The Wyrd Kalendar – The December Mix

It is December.

The bells are ringing and the Old Father is coming. Find out what happens to those who displease the Old Father in extracts from the final tale of the Wyrd Kalendar entitled "Santa Claus and the Witch".

You can buy the book at – http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html – All profits go to Wildlife Trusts.

As you wander through the snow and ice of the Kalendar Heath you will hear Simon and Garfunkel, Sufjan Stevens, Marc Almond, Iron and the Wine, Broadcast, Bjork, Bert Jansch, Anne Briggs, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Zen, The Divine Comedy, CAN, Kate Bush, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Sea of Bees, Sean Wesche, Lindisfarne, Jethro Tull, Mazzy Star, The Rolling Stones, Spinal Tap, Jimmy Smith, The Free Design, David Cain, Neal Casan, Vashti Bunyan, The Who, The Fall, Scott Walker, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Grateful Dead, David Gray and Victor Hely-Hutchinson as well as extracts from Winter Landscape by Laurie Lee.

This is the last Wyrd Kalendar mix of the year. You can hear all the others for every month of the year by visiting – https://www.mixcloud.com/Wyrd_Kalendar

There will be four seasonal mixes next year. Look out for the Spring mix on March 21st.

Happy Christmas!

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“A Persistence of Geraniums” by John Linwood Grant.

Please do not be fooled by the slimness of this volume, these are tales to charm, chill, intrigue and entertain.

The collection opens two differing ghost stories. Firstly the eponymous "A Persistence of Geraniums". A wonderfully humorous ghost story with a twist. Full of witty one line descriptions which capture the nature of the characters with a cutting perfection. Following this comes "His Heart Shall Speak No More" a darker, more serious tale in the vein of traditional ghost stories. Exploring the well loved theme that some things which are found would be much better not found at all and having all of the required shivers one would expect of a tale of this kind.

It then moves on to a series of stories concerning Edwin Dry, The Deptford Assassin. No ordinary assassin in any way, shape or form. By turns he shows a social conscience, a chilling coldness and lack of emotion and a humour entirely his own. From impersonating an asylum inmate, to shrugging off a demonic possession, nothing it seems can shake his steady nerve and calm demeanor. An extremely intriguing character that I would be more than happy to read more of.

The closing story is an alternative view of Thomas Carnacki, which I will say little about, other than it shows the great Occult Detective in a very different light. Definite food for thought.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, I would be hard pushed to chose a favourite from these entertaining tales. What stands out throughout is John Linwood Grant’s skill of description and humour. With a minimum of words he makes these characters alive. A passing mention of one item of clothing or a small but telling personality trait and somehow their essence is captured. Tales with dark edges and at times a dark humour to match.

I only have two complaints concerning this book,

1. There was a distinct lack of geraniums.
2. It really wasn’t long enough.

Reading it has left me with the desire to read more of the back catalogue of short stories available and to hope that more will be forthcoming!

To say a little about the author, John Linwood Grant frequently entertains the members of the Folk Horror Revival group with his excellently funny St Botolph’s Parish Newsletters. Those of us lucky enough to be on his Facebook friends list get extra snippets from St Botolphs which are often some of the funniest things I find in my newfeed. John is also part of the editorial team behind the Occult Detective Quarterly magazine and his short stories have appeared in numerous publications. More from John can be found on his Greydogtales blog. He also likes lurchers, a lot.

(http://greydogtales.com/blog/)

The Wyrd Kalendar – The November Mix

The Saints are on the march and on the look out for sinners to punish this month so tread carefully upon the Kalendar Heath.

This month’s mix features extracts from "All Saint’s Day" the tale for November from "Wyrd Kalendar" which was published at the end of October 2017 and can be bought here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html

As well as these extracts you will hear from the following musical artists exploring All Saint’s Day, Bonfire Night and the month of November; The Silent Comedy, Blonde on Blonde, The Monroe Brothers, David Bowie, Gorillaz, Voice of the Seven Woods, Magnet, Cobra Verde, Eire Apparent, Lamb, David Cain, Shirley Bassey, Matt Berry, Carter USM, Dizzy Gillespie, Gram Parsons, New Model Army, Julie London, Tom Waits, The Will-O-Bees, Sammy Davis Junior, Sandy Denny, Peter Fonda, Pavlov’s Dog, The Wilderness of Manitoba and Vashti Bunyan.

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.

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.