly varied as the artworks that inspired it and the backgrounds of its composers.’
Dorothea, says Richard, is from Lais, who are ‘a unique group that has no equivalent, to my knowledge, anywhere in the world of music. This seven-piece band from the Flemish region of Belgium is fronted by three alluring young women, Jorunn Bauweraerts, Annelies Brosens and Nathalie Delcroix, who sing, move and gesture in a highly dramatic manner while singing beautiful harmonies, occasionally a cappella, but more often to an eclectic accompaniment that ranges from the downright folky to something closer to electropop.’
Scott notes ‘The members of Mozaik all have reputations which precede them, and the musicianship on Live from the Powerhouse lives up to expectations. Long-time fans of any of the individual performers will want to have this CD. Newcomers looking for quality Irish or world music will find much to like about this as well, although they might want to catch up on Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny’s histories while they’re at it. It will be interesting to see if Mozaik becomes a fairly permanent outfit, with multiple albums and tours, or if all the performers return to their regular career.’
Our What Not this week is a Mile Morales Spider-Man figure. Cat says ‘So I went hunting on the internet for a good Miles Morales Spider-Man figure. I liked that particular Spider-Man after seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse while I was in-hospital being treated for a staph infection that required not only that I have bone surgery but that I spend forty two days there having antibiotics three times a day. So I was looking for something entertaining to watch and I heard very good things about this film. It turned out that it is a fantastic film that if a Spider-Man fan you should see now as Miles Morales is an amazing Spider-Man and the rest of the Spider-Beings are equally amazing.’
Joe Strummer, May He Rest In Peace, had a much better voice that Shane MacGowan ever had on his very best day which I swear never happened. So I’ll show you that by letting you hear him when he fronted the Pogues in Köln, Sporthalle, Germany on the seventh of November twenty eight years ago to sing ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. What an amazing voice!