Welcome to GMR

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If you haven’t encountered us before, read on; otherwise skip to the weekly edition which is up every Sunday morning and alternates with a Story every Wednesday morning.

Everything that interests us as a diverse group of individuals will get attention here, be it Rock and RollIrish music, a  jazz or classical recording, tarot decks,   Folkmanis puppetsmanor house mysteries and science fiction novelsfiction inspired by folklore, sf filmsegg nog recipes,  ymmmy street foodchocolatewhisky and cookbooks… Well you get the idea.

Stories about the Kinrowan Estate will show up every Wednesday, be it Gus the Estate Head Gardener talking about pumpkins; Reynard, our Manager of the Green Man Pub located in Kinrowan Hall, sharing stories; Zina on the Neverending Session and Midsummer as well; or even Iain, our Librarian, talking about life there such as the Several Annies, his Library Apprentices.  And you’ll see material from The Sleeping Hedgehog, the in-house newsletter for our staff, such as Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Estate Gardener here in the Victorian Era, on a tree spirit. You might even meet Hamish, one of the current hedgehogs living in the Library who sleep the Winter away in a basket near the fireplace in our Library.

So if you’ve got something you’d like reviewed, whatever it might be, email me here as you never know what’ll tickle our fancy.

PS: you’ll also get to hear some choice music here every week such as Michele Walther and Irina Behrendt playing Aaron Copland’s ‘Hoe Down’  from his Rodeo album. I sourced it off a Smithsonian music archive which has no details where or when it was recorded which surprised me given how good they usually are at such things.

The banner above was done for us by Tom Canty and may not be used anywhere else.

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Bonfires

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Nothing warms my heart and body as much as a bonfire does. Oh I know that I could be inside with my wife Bree enjoying the warmth of the fireplaces in our Cottage , but I love, particularly as Autumn gives way to Winter, being outside when a roaring bonfire’s been built.

We build bonfires often in the courtyard here at the Kinrowan Estate. Sometimes we have lively contradances deep into the night with bloody big mugs of hot chocolate, spiced cider or tea to aid in keeping everyone warm, and sometimes the Neverending Session treats those who care to come out in the cold to music by fire and moonlight. There’s something rather amazing to hear those musos play long into the night with the stars overhead.

Now building a proper bonfire is not something most folks know how to do. They think just throwing anything wooden into a pile and lighting is all there is to it.  And we won’t even dwell on the idiots who use petrol to ignite their bonfires which is a sure way to get someone hurt badly.

A proper bonfire first of all needs a pit, preferably made out of stone. Ours is twelve feet across and three feet deep — need I say that it’s set a safe distance from anything that could catch fire? The wood for the bonfire should be a mix of softwoods like spruce and pine for both its quick burning and its lovely crackling sound; the hardwoods we use are maple and oak as they’ll burn a long time.

Our fire pit has a three foot wide flat lip — perfect for sitting on as the fire dies down. As the courtyard has a nice stone tile surface perfect for dancing (at least ’til it gets really cold); we often use the bonfire as a light source for those dances. And we’ve actually roasted whole pigs in the pit — really good eating that makes!

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What’s New for the 19th of November: Of Dragons and Other Matters


I am Jomungand, the Last Dinosaur, destroyer, devourer, ravager of kingdoms and epochs, all greed and covetness, brooding loneliness. Once I was Dragon, but in this scientific age that is no longer stylish. The flames I kept for high drama. Now I, who was once Behemoth, am only pieced-together bones, first believed to belong to biblical giants, fresh-dug by nearsighted archaeologists, given flesh by faint intellects, made poorer by lack of imagination. — James Stoddard’s The High House, volume one of the Evenmere trilogy.

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There are no Dragons here on the Kinrowan Estate save the hidden stone one in The Wild Wood and a de Vinci style drawing of one such creature that appears every so often on the bulletin board near the Green Man Pub. Now Dragons in fiction are quite common, be it le Guin’s Earthsea series, Stoddard’s Evenmere trilogy, Tolkien”s The Hobbit, Yolen and  Ming’s Merlin and The Dragon or the Vald Taltos stories of Steven Brust (although those are a different order of dragon, to be sure). There’s even a touching story of a dragon in Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.

Now there are definitely impressive looking dragons to be found in the Charles Vess illustrated edition of the Earthsea trilogy that Saga Press will be publishing early next year. As the article on the Tor website notes: ‘In 2018, Saga Press will publish all six of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels in one volume, to mark the 50th anniversary of her landmark fantasy series. What’s more, The Books of Earthsea will be the first fully illustrated edition, with the cover and both color and black-and-white interior illustrations (including chapter headings, full-page illustrations, and smaller pictures) by Charles Vess.’  Oh that’s impressive!

Of course there’s a connection to Dragons this time, as you should expect. So let’s see what is here…

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Drawing Down The Moon: The Art of Charles Vess is is an exhibition catalogue for a show that should’ve been for someone who’s illustrated such works as Seven Wild Sisters and The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, a favourite of mine. Let’s have Charles explain why I believe this: ‘All you need to do is flip through the book to realize that when it comes to traditional fairy, folk tale and fantasy art, there are few artists who do it better than Vess.’

Gary looks at a novel that has a very prominent dragon in it, to wit R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as illustrated by Jemima Catlin: ‘This is a handsome book, green cloth over board with a color-and-gilt illustration of Bilbo resting against a vine-covered tree on the cover. It’s a perfect size for reading aloud, its illustrations just right to be seen when held up by the reader or the book is sturdy enough to be passed around. Those illustrations, as befits this rather gentle adventure tale, are humorous or mildly scary as appropriate. As a bonus, you can read it in just about the same amount of time that it would take you to watch all three installments of the overblown and misguided movie adaptation.’

A book by Stephen Ekman that takes its title from the mythology of these creatures gets reviewed by me: ‘Now we have a really detailed look at the role of fantasy maps and the settings they help create in fantasy literature. (Though weirdly enough, Here Be Dragons has only three such maps in it suggesting the author either had trouble getting permission to use more such maps or the use of them was deemed too costly.) It is not the usual collection of edited articles but appears an actual cohesive look at this fascinating subject.‘

Robert looks at an old favourite: ‘The Forgotten Beasts of Eld was the first book by Patricia A. McKillip that I ever read. Two things struck me about it: it was different than any other fantasy I had read to that point, most of which were in the high-minded, seriously heroic mode, but written in “realistic” prose; and it was funny. I didn’t know fantasy could be funny.’ (Dragon? Of course there’s a dragon.)

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Cat notes of Hellboy: Sword of Storms that ‘If you’re looking for a fix as you wait for the long might be Hellboy film, this animated film along with the other animated film, Hellyboy: Blood and Iron, will hopefully tide you over. They certainly fulfilled my Hellboy jones!‘ Read his review to see how Dragons figure into this tale.

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Soup is a comfort food here on the Kinrowan Estate once cold weather arrives to drag on far too long, so Mrs. Ware and her staff do such things as a roasted pumpkin soup served with a generous dollop of Riverrun sour cream on each bowl when it’s served. The trick is to roast chunks of pumpkin in the wood fired oven until they acquire a bit of char which brings out the rich flavour of the pumpkin… So let’s have Gus tell you the tale of the always simmering stockpots.

Robert lucked out and got to review a Super-Dark Mexican-Style Stone-Ground chocolate from Taza: ‘I have to admit I was somewhat surprised at this one: the strongest chocolate I’ve ever had was 70% cacao, and I was thinking that 85% was really pushing it, but quite frankly, for us certified chocoholics, this is a real treat. The texture is somewhat exotic because of the graininess, but rather than being a drawback, it sort of made me wonder what I’d been missing all these years.’

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The Winter Holidays are fast approaching, so are you looking for that perfect gift for your lover of English folk rock? Oh, do I have a gift that’s perfect! EMI has recently served up A Parcel of Steeleye Span. This triple disc set contains the entirety of their first five albums for Chrysalis, from 1972’s Below The Salt to 1975’s All Around My Hat with A Parcel of Rogues, Commoners Crown, and Now We Are Six being the recordings in between. This completely remastered collection has 46 tracks in all, including a number of very tasty bonus tracks.

Kim notes ‘This is the album that got the Hedningarna phenomenon going, a richly textured, darkly fascinating instrumental album by the “core” trio of Björn Tollin (frame drum, string drum, hurdy-gurdy, moraharpa), Anders Norudde (fiddle, hardanger fiddle, moraharpa, swedish bagpipe, bowed harp, jews harp, wooden and pvc bass flutes) and Hållbus Totte Mattsson (lute, baroque guitar, hurdy gurdy). On more recent albums, the group has expanded to include other players and some dynamite vocalists, most recently exploring the roots of Swedish folk traditions in Russia on Karelia Visa.’

Another take on Swedish folk traditions (among others) is Fylgja’s Strå. Robert notes: ‘“Fylgja” in Scandinavian folklore is a guardian spirit that appears in dreams, often seen as female. Fylgja in contemporary music is a group composed of three Danes and two Swedes, with strong roots in traditional Scandinavian music and a tendency to draw upon whatever tradition looks interesting.’

In that vein, Robert had some thoughts on tradition in music while he was listening to Mozaik’s Changing Trains: ‘What I’m noticing in my journey through “traditional” music is, first of all, tradition is what you make of it (in other words, anyone who works with traditional music is negotiating with the past), and second, there are lots of traditions (which is to say, everyone who works with traditional music is also negotiating with everyone else).’

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Our What Not is not unexpectedly of a Dragonish manner, and let’s have Camille explain for us: ‘Like every Folkmanis puppet I’ve so far seen, the Baby Dragon Puppet is a marvel of workmanship for the price: carefully stitched seams, articulated wings, darts along the inside of the limbs and belly to allow for movement and keep shape. The tag tells us it’s made in China, so we know who to thank.’

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No dragons in our Coda for this week, but a nice little dance by Andrew York that seems to defy time and place — Sharon Isbin plays ’Andecy’, which is also featured on her album Journey to the New World. Give a listen — it will certainly lighten your mood.

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Kedgeree

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I had an exemplary kedgeree for my breakfast this morning along with a lovely lapsang souchong tea. Now if you’re reading this in the States, you might be puzzled as to what I ate. And when you hear what it is, you might well say that kedgeree doesn’t sound like a breakfast dish ‘tall!

Kedgeree, as prepared by Mrs. Ware and her kitchen staff here at Kinrowan, is a dish comprised of curried rice, smoked salmon and chopped eggs with a splash of cream as well.  On a cold, blustery morning such as we’re having here in the middle of November, since I promised Gus that I’d be part of the crew cleaning up the nearby grounds, it is bloody fine comfort food.

It’s considered a traditional British breakfast dish but its roots are in East Indian, cooking having started its life as khichari, a simple dish of rice and lentils. Due to the British Raj and the colonization of the sub-continent the, dish was adapted and turned into something more suited to those Brits serving in India, and it returned to Britain with them during the Victorian era.

Notice that I said we make it here using smoked salmon, specifically applewood smoked salmon. The salmon comes from the river that runs through our Estate and it works just fine. I Should note that our Kitchen doesn’t use sultanas, though some cooks do. Ours is also quite a bit more spicy than the somewhat milder version most Brits prefer.

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What’s New for the 12th of November: Dead Can Dance peform ‘The Lotus Eaters’, an Alan Garner novel for adults and other Autumnal matters

I came to the realization many years ago that I like big, strong, even aggressive tastes: cheddars so sharp they make your eyes water, curries in general, though preferably fairly hot, garlic-heavy Middle-Eastern mezes, chilli-saturated Mexican dishes, hugely fruity Aussie wines, and thumpingly, almost aggressively flavoured whiskies. — Iain Banks in Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram

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I can smell garlic, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and butter-braised lamb as I approach our Kitchen… All welcome smells, especially on this raw, rainy afternoon on this Scottish estate where the temperature will be hard pressed to reach freezing.

It’ll be a day of naps, reading and noshing for most of the Estate staff who can avoid going out into the raw weather. Rebekah, our newish Kitchen staffer who’s from Haifa, uses a day like this to do a stunning array of Jewish sweeks, to wit date-filled hamantash, krembo (a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat), rugelakh, some filled with raspberry jam and some filled with chocolate, and even ma’amoul, small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts.

And that yeasty smell that is ever appreciated is freshly baked whole wheat sourdough rolls more than warm enough to warrant butter and the jam of your choice on them are present as will. Join me in the Kitchen after you peruse this Edition.

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April starts our book reviews off with a work from Charles de Lint: ‘Part murder mystery, part horror story, Mulengro is a de Lint urban fantasy of a different sort. Set in and around modern day Ottawa, the novel is, above all else, a study in colliding cultures, namely those of Rom and Gaje (all that is not Rom), that which is resilient yet transitory and that which is possessive.’

Cat has a caution about Boneland,  an Alan Garner work he listened to: ‘Let’s start off with what Boneland isn’t: despite sharing a primary character with The Weirdstone of Brisingame andThe Moon of Gomrath, beloved children’s novels known as The Alderley Tales that were published in 1957 and 1964, this is very much an adult novel not intended for the pleasure of children whatsoever. Indeed its tone is more akin to what the late Robert Holdstock did in his Ryhope Wood series than anything else Alan Garner has done excepting Thursbitch and Strandloper.’

Denise is an unabashed Sookie Stackhouse fan (don’t know that name? Maybe you’ve heard about the television show True Blood? Thought so.) So when author Charlaine Harris came out with The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories, she gave it a look. And she liked what she saw. ‘It’s good to be back in Bon Temps y’all. Reading these stories felt like I was slipping on my favorite pair of jean shorts and settling into the front porch swing. Fans of Sookie will definitely feel the same. A tall cool glass of sweet tea is optional, but highly encouraged.’

Robert has a look at one of a series that has become rather more than a mere series. In this case, it’s Kage Baker’s The Machine’s Child: ‘What Baker is doing is putting together an extended mega-novel with all of time and all of humanity as its focus. By this stage of the game, it’s become something on the order of Wagnerian opera, but accomplished with characters and relationships rather than with musical leitmotifs.’

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Films start first as scripts that are continuously amended as circumstances require. Denise looks at Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary’s Beowulf: The Script Book: ‘Unlike most people, I have fond memories of reading Beowulf in high school. Maybe that’s why I’m writing for GMR rather than some other site. But the tale of a hero riding in to save the day — and rip the arm off of a monster with his bare hands — was fantastic to my highschool D&D playin’ eyes. I like barbarians, what can I say? So I figured the script book would be just as interesting.’

Ahh Time Bandits. Not ‘tall surprisingly, Kage, author of the aforementioned, time spanning The Company series, loved it: ‘Time Bandits was a critical and commercial hit. 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.’pumpkins

As Hallowe’en has come and gone, thoughts turn from Fun Size treats to things more substantial. Denise tore into a bar of Alter Eco Dark Blackout 85% Cocoa Chocolate Bar, and paused just long enough to jot down a review. ‘If this is the kind of stuff Alter Eco puts out, I’m eager to try more. Read on to find out exactly what this dark-but-not-too-dark chocolate lover thought about this treat.’

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April reviews the first volume in an ongoing series by David Petersen: ‘The year is 1152, treachery is afoot, and the Mouse Guard, defenders of all mice, must suss out the traitor in their midst before the Guard is destroyed. So goes the basic plot of Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, a graphic novel collection of Petersen’s award-winning comic. And just so there’s no confusion, Mouse Guard isn’t a nickname or colloquialism — the protagonists really are mice, the small, furry rodent kind.’

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Blowzabella is one of our favourite groups here, so a tune book by them is a great treat! Barb, a practicing muiscian and music teacher, is the reviewer for Blowzabella — New Tunes for Dancing. She says it is ‘a fabulous collection of 130 tunes that have been composed by various members of the band over the years and is supplemented by a wealth of other information: a history of the group, dance instructions, personal histories by ten musicians, photos, discography, and a membership history (complete with a listing of instruments and makers). It is a volume both dancers and musicians will appreciate.’

Gary reports from the mysterious frontier portrayed in the music of Gun Outfit. Their new album Out of Range, he says, is ‘a guitar-laden melange of cosmic Americana, psychedelia and desert airiness, recognizable to fans of the Flying Burrito Brothers, Meat Puppets, Giant Sand and the like.’

Gary also reviews a new album by American singers Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton, founders of the Be Good Tanyas. Wildflower Blues, he says, ‘… has a slightly ramshackle, down-home vibe … that fits these songs and musicians well.’

Kim exclaims of Gjallarhorn’s Grimborg that ‘What is it about Nordic folk music that draws you? Is it the wailing fiddles, the slight dissonance that seems to tap into something very basic? Is it the melodies, the lilt to the tunes? And Gjallarhorn’s magic? Was it the wild cant to the songs that married didgeridoo, fiddle and wild percussion? Or was it the evocative strings? Dear Reader, if you haven’t yet had the Gjallarhorn experience, you’ve missed out!’

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What’s the best way to spend a birthday? For some, it’s a rollicking craic with a few hundred of your nearest and dearest. Others prefer a smaller gathering of friends, while there are those who choose to bask in the company of one, and a single candle to commemorate the occasion. Here at GMR, birthdays are typically a whirlwind affair complete with Cook’s famous/infamous Mystery Cake, ‘Birthday’ by The Beatles on the turntable, and, of course, lots of candles. However you celebrate, be sure to be kind to yourself. And remember, it’s not just a birthday, it’s a birth month. And technically a birth year … but until that time machine is perfected, days and months are all we’ll be getting. Probably for the best.

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We have something a little out of the ordinary for our Coda this week — a glimpse of something sensuous, hypnotic, and almost tropical to counter the wintery day: Dead Can Dance peform ‘The Lotus Eaters’ live in Den Haag. The song is also found on their ‘best of’ album, Wake.

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Icelandic Tunes

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You up too? My old bones are aching far too much to sleep, so I thought I’d sit here in the Pub, a glass of something strong in hand, and listen to the Neverending Session who for some reason are playing Icelandic tunes tonight while I ponder how each winter’s just a bit harder to take. Oh, but the warm fire as I sit in Falstaff’s Chair does feel rather good!

Why Icelandic fiddle tunes, you ask? I, too, was wondering. Even here, in a building that was practically built on music, they were once an uncommon thing to hear. But Estate staffers have been collecting music for so long that it’s said we have a Fey recording somewhere of a carnyx being played at the burial of a Elf Lord — a sound that will send a chill clear to your marrow as it did to Roman soldiers encountering it in ancient Britain.

It is said that an Icelandic woman by the name of Kárhildur came here to share her herbal lore a century back on the invitation of Lasy Alexandra, the Estate Head Gardener, and she ended up staying far longer than the Summer and Autumn she planned. Being here in the Winter meant she being a violinist shared her tunes and thr much older Icelandic ones.

So do have a drink of Brennivín (Black Death), a particularly potent drink fashioned after a libaition popular in Iceland, while we listen for a while as it sounds as though they’re just beginning ‘Rimur Og Kvaedalog’, a favorite of mine to play as well.

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What’s New for the 5th of November: Our Guy Fawkes celebration, Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a new recording of old Albanian folk music, Wolves and the Wilderness in the Middle Ages and other matters…


On November the Fifth people gather on the heath
Point their Roman candles at the sky
Out of broken branch and leaf they construct a fiery wreath
Ready for the burning of the Guy

The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s ‘Home Fires’

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Of course some of us here being good Scots, we wholeheartedly celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with a ritual burning of the traitor in a bonfire. We do skip setting off the traditional fireworks as various creatures resident here really, really don’t like them.

The Several Annies usually construct him from paper and plaster over a wire frame with each group trying to be creative, such as when they recreated the gunpowder casks he tried to set off before he was captured. This year, they just did Guy himself and put authentic-looking clothing and boots upon their creation. Almost a shame that we burned him but he was a Papist after all.

Surprised that we’re at least nominally anti-papist? Don’t be as this is after all a Scottish Estate and many of us are Scots born and raised. Even if Halloween is supplanting that day in much of Great Britain (as writer Christopher Fowler, author of many books sugh as The Victoria Vanishes, laments here), we still relish it on this Estate, even though we also celebrate All Hallows Eve and Samhain as well!

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Jack has a look at a history of the plot that underlies Guy Fawkes Day: ‘In Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpower Plot, Antonia Fraser whose bestselling books include Mary Queen of Scots and  Six Wives of Henry VIII again demonstrates her ability to bring history to life. Antonia clearly doesn’t believe what James Goldman said in his introduction to his play The Lion in Winter: “Historians and storytellers don’t have much in common, but they do share this: the past, once it gets hold of you, does actually come alive. For scholars, this is troublesome. For writers, it’s the good stuff.” Antonia believes that history truly does come to life if told properly.’

If you’re not into plots or burning effigies, how about a nice book about Wolves and the Wilderness in the Middle Ages? That’s something that fits the time of year. Robert notes: ‘The wolf has been a potent image in myth, folklore, and fairy tales throughout history, and one would expect that to be particularly true of the Middle Ages, when so many of our legends and tales had their beginnings. Aleksander Pluskowski presents a detailed study of the wolf image in the early Middle Ages, tracing its development from Pagan sources through the period of the conversion to Christianity.’

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Tom Baker is considered one of the best Doctors by most fans of the Dr. Who series and  Cat has a look at one of his stories: ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang with great enthusiasm crafted a Hammer Films worthy horror monster with a sf trope of the Evil Warlord fleeing justice by time traveling back to an era where he could muster his forces for another attempt at total domination.’

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Even visitors to Kinrowan Hall get put to useful work if someone such as the Kitchen staff needs a hand. Elizabeth, author of such works as The Stratford Man novels of Ink and Steel and  Hell and Earth discovered that one late autumnal evening. It’s a mundane affair (I think) but well-worth your reading as it’s a quite charming a tale.

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Cat has more horror for us in a D.C. series: ‘Gotham By Midnight centers around Precinct Thirteen, the GCPD Detailed Case Task Force. It’s just a handful of personnel — a Catholic sister and a forensics expert, both consultants, a GCPD Lieutenant, and of course, Jim Corrigan aka The Spectre. But this is not The Spectre as traditionally depicted in flowing robes and such with a hooded cloak. No, this is a much horrifying Spectre — one that lives just within the skin of Corrigan who himself is far less handsome than he was in the DC Showcase I previously reviewed. Of course, this is Corrigan in the dark nights of Gotham City, not the sunny vistas of Los Angeles.’

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Kage and Kathleen have a look at Jethro Tull’s Live at Montreux 2003. ‘Montreux is no longer just about jazz. However, if you like jazz but are in the dark about rock and roll… . no, there is no Jethro in Jethro Tull — the group was named long ago for an 18th century agronomist. Even if you are totally befuddled about rock, you may well recognize Ian Anderson, the lead singer, lead writer and — well, leader: he’s the cold-eyed Scottish flautist who has been fronting the band (mostly standing on one foot) for the last 40 years.’

A new recording of old Albanian folk music called saze got Gary’s attention. ‘This is definitely one of the world music releases of the year,’ he says of At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me by an ensemble called Saz’iso.

Gary has good things to say about the self-titled fourth release by Canadian Tamara Lindeman, who performs as The Weather Station. ‘The playing, the arrangements and the production are all notable, but what holds it all together is Lindeman’s voice. It’s a superb and engaging instrument, and she’s wielding it with precise and gifted phrasing.’

Gary reports from the mysterious frontier that lives in the music of Gun Outfit. Their new album Out of Range, he says, is ‘a guitar-laden melange of cosmic Americana, psychedelia and desert airiness, recognizable to fans of the Flying Burrito Brothers, Meat Puppets, Giant Sand and the like.’

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November may seem an odd time to look at a zoo, but as Robert points out in his tour of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, this one is open 365 days a year and there are nice cozy houses you can stop in to get out of the chill: ‘Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the United States, is brand-new – again. Over the past ten or fifteen years, the Zoo has undergone a major update, with new exhibits, better quarters for the collections, and a stronger emphasis on conservation and breeding of endangered species.’pumpkins

For your Guy Fawkes celebration, let’s finish with ‘‘Home Fires’, the Guy Fawkes song from The Men They Couldn’t Hang, a left of centre English folk rock band whose recordings we’ve reviewed many times. I’ll note that this this is definitely representative of the band and its music.

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Hedge Witches (A Letter to Anna)

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Dear Anna,

As you well know, I, unlike you, was schooled in the university of the land. I don’t regret it but it was a very good thing that I apprenticed to Macpherson, the Head Gardener before me, as the man knew more about botany than anyone save a hedge witch. And he knew one of those, too, so she filled in on my education where he couldn’t.

Scots are an odd bunch — even when they were strongly Christian, they believed deeply in hedge witches. Oh they might have called them healers, they might have called them herbalists, but they were hedge witches. Almost all were women, though a few down the centuries were men.

The particular hedge witch Angus had me work with was Lisbeth ab Owain Gwynedd, a lady who had been given a cottage on the Estate many decades ago. She helped Angus keep the animals and humans here healthy. She rarely went off the Estate, but that wasn’t unusual, given that we operate pretty much as a self-sufficient affair. She certainly didn’t need to leave the Estate for any of her needed botanicals, as she claimed only the plants that grew here would actually be beneficial.

Macpherson and ab Owain Gwynedd deeply believed in leylines, which they said ran across the entire Estate. They said that the best medicinal plants were found were the lines intersected, forming pools of geomantic energies. In her cottage was a map on sheep skin she said was many centuries old that showed all these lines.

Remember the circle of stones we found a few years back? They’re on the map as are several sacred springs and what ab Owain Gwynedd called fairy circles. Though there are superb mushrooms growing in the latter, no one harvests them.

Sadly ab Owain Gwynedd apparently passed on several decades back. No one knew how old she was but some claimed she was well over a hundred. Another hedge witch, Tamsin Sorenson, now occupies her cottage. The odd thing is that Tamsin attracts owls, lots of owls, with the woods around the cottage full during the day with them sleeping. But that’s another story for another time!

with affection Gus

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What’s New for the 29th of October: Halloween is Nigh on Us!

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 maidenhead

Fairport Convention’s ‘Tam Lin’

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 It’s quite cold and blustery here on this Scottish Estate so we’re all thankful that  the Fey provide the lighting for the exterior pumpkins as candles of a conventional nature wouldn’t stay lit at all. But the lighting of a supernatural nature is perfect. We here on the Estate and invited guests will be celebrating by attending a concert by the Neverending Session  in which they perform Halloween music, both classical such asDanse Macabre’ and  more contemporary tunes such as ’The Great Pumpkin’ and one by the Red Clay Ramblers, ‘The Pumpkin Dance’.

Roast pumpkin soup, sourdough rolls shaped like skulls, cinnamon-spiced pork hand pies and nutmeg-spiced pumpkin ice cream will be our eventide meal tonight which will be perfect for working off when we have a midnight contradance by Chasing Fireflies which tonight is Ingrid, our Steward, on hand drums, Bela, our Hungarian violinist, Finch, one of our barkeeps, on Border smallpipes and Iain, our Librarian on violin.

Now let’s turn to our more or less Halloween-centric edition. To start things off, how about a lovely reading of ‘Halloween’ by Robert Burns? It’s a poem perfect for the season, and read by David Hart with just a wee touch o’ the brogue. As for the rest of the haunts in this issue? I think you’ll find much to check out later. I think there’s even going to be some food and drink of a Halloween nature courtesy of, well, let’s keep that a secret …

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Cat starts off our book reviews with Smoking Mirror Blues, a novel by Ernest Hogan. Cat says of it that ‘In the very near future, the citizens of Los Angeles are preparing to celebrate Dead Daze, a bacchanalian rave of a holiday that’s an over-the-top merging of All Hallows Eve, the Mexican Day of the Dead, and Mardi Gras. The reawakened Aztec god Tezcatlipoca, riding the body of a human, is feeling quite well, thank you! And let’s not forget that the Day of the Dead, which forms part of Dead Daze, is at its heart a time when the barriers between the dead and the still-living are all but completely erased. So maybe the gods do walk again … And this holiday, not dissimilar to the one in the Strange Days movie, needs National Guard troops to prevent rioting!’

So how about a Day of The Dead set story that involves a small town mechanic called Grace who discovers the man she loves is dead? And that she can cross over when the veils are thin to see him? Such is the premise of Charles de Lint’s The Mystery of Grace which Cat notes that ‘It is a perfect introduction to de Lint, as it doesn’t requite you to have read anything else by him at all, but gives you a good feel for what he is like as a writer, as it has well-crafted characters, believable settings, and a story that will hold your interest. And it is a novel that you will read again to get some of the nuances that get missed in the first reading.’

Craig has a review of a horror novel set on a closely related holiday: ‘Brian A. Hopkins is an acclaimed writer and editor (he has won Bram Stoker Awards under both guises) who also operates an innovative publishing company (Lone Wolf Publications, which produced the multimedia anthology Tooth and Claw, Volume One and another Stoker winner, The Imagination Box), yet who still has time to crank out terrific work for other smaller houses like Earthling Publications. El Dia de los Muertos (“the Day of the Dead”) is his most recent Stoker recipient, winning the 2002 award for best novella.’

Halloween is the time for vampires, and so Denise takes a look at Gross and Altman’s Slayers & Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy and Angel. She found an detailed “oral history” that is sure to please fans of both shows.  ‘I can feel the authors’ love for their subject, and their excitement is contagious.  … [A] fun read that’ll keep you in party anecdotes for this coming holiday season, and into the next one.’

One of our Garys has a look at Christopher Golden and James A. Moore’s Bloodstained  Oz: ‘If you like lots of violence and gore, and you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz, then you’ll like this book. The evil manifestations of Baum’s characters are one of the highlights of the book. If you like a book with an ending, prepare yourself to write your own, as the authors apparently intended.’

Jack looks at a Diane Wynne Jones novel that befits this holiday: ‘It’s a good solid book with memorable characters and an engrossing plot which got read in one rather long sitting on a cold, rainy afternoon late in October. SEversl pots of Earl Grey tea and a number of the tHe Kitchen’s excellent scones were devoured in the reading of Fire & Hemlock.’

Love, hate, or baffled by The Wicker Man, there’s no denying it’s a horror classic.  No, not the horrendous 2006 remake, but the original 1973 film starring Christopher Lee.  The original film has caught the eye of many, including many academics. Kestrell takes a look at Benjamin Franks’ The Quest for The Wicker Man: History, Folklore, and Pagan Perspectives, a collection of articles from a conference that focused on the film.  ‘The Quest for The Wicker Man is highly recommended for any dedicated Wicker Man fan and especially for academics writing about this classic cult film.’  Read more about this collection in her review!

Nellie looks at The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: ‘Through Jean Markale’s book we can find the real legitimacy for Halloween as a holiday. It is not simply about children traipsing from door to door looking for candy (or else! Trick or Treat!). It is not simply about a reverence for ancestors, or a time to let go of all inhibition. There is a reality to it that gives it a deeper presence, and which beckons us to seek its true meaning, in addition to its true history.’

A fine version of the Tam Lin story is reviewed by Richard as he looks at a Pamela Dean novel: ‘An early part of Terri Windling’s Fairy Tale series, Tam Lin is by far the most ambitious project on the line. The story of Tam Lin is one of the better known ones to escape folklore for the fringes of the mainstream; you’ll find references scuttling about everywhere from old Fairport Convention discs to Christopher Stasheff novels. There’s danger inherent in mucking about with a story that a great many people know and love in its original form; a single misstep and the hard-core devotees of the classic start howling for blood. Moreover, Dean is not content simply to take the ballad of Tam Lin and transplant it bodily into another setting.’

We next look at Ray Bradbury’s quintessential Autumn novel and film which gets an appreciative review by the previous reviewer: ‘By right and nature, all October babies should love Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is a love letter to autumn, and to the Halloween season in particular, a gorgeous take on maturity and self-acceptance and all the dark temptations that come crawling ‘round when the calendar creeps close to October 31st.’

Just in time for the festivities a couple of nights from now, Robert has a look at Alex Irvine’s The “Supernatural” Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls: ‘I seem to be faced with another one of those television spin-offs, this time from the series Supernatural, about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who hunt demons and other nasty customers not entirely of this world ….
Alex Irvine has taken this basis, and the various creatures the brothers encounter, drawn from myths, urban legends, and folklore, and turned it into a “bestiary of the unnatural”.’

Thomas has a guide to this holiday for us: ‘Halloween, an unofficial holiday, is nonetheless celebrated by millions of people in North America and the British Isles, rivaling only Christmas in popularity. In the heavily illustrated Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, York University professor of history Nicholas Rogers traces the history of this holiday from its alleged beginnings as a Celtic festival, Samhain, marking the end of summer, to its many and various manifestations today. ’

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Horror films have been part of the Halloween experience in the States for a very long time now. And we’ve had our share of wonderful seasonal treats, as well as time-wasting tricks.

Denise takes a look at a ‘trick’ of a tale with her review of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. She doesn’t hold back on her distaste: ‘If the folks responsible for this garbage really wanted to depart from the first two films and create something authentic, this basic story could have been an interesting movie …. Happy Halloween? Not with this clunker.’  Read her review for exactly why she’s nonplussed.

Another trick-y tale is The Haunted Mansion, a film based on a ride at the Disney resorts. Denise thinks that all the beautiful set design can’t make up for a film that can’t quite figure itself out.  ‘This is a lovely film to look at, but there’s not a lot of substance. Just double-check to make sure any young children you take are up for a pretty good scare.’

A choice bit of British horror is next.  Jekyll is ably reviewed for us by Kestrell who says that ‘this version is not so much a remake as a retelling of the Jekyll/Hyde story. The story is relocated from Victorian Edinburgh to contemporary London and follows one of Jekyll’s descendents, a research scientist named Tom Jackman (James Nesbitt).’ Kestrell concludes that ‘While I found this re-telling of a traditional story exciting and exceptionally well done, I would suggest that this series is not for everyone. Viewers looking for a remake of the original story will not find it here; those viewers who prefer American Hollywood effects may also be disappointed.’

2F1E3C1F-3976-487C-BB76-623C51D8C475Festive Samhain, everyone! Denise here, and I’ve stolen away the food and drink section this issue. Why? Because ghoulish delights abound! I’ve stuffed my face with all sorts of seasonal delights … though not everything was particularly delightful. Come along and see, won’t you?

First off, in a nod to the spirit of the season, Dunkin’ Donuts released a slew of themed donuts. I tried their Spider Donut, but I wasn’t particularly impressed. “It’s a mess. Somewhere, Mary Berry is sobbing.” Read on to learn more!

Want something savory instead?  How about Transylvanian cheese?  Happy Farms Preferred Transylvanian-Romanian Cave Cheese, to be exact. Let’s just say that if you’re able to get your hands on some, you should. There’s more to be had in the review, but for now let’s just leave it at this; ‘Thank you, Transylvania.’


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Robert has a look at a suitably scary graphic novel from a story originally penned by Robert E. Howard: ‘Pigeons from Hell is an adaptation by Joe R. Lansdale of a story by Robert E. Howard, with art by Nathan Fox and color by Dave Stewart. Lansdale is at pains to point out, in his “Notes from the Writer,” that it is really an “adaptation” — updated, exploring some new facets of Howard’s story, and not to be confused with the original, all of which leads me to treat it as its own creature.’

And what would Halloween be without demons and ghosties and that sort of thing? Well, that’s what we get with the latest incarnation of John Constantine, in Hellblazer, Vol. 1: The Poison Truth. Says Robert: ‘I’ll be honest: John Constantine is not a comic book hero who has ever really grabbed me. I can’t think of any particular reason for that, unless it’s his rapid-fire delivery and glib personality. Maybe it’s because he’s a sociopath, and I’ve learned to be wary of those — even comics. (It’s a wonder how many of the characters in this collection really don’t like Constantine very much, but they go along with him.)’

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Robert has a look at a fairly tale full of goblins, ghosts, and witches — it’s Philip Glass’ The Witches of Venice, based on the book by Beni Montresor: ‘The King and Queen of Venice are bemoaning the lack of an heir. Sure enough, two fairies appear from the Lagoon with a plant: if the King plants it in his garden, a child will be born. The King is not impressed and throws the plant out the window.’ You can guess what happens after that, but read the review anyway.

Gary tells us about an album of what’s called ‘dark polar ambient’ music by a Russian musician who performs under the name Ugansie: ‘If you like drone or ambient or dark experimental music, Border of Worlds is for you. If you just want something spooky to play in your haunted house at Halloween, ditto.’

‘There’s nothing very pretty about this record,’ Gary says of Jeffrey Martin’s One Go Around. ‘It’s all as real as the hard roads traveled by the people in his songs.’

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I’ll admit I love our pumpkin graphic that we’ve been using these past few weeks. But as Halloween is fast approaching, I think of Jack-o-Lanterns, and how living in the modern world is a good thing this time of year. Oh, not because of scientific progress, technological marvels, or anything like that, though all these things are wonderful and much appreciated. No, it’s because now we carve pumpkins rather than turnips for our Jack-o-Lanterns. I just don’t have the patience, nor the skill, to whittle a turnip into a candle holder. Though the turnip is trying to make a comeback, this year I’ll be marveling at – and being especially grateful for – our gourd-y seasonal visitors.

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Very long after the band recorded Leige and Leif, which Deborah plays proper homage to in, “Trad Boys, Trad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do….?” Liege & Lief remembered, Fairport Convention played the entire album live at their own summer bash, the ‘07 Cropredy Festival. Everyone who was on the 1969 recording save Sandy Denny who had passed on was on stage so with Chris While doing the vocals for this epic experience. The soundboard recording is stellar, so here’s ‘Tam Lin’ as performed on a warm summer night.

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Of Puppets and Their Masters (A Letter to Anna)

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Dear Anna,

I was lusting after a wee dram of Laphroig very late one night as I wasn’t sleeping well so I got dressed, left my sweet wife sleeping, and made my way to the Pub. As you know, it never closes, though other than the handful of Neverending Sessions musos, it’s rather quiet in the dead of the night hours. So I was quite surprised to see a fair number of folk there!

I was even more surprised to have The Old Man tending bar and he pointed to a storyteller cloaked in fall colours sitting in the Falstaff Chair near the Fireplace.

She was maybe fifty years old with deep green eyes and long red hair; no ornamentation could be seen and shadows lay deep around her. I saw that there were deep lines on her face, maybe from the sun, maybe from whatever life had tossed at her. Then I noticed she had a bagful of hand puppets: queens, knights, kings, dragons, and Queen Mab only knew what else was in there.

Her voice matched her clothing — like old oak leaves rustling in the wind. I listened carefully and discovered her tale was one of knights unjustly slain, kingdoms lost from sheer stupidity, and justified regicide turned to ashes in the mouth. The story I admit sounded like a combination of something written by William Shakespeare and G.R R. Martin, but her telling was so moving that it mattered nought what the source material was, as her voice and her puppets made it come alive. When her Queen puppet stabbed her king puppet, it seemed as though blood dripped from his back. Her Ghost really looked like it it was semi-transparent and was truly chilling.

I sipped my dram of Laphroig and appreciated the sheer artistry of her show. Then the weirdest thing happened — she went lifeless, all animation gone from her, and she fell slowly to the floor. Out of the deep shadows behind the massive chair, a woman looking much like the puppet that The Storyteller had been stepped out and bowed deeply. As all of us looked on stunned at what happened, both her and her puppets disappeared when The Old Man briefly blinked the Pub lights.

All that was left was a handful of oak leaves swirling in the air in front of her chair.

The Old Man refused to answer any questions ; Reynard the next day just smiled and went back to making Irish Coffee for a Pub patron, and Jack when I cornered him in The Library claimed that I’d obviously been too sleepy to see what really happened. I know they know what happened but I’ll bedeviled if I know why it’s a secret.

Your puzzled friend, Iain

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What’s New for the 22nd of October: Some Nordic recordings, a new Brust novel, Bonbons, Crochet History, Got Boobs?, Kage at Christmas, Old Hag tunes and other matters

She looks like the wizened old crone in that painting Jilly did for Geordie when he got into this kick of learning fiddle tunes with the word ‘hag’ in the title: ‘the Hag in the Kiln,’  ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me,’ ‘The Hag With the Money,’ and god knows how many more. Just like in the painting, she’s wizened and small and bent over and … dry. Like kindling, like the pages of an old book. Like she’s almost all used up. Hair thin, body thinner. but then you look into her eyes and they’re so alive it makes you feel a little dizzy. — Charles de Lint‘s ‘The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep’ story, which is collected in Dreams Underfoot.
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Here in this quite remote Scottish Estate where the nearest town’s a good thirty-five miles away, the group of thirty or so souls here year round forms a community that’s at its most cohesive when the weather turns decidedly cold and oftimes unfavourable to travel. This ‘hunkering down’ is a gradual process that starts in early Autumn and doesn’t really end ’til after lamb season in April as it’s hard to be a good host when you’re covered with blood, shit and other stuff that’s unpleasant in general.

Pumpkins are versatile food here, so you can help us harvest them now that our first light frost has passed; likewise apples and potatoes need harvesting and proper processing for the uses they’ll be put to. Gus, our Head Gardener, uses for staff anyone physically healthy and able to be properly picky at what they’ll be doing.

All work and no play makes Gutmansdottir an unhappy girl indeed, so there’re contadances pretty much weekly here. Tonight a visiting band, The Black Eyed Susans, are playing. But first, let’s see what’s in this GMR edition…

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Grey offers up some well-known fairytales: ‘So what does Iona and Peter Opie’s The Classic Fairy Tales have to offer that makes it worth being reprinted numerous times since its first publication in 1974? Chiefly this: collected here are twenty-four of the best-known traditional fairy tales as they were first published in English. The earliest is “The History of Tom Thumbe, the Little, for his small stature surnamed, King Arthvrs Dwarfe: Whose Life and aduentures containe many strange and wonderfull accidents, published for the delight of merry Time-spenders,” dated 1621. The text from which “Hansel and Gretel” — the last tale in the collection — is taken was published in 1853.’

Not a book review, but very much worth telling you about anyway is this matter. Kathleen has an online journal where she talks about her late sister Kage, author of the acclaimed SF series The Company. Here is her entry which which has her reminiscing about Kage during the Christmas season. And here’s a review of one of her collection, The Best of Kage Baker, which will give you a great introduction to her fiction.

Robert is somewhat puzzled by Steven Brust’s newest novel, Vallista, the latest installment in the ongoing adventures of Vlad Taltos: ‘As he and his host of the moment are relaxing over coffee, there comes a clap at the door. Only Dragaerans clap, so after arming himself, Vlad opens the door; it’s Devera, who happens to be the granddaughter of the goddess Verra (Vlad’s patron goddess), who asks him to walk with her. They wind up at a large manor house near where Kieron’s Watch used to be; they walk into the house and Devera vanishes.’ It gets worse.

Stephen says of an Alan Garner work ,which is definitely aimed at adults, that ‘These are only the questions which I find myself considering today. When I read Thursbitch again (and I will), they may be different, as they may be for you, when you read this book. The reasons for this are that Thursbitch is a book that casts the reader as an enthralled participant, rather than a passive recipient. It is, to repeat, a mystery. It may unsettle you (if not actually give you nightmares), but you’ll love it unequivocally nonetheless.’

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HandMade Films was a British film production and distribution company founded by that George Harrison. Notable films from the studio included Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Time Bandits, The Long Good Friday and the film Cat’s reviewing for us, The Raggedy Rawney. He says that it ‘is based on traditional Rom folklore — something I personally found fascinating. This adaptation of folk tradition to contemporary times makes it more fully comprehensible, compared with portraying it in the ancient long, long ago time. At least for me.’

The Michael Kamen soundtrack is equally fascinating for him, as he tells us: ‘Some pieces of film music stick with you long after you’ve seen the film. And if it’s a really interesting tune or song, it may make you seek out the soundtrack and see how it sounds outside of the film. Such was the case with the specific piece that got my mojo rising: the Blowzabella-style music that showed up in the wedding scene in Raggedy Rawney’.

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April has something rather nice she reviews for us: ‘Every so often an unexpected, and very welcome, treat shows up in my mailbox, courtesy of Cat, who’s constantly on the lookout for new chocolate-related review opportunities. This time around it was a box of bonbons from Diana Malouf’s Ococoa – candy that is both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to eat.’

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Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s…a gal in super-tight spandex!  Denise takes a look at Danger Girl: The Ultimate Collection, and thinks it’s fantastic even with the skimpy attire. “Oh yeah folks, if you’re thinking these girls suit up in fatigues, you’re in the wrong series. In Danger Girl, the ladies are kitted up in outfits that would have She Hulk and Vampirella bringing the Girls something to cover up with…. As a woman I’m sure I should be offended/flabbergasted/spouting off some sort of Subjugation Of Women claptrap, but this series is just too beautifully drawn to be anything less than breathtaking.” Read all about it in her review!

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Gary (one of several we’ve had on staff) says 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 10 words what will take me at least 300 to re-iterate.’

Lars has some very complimentary comments about the first two releases from TRADarrr (yes, that’s how they spell it, he says), a new/old group, Cautionary Tales and Further Tales of Love! Death! And Treachery!: ‘Let me sum it up: TRADarrr’s debut album is one of the best first albums I have ever heard from anyone. But is it really a debut album? Three of the five members on that album (PJ Wright on guitars, Guy Fletcher on fiddle and mandolin, and Mark Stevens on drums, cornet and keyboards) played together in Little Johnny England, and the other two (Greg Cave on guitars and Marion Fleetwood on guitar and various bowed instruments) were no newcomers in the music business. Joined by Ric Sanders, Dave Pegg and Chris Leslie from Fairport, Jerry Donahue and a few others, the only thing new is the band name.’

Some recordings seem to me to be more in tune with the colder time of year and so it is with the Old Hag You Have Killed Me recording, which pleases Peter: ‘The Bothy Band’s second release was hailed by many as a ground breaking album. Irish music was to move forward in a different direction. It is hard to believe it was 33 years ago when listening to this album, as it sounds just as crisp as anything that might have been recorded today.’

Gary reviews Any Other Way, a new collection of singles and live material cut by Jackie Shane, a transgender soul singer in 1960s’ Toronto: ‘If you’re a fan of ’60s-style soul music, you’ll really enjoy this great collection. If you’re not already a fan, this just might make you one.

Stephen says of Troka from the band of the same name that ‘The majority of the music on this CD is composed by members of the band and takes in polkas, waltzes, marches and polskas with occasional forays into Swedish, Irish, Balkan and bluegrass. The arrangements are complex but uncluttered, and steer away from the familiar folk approach of a “lead instrument,” taking the melody while the rest accompany. This is genuine “group,” playing with everything beautifully integrated to the extent that it’s hard to imagine these tunes being performed any other way.’

Vonnie finishes off our music reviews with a look at June Tabor and the Oysterband at the Nightstage nearly thirty years ago: ‘By the time June Tabor came on, glowering ferociously the entire time, to sing “Mississippi” I wasn’t too worried about surviving — I was simultaneously ecstatic to have discovered something so new and so good, and also deeply comforted to have found the music that I’d always needed to hear. If the gig had been a church revival, I’d have been saved. As it was, I was converted.’

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That chill in the air can only mean one thing to the skein-inclined; time to grab some yarn and start on some projects to warm things up.  While knitting seems to get the majority of the love, crochet will always have a solid place in my heart. No, it’s not because telling people I’ve been “hooking” all weekend gives me a chuckle, though that is always fun. The history of crochet is fascinating, and all the more intriguing because it’s not truly nailed down. Whether it be its origins in Europe (or China?  Or Peru?) or its history in the States, it’s a craft that always has something new to discover. Me, I like to thank Queen Victoria for taking up the hook and making crochet popular in the West. While I may never try making lace as she did, there’s a cowl pattern and some soft merino calling my name…

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Okay, let’s see if there’s any Old Hag tunes on the Infinite Jukebox, our digital media server. I’ve got one by the Bothy Band whose Old Hag You Have Killed Me is one of best Irish trad albums ever done, and we’ve audio of them performing ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ which we’ll share with you as it’s very splendid. No idea when it was done, though 1976 is the most common guess, or where it was recorded for that matter. But here it is for your listening pleasure.

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