What’s New for the 2nd of February: Johnny Clegg’s Final Album, More Fables Considered, Live Steeleye Span, Some Things Whovian, An Unusually Flavoured KitKat and Other Matters

Don’t be scared. All of this is new to you, and new can be scary. Now we all want answers. Stick with me — you might get some. — She Who is The Thirteenth Doctor

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Spring isn’t that far away with lambing season upon us, a sign of the coming warmth always, but you wouldn’t know it right now as we’re going a major clusterfuck of a snow storm starting yesterday and expected to be here ’til tomorrow. It’s kept the staff of Gus, our Estate Head Gardener and Groundskeeper, up around the clock. My Several Annies, the Library Apprentices, are off helping him out by watching the soon to give birth ewes. So I’m putting this Edition together by myself.

We’re avid fans of The Doctor here, and the Thirteenth incarnation has quite pleased nearly everyone saved reactionary fanboys, many of whom frankly hate the entire rebooted Who. Denise reviewed Her first season thisway and even looked several of Her figures including the Funko Rock Candy one. And Cat has a spoiler filled review of a Thirteenth Doctor episode that’s as much about the nature of spoilers as it is about that episode. So let’s get started. Oh and Warner looks at Doctor Who fanfic by an earlier Companion as well.

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A novel set in post-Katrina New Orleans  by Tim Lebbon & Christopher Golden is definitely rated adult by Richard: ‘Readers who come to The Map of Moments looking for something similar to Mind the Gap are in for a rude shock. Where the first novel of the Hidden Cities was essentially YA, The Map of Moments is steeped in sex and death, a whirlwind ride through centuries of secret history marked by murder, cannibalism, and lust.’

Robert takes us into the adventures of a very unusual detective agency: ‘Daemon Eyes is an omnibus edition of Camille Bacon-Smith’s two novels of the half-demon Evan Davis; his father, known to mortals as Kevin Bradley; and Lily Ryan, another demon. The three set themselves up as detectives, doing business as Bradley, Ryan and Davis, specializing in cases that are, shall we say, something out of the ordinary. In addition to the two novels, this edition includes a prologue that fills in Evan’s history (which is very helpful).’

Warner has a sort of fanfic for us: ‘There is a long history in the Doctor Who franchise of actors taking on writing credits. Colin Baker, Mathew Watterhouse, Nicholas Briggs, Tom Baker, and others have written or co-written adventures featuring their characters. Sophie Aldred has (with the assistance of Steve Cole and Mike Tucker) joined this company with At Childhood’s End, a tale of her screen character Ace long after her adventures in the TARDIS have ended and she has instead taken to running A Charitable Earth. Starting as the story of a former companion still investigating, the book becomes an examination of coming to grips with the past.’

Next up is something a bit more toothy. (Sorry I couldn’t resist.) He says: ‘Carrie Vaugh has been writing urban fantasy for many years, and her Kitty Norville series is only one example of her work. It is a series focusing on a werewolf, and like many werewolf stories, vampires come into play. Feeling a bit like a side step away from the main narrative, and indeed barely dealing with Kitty or her other friends, The Immortal Conquistador deals with a particular vampire from the series.‘

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You know that there are lots of cool and unusual flavors of KitKats out there, don’t you? Well, if that’s news to you, let Denise start you on the road to knowledge with her review of Nestlé’s Kumamon Ikinari Dango KitKat. Though you may want to use her review as a way to discover other flavors… ‘I’d seen their delicious Matcha flavor…but missed out by not picking them up immediately. So here we are, with Dango “flavored” candies as a consolation prize. And to quote an old meme, I am disappoint.’ 

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Cat brings us his thoughts on another Dr. Who episode, “Fugitive of The Judoon” — but he starts with a warning: ‘Understand right now that if you really, really don’t like spoilers and you’ve not watched this episode, that you should go away now and do something else as this review consists of nothing really but spoilers. I’m serious — just go away.’

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April was not quite so enthusiastic about the eighth volume of Fables: ‘Wolves, the eighth installment of Bill Willingham’s long-running series of fairy tale characters alive and well in our world (and at war with a fierce Adversary) finds Mowgli of Jungle Book fame still hunting down the Big Bad Wolf on behalf of Prince Charming, embattled mayor of Fabletown. Mowgli’s travels take him to Russia, then back across the Bering Strait to Alaska. We get to see him show off his buff body, unarmed combat skills and preternaturally keen tracking skills. To Bigby’s dismay, he’s found all too easily (by his standards), and made a offer: perform a task for Prince Charming and a way will be found for Bigby to live with Snow White and their cubs on the outskirts of the Farm.’

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We lost another great one as Scott notes: ‘In the fall of 2017, South African singer Johnny Clegg released what he knew would be his last album.  Clegg had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and while he’d already managed to complete a world tour after getting the diagnosis, the disease was winning.  King of Time is appropriately titled.  The album is very short — it has seven songs spanning 24 minutes — but Clegg was a busy man trying to get as much done in whatever time he had left.’

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.’

Joselle doesn’t like this time of year but a recording called An Ancient Muse cheered her up: ‘Normally, I can’t stand winter. It’s cold, it’s dismal, and I tend to get sick a lot. Nonetheless, winter 2006 has made me one happy woman, in spite of the general nastiness. This is largely thanks to an event that I and several other folk/Celtic/world/eclectic music fans have been anticipating for nine years?’

The self-named recording  that turned out to be the only recording by a Scottish group caught the ear of Naomi: ‘The sound of the CD really does reflect this large cast of musicians, revealing a broad spectrum of styles and influences with forays into country and pop music. However, the overall feel of this recording is remarkably unified and thoroughly Scottish at its core, although the members of Cantychiels clearly have the knack for injecting a pleasant modern sensibility into their music. Fans of early ’80s Clannad will not be disappointed with this CD.’

Richard wraps up our music reviews with high praise 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.’

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As some gear up for the annual football prom that is the Super Bowl, many of us here settle in to enjoy the commercials. One that’s gotten some advance notice is from Planters, who have decided to kill of their beloved mascot Mr. Peanut after 104 years of nutty service. (Gotta admit there were giggles when Michael Che did a “CREAM-ated” bit on the January 25th SNL.) But then Kobe Bryant, his young daughter, and seven other individuals died in a horrific plane crash…and death as marketing just isn’t feeling great right now. Planters is even pulling the social media hype for the commercial, though it may still play during the game as those spots cost companies millions and I’m guessing Planters doesn’t want to eat that loss.

Killing Mr. Peanut was a rather morbid stunt from the jump –  even though it’s sure to be a temporary thing –  and now it feels tacky too. Mr. Peanut dying in a fiery crash in one ad, then another for his funeral? It’s certainly bound to put an uncomfortable moment in this Sunday’s festivities. Cashew, anyone?

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So let’s have some music from what I consider the best electrified folk band ever that Great Britain gave birth to, Steeleye Span. Over forty years of live performances have produced a lot of excellent soundboard recordings. so let’s  start off with a perennial favourite of fans: ‘Tam Lin’ as performed at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival, August of 2006, before finishing with  ‘Long Lankin’ from the same festival. Lovely, isn’t it?

 

About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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