Once upon a time there was what there was, and if nothing had happened there would be nothing to tell. — Charles de Lint’s ‘The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep’
I’m listening to ‘The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep’ while doing paperwork in the Library. It is superbly narrated by Kate Reading, who has narrated a number of de Lint’s works, including the Memory & Dream, Widdershins and The Onion Girl novels. I rather like this because it’s a short story and therefore easily listened to in a short span. Not that I don’t mind getting lost in one of his novels such as Memory & Dream which Jayme reviewed for us.
It’s our usual grey late Autumn here in the Scottish Highlands: rainy, cold and blustery winds to boot. Even the most hardy of Estate staff aren’t outside unless their duties require to them to be. I myself are spending some of my time off duty in the Kitchen quite content to nosh on whatever the staff there feels we should be eating, such as blackberry cobbler or the very last of the fresh fruits (save the ubiquitous apples).
Now let’s see what I’ve for you in this Edition…
Kate has a look-see at Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968-2001: ‘Scott Allen Nollen has proven his devotion as a Tull fan in the countless miles travelled and the hours passed collecting details and interviewing band members and other associates. He has included nostalgic pictures of the band, some of which were borrowed from Ian Anderson, the often frenzied flautist who, despite some controversy, became the Fagin-like front man for the band. After ten long years of research, here is a comprehensive and entertaining story of the much misunderstood Jethro Tull. The authenticity is underlined by the thoughtful and honest foreword written by Ian Anderson himself.’
Kestrell looks at The Grin of The Dark: ‘Ramsey Campbell demonstrates the power and eloquence of horror as a mode of highlighting the uncanniness of modern technology and the dark side of human monstrosity. Campbell is a master at developing strange menacing images, whether it is the creepiness of the silent laughter of actors in an old film or the eeriness of the flickering glow of a television screen transforming the faces of those we love into white-faced staring zombies.’
Robert brings us a look back at early — well, fairly early — Charles de Lint, with a review of one of his novels set in and around Tamson House. This one is Moonheart: ‘Moonheart may very well be the first novel by Charles de Lint that I ever read. I can’t really say for sure — it’s been awhile. It certainly is one that I reread periodically, a fixture on my “reread often” list. It contains, in an early form, all the magic that keeps us coming back to de Lint.’
Warner ran across a slightly spooky collection of short stories for those long chilly evenings: ‘Algernon Blackwood is a formative influence in the weird fiction genre, with his works “The Wendigo” and “The Willows” being staples. Editor Xavier Aldana Reyes collects not only those stories but two less well-known novellas by the author in Roarings From Further Out: Four Weird Novellas by Algernon Blackwood‘
It’s that time of year when nights are falling earlier and there’s a definite chill in the air — at least for those of us north of the Equator. Robert has a recipe for something guaranteed to be warm and filling on those nippy evenings — how does a nice bowl of hot potato soup sound? And for those of you heading into longer days and higher temperatures, it can make a nice summer dish. Get your kitchen in order and be ready to get creative.
Mia says of Frazetta: Painting With Fire that ‘Documentaries are like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when they are good, they are very, very good, and when they are bad, they are horrid. You might think that a production company formed initially by fans to create a documentary about their favorite artist would create something that would fall into the latter category. And, when the film is Frazetta: Painting With Fire, you’d be really, really wrong.’
Ahhh, Steeleye Span. Chris notes that ‘This is one of those situations that throw into sharp relief the difficulties of writing live reviews. Lahri, one of our US reviewers, went to one of the American dates on the current tour and found it a significantly less than satisfying experience. Just a few days later I went to one of the UK dates at the Daneside Theatre, Congleton and was knocked out by the gig.’
David looks at the output of Johnny Cash’s daughter between 1979 and 1996: ‘Rosanne branched out, writing books, taking a long time between albums. Her work is thoughtful and moving. You can see from the pictures included in the insert booklet, from the informative liner notes, and from the development of the music through the 21 tracks Raven has selected that she was searching for her voice. By the time this collection ends, she had found it. But it’s there throughout this collection. Sure Rosanne Cash has a new CD out this month, but if you aren’t familiar with where she’s been, Blue Moons and Broken Hearts is a good place to start.’
Meredith saw not one but but two great groups at the Town Crier: ‘After a delectable meal of impeccably prepared Southwestern fare, the main event begins: usually a contemporary folk or traditional music act, such as you’ll see at the Bottom Line in New York City or the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. It’s one of the best places to experience live music in the Northeast. And on Sunday, June 27 an intriguing double bill was on the menu: Susan McKeown and the Chanting House, and the up-and-coming “Irish-tribal” group Kíla.’
Robert once upon a time commented that ‘Well, as it happened, while checking out my mail cubby at the GMR offices, I ran across Oysterband’s Granite Years: Best of. . . 1986-97 with a scribbled note from the Chief that I eventually translated as “Check this out. Let us know what you think.” I took that to be a request for a review.’ Now read his review to see what he though of this compilation.
Well, looks like it’s the season to think about holiday gift giving. And Denise has an option for you; Folkmanis’ Chipmunk in Watermelon puppet. While she’s as entranced as ever by this company’s creations, there’s one quibble. ‘Mine looks as if he’s suffering from agoraphobia. Exo-karpoúzi-phobia, maybe?’ Read her review to find out what’s going on…
So we’re well past the time of year when there’s even the chance of the day holding a bit of warmth which means music becomes a needed matter of comfort for most of us here. And I for one turn to Celtic music. So what shall we hear this time as we take our leave? Hmmm… So how about ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ by the legendary Bothy Band as recorded rather well at the Lisdoonvarna Folk Festival some forty four years ago.
Variants on Old Hag tunes are so common that they actually figure into the narrative of at least one Charles de Lint story, ‘The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep’, which is collected in his Dreams Underfoot anthology and you can purchase the digital edition of your choice here.