Wyrd Kalendar; A Year of the Truly Unusual

The turning of the year provides ‘Tales From The Black Meadow’ author Chris Lambert with the thematic basis for his new ‘Wyrd Kalendar’ compendium, a collaboration with illustrator and Folk Horror Revival creator Andy Paciorek. Each darkly spun tale matches with a chosen month of the year, providing a folkloric and portmanteau feel to the book, with Paciorek’s richly detailed and haunting artwork prefacing the individual chapters.

This work therefore takes us from the frostbitten and hungry underground denizen in January’s ‘The Resolution’ (a tale of Lovecraftian imagination with a conclusion that will stay with you long after you have closed the pages of the book) to the terrifying timeslips of ‘February 31st’, the ‘king for a day’ twists and turns of April’s chilling ‘Chasing The Gowk’ to the twisted and disturbed nursery rhyme of ‘May Pole’. As the wheel of the year spins increasingly faster the sense of the unsettling and macabre if anything increases, ‘June Bug’s hugely effective body horror is reminiscent of one of Nigel Kneale’s scripts from ‘Beasts’ whilst July’s ‘Grotto Day’ is a deeply unusual and disquieting take on the brownie or ‘little people’ legend. August’s ‘The Weeping Will Walk’ is distilled folk horror, both subtle and suggestive in what darkness lies within the village ritual; October’s ‘The Field’ continues this folkloric aspect to even bloodier and satisfyingly grimmer heights. There is a distinct filmic or theatrical quality inherent in these dread tales; one can easily imagine a number of these being either staged or filmed; never mind ‘A Ghost Story For Christmas’, how about ‘A Ghost Story For Each Season’? November’s pitch black poem ‘All Saint’s Day’ (where the blood almost drips from the page) and December’s festive yet foreboding ‘Santa Claus And The Witch’ bring the Kalendar to a fittingly horrific close; yet there is the distinct impression that the spectres and wraiths contained herein will undoubtedly start back at their practices as before, the cycle of the year bringing them once more to terrible and terrifying life.

For aficionados of folk horror, weird fiction (especially readers of Robert Aickman’s dark and unusual stories), of Lambert’s excellent previous outing ‘Tales From The Black Meadow’ and of Paciorek’s intricate and beautiful ink work this volume comes highly recommended. We all must keep and mark our time; why not do so with the Wyrd Kalendar?

Grey Malkin.

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We are the Martians Review

The world seems caught between a misty shape in the shadowed ruins of an old church and the ghostly blips on a radar screen, each summoning their own form of existential dread.” (Mark Chadbourn)

Edited by Neil Snowdon, We Are the Martians has been a long time coming. The project endured a series of frustrating setbacks a year or two back which were beyond the control of the editor. Thankfully for us Snowdon’s ambition and determination to get the book into the marketplace has paid off, and the results are pretty spectacular. Published by PS Publishing, We Are the Martians is everything we hoped it would be and possibly even more.

22447547_10155053947778519_228679050_nThe book opens with Tim Lucas’s obituary of Kneale, and represents a clear indicator of the esteem with which this most special of scriptwriters was held. Lucas demonstrates an enormous amount of love and respect for Kneale’s oeuvre, and his words sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the book. The foreword comes from Mark Gattis. in which he talks briefly of an afternoon spent in the company of Kneale and his wife Judith and of the projects that most greatly affected him during his formative years. Again, one is instantly struck by the reverence afforded to Kneale by a man whose own television career relies so heavily upon the groundwork put in by Kneale and a handful of other revolutionaries who made the 1960s and 70s such an amazing, and creative time. Either way Gattis knows a thing or two about what constitutes good television, his own work with Pemberton, Sheersmith and Dyson draws influence from those televisual pioneers and of course Dyson also features in this volume.

Mark Chadbourn’s chapter on the hauntological aspect of Kneale’s life and times is a fascinating document destined to be read repeatedly by aficionados of such works. The aforementioned Tim Lucas guides us through his captivating insight into the written works of Kneale and further chapters from Kim Newman, Stephen Volk, Ramsey Campbell, Mark Morris and Jonathan Rigby to name but a few of those involved, show the great importance and diversity of the work done during the decades by Kneale. Newman’s chapter about some of Kneale’s less well-known work is a personal highlight for me specifically as I am less acquainted with the works in question, Newman’s knowledge of film and his fondness for these stories is infectious and the chapter leaves the reader hankering for a viewing. Maura McHugh’s chapter on the influence of Kneale’s writing is interesting and well considered, and provides many interesting talking points. Beyond that, there are a number of chapters offering up the interpretations of the different writers on Kneale classics, Stephen Volk, Jeremy Dyson and Kim Newman are among those happy to unpack Kneale’s work for the readers. In amongst all of this there are a series of interviews conducted by editor Snowdon, which add something more personal to the proceedings, the interview with Kneale’s wife Judith Kerr is a personal favourite.

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Overall the book is a joy to behold, well written and featuring a succession of interesting articles across the board, Snowdon has taken the works by some of the most eloquent commentators in film and television and created an astonishing look at one of the most under-appreciated giants of modern screenwriting. As a huge fan of Nigel Kneale myself I am delighted to have this wonderful volume at my disposal and will be dipping into it time and again over the coming years. If like me you are a fan of Kneale’s work, this volume is essential and works as a wonderful companion piece to Andy Murray’s biography Into the Unknown. We Are the Martians is available as a limited edition deluxe signed edition featuring an additional book containing the script for The Big, Big Giggle as well as being available in a standard edition from the PS Publishing website.

(http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/we-are-the-martians-the-legacy-of-nigel-kneale-hardcover-edited-by-neil-snowdon-4286-p.asp)

The Wyrd Kalendar – The October Mix

Wander the Kalendar Heath this October.

Walk towards the inevitable and terrifying Halloween festivities accompanied by BBC Tees and Fortean Times’ own Bob Fischer who will entertain you with extracts from this month’s story "The Field" taken from "The Wyrd Kalendar" (published this month by Wyrd Harvest Press).

As you reach the last few moments of October and Halloween descends, listen out for "The Night Before Samhain" a poem written and performed by Phil Breach.

Enjoy the October and then the Halloween tunes provided by Matt Berry, The Pretty Things, The Mystic Astrological Band, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, Judy Dyble and Tim Bowness vs, No Acronym, of Montreal, William Wordsworth, The Cinnamon Ship, James Taylor, U2 (when they were good), Nitin Sawhney, Still Life, David Cain, The Incredible String Band, Haircut 100, Cosmic Overdose, Bill Nelson, Julie London, Dylan Thomas, Harold Budd and Brian Eno, Chris and Cosey, Witch, Emil Richards, Wolf People, Bill Buchanan, Blue Magic, Aqualung, Lou Reed, Rosemary Clooney, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sandy Denny, Flight of the Conchords, Howlin’ Wolf, Dead Kennedys, Russ Conway, Status Quo, The Guess Who, Sun Ra, Japan, The Misfits, Super Furry Animals, John Carpenter, Gorillaz, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and Duran Duran.

The Wyrd Kalendar – The September Mix

It is September.

Summer is drawing to its end.

The nights are closing in.

Leaves are on the turn and primed to fall.

Joyously run through the fallen leaves on the Kalendar Heath this month with Nick Drake, Dinah Washington, Simon and Garfunkel, David Cain, Captain Beefheart, Justin Hayward, Lou Reed, Earth, Wind and Fire, Jez Butler, David Whitfield, Fiona Apple, New Model Army, Monty Python, Carole King, Tindersticks, Edith Piaf, The Flaming Lips, The Waterboys, David Sylvian, The White Stripes and John Martyn. You will hear extracts from “Ashley and Ashley” the September story from “Wyrd Kalendar” due to be published in October this year by Wyrd Harvest Press.

The Wyrd Kalendar – The August Mix

The Kalendar Heath is ready to be explored this August, but beware, the willows are on the move.

Celebrate Lammas with the likes of Magnet, The Owl Service, Beacon Street Union, Bebel Gilberto, The Tiger Lilies, Love, Clinic, Carole King, Funkadelic, Hall and Oates, Grizzly Bear, Kingston Trio, Micky Newbury, Jacco Gardner, Julie London, David Cain, Lost Trail, The The and Isla Cameron.

This month’s exploration of the Kalendar Heath includes extracts from this month’s short story "The Weeping Will Walk" written and performed by Chris Lambert. The story will be published as part of "Wyrd Kalendar" a collection of 12 short stories written by Chris Lambert and illustrated by Andy Paciorek to be published in October 2017.

Deconstructing The Wicker Man: Friday 28th July, Glasgow

Join folklore and film experts for a screening and discussion of the influence and impact of this 1973 cult horror classic.

Since the film’s release in 1973, The Wicker Man has grown into something of a cult classic. Join folklore and film experts Dr Lizanne Henderson and Dr Jonny Murray for a pre film screening discussion. Dr Lizanne Henderson, University of Glasgow, is an expert in Scottish history and folk belief, author of ’Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment’ (Winner of the Katharine Briggs Book Award 2016). Dr Jonny Murray, Edinburgh College of Art. In 2005 he edited “Constructing the Wicker Man”, a collection of 11 essays based on papers presented at the first academic conference dedicated to the film.

Fri 28 Jul 2017
7.00PM – 10.00PM
City Halls – Recital Room

Adult £6, Concession £5

Click here for booking details.

Review: Spirits Of Place

‘Spirits of Place’ is an anthology journeying into the minds, places and memories of spirits-of-place-kindle-covertwelve writers as they attempt to put into words the emotional and cultural residue implied by a location dear to them. It’s not merely the hard geography of a location but its evolution though folk history which is of interest here. This isn’t another book of psychogeography essays where the landscape is explored and meaning extrapolated from the usual tired rambles of London and Paris, ‘Spirits of Place’ puts a human face onto local mythology and shows that the devil (and assorted other spirits) is almost certainly in the detail as it’s often the little stories that provide the biggest connections to a place. In all cases careful research goes hand in hand with the writer’s emotions and experiences providing the reader with more than enough information to spark further investigation.

This project, derived from a day of lectures in Liverpool in 2016, has been carefully curated by John Reppion to include a refreshing diversity of writers with the essays contained covering a lot of ground both physically and metaphorically. From Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir’s background in Icelandic Elf-lore and how its interfering with modern road and building construction, to Vajra Chandrasekera’s personal account how Sri Lankan spirit folklore evolves to retain its relevance in a rapidly changing socio-political landscape, to Maria J. Perez Cuervo’s piece on the moving of King Philip II of Spain’s Spanish Capital to a mountain local myth says contains the caves that the Devil lived in after his fall from Heaven, the span is ambitiously global telling very human tales which derive (as all things do) from the land.

Of the writers included, the three most known to me, Warren Ellis, Iain Sinclair and Alan Moore don’t disappoint in their submissions. In ‘A Compendium of Tides’ Ellis paints a vivid picture of strange frequencies plucked throughout time from the aether of the Thames Estuary, with the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery and its dangerously deteriorating stockpile of wartime bombs hanging, like a Damoclean sword, threatening turn the area and its history back into atoms and background static. Sinclair leaves behind his beloved London to travel to Palermo, weaving an almost a film noir narrative about his visit to the Capuchin Catacombs, with the journey full of stories that lead him on a deep meditation into its place in the Sicilian psyche. And, having been fortunate enough to see Moore perform the piece his essay ‘Coal Dreams’ was based on at the Sage in Gateshead back in 2010, it’s great to see it finally documented as his contribution. First leading the reader through his own previous personal involvement with Newcastle and the mental and physical journey it has taken to get him there, then setting about re-imagining Newcastle and its environment by reframing its history using it’s pre Christian backdrop in an enthralling riposte to J B Priestley’s damning of Newcastle in ‘English Journey’, invoking Antenociticus (a Roman flavoured variant of Caernunnos) in his temple in Wallsend by way of brimstone-fired visions of the painter John Martin, Mary Shelly and Bovril.

None of the essays in this tight packed anthology overstay their welcome and the high level of writing prowess across the book makes it a joy to read, even if you manage to find an essay topic which doesn’t immediately float your boat. The general tone and connection to the theme does remain even throughout which goes to show that no matter where you are, if you concentrate on any place long enough, you can start to see the ghosts infused within the brickwork and the angels in the architecture. This book fits wonderfully into the growing movement towards the re-enchantment of location and will be of great interest to those fostering a deeper connection with the landscape.

Spirits of Place is published by Daily Grail Publishing
For more details, visit www.spiritsofplace.com

Review by S.: of the Psychogeographical Commission.

 

 

 

 

The Wyrd Kalendar – The July Mix

It is July.

It is time to venture onto the Kalendar Heath again. Let the heat of these songs enfold you as Jim Moon reads extracts from this month’s story “Grotto Day” (written by Chris Lambert as part of “Wyrd Kalendar” due for publication in October).

This month’s mix contains music by Goldfrapp, Terry Reid, Uriah Heep, David Cain, Be Bop Deluxe, Gordon Lightfoot, John Stewart, Laura Veirs, Roger Waters, Sesame Street, Nick Nicely, Slim Dusty, Velvet Opera and Soundgarden.

She is Time

She is Time …

A giantess

A dwarf

A bear

A bird

Mother sister daughter all

Originator and child born

Wondrous

Awful

Tender

Harsh

Caressing – “You still have Time my love, my beloved one.”

“No Time left – Hurry you wicked child!”

I have avoided her presence.

I have acknowledged it too.

Youth or innocence or stupidity

Wisdom or just older and old age coming and then …

“I wasn’t really so ugly after all.”

Day after day and hour after hour of self criticism.

Now looking back

I beg you, “Let me make myself again!”

Help me form from clay instead of skin containing organs blood and bone.

Help me become an uncontaminated version of me

Instead of influence bombarding and impinging from all directions.

But Time will do what she wants and leaves me to learn.

Gives me precious gifts as well as throwaway baubles that will remain until infinity – Signs of me that were.

The passing of –

Who I am

Who we all are

What we learn

How to be.

Make the most of it.

Don’t waste time or do waste some time

Sometimes –

From time to time stop and

Feel and appreciate every moment of … but …

Best laid plans.

The past rises up in black and white or technicolour shards.

Puzzle together

Manufacture memory

Did it happen?

All a part of you.

Primordial – before time, before building began

Past, present, future – all times.

Hauntings, soaked and seeped into the walls the floors, the earth.

The words, the sighs, the emotions, the pleasures, the pains.

Mine mingle into the sediment of all others who came before me and those that will come.

Haunting me from the future as well as the past.

Thoughts, realities, fantasies, plans and ambitions unrealized, regretted, yearned for –

Unique and mine a part of everything that was and is.

Foolish, brave, meek, timid, strong.

All of these cycling

Who and what potential there was and is to be …

In the past in the present, in the future, in the “non” time

Just the “am” just “is” just “be” time

Would you live differently?

Reincarnation, what animal will you be?

Heaven, hell, purgatory?

Please let me –

Reclaim my self from time reclaim my fresh plump and tighter skin,

Like a lizard let me shed my tarnished and webbed self.

You are cruel but I understand.

My face, my body, my thought, is witness to evermore.

My life with others, everything I saw, everything I wanted, tasted, everything experienced – everything even wickedness.

Where in the ridges of lives does she settle?

Which cracks does she fall into?

Pressed under foot

Like leaves that begin to change colour, dry and wither while others remain under ice and snow, amber till spring when they will die, become part of what came before.

In the dew of the grass

The web of the spider

The speck of dust motes that float.

Day after day

Cycles of nature bring joy and sadness too, the end or fading of memories

Time so tied into every cell and twinge and hurt and joy.

Make way for her!

You can scurry out of the way and hide, for now, don’t think of her passing.

Hide your eyes!

Recoil from her!

But better to move toward her and welcome the shadow she throws down over you.

She is an unavoidable presence enveloping you with her wings.

A large bird is time with a wing span covering all and felt everywhere

Manufactured in factories

Forged in metal

Grown from the soil

Born from a tender nest and fed and nurtured

Created from mystery – the beginning of everything.

She takes from me without my consent

Wild and powerful and strong Time.

I feel her shadow.

She is near.

She will take me

When she is ready.

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​Words and Picture (C) Carmit Kordov

Carmit is an administrator of the Folk Horror Revival Facebook group. Her poetry has appeared in Corpse Roads , a Wyrd Harvest Press book.

Please visit Carmit Kordov Words and Pictures for more poetry, photography, writing and cultural content that veers towards Magic Realism.

The Wyrd Kalendar – The June Mix

It is June.

The sun is shining and people gather at tables to sup lemonade, watching the crops thrive and the flowers bloom.

This month wander the Kalendar Heath to the strains of Sparklehorse, John Shakespeare, Steeleye Span, The Kinks, The Sallyangie, David Cain, The Cocteau Twins, Marc Bolan, June Tabor, The Decemberists, Case-Lange Veirs, June Carter-Cash, Sam Gopal, Bright Eyes, Al Stewart, Linear Movement, Pinback, Jan and Dean, Petula Clark, Finn, The Clancy Brothers, Rodgers and Hammerstein and the B52s while Jim Peters regales you with choice extracts from this month’s tale, from the Wyrd Kalendar; “June Bug”.