Category Archives: Commentary

What’s New for 14th of July: Writings Based on Music, A New Mythology, Japanese Photography, Cider, Supervillains, Nordic Music from the Midwest, Aaron Copland, and other goodies

Whenever one does extraordinary things, someone is bound to try to repeat them for themselves. It’s the way of the world. ― Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tale: In The Night Garden I’m listening to The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of July: A Magical Family, Historical SF, Chocolate, The Cat In the Hat, Music, Traditional and Not, and other neat stuff

“Look,” said Janet, irritated, “if the thing you liked best to do in the world was read, and somebody offered to pay you room and board and give you a liberal arts degree if you would just read for four … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of June: Composer and Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, A Bonnie Bunch of Steeleye Span, Another Spider-Man Film, Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven bar, Online Crafters Ban Trump as a Conversation Subject, A Lúnasa Recording, A Yolen Fantasy and Other Delights

No one is making me say this. No one is making me tell this story. Nobody’s ever been much good at making me say anything I hadn’t already made up my mind to say.  — Elizabeth Bear I’ve returned from the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 16th of June: Folkmanis’ Rat in a Tin Can, Patricia A. McKillip’s Solstice Wood, Sam Adams Seasonal Ale, A Dance & Concert by Blato Zlato, A Futuristic Riff off Holmes, Clash’s ‘London Calling’ and Other Neat Matters

Remember what they said? Some of it was true. — Clash’s ‘London Calling’ I’ve been madly, deeply this past fortnight into the various permutations of Clash, which in turn became Big Audio Dynamite and the Carbon/Silicon duo spin-off, not to … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 9th of June: A Whiskey Review Site, The Birth of British Folk Rock, Charles de Lint digital editions, Grateful Dead live music, A Great Supernatural Novel From Robert McCammon, Rocket Raccoon & Groot and Other Rather Charming Things

I see myself as a novelist, period. I mean, the material I work with is what is classified as science fiction and fantasy, and I really don’t think about these things when I’m writing. I’m just thinking about telling a … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 2nd of June: Killer Robots, Dirty Rice, Gifted Children, Aaron Copland and other neat stuff

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ― Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine It’s warm enough out that we’re having a contradance this evening … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 26th of May: Music from Down Under, A History of Ice Cream, Supernatural Westerns, Game of Thrones, the Great Machine, and other goodies

If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Over-long, detailed to the point of distraction – and ultimately without a major resolution. — Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten It’s been an indoor period for almost everyone here as … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 19th of May: Pickled Eggs, Brideshead Revisited, Maxx and Bad Apple, A Scree on Author Politics and Other Matters

I’m a leftist. I don’t argue with anyone unless they agree with me.— Steven Brust, author of Vallista, the fifteenth and latest novel in the Taltos Cycle whose lead-off novel, Jhereg, is reviewed in our book review section.  We do have conferences held here from … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 12th of May: Another Thirteenth Doctor Figure, A Tanya Huff trilogy, Recordings by Molly Mason & Jay Ungar, A Conversation with Charles de Lint, Lots of Chocolate, ‘Saturday in the Park’ by Chicago and Other Tasty Matters

Chocolate. The food of the gods, as my grandma used to call it. And I totally agree. It’s the answer to prayers. Emotional relief. A form of currency. An aphrodisiac. Raw and dark. White and saccharine. Milky sweet. Mouthwatering. It’s … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 5th of May: It’s Spring, Beatrix Potter’s Garden, Time Travel, Candy, Jazz, and more

None of us know for sure what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Keep your faith. Travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly. — Thirteenth Doctor in ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos’ Can you smell it? No, not … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 28th of April: Folklore in the Twentieth Century, Russian Music, Real Fairy Tales, Swedish Pan Pipes, and more

April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. — T.S. Eliot I spent some time in Southeast Asia many years ago working for the British Consulate … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 21st of April: A History of Tull, the Polesotechnic League, Chocolate Eggs, More Tull, Payback, and other neat stuff

She who invented words, and yet does not speak; she who brings dreams and visions, yet does not sleep; she who swallows the storm, yet knows nothing of rain or wind. I speak for her; I am her own.― Catherynne … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 14th of April: Joanna Russ, Live Music from Altan, Outlander, Really Great Brownies, Haunted Gotham and Other Neat Stuff

Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of April: A Tale of Two Cities, A Bokashi Composter, Zombies, Scrapple, Jazz, Opera, and Other Tasty Matters

Is it more childish and foolish to insist that there is a conspiracy or that there is not? ― China Mieville’s The City & The City A really great mystery that’s also an outstanding work of sf is rare indeed which … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 31st of March: A Full Scottish Breakfast, Beatrix Potter’s Garden, Terrorists on Mars, Celtic and Eastern European Music, and more. . .

At the end of the season of sorrows comes the time of rejoicing. Spring, like a well-oiled clock, noiselessly indicates this time.  — Roger Zelazny’s “Passion Play”, found in Threshold: Volume 1, The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny She arrived bearing a … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 24th of March: Istanbul, Tulips, Church Music, Tyrannical Gods, Giant Bears and Other Colourful Matters

Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and, one after the other, they rushed to the tulip marts, like flies around a honey-pot. Every one imagined that the passion for tulips would last … Continue reading

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Whats New for the 17th of March: It’s Almost Spring, Or Is It? Aliens, the Irish, Chocolate, Bartók Does Folk, and more

Where I’ve been is places, and what I’ve seen is things, and there’ve been times I’ve run off from seeing them, off to other places and things. I keep moving, me and this guitar with the silver strings slung behind … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of March: American and Nordic Roots Music, Yummy Recipes, Fiction by Roger Zelazny and Other Comforting Matters

Death is the only god that comes when you call. — Roger Zelazny’s 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai  I’ve been reading a lot of Zelazny this winter as he’s one of the writers I go to when I … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 3rd of March: Bond, Beast, Dr. Who, Hedgehogs and other late winter matters

I’ve always been impulsive. My thinking is usually pretty good, but I always seem to do it after I do my talking—by which time I’ve generally destroyed all basis for further conversation. — Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal, a novel that … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 24th of February: Food and Drink Edition

Would I were in an alehouse in London! I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety.—  Henry V Over the years, we’ve reviewed a lot of food and drink related material here, from novels that had … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 17th of February: A Bevy of Nordic Recordings, Live Music from Skerryvore, Gaiman’s Books of Magic and Other Wonderful Things

Everyone thinks of them in terms of poisoned apples and glass coffins, and forgets that they represent girls who walked into dark forests and remade them into their own reflections. Seanan McGuire’s Indexing I’ve been reading Haunted England, which is the … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 10th of February: Really Small Libraries, Joni Mitchell does William Butler Yeats, The Dubliners in Concert and Other Fine Matters

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 … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 3rd of February: Pulitzer Prize winning poets, Rhetorics of Fantasy, Sipping Chocolate, Live Music by Philip Glass, Sonic Screwdrivers, Jelly Babies, Gruagachs and other matters

She was the greatest American writer of her generation. Her work deepened, expanded and challenged my expectations of literature, awed me with the power of an unfettered imagination, and obliged me to sympathize with and understand  — and in some … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 27th of January: music from Fairport Convention and Johnny Clegg, a couple of scholarly endeavors, Volsungasaga, Coconut Porter? and other unusual things

“She has her own glamour, Willy lad. All poets do, all the bards and artists, all the musicians who truly take the music into their own hearts. They all straddle the border of Faerie, and they see into both worlds. … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 20th of January: Riverside, Spain, and other interesting things

Let the fairy tale begin on a winter’s morning, then, with one drop of blood newly-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as a single spot of claret on the lace cuff. ― … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 13th of January: Americana flavoured Jazz, The Three Musketeers, a ‘dorable Thirteenth Doctor, Black-eyed peas and ham hocks, The World’s Most Famous Dinosaur, live music from Altan and other Winter treats

But you must stop playing among his ghosts — it’s stupid and dangerous and completely pointless. He’s trying to lay them to rest here, not stir them up, and you seem eager to drag out all the sad old bones … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 6th of January: Much Ado About Doctor Who

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. — Thirteenth Doctor I always enjoy this time in the Pub, as … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of December: Horslips’ ‘Drive The Cold Winter Away’ and Other Matters for the New Year

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. Rainer Maria Rilke From Winter Solstice to the end of January, only guests that have been invited by staff, usually no more than a half dozen … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 23rd of December: Ursula LeGuin’s The Books of Earthsea, Unicorns, The Feast of Seven Fishes, a Fairy-Tale Opera, Jennifer Stevenson’s ‘Solstice’ and other Winter matters

The storyteller in me asks: what if? And when I try to answer that, a story begins.  Jane Yolen, author of The Wild Hunt Let me set my blue chai and breakfast curry with roti and poached egg aside for … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 16th of December: A Charles de Lint edition

Have a drink and listen to the music. — Charles de Lint’s Forests Of The Heart I always think of de Lint as being one of those writers fit for reading a cold winter’s night. So when I was looking … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint

James Hetley is a friend of de Lint’s that has written a number of of fantasy novels including The Summer Country. You can visit him here. Cat Eldridge has done a dangerous thing, asking me to talk about Charles de … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 9th of December: Lots of Tull, Haydn’s “The Seasons”, Questions About Angels, a country house mystery, and other matters for you to consider

So how can you laugh when your own mother’s hungry, And how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong? And if I just messed up your thoughtless pleasures, Remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas … Continue reading

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Necessary Stories

Terri Windling is the author of The Wood Wife and also the Oak Wood Chronicles which are illustrated by Wendy Froud. You can visit her here. Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing … Continue reading

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The Oak King

Traditionally, the oak king was a sacrifice, given half a year, or seven years, of the high life, then summarily cut down to make way for his heir. That being the case, I don’t know quite what to make of … Continue reading

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On Charles de Lint: Some Writers Speak

We decided to ask some of the writers and artists who hang out in the Green Man Pub to say a few words about Charles de Lint and his endeavours. Here’s what they said… Holly Black: Charles de Lint could … Continue reading

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Charles de Lint: An Appreciation

This commentary is from OR Melling who’s very much at home thisaway. It’s difficult to review Charles de Lint without getting personal and panegyrical for, as is the case with most if not all of his readers, I feel as … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 2nd of December: Live music from Iron Horse, Peter Pan, Swamp Thing, The Beatles, and other comforting things as well

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ― Edith Sitwell No, it is not Winter yet but … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 25th of November: Doctor Who goes Victorian, cornbread, music from Nightnoise, concert hall staples, color photography, and there’s a bite on the air

The roasting, the feasting and the hours of horseplay helped to create a special warmth on this cold, hard day. Then the fire was stoked and fed to make a warm place where there could be dancing until darkfall. Martin … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 18th of November: A Tull concert, limited edition Ritter chocolate bars, Novels from Ursula le Guin and Patricia McKilillip, German style sausages, ‘Take This Waltz’ by Leonard Cohen and other later Autumn matters

Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all. — William Goldman, August 12, 1931 – November 16, 2018, author and screenwriter of The Princess Bride I’m sitting in the corner nook of the Estate Kitchen with my iPad resting nearby and a large … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 11th of November: TCHO dark chocolate, music from smallpiper Kathryn Tickell, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Korean manhwa, Peter Beagle on J.R.R Tolkien and other matters

She knew this music — knew it down to the very core of her being — but she had never heard it before. Unfamiliar, it had still always been there inside her, waiting to be woken. It grew from the core … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

Nothing warms my heart and body as much as a bonfire does. Other than my wife that is. Oh I know that I could be inside with my wife Catherine enjoying the warmth of one of the many fireplaces in … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 4th of November: Charles de Lint’s Dreams Underfoot, Jakob Bro at the Old Church, Poetry by Robert Frost, Guy Fawkes Day and music in remememerence of, Joni Mitchell’s 1970 Isle of Wight performance, Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’, Season of the Witch candy roundup and other matters of November

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.  Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta As Manager and thereby self-assigned evening Barkeep in the Estate Pub, … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 28th of October: All Hallow’s Eve Edition

I forbid you maidens all that wear gold in your hair To travel to Carterhaugh for young Tam Lin is there None that go by Carterhaugh but they leave him a pledge Either their mantles of green or else their … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 21st of October: An Aaron Copland cornucopia, Justice League Dark, Yolen’s favourite Tolkien, contemporary urban fantasy from Tanya Huff, Leonard Cohen live, Halloween candy, Rock from Down Under, and other hopefully tasty matters

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. — George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones October some years here on a Scottish Estate sharing the Border with the Fey are … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 14th of October: Rolling Stones do Aaron Copland’s ‘A Fanfare for The Common Man’, chilies and chocolate, H.P. Lovecraft, Québécois Style pork pies, Ray Bradbury and Other Matters

One should never mistake pattern for meaning. — Iain Banks’ The Hydrogen Sonata Québécois Style pork pies, spiced with nutmeg, are the main entree for the eventide meal on the Autumn day along with roasted carrots, beets and onions as the weather … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 7th of October: A short story from de Lint, a rare Russian ale, Buffy’s first season, Danish jazz and other cool matters

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 … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 30th of September: the Two Fat Ladies DVD set, Clifford D. Simak’s City, two de Lint novels, Chinese jades, and other Autumnal matters

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 … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 23rd of September: Earle Stanley Gardner, Concert swag, a China That Never Was, Old Hag tunes, Benjamin Britten, Kedgeree, an Elizabeth Hand novella and other neat stuff

When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people. … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 16th of September: Tull live, a really big chocolate treat, a favourite reading space in Kinrowan Hall, Irish music books, good milk chocolate, live music from De Dannan, an excerpt from de Lint’s Forests Of The Heart and other matters as well

Do we ever fully know a tune, or only versions of it, temporary delineations of the possible? — Cairan Carson on the reel most commonly called ‘Last Night’s Fun’ in his Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Music Summer is … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 9th of September: Summer hambos, A Tombstone fiction, Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’, Junior Superheroes, and other matters of an Autumn nature

Fire on the Mountain. Run, boys, run! The Devil’s in the house of the rising sun; The chicken’s in the bread pan picking out dough. Granny, will your dog bite? No, child, no. Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down to … Continue reading

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