Winter Ghosts – Important Information

With the Folk Horror Revival – Winter Ghosts event just days away. We felt it would make sense to post up some of the less exciting, but just as necessary information you will all  need when making decisions about what to see and when to eat. The following times are subject to change, especially for the Metropole event as much will depend on changeover between speakers/ bands.

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Friday

For those making a weekend of it there are a couple of free associated events on Friday 15th December 2017.
At 5.30 pm at the Whitby Bookshop, 88 Church Street, author Chris Lambert will be giving readings from his Black Meadow and Wyrd Kalendar books.

Whilst at the Fleece Pub, also in Church Street from 9 pm local folk singers Rebecca Deniff and Mackie will be performing a selection of Murder Ballads.
(The Friday events are free entry but please feel free to pass a hat around for the performers )

Saturday

On the morning of the Winter Ghosts event we are pleased to announce an Early Bird Book Reading event at Rusty Shears Cafe & Gin bar, 3 Silver Street from 11am to 1pm.
This event is Free to Winter Ghosts ticket holders but arrive early as places are very limited.

11am -11.20  Intro and Corpse Roads readings – Andy Paciorek

11.25 – 11.45  Chris Firth

11.50 – 12.10  Jane Burn & Bob Beagrie – This Game of Strangers

12.15 – 12.35  Tim Turnbull & Phil Breach – North

12.40 – 1.00  Chris Lambert Black Meadow / Wyrd Kalendar

 Finally, in the intimate setting of The Metropole, Whitby, we cordially invite you to join us for our winter soiree, a gathering of the clans on the North Yorkshire coast. Folk Horror Revival present a series of exhilarating talks and musical performances for your terpsichorean pleasure.

Beginning at 4pm, the event gets under way with a series of thought provoking oratories with a distinctly local flavour, before we plunge headlong into an evening programme of esoteric, auditory treats for the soul, all topped off with a pair of films, both with a local flavour to them.

4pm – Doors Open/ Intro

4.15 – George Cromack

4.50 – Elaine Edmunds

5.30 – Bob Fischer

6.00 – Flash Company’s Mummers Play

6.30 – The Equestrian Vortex

7.10 – Soulless Party

7.50 – Leasungspell

9.15 – Inkubus Sukkubus

10.45 – Films

12.30 – End

Tickets are still available to buy priced at £15.00 + a £1.25 booking fee from the following link.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-winter-ghosts-2017-tickets-34484492044

One final important message:

Please note The Metropole event is a packed evening’s entertainment and therefore does not feature a break for an evening meal. The Metropole does however provide a good selection of meals up until 7pm. They have also informed us that they still have rooms available for those looking for somewhere to stay overnight. Contact The Metropole for prices and availability.

http://themetwhitby.co.uk/

We look forward to welcoming many of you into the Folk Horror Revival fold for what promises to be a fun filled weekend of talks, music, film and general merriment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unearthing Forgotten Horrors

This week’s Unearthing Forgotten Horrors radio show features fantastic new music from With the Dead, and Youngblood Supercult, alongside our very wonderful Viking Saga SoLA written and directed by Michael Somerset. Tonight’s episode is the second in the series and is called The Draugr.

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The second half of tonight’s show is dedicated to the bands playing at the Folk Horror Revival – Winter Ghosts event in Whitby across the weekend of December 15th – 16th, with tracks from The Equestrian Vortex, The Soulless Party, Leasungspell (which is to be performed for the final time) and the legendary Inkubus Sukkubus.

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Join me tonight, Monday 11th December from 7pm UK time on a1radio.co.uk and we will head on down the rabbit hole together.

https://unearthingforgottenhorrorsblog.wordpress.com/

http://a1radio.co.uk/

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-winter-ghosts-2017-tickets-34484492044

 

The “Urban Wyrd” In Folk Horror.

Celluloid Wicker Man

One of the key criticisms of the Folk Horror Chain is its emphasis, both in argument and in evidence, upon the rural landscape and its various elements.  While the key works of Folk Horror cinema seem to broadly use rural landscape aesthetics and practice to set and conjure their horror, by setting up such a parameter, it does indeed neglect some of the sub-genre’s most popular and effective examples.  This brief assessment aims to balance the rural-heavy arguments outlined so far with some of the more urban of examples, labelling them “Urban Wyrd” and showing their links with the Folk Horror Chain as well as several key differences.

When putting together the presentation about this chain for the Folk Horror conference in Belfast last year, some of the preparation for it was to try and anticipate criticisms and potential questions that would be asked afterwards.  The key question that I…

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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!

“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.

Borley Rectory Review

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It’s on nights like these when the evenings are drawing in and the chill winds blow that there is something quite comforting about sitting down in front of a roaring fire to enjoy a classic ghost story. The sort of thing that was once the domain of the BBC and their delightfully eerie Ghost Stories for Christmas, or those old dark house tales that were so prevalent in the 1920s and 30s. It is therefore pleasing that in this age of technological advancements a film like Borley Rectory comes along and takes us right back to those heady days. Ashley Thorpe’s film, a dramatic documentary tells us the story of the most haunted house in England.

Borley Rectory has been a massive undertaking for Thorpe, it has eaten up the last six years of his life. A project that has turned his home into his studio, and his life upside down. There is a truly wonderful cast of actors involved in the project who have helped to bring it to life, Reece Sheersmith, Jonathan Rigby, Julian Sands as the narrator, there is even a brief cameo from Folk Horror Revivalist Christopher Stagg, as the site workman. Music comes from the ever-reliable Steven Severin, the former Banshee turned soundtracker of all things dark, damnable and disturbing providing a score that fits perfectly, providing chills in all the right places.

The film itself is a mix of live action and animation, shot entirely in black and white and using a variety of methods to make it feel as though it was a product of the era in which it is set. Thorpe has created a beautiful, inspired slice of cinema that echoes those classic films of yesteryear with aplomb. This is certainly no pastiche on what has gone before but a loving recrafting of an artform almost lost.

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The story, one that is probably familiar to many of you, is that of Borley Rectory, a Victorian house built in 1862 in Borley, Essex. It was alleged to have been haunted from the very beginning, stories focus on the historical flourishing of a relationship between a Benedictine monk and a nun from a nearby monastery in the fourteenth century. After their association was uncovered the monk was purported to have been executed and the nun bricked up alive inside the walls of the convent. Many of those living and working in the rectory, from the point at which it was built in 1862 onwards claimed to have seen the ghostly apparitions of the monk and the nun, and experienced various other paranormal experiences, ringing bells, ghostly writing, and screams to name but a few.

The first half of the documentary concentrates on setting up the story, and providing the viewer with a comprehensive history of the house, from its building in 1862 through to the late 1920s. The second half of the film focuses on the time spent at the rectory of Daily Mirror journalist V.C. Wall (Sheersmith) and paranormal investigator Harry Price (Rigby). This is the point at which the film comes into its own, the séance sequences are wholly reminiscent of those wonderful old spiritualist photographs from the Victorian era. Thorpe beautifully builds tension during these scenes, by keeping things simple and relatively understated. The whole thing works beautifully, and the ghostly apparitions are treated with care and attention to detail. Rigby and Sheersmith are excellent in their respective roles and Julian sands is perfect as the narrator.

Overall Borley Rectory is a triumph, well written, beautifully animated, and filmed, and with such attention to detail that it draws the viewer deeper into its web. Ashley Thorpe’s hard work has paid off. If you have the chance to catch this in a cinema make the effort, it truly is worthy of your time.

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Borley Rectory will be screened as part of Folk Horror Revival’s The Unseelie Court, in Edinburgh on Saturday 21st October, and director Ashley Thorpe will be on hand to answer a few of your questions about the film.

 

https://www.summerhall.co.uk/event/folk-horror-revival-unseelie-court/

 

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)