Folk Horror Revival – Winter Ghosts 2019 – First Announcement!

This December, Folk Horror Revival, will be returning to Whitby for our second Winter Ghosts event. The all day happening takes place at the Metropole ballroom, on December 14th 2019. The event will run from 1pm until after midnight and features some truly outstanding talks, stories, music, films and much, much more besides. The lineup itself has been handpicked by our team, and features some truly incredible talent that we simply can’t wait for you to see.

It is with much excitement that we would like to announce Al Ridenour as our first guest.

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Explore the authentic folklore, history and contemporary practices associated with the Krampus with Al Ridenour, author of The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas and
preeminent English-language expert on the subject. Ridenour’s lively presentation,
illustrated with slides, archival video (and a drop-in by a LIVE KRAMPUS) reveals how
this often-misunderstood figure is connected to centuries-old witchcraft beliefs and an
older darker understanding of the Christmas season as a time offering access to the spirit
world. Now in its second printing, The Krampus was described by LA Times’ books critic
Elizabeth as “gleefully erudite,” and a book that “deserves to become a classic.”
Ridenour is also a producer of Krampus events in Los Angeles, an artist and mask-maker,
and host of the folk-horror podcast, Bone and Sickle.

Home

https://www.boneandsickle.com/

Joining Al for more Krampus related fun and frolics will be Whitby’s very own Elaine Edmunds and Laurence Mitchell of Decadent Drawing, organisers of the annual Whitby Krampus run that takes place each December, and raises much needed funds for The Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary.

https://www.decadentdrawing.com/

 

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We don’t want to say too much at this stage, but we can promise Al, Elaine and Laurence have something a little special planned for Winter Ghosts, and we can’t wait for you all to see it.

Our first musical addition to the lineup is the sensational Burd Ellen, the new solo project from Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons, Alex Rex) featuring Gayle Brogan (Pefkin, Barrett’s Dottled Beauty) and Lucy Duncan (Luki). The group uses traditional song to explore and evoke dark landscapes and deep stories. Innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash support detailed vocal work to create a unique sonic atmosphere.
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Burd Ellen self-released their debut album SILVER CAME in Feb 2019, on limited edition CD. A record exploring women’s narratives in British folk song, SILVER CAME investigates ideas of persistence, defiance, devotion and transformation. The album was recorded by Jer Reid (Painted X-Ray, Claquer, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra) over two days in the rehearsal space of Glasgow Theatre Arts Collective.

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“sonically adventurous … with an emotional range and a raw inventiveness which is all too rare in contemporary folk circles.” – Alex Neilson
“A masterclass in shimmering, ethereal folk music… Cannot recommend highly enough” – Kyle Lonsdale, Earth Recordings

burdellen.com – burdellen.bandcamp.com
Sweet Lemany music video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSRB5Vsvx2A

Our final guest for this first announcement is George Cromack, a writer, sessional tutor and lecturer whose core subject areas are creative fiction, specifically Scriptwriting for film & T.V, and Film Studies. For almost ten years George taught on a number of programmes at the University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus – including modules on their Creative Writing Degree. It was during this time he developed his interest in what has become widely known as the Folk Horror genre, the subject of his film based PhD thesis, delivering a paper on some of its narrative conventions at the Fiend in the Furrows Conference in Belfast.  A keen advocate of adult and community education, George also teaches evening classes in Film Studies & Creative Writing for the local Scarborough branch of the WEA and introduces the occasional film screening at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Recently one of his fictional short stories was included in Terrors Tales for a Winter’s Eve, a small collection of ghostly tales from local writers.

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George’s talk ‘Home for the Holidays’ will take inspiration from adaptations of popular children’s stories in film and television such as The Children of Green Knowe, Moondial and the Amazing Mr Blunden examining their use of the ‘time slip’ narrative, notions of ‘ancestral mystery’ and speculating on their appeal.

Right that’s it for now, we’ve much more still to come, so please keep checking back for further announcements. Tickets are available from the link below priced at £13 for the full day and £7 for the evening. So what are you waiting for, grab your tickets now while stocks last.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/folk-horror-revival-presents-winter-ghosts-tickets-55468722442.ant

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The Wyrd Kalendar – Nickanan Night

This Shrovetide, feast on the collop and the pancake before knocking on doors and running away as part of Nickanan Night! Let this be your soundtrack to eggs, flour, bacon and mischief.

As well as insightful words on Shrovetide from Jim Moon’s excellent March folklore podcast (which you can subscribe to here: https://www.patreon.com/Hypnogoria), this also contains tracks by Spike Milligan, The White Stripes, The Medical Mission Sisters, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Dean Martin, The Doors, David Bowie, Top of the Poppers, Matt Berry, Rob Bravery, Bob Dylan, The Future Sound of London, Ivor Cutler, The Seahorses, The Honey Pot, David Arnold, Danny John-Jules, Sendelica, Rhett and Link, The Orb, Jaded, Dany Rosevear and Frank Zappa.

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar Album: https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/wyrd-kalendar

The Wyrd Kalendar – Spectral Fields Mix 3 (Chapters 27-39)

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 third of four mixes dedicated to this new book. This mix explores chapters 27-39 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 MacGillivray, Vashti Bunyan, Anne Briggs, The Owl Service, Audrey Copard, Watersons, David Cain, Howlround, Classroom Projects, Kate Bush, Jonathan Hodge, Roger Whittaker, Christopher Gunning, Johnny Hawksworth, Pierre Arvay, John Williams, COI, Magpahi, Jane Weaver, Paper Dollhouse and The Eccentronic Research Council.

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar Album: https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/wyrd-kalendar

An Interview with David Bramwell, on his upcoming Cult of Water show.

David Bramwell is a name familiar to many Revivalists, his Singalong-A-Wicker Man show has become almost legendary in our little corner of the internet. David is an incredibly busy and talented man. He has produced programmes for BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, he gives talks and performs one man shows on a variety of fascinating topics from tricksters to ghost villages. He also co-hosts the Odditorium, a rather splendid podcast based around the book of the same name, one of several that he has co-written with Jo Tinsley (formerly Keeling). We could go on, David’s achievements are many and varied, but they are always interesting and always done with an incredible sense of joy. His latest one man show The Cult of Water opens at the Soho Theatre in London on the 28th January, and I was lucky enough to catch up with David for a chat about this new show and a few other interesting titbits Revivalists may enjoy.

 

 

FHR: Hi David, can you tell us a little bit about your new show, The Cult of Water? Would it be fair to describe it as a psychogeographical journey around the waterways of the Yorkshire of your youth, or is that perhaps a little too simplistic a reading of it?

 

David: That’s a pretty good summary. I grew up in Doncaster. It’s a personal journey up the river Don – told through story, music and and archive film – in search of the supernatural secrets of our inland waterways and to uncover a mystery concerning the drowned village at Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire. It’s also a journey back through time to the source of the Don and an age of water worship; the Don originally took its name from the water goddess, Danu.

Along the way I learn about hydromancy from magician Alan Moore, encounter Jarvis Cocker on his own adventures sailing down the Don on an inflatable inner tube, and come face to face with ‘the spirit of dark and lonely water’ from the old public information film of the 70s.

I also uncover the story of artist Mark Golding who, with the help of LSD, unearthed a sacred spring in Hastings – believed to have been frequented by Aleister Crowley – and whose waters saved his son from a terminal lung disease.

At the heart of The Cult of Water is an exploration of the symbolism around water, its association with feminine power and the profound ways in which the elements affect our psyche.

https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-cult-of-water/

 

 

FHR: I believe you’re being joined in the show by folklorist Chris Roberts who is going to discuss the lost rivers of London? This sounds like a fascinating talk in its own right. What can you tell our readers about Chris and his work?

 

David: Chris is a South London based tour guide, author and expert on many aspects of London folklore and history. Most of his walks are river focused, whether Thames or other, and all of them are rich with legends of the city. He’s written a book (Cross River Traffic) on the history of London’ Bridges and articles on the lost gods of the river as well as delivering talks on the folktales associated with London’s water from feral swine in the Fleet to sacred wells to Saxon goddesses and the ongoing religious rites on the Thames from the Jewish, Pagan, Christian and Hindu traditions.  He was folklore consultant for Stella Duffy’s theatrical piece Taniwha Thames in which a New Zealand river spirit follows a ship back to London and takes up residency under Waterloo Bridge.

 

In 2007 Chris founded the magazine One Eyed Grey, which took many of London’s old myths and legends – such as the legendary shape shifting sorceress of the sewers and hidden rivers Queen Rat – and re-imagined them in a modern context. It culminated for the two of us in a collaboration for Radio 4, a programme called London Nights, in which Chris did the heavy lifting in actually writing the stories while I read them out in my best Martin Jarvis. These stories featured a ghost boat on the Thames and a mermaid at Brockwell Park Lido. Brockwell lido is sort of Chris’s unofficial office, all year round. He’s a water baby. And made of hardier stuff than me.

 

FHR: Can I ask what inspired you to write this show now? Is this something that has been on your mind for some time or was it triggered by recent events in your life?

 

David: I’ve wrestled all my life with thalassophobia – the fear of large bodies of water – and wanted to confront this fear. In the last ten years I went down a rabbit hole researching water cults, sacred springs and wells. I wanted to pay my respect to water. I also became interested in the idea of following a river back to its source. I knew if I was going to make this journey as a pilgrimage it’d have to be along the river Don where I grew up, to search for its lost water goddess and to trace its biological and metaphorical death and resurrection over the millennia. When I discovered that Sheffield adopted Vulcan – the Roman god of fire and forge – as its mascot in the 1800s, the story began to catalyse as a mythic battle of the sexes: goddess of water vs god of fire. During the industrial revolution Danu was the equivalent of a princess locked in a tower and being force-fed MacDonalds for 200 years.

I also wanted to draw on my experiences of being haunted by the image of the drowned church of Ladybower Reservoir poking through the waters during the drought and ladybird plague of 1976. This led to a deeper exploration of the symbolism of stone and water, lines and circles, male and female, the line and circle and finally binary code. I figured if I tell this story and make amends for Vulcan then thalassophobia might loosen its grip. (It has).

In terms of how I wanted to tell the story, Alan Moore’s live spoken performances with music – Snakes and Ladders, The Birth Caul and Highbury Working – were a big influence. When he agreed to provide his voice for some of the Cult of Water I was over the moon. The central premise of his novel Jerusalem seems to be that in staying put anywhere (in his case Northampton) and digging deep enough, all the meaning and myths are there, as long as you know how and where to look. It’s the same with Alan Garner remaining in Alderely Edge for sixty-odd years and mining a different kind of landscape for stories. If Moore could rewrite Northampton as Jerusalem I figured it was time to try my hand at doing that with my old home town of Doncaster.

FHR: I believe the show is directed by Daisy Campbell, the daughter of theatre legend Ken Campbell. Have you known each other for some time, or did you specifically come together with this project in mind?

David: My first solo show, The Haunted Moustache, which delved into magic, spiritualism and the occult, was created with Ken Campbell’s help. I got to know Daisy because of Ken. She’s been a friend for many years. We’re currently collaborating on a podcast series, making her dad’s vast archive of recorded one-man shows available for the first time. Being a seeker, Daisy was the obvious choice for directing this show.

 

FHR: I believe you have worked on a number of broadcasts for both BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 including a programme about the legendary Ivor Cutler. Can you tell us about any amusing encounters you may have had with him?

 

David: In the mid-90s I sent some scribblings to the poet Ian MacMillan who, at the time, had a slot on the Mark and Lard show on BBC Radio One. Ian seemed to like my poems so I sent a bunch to my hero Ivor Cutler. Cutler was less than enthusiastic and suggested I do something useful with my life instead, such as ‘becoming a teacher or a botanist’. He was right of course, my poetry was awful. But it’s hard getting a rejection letter from your hero.

20 years on I’d started presenting programmes for Radio 4 and got a call from a producer saying that she was considering me as presenter for an Archive Hour on Ivor Cutler and offered me a minute on the phone to ‘sell myself’. I thought for a moment then remembered the rejection letter from Ivor. ‘Do you still have it?’ she asked. ‘I dug it out, read it to her and got the job. So thanks inadvertently to Ivor, I got to make a documentary about him, meet his friends and family and even perform live on one of his harmoniums. If Ivor had still been alive to hear the programme I’m sure I’d have received another rejection letter.

FHR: Many of us know you from your rather wonderful and always well received Singalong-A-Wickerman show. What have been the strangest things to have happened during the various performances of this show? Do you think you were able to invoke something of the ritual spirit that infused the original film?

 

David: Things got strange when, ten years ago, the director Robin Hardy started showing up at our gigs, sometimes with wife and family in tow. I never imagined I’d be leading the director of the Wicker Man in the actions to the Maypole Dance. It was delight to have Robin’s support for the show but it was always a bit odd him being there; we do at times, gently take the piss out of some of the clunky dialogue in the film. The relationship culminated in us us doing the show with Robin in the Elengowan Hotel in Dumfries and Galloway, which is where all the original bar scenes were shot.

Over the years we’ve also had several individuals overcome with the desire to re-enact the naked scenes from Willow’s Song on stage with us. It’s always men. And someone in Belfast once threatened to shoot me for blasphemy. My blood turned cold when he whispered into my ear: ‘I’ve killed before and I’’d kill again.’ I believed him.

 

 

FHR: Beyond adapting The Wicker Man as a sing-a-long. Can I ask you about how the ideas of Folk Horror have influenced your work in general? Are there specific artists, film makers and writers whose work has particularly been influential to you or do you draw more inspiration from the countryside around you?

David: Folk Horror has been, and continues to be, a huge inspiration. Like many of a certain age I really was scarred for life by the spirit of dark and lonely water and haunted by TV programmes like Children of the Stones. I love the unsettled atmosphere of Garner’s work and films like The Shout, Penda’s Fen. And of course The Wicker Man, despite having watched it now over 100 times. More recently the work of Peter Strickland and films like November show the genre is evolving.

There’s a line by Alan Moore that I’ve used in The Cult of Water and also in a track by my band Oddfellow’s Casino: we have wandered too far from some ancient totem. Something central to us that we have misplaced and must find our way back to, following a hair of meaning.’  For me, Folk Horror re-connects us to an age of magic, when everything was imbued with meaning. For me at least, the dark heart of Folk Horror beats strongly in The Cult of Water.

 

 

Thank you to David for speaking to us at FHR, and if you want to buy tickets for The Cult of Water they are available now from the Soho Theatre priced from £10. Just head along to the link below.

 

https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-cult-of-water/

You can also check out David’s own website for more information on David and any future events or shows.

http://www.drbramwell.com/

Wanderings With The Fae No.5. Some Roads Are Stranger Than Others.

The Bog Cush Road.

Have you ever found a stretch of road that just feels strange? For no apparent reason you’ll drive or walk that bit faster, a shiver running through you, an urge to look behind, an unexplained ominous air.

For years this stretch of road was part of my school run route and the way to my nearest shop. No matter how many times I drove along it, it never failed to leave me uneasy.

Was it the thought of sinking into the watery depths on either side of the road?

Did the spindly trees seem to close in on me?

I could find no folklore, no local tales of hauntings, nothing to explain my daily reaction, just a strange stretch of road that left me cold.

Have you ever found one?

Wyrd Harvest Press: Charity Donation – Winter 2018

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The winter 2018 charity handover from the profits of Wyrd Harvest Press / Folk Horror Revival books has now been made. Congratulations to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust who receive £500.00 for their Save the Meadows Appeal

In thanks to our donation, we have been given the chance to name a newborn lamb in April (yes I have requested a black one) so we will be asking then (Not Now) for name suggestions and we will put a short-list to a poll on the group

Thank you for voting and Thank You especially for buying our books. We will continue to charitably donate the sales profits we receive for our books quarterly to the Wildlife Trusts, and we have more great books coming in 2019, so please continue to stock your bookshelves with our quality books with the extra bonus of helping biodiversity and natural habitats

The Wyrd Kalendar – The Winter Mix


Join the Kalendar Host this Winter for a delicious collection of wintry treats. Words from Wyrd Kalendar, Darren Charles and Howard Ingham mingle with music from the likes of The Incredible String Band, Pentangle, Moon Wiring Club, Tir na nOg, Keith Seatman, Sleeps in Oysters, Cleo Laine, Haushka, Sean Wesche, Atomic Rooster, Medieval Babes, Belle and Sebastian, Frank Zappa, Simon and Garfunkel, Aztec Camera, Faimly, Joy Division, Muddy Waters, Timo Hanninen, Panu Aatilo, David Cain, The Chills, The Fall, Vashti Bunyan, Wayne Slawson, John Williams, White Stripes, Gustavo Santolalla, Sigur Ros, Caravan, Kate Bush, The Tea Party, Danny Elfman, The Mamas and the Papas, Animal Collective, Pete and the Pirates, Gorillaz, Grouper, The Impressions and The Divine Comedy.

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html

Buy the Wyrd Kalendar Album: https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/wyrd-kalendar

Lise Richardson’s Folk Horror Inktober 2018

Lise Richardson’s Folk Horror Inktober 2018

 

For those of you who have read Adam Scovell’s inspiring and enlightening Folk Horror book – `Hours Dreadful and Things Strange’ (2017) – will be well familiar with his list of definitive Folk Horror TV and Cinema and if you have ever wondered what those productions would look like as a charming sketchbook which almost act as a set of Folk Horror flash cards then look no further…..

Lise Richardson is an illustrator and comedy enthusiast based in Bath, UK. She designs posters for comedians, venues, and gigs as well as making books, zines editing The Independent Comedy Appreciation Society (it’s a nice magazine about thoughtful comedy written by comedians) This October Lise set herself an Inktober challenge inspired by the classics of the Folk Horror genre and fortunately for the rest of us she has put the results of this challenge into a lovely little zine.

Impressed by seeing her work on Instagram Folk Horror Revival got in touch with Lise to find out more.

Folk Horror Revival: Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself – your background, how you ended up as an illustrator and involved in the comedy scene?

Lise Richardson: I’ve been an illustrator on a broadly professional level for about nine years, give or take. I’ve always produced art as a hobby, but since I was about fifteen I’ve sold my work through commissions, online shops and at fairs and markets. I suppose I was never any good at anything except drawing, so it never even occurred to me not to try and make a living off it. I just finished my second degree – I did a BA in Graphic Communication here in Bath, having completed a four year vocational degree in Fine Art and Photography in 2014 back in Finland (I’m half Finnish).

I love comedy. I grew up on Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard and Monty Python. There’s not a huge stand-up scene in Finland, but I saw what I could live, and once I moved back to the UK I really wanted to see what live comedy was like on a grassroots level. We’ve got a club, Komedia, right in the centre of town, and after about eight months of anxiety over going to a gig on my own, I went and saw Mark Watsons tour show in 2016. Since then, I’ve seen… well, probably about 100 shows a year? I started running a terrible weekly gig in a pub with my partner in 2017, and off the back of that ran a venue for Bath Comedy Festival, then we got more ambitious and did semi-regular gigs in a slightly nicer pub, and then Komedia let us put on people’s Edinburgh shows in their Arts Cafe, and now I more or less live and breath live comedy.

Since I started going to gigs, I got to know a lot of “up and coming” acts, people working on their first Edinburgh shows and that sort of thing, and I started designing posters for them. I’m no good at stand-up (I’ve done a gig or two, and I think everyone who saw it can agree that I definitely Made an Attempt), so it’s a practical way of me being involved with the comedy industry professionally.

This year I started making a magazine with a deliberately clunky name; The Independent Comedy Appreciation Society. It’s really the culmination of my intense love for “alternative” comedy – I’ve grown tired of terrible club gigs and boring mainstream acts, so it’s me very earnestly (and I hope amusingly) shouting BE THOUGHTFUL! BE INTERESTING! at the world of comedy, with the help of a bunch of incredible contributing comedians, through the medium of paper and illustration.

FHR: Who are your influences/heroes?

LR: It’s interesting, I’d say as a creative my biggest influencers are people like Josie Long, Will Sheff, Moose Allain… funny, incredibly talented and earnest people who keep producing things because they can’t NOT produce them, be that art or comedy shows or music or zines. I find people who are giddy and excitable very inspiring, they make me want to make things and share them with people.

As an illustrator, I’m a big fan of Graham Humphrey’s work. I love old horror film posters, and I really enjoyed his promotional art for the first series of Inside No. 9… I wrote my first university essay about those! I think I tried to get away with writing about comedy for my design degree.

I went to a talk from Lizzy Stewart and just fell in love with her work and mentality towards producing work. She made a poster for Daniel Kitson, which impressed me so much I think I told about ten people within a day and then bought all her zines.

Oh, and overall my largest enduring influence has to be Reece Shearsmith. I’ve loved The League of Gentlemen since I was a teenager and I think he doesn’t receive as much credit as he’s due for being a multi-talented creative. His illustrations are incredible, they’re really characterful, kind of a Ralph Steadman vibe but he’s got his own strong style. Of course all his writing and directing and acting is brilliant as well.

FHR: Do you consider your work to fit into the Folk Horror genre and if so what is it about it that you feel fits that label?

LR: I’m fascinated by folk horror, I feel like I learn more about the genre all the time but it’s also all so familiar. I used to be in a folk metal band as a teenager, and I’d do loads of illustrations of very pagan things influenced by the music I was into at the time (it’s more just folk without the metal for me these days!) – lots of forests and witches and standing stones.

My Folk Horror zine is a celebration of the haunting characters, places, and thoughts from all the films I watched, but in terms of illustration, it’s also an exploration of what I can achieve in black and white. For me, folk horror is all about old, familiar foreboding, particular places and faces and feelings. Illustrating those characters and things was a way for me to spend some time reflecting on the genre. Some of the techniques I’ve used are influenced by the style of woodcuts and engravings (particularly for the first illustration in the zine, for A Field In England), which feel very fitting as well.

FHR: What are your experiences of Folk Horror? Do you have memories of particular films, books or TV shows?

LR: I’m relatively new to the genre, but I do think a lot of things I enjoyed growing up have a distinct element of folk horror to them. A Field in England was the only film I’d seen before I started the Folk Horror Inktober project, but I loved it from the moment I saw it.

Probably my earliest Folk Horror memory is from a tv play that was on at my nan’s house in at Christmas in the 1990s or early 2000s. I can’t even remember what it was, probably a Ghost Stories for Christmas? I feel like it might’ve been Lost Hearts, because that felt very familiar when I got to it for the zine. Either that or I’ve made up how haunted I was as a kid by the sound of a hurdy-gurdy.

FHR: Do you think of Folk Horror just as a genre or does it reflect on your life more widely than just being a topic or style you have used in some of your work?

LR: I think once you get into the genre, it colours your perception of other media. What is Withnail and I, if not a folk horror disguised as a comedy?

I’m quite keen to write and illustrate a folk horror myself. There are some really great horror stories that have been produced as graphic novels, I adore In The Pines by Erik Kriek which is five different murder ballads in one book, a bit like an anthology horror. That’s something I’d like to try making – maybe not quite as ambitious as five stories in one for my first attempt, but I’m keen to try it.

A little while ago I went to a comic and zine fair in Bristol, and I really think zines are a great medium for Folk Horror. That feeling of a particular place or person or atmosphere frozen in time, that can really be conveyed through a zine. I bought Henry Miller’s Records And Tea zine, which is actually a radio show in book form, and though that’s not overtly a Folk Horror, it’s got the feeling of one. You know at the end of Children of the Stones, where Adam and Matthew leave the village, and pass Hendrick coming back, and there’s that ominous feeling of it all repeating again and again forever? Records and Tea has that vibe, but it’s a benevolent version of it. It’s the past contained in a book in the present. Of course, there are actual folk horrors in zine form too. I picked up Christopher Harrison’s The North! The North!, which is a fantastic and funny take on the genre.

There’s definitely Folk Horror to be found in live comedy too. Not in straight telly stand-up, but in fringe shows. A friend of mine (also an avid zine collector), Sam Nicoresti, he’s working on a show at the moment that is almost more Folk Horror than it is traditional comedy (but it is very, very funny). He’s got these puppets of the characters of his mother and father, and they are these deeply pagan, haunting figures that loom over the audience in the dark. The whole show has this unpredictable foreboding to it. The same could be said for Sean Morley’s show this year. It’s called I Apologise For My Recent Behaviour, and there’s this part (which I shan’t spoil entirely) where he creates this incredible cult-like atmosphere, it’s a very unsettling show that really plays with the idea of what live comedy can achieve. I think a lot of comedy performers and writers are toying with bringing other genres into their work, sketch groups particularly. The Death Hilarious have been doing it for a while, I absolutely adore what they do – if you enjoy the Americana Folk Horror films, things like Wisconsin Death Trip or The Carnival of Souls, I think you’ll love the intense atmosphere they create in a room. The Delightful Sausage are another great example – you know the idea of modern technology not quite coping with a kind of enduring horror from the past? Like in The Stone Tape, or Blair Witch Project? That’s what they do. It starts off silly and fun and then the mood turns and there are these brilliantly creepy pagan creatures (by softsoftworkshop on Instagram, their puppets are amazing) and concerning thoughts and it’s beautiful and dark and so so funny. So yes, I do think Folk Horror impacts the way I see other things in my life, and in other genres too.

FHR: Can you give an outline of the content of your Inktober 2018 zine release and how/why you ended up creating it?

LR: It’s a month’s worth of illustration as part of the yearly Inktober challenge, plus a couple of bonus drawings I didn’t share on my social media. The idea of Inktober is to produce a drawing every day, it doesn’t have to be in actual ink but that’s what it started off being. It’s all about developing your mark-making skills, or improving your drawing practice if there is something you know you’re not particularly strong at. For me, it was a way of keeping myself accountable for a month, and becoming quicker at designing a single image in one sitting. There’s a list of official prompts for Inktober, but I had recently bought “We Don’t Go Back”. It’s not so much a straight list of film descriptions, as a collection of personal reflection relating to every film and tv show on this massive list and that’s what I based my challenge on.

We got through 33 items on that list, which is only a fraction I know, and I drew SOMETHING based on each one. For some, it was like a quick poster design (Murrain, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, The Stalls of Barchester), and for others it’s more like a study or snapshot of a particular scene (Häxan, Wisconsin Death Trip, Baby). For a lot of the illustrations, it’s me pushing myself to consider design elements even in quick drawings.

I’d wanted to see so many of the films for a while, initially because I wanted to see what The League of Gentlemen were referring to in their shows, and following that, out of fascination for the genre. My partner sourced an incredible amount of them online and from the library, so it was pretty budget friendly as a project. I never got my hands on The Wicker Man, though.

FHR: What is next?

LR: I’ve just finished work on the next issue of my quarterly self-published comedy magazine, so immediately next is producing badges to go with that, and sending out copies to subscribers. I’m taking part in a little pop-up comic and zine fair I’m helping out with here in Bath, on the 8th of December at Komedia. It’s a kind of charmingly DIY alternative to the big Christmas market. The Folk Horror zine will be available there, as well as all my other books and cards and whatnot. It’s all in my online shop too, of course.

In terms of projects, I’m working on a children’s picture book at the moment. I’ve done some illustration for kids but nothing in the form of a book, so I’m giving that a go. My mate Jenny Grene, who I work with on comedy colouring books and cards, is really good at illustrating for kids, and I find her work really spurs me on into experimenting outside of my very particular comedy niche. That’s kind of why I made the folk horror zine too, I feel it’s important to keep trying new ideas and finding new audiences. I’d hate to keep trotting out the same thing year after year. I used to be quite a prolific pet illustrator a few years ago, and then I produced a dog-themed flipbook that went a bit viral, and I practically stopped drawing dogs overnight. I think any hint of success drives me a little mad. A varied practice is important, and I think producing the Folk Horror zine gave me an opportunity to step away from comedy for a moment so I could get out of a kind of mental rut.

FHR: Do you have any particular artists that have left an impression on you (not necessarily Folk Horror)?

LR: At the moment I’m really into Richard Todd’s illustrations. He’s a comedian, and I only recently discovered his work – he had a fantastic poster in Edinburgh this year! I’m annoyed I didn’t find a flyer of it actually, I collect illustrated flyers. Well, all flyers, but the illustrated ones are my specialty, I wrote my second dissertation on them (which is a more accessible topic than my first, which was about comic foregrounds, those things at the seaside that you stick your head through and it’s your head on the body of a lady in a bikini or a bodybuilder). Illustrated posters are wonderful. I’ve got a bunch around the house, there are a couple screenprinted ones for Machynlleth Comedy Festival designed by Drew Millward who does brilliant super detailed work, and it’s really fun.

 

You can order Inktober 2018 (33 illustrations, 36 pages total. 120mm square booklet – roughly the size and shape of a CD sleeve, except a lot thicker and printed on nice thick recycled paper. Black & white) from (https://www.liserichardsonart.com/)

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WYRD KALENDAR, REVIEW BY JOHN PILGRIM

“Gripping, sometimes terrifying but always surprising: this is the year described in the Wyrd Kalendar. Live it if you dare…” – Sebastian Baczkiewicz, Creator of BBC Radio 4’s “Pilgrim”

Image result for wyrd kalendar

Following the cult success of “Songs from the Black Meadow” in 2016, Chris Lambert is set to bring more delight to all those who enjoy the curious, magical and mythical with the release of the Wyrd Kalendar album which is published by Mega DoDo.

The strange, or more appropriately, wyrd stories of the calendar months which are to be found in the book of the same title provide the starting point for each of the artists on this remarkable release.  A captivatingly diverse musical landscape opens out before us and quickly seduces the listener into an enchanting world of folk, electronica, psychedelia and forgotten horror soundtracks.

The new year is heralded in with Widow’s Weeds (led by Grey Malkin, formerly of The Hare and the Moon) with their occult tinged hymn Song for January. This sets the tone for an unsettling but captivating hour. The imaginative electronica of Keith Seatman leads us on before the talented psych-folk singer Emily Jones brings to life the words of her long dead ancestor in Waiting for Spring. And then, before we know it, Crystal Jacqueline is playing us all for fools as she goes Chasing the Gowk.

A personal favourite of this reviewer is the song for May, as Ghost Box’s Beautify Junkyards provide Portuguese pastoral enchantment in the form of May Day Eve.  Those people who had the good fortune to see Beautify Junkyards on their recent visit to these shores will be happy indeed with this sweet vernal offering.  Soon we feel the warmth of the sun on our backs as Alison O’Donnell of Mellow Candle, Flibbertigibbet, Firefay and United Bible Studies teams up with David Colohan in the wasp celebration of Deadly Nest.

The second half of the year unfolds with Scarfolk collaborator Concretism treating us to the vivid imagery of A Fair by the Sea and Icarus Peel exploring lost love and yearning in the musical lament The Weeping Will Walk.

The mellow mists of Autumn begin to fold around us as folk rock duo Tir na nOg invite us to raise a seasonal glass mbine and then it is the turn of Wyrdstone to immerse us in the haunting harvest celebration of The Field.

The Soulless Party leave their familiar abode of the Black Meadow to take us for a deliciously unsettling Dark November Drive
 The year concludes with the ever delightful Rowan Amber Mill who sing us out with The Witch’s Lament.
 A final gift comes in the form of the album’s closing titular track by the shape-shifting talents of The Mortlake Bookclub.

This album and the accompanying book illustrated by the hugely talented Andy Paciorek are the fruits of rich imaginations at work. You would be foolish indeed to consider going through the year in any other way!

The album is available to buy from January 1st 2019 from Mega Dodo as a CD and as digital download, with all profits being donated to Cancer Research UK. https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/wyrd-kalendar

The Wyrd Kalendar book is available from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

Mega Dodo Bandcamp

www.wyrdkalendar.blogspot.com