“This Is Bardcore” – an interview with The Story Beast on his Prog Rock Folk Horror Comedy Show

Folk Horror Revival recently got wind of a new show being performed in London this Saturday the 15th in London. We spoke to the creator about the piece and his inspirations.

So, if you can first tell us a bit about yourself?
In my day to day life I am mere actor/writer John Henry Falle but onstage I am the mortal vessel for cosmic bullshit merchant, The Story Beast. He’s an immortal wizard whose seemingly self-appointed duty seems to be to tell the Old Tales a-new and the New Tales a-old. He’s basically a crap, slightly pissed up version of Doctor Who.

What’s This Is Bardcore about then?
It’s a Prog Rock Folk Horror Comedy Show or #ProRoFolkHoCoSho…I’m sure that’ll get trending soon. This is my second show as The Story Beast. The first got nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer (formerly the Perrier) and This Is Bardcore finds him arriving in our dimension accompanied by his best mate – a sentient Tree rooted to the Centre of your Reality. He’s entirely convinced that the world is coming to a very swift end. I take the audience on a folkloric trip through our collective unconscious via Blue Peter, an epic poetry rendering of Die Hard and the geological history of the Earth told through the medium of Rock & Roll. I’m hoping this is how I get on Live At The Apollo.

Where does your interest in folk horror stem from?
I grew up in the countryside on the island of Jersey surrounded by cows and a lot of those terrors felt quite close to the surface, I suppose. We lived in an old farmhouse where my Dad had grown up. The house was on a hill above a Mental Hospital where my Great-Grandad had spent the last third of his life. We found an actual stillborn child in the walls of the house once.

Sorry, what?
The plumbing in the house went to shit and flooded out my parent’s bedroom. Just this hideous black dripping as the water flowed through years of dust and horse-hair plaster. The whole room had to be ripped apart and on the inside of the walls we found this bricked up little alcove. A window where a window shouldn’t be. So we opened it up and on the inside we found some pages torn out of The Book Of Common Prayer, a shoe and the dusty, leathery protuberance of a stillborn child.

Isn’t that the plot to Nigel Kneale’s “Baby“?
Pretty much! And we never found out why, either! It must have been someone over a century ago who were giving their baby a decent burial. But Jersey is a full of that sort of folkloric strangeness. There’s an active coven of witches on the island! Down the road was the Barn where the people of the Parish would make the float for the island’s annual Battle Of Flowers. I remember when I first saw The Wicker Man when I was 14 and thinking “This is all a bit familiar.” I live in South London now and I think one of the reasons I love Folk Horror so much is just basic Nostalgia.

Why do you think Folk Horror has caught the public mood right now?
I’m not the first to say this but it feels like a perfect metaphor for what’s going on in this country right now, doesn’t it? That dangerous nostalgia. The desire to go back to— what? The 70s? The 30s? The Past in general despite the dreadful things we left there? This show is slightly more political than my first one as it’s the first I’ve done since the BrexiTrump happened and I’m one of those tedious, explosive Remoaners who can’t stop talking about the State of this Country once he gets going. One of my opening songs is a Pink Floyd-y rock number called “Whatever Happened To The Country That You Once Knew?“ where I sing about that nostalgia and how it constantly blooms into violence, madness and bestiality.

Do you think there is something peculiarly British about it?
Well we may have the Unholy Trilogy but Children Of The Corn seems as prescient a version of Trump’s America. What seems particularly British is how susceptible we are to a certain stripe of Fantasy. We invented the genre and if you look at a lot of the Tolkiens and Lewises they have this Romantic with a Capital R belief that if we only get the Good King back on his throne then everything will be alright again. Horror from Mary Shelley onwards is more equivocal and clear eyed about how fragile society can be and the dreadful things we’re capable of as a species. Folk Horror looks at our violence head on. It tells us that if your only concern is to purify society this will inevitably lead to burning the Outsider or the Witch. 52% of the country told the Eastern European seasonal workers to Fuck Off and now our Summer Fruit crop rots on the vine. Jersey’s little different. The island couldn’t vote in a UK Referendum but the motivation is there. The Jersey Royal crop was disappointing this year because there no one there to pick the bloody potatoes! The island’s farming has always depended on outside seasonal workers to pick the potatoes be it Bretons or Irish or Portuguese or Polish people. The local paper had the temerity to blame the weather this year. Apparently the Romanians were leaving because it was too rainy. What really happened is that when they went into a pub they’d be made to feel unwelcome by a load of thick proto-fascists. These people don’t have to come to Britain. They’re bright people who know the value of their labour and they’ll go somewhere else if they feel they’re not wanted. Sorry – got carried away there.

With all that Doom and Gloom do you think Folk Horror and Comedy can coexist?
I think they go hand in hand! The one thing that doesn’t seem to get said about The Wicker Man in all the articles about The 78 Greatest Horror Films That’ll Make You Shit Yourself is that it’s really, really funny. I was 10 when that first episode of The League Of Gentleman came on. Far too young. My Mum only turned it off when Tubbs started breastfeeding the Pig. It was the most shocking thing I’d ever seen but it also had silly people doing funny voices and that’s what lured me in. My brother and I still quote “And in the cupboard beneath the stair / You’ll find the towel for pubic hair.” You gotta laugh, don’t you?

Who should see this show?

Well your readers obviously. If you like 70s rock, classic Doctor Who, Horror and can’t get tickets to the League Of Gentlemen reunion then this is the Comedy Show for you! Also you get to see a hairy man sweating through a whole trench coat in an hour so there is honestly something for everyone.

The Story Beast: This Is Bardcore is on 9pm This Saturday at 2Northdown in London’s Kings Cross
https://www.tickettext.co.uk/2-northdown/thisisbardcore/



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Wanderings With The Fae No.3. The Faceless Man of Crosspatrick.

Wanderings with the fae. A photographic journal of places of atmosphere, folklore, history and strangeness, found on my travels around Ireland.

Crosspatrick Graveyard lies just outside the village of Killala and therein stands the strangely faceless monument to Thomas Mulloy. His hands crossed on his chest as if in death, he looms, unnerving and eerie.

Being a respected local stonemason Thomas took the time to carve his own memorial prior to his passing, adorned with strange angels and staring faces.

Legend has it that Thomas left five shillings in his will to anyone who could close the bottom button of his stone jacket. In 1926 a severe storm blew poor Thomas over, strangely the only damage was that his face was sheared clean off.

It is said that the graveyard is the site of a battle between St Patrick and a number of Druids, when he defeated them he struck the ground with his staff and there sprung forth a spring and at the site he then built a church. Maybe it’s no surprise that Hawthorn now grows across the site…. maybe the Druids have not forgotten… maybe they sent the wind that felled Thomas…..

(Photography by Jackie Taylor. Crosspatrick Graveyard, Killala, County Mayo, Summer 2016)

Book Review- Midnight Movie Monographs: Spirits Of The Dead by Tim Lucas

Midnight Movie Monographs are a series of books covering forgotten grindhouse gems. Films in the series including Death Line, Martin and Theatre Of Blood. This volume focuses on the anthology of Poe adaptations of Spirits Of The Dead (also known as Histories Extraordinaires). It provides a meticulously detailed account of the film’s genesis and production, an analysis of each segment (Metzengerstein directed by Roger Vadim, William Wilson directed by Louis Malle, and Toby Damnit directed by Federico Fellini), it’s afterlife on various formats after release as well as the original stories that inspired the film.
Although overshadowed by the better known AIP versions of Poe’s works, Spirits Of The Dead is an interesting curiosity, which as Lucas points out, straddles the line between grindhouse and arthouse, both surreal and shocking. One of the most interesting inclusions in the book was the impact it had on the author, who saw it at a young age, then describes a failed attempt to secure a repeat viewing at the cinema (which is both endearing and a salient reminder about how easy we have it these days, where practically any cultural artefact can be accessed in a matter of minutes via the internet). The author’s love of the film comes through on every page.
The chapters analyzing each segment give a scene by scene breakdown, with the production background discussed and comparisons with the source material made. The chapter on the Fellini segment was particularly interesting, coming at a difficult time in his life, when he’d suffered illness and bereavement and this is explored in detail.
Overall, this is a heavyweight look at this film, perhaps not for the casual reader but if you are a fan of the film, this is unquestionably the definitive look at it.
You can order a copy here.

Wanderings With The Fae No.2. The Lost Cottage.

Wanderings with the fae. A photographic journal of places of atmosphere, folklore, history and strangeness, found on my travels around Ireland.

Sometimes you find things totally by accident. Sometimes these places have a greater resonance than those you visit deliberately.

Sometimes you wander deeper into the woods than you meant to, but something calls you on.

When the path into the woods becomes narrower, thinner, wilder, and just at the point when you wonder should you turn back, something catches your eye through the trees.

Miles from any road, from any other inhabitation, the lost cottage sits in a clearing.

As a chill atmosphere filled the air, I could only imagine who lived there last, who left it to succumb to the whims of the forest. I walked away with more haste than I arrived.

Sometimes you can never find these places again, sometimes there is a reason for that…………

(Photography by Jackie Taylor. An unknown location somewhere on the Mayo/Sligo border. Winter 2016)

Wanderings With The Fae No.1. Achill, pirate queens and folk art graves.

Wanderings with the fae. A photographic journal of places of atmosphere, folklore, history and strangeness, found on my travels around Ireland.

Achill Island is a place of remoteness, wildness.

Carrickkildavnet Castle has stood guard over Achill Sound for near 600 years. Once the home of the infamous pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.

Kildownet Graveyard contains the ruins of a chapel thought to have been built by the pirate queen herself. Sitting right on the coast, it seems that one good storm could take some of those interred to a far deeper, wetter grave.

What makes Kildownet so special is It’s number of folk art gravestones. These simple markers, cast from concrete and decorated with stones, broken glass and shards of pottery are far more poignant than any grand tomb.

And I still haven’t found anyone who could explain to me what being a "Mystical Midwife" entails!

(Photography by Jackie Taylor. Achill Island, County Mayo, August 2017)

The Wyrd Kalendar – Spectral Fields Mix 2

The Kalendar Host has been reading.

He has found himself lost in “A Year in the Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields” by Stephen Prince. This incredible work has inspired a new journey out of the Kalendar Heath and across these Spectral Fields to discover music, ideas, stories, folk horror jaunts, hauntological treats and nostalgic terror.

This is the second of four mixes dedicated to this new book. This mix explores chapters 14-26 through music, sound and key extracts, acting as an accompaniment or, if you will allow, an aural appendix.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Country-Wandering-Pastoralism-Hauntology/dp/0957400721

Discover the delights of Broadcast, Cat’s Eyes, Virginia Astley, Brian Eno, Kate Bush, Jim Williams, David Colohan, Howlround, Keith Seatman, Loose Capacitor, The Twelve Hour Foundation, Shirley Collins, Stealing Sheep, Leyland Kirby, David Sylvian, Fairport Convention, Roy Redmond, Nirvana, Luke Haines, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior.

Witch Cults – The Melmoth the Wanderer mix

 

This mix has been compiled to mark the forthcoming Folk Horror Revival event – Witch Cults. It fatures all the artists who will be appearing at the event plus samples from the films and dramatic performances that will be featured –

Marcus H
Hokano
Black Mountain Transmission
Georgia Seddon
The Heartwood Institute
Nathalie Stern
Peg Powler

Witchcraft 70, Simon the King of the Witches and Tracey Norman’s WITCH.

The event takes place at Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle on 14th July.
Full Day Tickets are now available for £17.50
Individual Afternoon and Night tickets are £12.50 each,
Available now from Eventbrite.

The Wyrd Kalendar – A Mix for Summer

Join the Kalendar Host in a haunting hike upon the Kalendar Heath this summer. Peppered with the sounds of summer, music on the theme of summer and extracts from three summer based tales from Wyrd Kalendar (available to buy at http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html). You will also be given the opportunity to pause in your trek as special guests from the Folk Horror Revival, Howard Ingham and Darren Charles discuss a vital summer film and album for your edification and delight.

The Spring mix includes tunes by Belbury Poly, Marianne Faithful, Emil Richards, XTC, Kate Bush, Patricia Varley, Acid House Kings, The Style Council, David Cain, Percy Faith and his Orchestra, Animal Collective, T Rex, Aha, Belle and Sebastian, Jim Williams, Los Chicarrons, Terry Hall, G. Love and Special Sauce, Beck, Clannad, Reef, Cold Cave, Pink Floyd, The Divine Comedy, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, The Heartwood Institute and many many more…

The Wyrd Kalendar – Spectral Fields – The First Mix

The Kalendar Host has been reading.

He has found himself lost in “A Year in the Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields” by Stephen Prince. This incredible work has inspired a new journey out of the Kalendar Heath and across these Spectral Fields to discover music, ideas, stories, folk horror jaunts, hauntological treats and nostalgic terror.

This is the first of four mixes dedicated to this new book. This mix explores chapters 1-13 through music, sound and key extracts, acting as an accompaniment or, if you will allow, an aural appendix.

Discover the delights of the Albion Country Band, John Martyn, David Bowie, The Sally-Angie, Trader Horne, Demdike Stare, Howlround, Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle, Hoofus, Lubos Fiser, Frog, Broadcast and the Focus Group, Jugg, The Soulless Party, The Rowan Amber Mill and Emily Jones, Magnet, Broadcast, Pulp, Sneaker Pimps, The Owl Service, Ultravox, Strawberry Switchblade and Nik Kershaw. As well as this you will be able to experience soundtracks from War Games, The Owl Service, The Changes, Sky, Penda’s Fen and many many more…

Buy the book here…

http://ayearinthecountry.co.uk/the-a-year-in-the-country-wandering-through-spectral-fields-book-and-a-visual-accompaniment/

A-Year-In-The-Country-Wandering-Through-Spectral-Fields-book-front-and-back-cover-575x382.jpg The A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral …
ayearinthecountry.co.uk
“This incredibly well-researched book, which is obviously written by a man with an enormous passion for this subject, is probably as comprehensive as it is possible to be.

Toll Booths and Black lakes – The birth of a new Folk Horror film maker

Last year I was very privileged to be invited to the Fear in the Fens Festival as a guest speaker to present ` Otherworldly – an introduction to Folk Horror.’ As a part of that event there was screening of several amateur short films with a Folk Horror thread running through their themes and atmospheres. The best of this crop was the outstanding, spooky and tense `Toll Booth’. On my way home from this event due to railway works there was a bumpy bus ride along dark unfamiliar Norfolk roads and lanes during which I had the pleasure of chatting to the director of Toll Booth – Martin Stocks.

Since then I have kept an eye out for Martin and his work and it came as no surprise

when I saw Toll Booth picking up award after award at multiple film festivals. So far it had won 6 awards including the Gold Award for Best Thriller at LA Shorts Award; and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival as well as being nominated for the Yorkshire Film Award at Leeds International Film Festival – making it eligible for the BAFTAS and Oscars!

The film is focused on Terry on his first night as the keeper of an isolated toll booth which is seemingly haunted by the fact that his predecessor disappeared from his post in mysterious circumstances.

Boredom – it is by no means a busy booth – starts to play on Terry’s mind and eventually he steps out into the mist to investigate and explore his new surroundings. However isolated as he is in this remote eerie landscape Terry oHostarts to get the feeling that there’s something out there lurking in the surrounding fog…something sinister and possibly otherworldly. The paranoid loneliness of the toll booth seems preferable however to the unnerving uncertainty of what is outside the protection of its flimsy clapboard walls.

Each customer who comes to pay their toll seem poised to be a terrifying new twist and each one adds to the nerve wracking tension…….until…


Black Lake

Somehow, whilst touring Toll Booth to film festivals around the globe, Martin has found time to start work on a very adventurous and ambitious project indeed – an animated short thriller called Black Lake.

….A man wakes in a dark, foggy, beautiful, yet hostile world after causing a fatal car crash. He navigates this place, initially spellbound by its stunning ethereal nature, and its pitch black lake with small floating stars. Dread quickly sets in as he realises the malevolent dangers lurking beneath the surface of this half-dead world. He is forced to confront his darkest fears and face the ultimate sacrifice to escape…..

Over to Martin –

“For this dark and compelling story, we are creating a starkly beautiful yet hostile world that our protagonist is thrown into. This project explores the concept of purgatory in a different and surprising way. It is also a taut narrative that will grab viewers by the throat and not let up until the end credits. We aim to produce a visually stunning thriller which will leave you breathless.
There is a multi-talented animation team on board to achieve my ambitious vision. This film will act as a proof of concept for a feature version that we are developing. as I think the script is one of the best things I’ve written. It explores complex themes like guilt, isolation and redemption – and creates a beautiful visual world. With the animation team we have in place I’m really excited to see them realise this stunning world. This film is also a big stepping stone for me as a director looking to move into feature films. Producing this with a proper budget will help me create a beautiful, compelling and touching film…… The success of Toll Booth has shown that I can produce films that engage with audiences and gain critical recognition. I want this film to be so good that it cannot be ignored by the industry and it helps my team get the exposure, recognition and opportunities they deserve.”

All of this vision needs support so if you want to help Martin and the team see their vision come to life there are options and rewards for those wishing to donate and be a part of an exciting project….

You can watch a trailer and read more about the project by following this link.

About the team:

This is the follow-up to Martin Stocks’ (writer/director) short thriller Toll Booth. This has won 6 awards including, Best Thriller at LA Shorts Awards and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival. It was nominated for The Yorkshire Film Award at BAFTA and Oscar-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival. A feature version is in development.

James Wren is producing, having made several feature films. The Man You’re Not features Reece Sheersmith and Joanna Lumley, and recently premiered at East London Film Festival. He also produced short horror/comedy The Monster with Film London, which screened at over 50 festivals and won numerous awards.

Gabhriela Swan Gabhriela is a London-based Illustrator, Designer and Concept Artist whose creative practice takes many forms. From environment visualisation and character design for film to animation and fashion. Easily-identifiable by their trademark ethereal aesthetic, her illustrations have been recognised by major industry brands from both fashion and film including The Mill, Digital Arts Magazine, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. Her sensitivity to project narratives and ability to communicate stories by new and innovative means has generated commissions given her mysterious, often supernatural imagery, evident across all projects, media and disciplines.