Interview with Stephen Rutt

Stephen Rutt is a writer and amateur naturalist, specialising in creative non-fiction prose and birds. He won the Saltire Society’s first book award, as well as a Roger Deakin award for his debut book, The Seafarers. His second book, Winteringwas one of The Times’s best nature books of the year for 2019.

Stephen’s most recent book is The Eternal Season: Ghosts of summers past, present and future, which has been described as combining ‘lyrical meditations on the abundant beauty of British summer with measured, poignant and vital reminders of the unsettling effects of global warming’. The book charts the many ways in which the season is becoming deranged by a changed and changing climate: the wrong birds singing at the wrong time; August days as cold as February; the creeping disturbances that we may not notice while nature still has some voice. It is both ‘a celebration of summer and a warning of the unravelling of this beautiful web of abundant life’.

Folk Horror Revival has a strong affinity for the natural world and is a committed supporter of the Wildlife Trusts. In light of this and noting the distinct whisper of hauntology associated with The Eternal Season, John Pilgrim took the opportunity to ask Stephen a few questions about his writing and what inspires him.

FHR: What were you hoping to achieve when you started to write The Eternal Season – and how did this turn out by the time of publication?

SR: I wanted to write a sort of almanac. I have a bit of an obsession with old almanacs, I scour charity shops and second hand bookshops for them, most from authors I’ve never heard of. Observations of historic wildlife are fascinating to me, partly for how they’re framed but also for what they found: they seem like a great starting point for trying to work out where we’re at currently. Often the most banal passages illustrate how far things have changed. And then as the ideas for this sort-of almanac of summer were settling in my head in the autumn of 2019, I was reminded by the incredible exuberance of hawthorn berries that year that to take a selective timespan of nature is or can be misleading. There are no neat cuts to be made: it really can only be contemplated properly in the whole. This isn’t new, this was my re-realising the truth of John Muir’s seeing nature as a universe of hitches. And then I wanted to explore, taking those old almanacs as a starting point, the way that seasonal writing hasn’t really properly responded to the anthropocene.

Almanacs present a vision of nature as a place of ordered happenings, a fixed schedule of emergences and migrations, which may well once have been true, but nowadays isn’t. Hence I had to begin on the Solway Firth, as storm tides threatened natterjack toad habitat, then in Liverpool where a blackcap – a common summer migrant warbler – had been spending the winter in my friend’s mahonia. This in particular is an increasing phenomenon that has actually led to blackcaps that winter here beginning to evolve differences from those that spend the winter in the Mediterranean. That destabilising was something I had planned to trace out… all the way until March, when lockdown hit, I was marooned in Bedfordshire instead of Dumfries and Galloway, and my planned research trips lay in tatters. The book benefitted from it though. It meant the rare stuff was out and I was refocused on the everyday, the common place and what was at hand in the fields and woods around, which were nothing special. I still found special things of course – and to return to those old almanacs, what they found and what I couldn’t, well that began to haunt me. By the end of the summer, when I was able to return to Scotland, I found that this had completely shaped my thinking.

As I turned to think about the role of climate change in all this more directly (it is woven everywhere of course) at the end of the book, I began to be a bit more hopeful. All I have as a naturalist is my observations. I am not alone. There are myriad naturalists observing, calculating, noticing the changes, expanding our knowledge of nature and what’s changing. That, I think, is where hope lies most of all. The absolute dedication and belief of conservationists thrills and inspires me.

FHR: The Eternal Summer can be seen as a hauntological meditation on summers past, present and future. Our memories of summers past shaping our sense of loss of summers yet to be. Different conceptions of the future are now playing out. Some are dark, yet others offer hope. As the American philosopher and baseball coach Yogi Berra has observed with great insight ‘the future ain’t what it used to be’. A sense of nature’s abundance slipping away is probably much more part of a younger generation’s experience and future anticipation – although of course The Silent Spring was published in 1962. How did writing the book help you to grapple with these sorts of issues?

SR: Nature is full of hauntings and full of the haunted too. Some of these on a basic, emotional level, some requiring a bit of knowledge. I’m still of a younger generation and I’ve grown up with the idea of loss in nature. Birding has been my obsession for half my life and in that time it seems like the narrative arc of it has headed inevitably (irretrievably?) towards loss. Not just loss as in absence but a loss of abundance. I don’t know if I agree that there’s a sense of abundance slipping away, because to me it slipped away before my time. For some of the haunting presences in the countryside, I need to educate and remind myself of it, like a snag that I can’t quite move beyond: it may be pretty but where are the turtle doves, and when did they disappear from here?

I should say also that there is obviously still abundance in the countryside, and these are things worth celebrating. Often though these tend to be new species, spreading in response to a changing climate, conservation work or habitat creation. Which is great, but I worry it can hide what’s happening. It’s only normal to be distracted by something new. It’s easier to focus on presence than absence, even if absence has a way of being naggingly, insistently present. I was left with hope, though, on finishing the book, which surprised me. There’s an incredible seam of hope that runs through conservation to Greta Thunberg and the school strikers for future, people like me who grew up never needing to learn about climate change because it’s just always been there as the great impending threat.

We have people doing inspiring things on every level, from the borderless world of the climate to looking after incredibly tiny, niche species. For us in-between, noticing and witnessing the species we find, the landscapes we see, the changes happening and how we talk about it: that’s a pretty good place for us to start. That’s what I wanted to say in the book. I offer no solutions and no answers, just an attempt at thinking and understanding.

FHR: Can you say a bit about your interest in folklore and why you draw on this? If you’d like to do a third and final one that would be ‘What projects have you recently been involved and is there anything in the pipeline which we should watch out for? Answers can be really brief if you wish as you’ve given great detailed answers to the first two questions.

SR: Folklore is fascinating. One of my guiding principles is that as birders, ecologists, naturalists, whatever, that we like biodiversity. I like a cultural biodiversity too. It’s never just the science, or the folklore, or my experience of nature in my narratives. Everyone’s experience of nature is valid and folklore is another expression of that. Where it interacts with science or experience: that’s gold. Also, when I was a teenage birder it wasn’t something I spoke about (except for online, forums and social medium were a godsend then). It was very easy to feel alone in my interest at that age. I’m always looking back, wanting to know the deep history of human interest in wildlife too, deeper than Gilbert White and organised birding. We’ve always looked at animals and thought things. I love that. I long to know what the Pictish thought about birds.

FHR: What other nature writers do you admire?

SR: Kathleen Jamie is the contemporary I most look up to. Her essays are something else: clear and thoughtful and wild and with an unparalleled way with words. I was an undergraduate when she became professor of poetry at Stirling. I was too shy to take her classes. As someone who is only capable at prose, I’m in awe of those who can master it and do poetry and criticism too. Recently I’ve been reading novels again. My literary diet has been nature heavy over the past decade and sometimes there’s just a comfort in being swept along in a plot-rich novel. I’ve been reading Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy and the way he gets the details without being overbearing is perfect. I’ve been reading a lot of Graham Greene too. Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is the perfect dark nature novel.

FHR: What projects have you recently been involved and is there anything in the pipeline which we should watch out for?

SR: Wigtown book festival will be publishing my latest project soon: a short manuscript about life and literature of saltmarsh, called The Saltmarsh Library. I’ve been jointly running walks across Wigtown Bay, out to the mud and creek dipping with Elizabeth Tindal for this year’s festival. It’s the most amazing, magic place. Because of the timing of the project, conceived in the first lockdown and finished in the second (here, it was the third for England), I really delved into what place means and how we interact and think about it, and what it means to be there in a habitat that is well described in ecology textbooks, yet is also nothing like that in real life. After that: just ideas, and no time to make anything of them yet. But always keep an eye on my social media.

Twitter: @steverutt Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steve.rutt/

Web: https://stephenrutt.com

Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers by David Greygoose

Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers: Tales from the Forest and Beyond:  Amazon.co.uk: Greygoose, David: 9781838024734: Books

Every now and again a book comes along that really captures the imagination. Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers is one such book. Written by David Greygoose, this volume of short stories is nothing short of excellent. A veritable smorgasbord of classic fairy and folk tale tropes, mixed with Greygoose’s wonderful knack for telling a story, Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers is a must read for fans of traditional storytelling.

Mandrake Petal and Scattered Feather features a multitude of interlinked stories, that not only  showcase Greygoose’s brilliant storytelling capabilities, but his richly fleshed out cast of characters. Pickapple, the loveable trickster at the crossroads, Mullops, the man who falls prey to Pickapple on a number of occasions, Elmskin, the lovelorn, who is searching for Rimmony, the love of his life, who has just dropped everything and gone off in search of Flax Wing, a potentially mythic being who she thinks she she saw once bathing in a clearing by the river and who she believes has spoken to her. Mandrake Petals intertwines the stories of these characters and many others into a complex but moreish whole that draws the reader in and won’t let go.

David Greygoose writes with a passion that leaps off the page, his stories, regardless of length always leave you wanting more and ready to move on and find out what happens to these characters who you have become so invested in. The only sad thing about this magical book is that it has to come to an end.

Hawkwood Books | Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers

Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers is a modern-day masterpiece of storytelling. It mixes short stories, poetry and songs, just like the folk traditions of old and it is all done with such elegance and flair. The book itself features recommendations from some pretty big hitters in the form of legendary storyteller and folk music icon Donovan, Phil May from the Pretty Things and Melanie Xulu, from Moof magazine.

As a rather lovely promotional tool, David Greygoose has created a short film that introduces us to the world of Pickapple, Rimmony and the others. This serves as a wonderful introduction and if my review doesn’t whet your appetite for the book, then hopefully the video will.

Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers is released by Hawkwood books, and is available from the rather wonderful indie bookstore News from Nowhere.

http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/books/DisplayBookInfo.php?ISBN=9781838024734

Folk Horror Revival Presents Winter Ghosts 2021.

Saturday line up.

Solitaire International | Solitaire & Jewellery Magazine- GJEPC India

Sarah Caldwell Steele – Proprietor of The Ebor Jetworks, Gemologist, Jewellery Designer and expert in all things Jet from its chemistry, through its history to its folklore

The Doc Rowe interview: "I've gone to places and missed the ceremony by 19  years because they only do it every 20 years and I'd got the date wrong" -  Jon Wilks

Dr Rowe – Folk lore expert. Dr ‘Doc’ Rowe has been documenting British Cultural tradition for nearly sixty years using video, film and photography as well as audio. His unique collection of contemporary and historical material on the traditional culture of the British Isles and Ireland is now housed in Whitby. The strength of the collection lies in its ongoing ‘serial’ fieldwork and regular contact with communities where individual events flourish – hence the material is at once wide-ranging, first hand and constantly updated. A long-term council member of the Folklore Society and Oral History Society, he regularly broadcasts on aspects of folklore and tradition he has also written a number of books and his photographs are regularly published. A teacher, photographer, broadcaster and performer, one major inspiration stems from working with Charles Parker in Radio documentary from the early sixties and in later theatre productions. . As well as a number of one-man exhibitions, he joined artists Alan Kane and Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller in a British Council travelling exhibition ‘Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK’ [2005 and still touring internationally]; he contributed to ‘British Folk Art’ [Tate Britain, 2014] and, more recently, ‘Lore – the Living Archive’ is an Arts Council funded travelling exhibition that curated material from the archive alongside contemporary artists who drew creative inspiration from the archive itself. www.docrowe.org.uk

Shrouded Republic – A performance piece inspired by Rev. Robert Kirk of Aberfoyle author of “The Secret Commonwealth: A Study in Folklore and Psychical Research.” Project Lono is a collaborative collective of musicians and poets experimenting with audio scapes that blend verse, storytelling, song, music and live and recorded sound effects. The Shrouded Republic has been created by Bob Beagrie, Sara Dennis, Kev Howard, Peter Lagan, John Dunleavy and SJ Forth. https://projectlono.bandcamp.com/album/the-shrouded-republic-the-whole-trip

THE DRAGONS OF ALBION by Richard Freeman - The Archaeology and Metal  Detecting Magazine

Richard Freeman – Herpetologist, Cryptozoologist and leading expert all things Dragon.

Richard Freeman is a former zookeeper who has worked with over 400 species of animal and has a special interest in crocodiles. He is a full-time cryptozoologist and is the Zoological Director of The Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only professional organization dedicated to searching for unknown species. He has searched for cryptids n five continents and has investigated creatures such as the yeti, the Tasmanian wolf, the orang-pendek, the giant anaconda, the Mongolian deathworm the almasty, the ninki-nanka, the gul and many others. He is currently planing a series of trips in search of giant,man-eating crocodiles. He has lectured widely on cryptozoology at venues such as The Natural History Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology. He has written a number of books on cryptozoology and folklore as well as horror fiction. His interest in strange creatures stems from a love of classic Doctor Who.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Freeman_%28cryptozoologist%29

Adventures in Cryptozoology

Hazelsong Theatre – Talk on John McKinnell with attendant, vaguely tame Wyrm or two. Tales of Wyrms and Dragons have woven their way through the folklore of the North of England and of the borders for generations. Drawing upon a multitude of sources Andy Bates and Linda Richardson will explore these stories and their origins and will track them to their roots in Norse, Anglo Saxon and Celtic literature and iconography Andy and Linda will be accompanied in their presentation by an imposing and unpredictable Wyrm of significant sinuousness.Andy Bates is an archaeologist, a craftsman, a musician, a puppet maker, a writer and performer. He has walked the hills of Northumberland, its fields and its river valleys for decades. He has listened to the voices of wind and water telling their stories and those of folk long gone and those still vital. He has delved into its earth and has witnessed its cradling of the bones of the ancestors. He dug at the Bowl Hole. For Andy and for the troupe, rock cut spirals and waterfalls are songs waiting to be sung. https://bamburghbones.org/projects/hazelsong/

Chris Lambert of The Soulless Party.
A solo piece from the wordsmith and wanderer of The Black Meadow. A mystical place that lies within the wilds of Yorkshire. Author of the Wyrd Kalendar, Chris will fright and delight with his dramatic and immersive storytelling.
Chris is part of the soundscape collective The Soulless Party which also features Kev Oyston.

https://thesoullessparty.bandcamp.com/
https://wyrdkalendar.blogspot.com/

Stream Everyday Dust music | Listen to songs, albums, playlists for free on  SoundCloud

Everyday Dust. Electronic musician using synthesizers and mosstronics to soundtrack strange stories. https://soundcloud.com/everyday-dust

Music | Nathalie Stern

Nathalie Stern. Of Swedish origin but now living in Newcastle, Nathalie served her apprenticeship in guitar-based bands such as Candysuck and Lake Me, before looking to traditional Swedish folk roots and more experimental sounds for her debut solo album ‘Firetales’ in 2010. https://nathaliesternmusic.bandcamp.com/music

martin.attrition.London.thumb

ATTRITION are pioneers in a darker electronica…Carving out a unique slice of the creative underground for over two decades, fueled by a succession of critically acclaimed albums…selling over 50,000 to date…the band has toured all Europe and North America, Mexico and Asia, appeared at major festivals and had their music included on a number of film soundtracks….
Formed in 1980 by Martin Bowes and Julia Waller in Coventry, England, influenced by a mix of punk ideology and experimental art aesthetics, they emerged as part of the early ’80’s UK Industrial scene alongside contemporaries Test Department, Coil, Legendary Pink dots, In The Nursery, Portion Control et al.
Their music is an undefinable marriage of dark and light…of futures and pasts…probing unexplored sonic landscapes with an eclectic marriage of experimental and traditional sound, of electronics and acoustics, of male and female….
https://attritionuk.bandcamp.com/

Art Exhibition at Flowergate Hall from 30 Oct, please note that all pieces exhibited will be for sale. More information about the art exhibition can be found in the following article. https://folkhorrorrevival.com/2021/10/15/in-search-of-wyrms-and-other-beasties/

Sunday – Ghost story readings at Flowergate Hall.

Tickets are £13.00 and can be bought from https://bit.ly/3rfnLXj

Let’s Get Wyrd: Webinar and Book Discount Code

It might be spooky season now, but you can write and publish horror all year round! Tune in to the Lulu learn what makes a great horror story and tips for getting started in the genre from Andy Paciorek, author, illustrator and founder of Folk Horror Revival, Urban Wyrd Project, Northumbria Ghost Lore Society & Wyrd Harvest Press .

In this session, Andy will share his tips, tricks and treats for writing and publishing harrowing horror stories.

​​​​​​​Join us, if you dare!

Wednesday, 20 Oct 2021, 5.00PM UK time

12 pm US / Canada Eastern Time


The Webinar is Free
Register to Attend at – https://event.webinarjam.com/register/25/pw8n0cxx

Andy Paciorek


Halloween Discount
15% Off All our books

Use code SPOOKY15   | at https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/andypaciorek

 Offer valid through 22 October

In search of Wyrms and other Beasties Art Exhibition.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "Folk Horror Revival presents W yrms and other beasties exhibition )n))"

This event is the opening night and meet and greet of the artists of Wyrms and Other Beasties Art Exhibiton of FHR Winter Ghosts 2021 Symposium. The date is SATURDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2021 FROM 19:00-23:45. It is being held at Flowergate Hall, Whitby, United Kingdom. The exhibition runs up until November 28th.

In search of Wyrms and other Beasties! This the opening night and meet and greet the artists of the selling art exhibition associated with our FHR Winter Ghosts 2021 Symposium We Have Wyrms! There also maybe the odd admin lurking about too!We would love to see you.

May be a black-and-white image of one or more people and outdoors
Our very own Cobweb.

Please may I introduce Cobweb Mehers, artist and FHR admin. Cobweb lives in a little house at the edge of the world with his wife Kt and their cats Tiamat and Baal. He claims to have been sculpting and painting for as long as he can remember, but it’s been longer than that. For many years he concentrated on creating artifacts based around mythical and historical themes for @eolithdesigns. His sculptures inspired by prehistoric art were sold in conjunction with the British Museum’s Ice Age art exhibition in 2013 and included a recreation of The Swimming Reindeer especially created for the event. His work has also appeared in the Severin Films horror anthology, The Theatre Bizarre, and he continues to work with Finnish director Lauri Löytökoski. Cobweb’s involvement with the Folk Horror Revival movement over the past few years has taken his more recent work down a different path. He returned to painting and started work on a new collection called Beyond the fields we know, which is inspired by the history, folklore, and landscape of the North Pennines. In 2019 these 13 paintings made up his first solo exhibition. He likes to immerse himself in the strange and beautiful world on his doorstep, spending cold nights and sunny days wandering the North Pennines in the company of fairies, witches, and lost gods. Many of his pieces begin life using the technique of automatic drawing to bypass the rational and form a more instinctive relationship with the landscape. These initial raw responses to the places visited are then expanded upon with a mixture of traditional and digital painting. He hopes to capture and recreate those rare glimpses of the world at the edges of our vision and beyond the fields we know.

May be art of indoor

Next we have our 3D artist, have you seen her Witch Hares? Jane Barnett was taught to embroider by her grandmother, and has been stitching and making art since she was a little girl. Her interest in mythology, magic and folklore led to her taking a degree in anthropology and art, and ever since she has combined all of these interests together. After a career working as an education officer in museums and galleries, Jane became a tattoo studio owner and artist. Ill health unfortunately meant she could not continue on this path, but gave her instead, the time and opportunity to concentrate on her own art practice. Jane has sold her work in galleries in Brittany and Wales (were she formally lived), and internationally, but is now back in her home territory of Yorkshire working under the title of Brigante Textile Arts. Jane hopes that textiles and fibre arts will eventually be recognized as a valid medium for artistic expression. She is also passionate about recycling, and tries to make art from second hand or found materials, including floorboards. For this reason, she can often be found hanging around charity shops, skips, beaches, in woods or abandoned buildings. Her favourite place to be however, is on the moors…..usually accompanied by her partner and dogs. Her favourite things include a good full moon, storms and the smell of wood smoke.

No photo description available.

Next we have for your delectation the scarily talented Laura Jeacock! Laura Jeacock is a trained scientist, but left academia in 2018 to focus her energies on creating art. Her work to date includes devotional paintings of Deity, as well as witchcraft and nature inspired pieces of artwork. She likes to work with pencil, pen and ink, watercolours and acrylics – from illustrative to realistic, and usually incorporates some magical, pagan or spiritual element. Nature is her muse! Her art has been published in academic journals dedicated to Goddess studies, as well as in Nature journal. She has previously exhibited her work at the Season’s of the Witch exhibition, alongside fellow witch artists, in Edinburgh and Alloa. She is one of the founding members of the art collective Oak and Ash and Thorn, who create art from a shared deep feeling for the themes of nature and magic, and are working towards their second online exhibition. She currently lives in Edinburgh, with her partner and menagerie of familiars. When she not creating she can be found out in the wilds of Scotland, practicing yoga, or buried in an esoteric book. You can find her lurking in various corners of the internet – here is a good place to start: https://linktr.ee/laura.jeacock

No photo description available.

We now would like to introduce you to the amazing Valerie Herron, who is contributing all the way from the USA!!! Valerie Herron is a Pacific Northwest-based illustrator of the mythological, the macabre, and the absurd. She received her BFA in Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Valerie has created art for numerous publications, including The Steel Clan Saga by T. Thorn Coyle, Night Walk by Aeryn Rudel, as well as two Lovecraft anthologies – The Book of Starry Wisdom and The Book of the Three Gates – by Strix Publishing. Valerie has created art and content for multiple entertainment media enterprises such as RiffTrax, Faerieworlds, Privateer Press, and Pacific NorthWEIRD. Outside of her creative practice she spends her time listening to music and podcasts, being out in nature, playing with her animals, writing, reading, gaming, and exploring a myriad of sorcerous activities. Please go and give her art page some FHR love – The Art of Valerie Herron.

Skulls and Sheets (Kelda Sproston) is a teacher by day and hobby artist at night. She has been entranced by the Welsh festive mumming tradition of the Mari Lwyd. The mari lwyd (grey mare) is a symbol of transition and has a huge impact in her life. Through using inspirations from nature, artwork or patterns the mari lwyd is able to display a message of hope all year now. Kelda creates her pictures using either watercolours or digitally.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/skullsandsheets

(My apologies for missing Kelda in the first submission of this post- Paul.)

Lastly we have Debra Snow. In her own words. I am primarily a landscape oil painter based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, although I also produce drawings in metalpoint, charcoal and pen and ink. My paintings are usually intricate or decorative, are sensitive to mood and light, reflecting my feelings towards what I am painting.​I love nature and ecology and have a keen interest in preserving species and environment, this interest leads me to other areas; the science of the natural world, folklore, poetry and literature. I like the human element in these interests, the stories and knowledge that people share. I do not profess to be any kind of expert in these fields, more that they spark my interest and allow me to imagine stories and feelings surrounding the subject. I like my imagination to go off on its own, without worrying too much about specific details, I want my paintings to go on and tell their own story.

https://www.debrasnow.co.uk/shop

(Again, my apologies for missing Debra in the original post. – Paul.)

KT Mehers.

Winter Ghosts 2021 :Wyrms I



Whisht! Lads, haad yor gobs,An' Aa'll tell ye  'boot the wyrms  ... 

On the weekend of 27th & 28th November 2021 Folk Horror Revival are proud to present Winter Ghosts 2021 ~ a veritable feast of Cryptid inspired wonders at Whitby North Yorkshire.
On Saturday 27th 2021 the Metropolitan Ballroom (The Met) will present a fantastic mixture of Talks and Live Music.
Whilst on Sunday 28th 2021, there will be session of story-telling in the Flowergate Hall which will also be hosting a phenomenal Folk Horror Revival otherworldly cryptid Art Exhibition at the time …

In the first of several posts let us introduce you to the wealth of talent that will delight your senses …

A T T R I T I O N
“Inside a cage of sound,  Cold waves of electronics are juxtaposed against voices that seep through cracks in the walls of machinery and wires. Lyrics dart out in bullets from soundscapes peppered in sharp vocals and sound bites. A viola plays in the distance, giving life to this inorganic mass…
Such is the imagery that spawns Attrition, who, with its marriage of the classic and modern, has brought to music the equivalent of a surrealist painting. From its earlier sparse and stark soundscapes, to a more expansive palette of orchestral work, Attrition has successfully melded several genres into one. The music flows – from gothic to industrial to experimental to classical – so smoothly, they might as well be making their own category.
With more than twenty albums of constant variety, and an ever-expanding sound, they remain one of music’s darker and fascinating lights.” 
Akane  

ATTRITION are pioneers in a darker electronica. Formed in 1980 in Coventry, England, influenced by a mix of punk ideology and experimental art aesthetics, they emerged as part of the early ’80’s UK Industrial scene alongside contemporaries Coil, Test Department, Legendary Pink Dots, In The Nursery, Portion Control et al.
Founder Martin Bowes has steered the band through a 40 year career, fuelled by a succession of critically acclaimed albums…

The band has regularly toured Europe, North America and South America, Russia and Asia, appeared at major festivals and had their music included on a number of TV and film soundtracks….

Through their career Attrition have worked with musicians as diverse as Wolfgang Flur,  psychedelic veterans The Legendary Pink Dot’s , punk legend TV Smith to Franck Dematteis of the Paris Opera.

Attrition’s music has featured on countless releases – from 1984’s “Bullshit detector 3” on Crass records to the hugely successful “Animal liberation” album alongside Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Smiths, Nina Hagen & Lene Lovich etc…

Their  song “Acid Tongue” featured on KTEL’s Industrial story CD – a who’s who of  industrial music with Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, Neubauten et al…

In Germany Orkus magazine’s Best of the 90’s collection featured their darkwave classic “A girl called harmony”…
Martin’s increasing studio production work at his studio, The Cage, has included mixes for The Damage Manual (Martin Atkins, Jah Wobble, Geordie Walker, Chris Connelly et al…), Die Form, In the Nursery, Black tape for a Blue girl, Mona Mur/En Esch and mastering for countless bands and labels…
He contributes synths and vocals on a song on the last Pigface album, is the narrators voice on US horror series, “C for Chaos”, has written the score to US horror film G.H.O.S.T from Mutantville productions …
Their most recent album, Millions of the Mouthless Dead (inspired by Martin’s grandfathers experiences on the Western Front in 1917) includes collaborations  with Anni Hogan (known for her work  with Marc Almond through the 80’s) and the legendary  Wolfgang Flur (ex-Kraftwerk)…

ATTRITION toured in the UK, Italy, New Zealand, Transylvania, Canada and Japan in 2018/19, and are currently working on an all new album for release later in 2021: The Black Maria.
Meanwhile setting up shows around the world in support of it…
 

“Attrition have always been a nexus of industrial fury, gothic drama, ambient structural finesse and classical chamber orchestrations. Stunning in scope, character and intellect, Martin Bowes has been a paragon of true creative prowess, holding in two hands the past and future of music, and smashing them together with a calculated and charismatic menace. Bowes builds his dark industrial music with all the compassion and attention to detail of a classical musician…”

Official website
www.attrition.co.uk
Facebook
www.facebook.com/ATTRITIONMUSIC

Dr ‘Doc’ Rowe has been documenting British Cultural tradition for nearly sixty years using video, film and photography as well as audio. His unique collection of contemporary and historical material on the traditional culture of the British Isles and Ireland is now housed in Whitby. The strength of the collection lies in its ongoing ‘serial’ fieldwork and regular contact with communities where individual events flourish – hence the material is at once wide-ranging, first hand and constantly updated. A long-term council member of the Folklore Society and Oral History Society, he regularly broadcasts on aspects of folklore and tradition he has also written a number of books and his photographs are regularly published. A teacher, photographer, broadcaster and performer, one major inspiration stems from working with Charles Parker in Radio documentary from the early sixties and in later theatre productions. . As well as a number of one-man exhibitions, he joined artists Alan Kane and Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller in a British Council travelling exhibition ‘Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK’ [2005 and still touring internationally]; he contributed to ‘British Folk Art’ [Tate Britain, 2014] and, more recently, ‘Lore – the Living Archive’ is an Arts Council funded travelling exhibition that curated material from the archive alongside contemporary artists who drew creative inspiration from the archive itself. www.docrowe.org.uk

‘Wyrms and Dragons of the Northlands’

By Andy Bates and Linda Richardson of Hazelsong Theatre

Tales of wyrms and dragons have woven their through the folklore of the North of England and of the Borders for generations. Drawing upon a multitude of sources, Andy Bates and Linda Richardson will explore these stories and their origins and will track them to their roots in Norse, Anglo Saxon and Celtic literature and iconography.

Andy and Linda will be accompanied in their presentation by an imposing and unpredictable wyrm of significant sinuousness.

Andy Bates is an archaeologist, a craftsman, a puppet maker and a performer. Linda Richardson is an artist, a costume maker, a performer and a writer. Together they are half of Hazelsong Theatre, whose work is rooted in the songs, stories, myth and folklore of the North and the Borderlands. The troupe creates performances which bring together storytelling, music, puppetry, theatre and ritual and all borne of the knowledge that these stories and songs are vital and very much alive. Hazelsong is working at the edge of the village, where the human world meets the wild and the imaginal, and where there is so much at stake.

Chris Lambert of The Soulless Party presents:

March of the Meadow Hags

“I bit into a pear once and tasted nothing but blood and gristle.” (from a conversation with an old man by Stanley Coulton.)

An audio visual and musical experience in which one of the strangest and darkest chapters in the history of the Black Meadow is explored.

Stay out of the mist…

Chris Lambert has been writing since 1991, creating plays for Tilt, Voice, Workswell Productions and his own company Exiled Theatre. He won the 2012 Reading playwright competition, Off the Block. Since then he has turned his hand to short stories and is completely stuck on his novel. Chris is part of The Soulless Party and has been working with Yorkshire musician Kev Oyston on the Black Meadow project inspired by the strange folk tales surrounding the North York Moors. He is founder member of experimental Mummer troupe The Mummers and the Pappers who have made appearances at two Delaware Road festivals. He has curated two albums “Songs from the Black Meadow” and “Wyrd Kalendar” for Mega Dodo that include tracks by The Hare and the Moon, Tir Na Nog, The Rowan Amber Mill, Alison O’Donnell, Concretism and Keith Seatman. He has had the pleasure of being Master of Ceremonies for Folk Horror Revival at the British Museum, Edinburgh and Whitby Winter Ghosts and for Mega Dodo and Fruits de La Mer at Séance at Syds. Chris is also a secondary school Drama and Film Teacher and occasionally dabbles in sound art.

Published works by Chris Lambert include: “Tales from the Black Meadow”, “The Black Meadow Archive – Volume 1”, “Christmas on the Black Meadow”, Songs from the Black Meadow” and “The Comic Mystery Plays” published by Exiled. His selection of short stories “Wyrd Kalendar” (illustrated by Andy Paciorek) is published by Wyrd Harvest Press. The plays “Ship of Fools”, “The Simple Process of Alchemy”, “Ugga (A play about a boy with a paper bag on his head)” and “Loving Chopin” are all published by Stagescripts. His short stories “First Step” and “Treehouse” have been published in “The Dead Files” anthologies volumes IV and V; “The Catalogue” and “Pilot” in “Tales of the Damned”; “The Eight Words” in “Dark Spirits”; “The Patient” and “The Most Precious Possession” in The Ghastling.

More to come …
Book Tickets – Here £13
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/winter-ghosts-2021-folk-horror-revival-has-wyrms-tickets-162971928425

For Further Information contact Kt Mehers at folkhorrorrevival@gmail.com



Damnable Tales: An Interview with Richard Wells & Book Review

Damnable Tales: A veritable tome of classic Folk Horror stories from the pens of Shirley Jackson, MR James, Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood and numerous other luminary writers, selected and illustrated by master print-maker Richard Wells.

Folk Horror Revival recently interviewed Richard and reviewed his illustrated opus … Read on or be Damned.

FHR: Hello Richard. Thank You for agreeing to talk to us. Although many of the folk horror revivalists will already be very familiar with your work, please tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Richard Wells : Hello! Thanks for having me. In my day job life, I’m a graphic designer for film and television, working as part of the art department team. It’s my job to provide any props or set dressing that requires any kind of graphic design. So, for example, on Dracula, I made the hand-written correspondence and documents relating to the sale of Carfax Abbey, and background elements like heraldic pennant flags hanging up in Dracula’s castle. I intentionally picked an exciting example there – other times it’s contemporary drama, where I’m producing mundane things like product labels to hide the real brands we aren’t allowed to show (just this morning I was working on shampoo bottles). Away from the telly work I produce my own artwork, which for the past few years has mostly taken the form of lino printing. I find the solitary, hands-on work keeps me sane, an escape from the computer screen and hectic 11 hour day TV schedules.


FHR: Much of your work has a horror flavour to it. Is there an area you’ve had a long interest in and can you remember what was the first story, TV show or film that scared or unsettled you? What are your favourite films and TV shows?

RW: Yes, an interest in horror has been there as far back as I can remember. A book I treasured as a child was the Usborne book of How to Draw Ghosts, Vampires & Haunted Houses (an illustration of Dracula by the late Victor Ambrus I would obsessively try and copy). I remember being terrorised by Stephen Volk’s Ghostwatch ‘live’ on Halloween night 1992 (age 9). Another memorable viewing was the 1953 version of House of Wax round my grandad’s. There’s a sequence where Vincent Price’s black-clad villain stalks a victim through fog-bound back alleys that really struck a chord. I seems like nothing watching it now, but at the time I had nightmares for weeks. When I was allowed a tiny TV in my bedroom to play on my SNES, I’d occasionally catch bits of late night horror following a mammoth stretch of gaming. I can vividly remember being frozen in fear at the ghoul appearing at the car window in Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls. In my memory, the fuzziness of the old 4:3 film on my mid 90s tv screen only added to its uncanny grip. I’ve got the shiny Blu ray now, and a small part of me wonders if it has lost some of its power looking so sharp, now you can make out the white face paint caked onto the ghouls. My favourite film is The Wicker Man, watch it every year. Last year I saw Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure for the first time, I can see that quickly becoming a firm favourite. His mastery of generating understated creeping terror is thrilling to watch.

FHR: A lot of your artwork utilises a print-cut technique that is evocative of old chapbooks and the like, what is it that appeals to you about this method and style of work?

RW: I think it’s something to do with the rendering of disturbing subject matter contrasted with the fairly crude and naïve style that appeals. Historical horrors that on the surface appear like images from a children’s picture book. The horror doesn’t always hit you on first glance, the mix of dark humour and eeriness in the imagery. As a spooky teenager, I had a book on the Mexican printmaker Manuel Manilla, and would obsessively try and replicate his animated skeletons. I’m drawn to the individual imperfections you get with relief printing. No two prints will be identical, which again I find a refreshing contrast to working digitally. If I could make a living solely from relief printing, I think I would. Probably born a few centuries too late…

FHR: One of your first works to garner a lot of attention amongst the folk horror community was your poster for The Wicker Man. Is there anything in particular that drew you to that film and to folk horror in general?  

RW: Well it definitely all started with The Wicker Man. I vividly remember seeing it for the first time on tv with my mom as a kid, glancing across to see her visible distress at the ending. To be honest, I think on first viewing I found it more silly than scary, I couldn’t really get a handle on it. I came to fully embrace it when it first appeared on DVD, and fell for its quirks and beautiful imperfections. My taste in horror tends more towards the uncanny and quietly eerie over more overt, showy horror (though I do enjoy a mad gore show on occasion), and Folk Horror fits the bill. I’m a keen walker, and I’m drawn to films that capture the landscape in an interesting way, which you obviously get with a lot of Folk Horror. Also anything with a folkloric twist, or ancient terrors, evocations, all that good stuff.

I never expected that my Wicker Man fan art would lead to me having tea and biscuits with Robin Hardy. I think he’d seen the poster at an anniversary screening. I thought it was some kind of bizarre prank call when I picked up the phone to “Hello, this is Robin Hardy, I directed the Wicker Man.” He was interested in me designing a couple of posters for the crowdfunding campaign for his new film, so I was invited down to his home to meet and discuss ideas. It was a strange and wonderful afternoon, chatting to the director of my favourite film, him occasionally sloping off to deal with the workmen fitting new curtains on the first floor. Sadly, Wrath of the Gods never came to be, but I have the memory to treasure all the same.

FHR: Another one of your renowned works is your poster for Ben Wheatley’s film A Field in England and subsequently your artwork featured in his most recent foray into folk horror, the film In The Earth. How did your involvement in the film come about and what are your thoughts on Ben Wheatley’s work?

I instantly became obsessed with A Field in England right from its initial poster by Kenn Goodall and Luke Insect, and the arresting teaser trailer by the great Julian House. After seeing the film on opening day, I was very keen to create my own fan artwork. On the Blu ray commentary (I think it was the first film to be released in cinemas and on Blu ray on the same day), Ben Wheatley talks about how the unusual static tableaux moments in the film were inspired by woodcut art of the period, so it seemed an obvious way to go when producing a poster design. I’d recently joined Twitter, and I think that was my first piece of artwork I put up on there. Amazingly, it quickly received attention from the film’s DOP Laurie Rose and star Reece Shearsmith (a particular thrill for me, as a huge fan of The League of Gentlemen). Some time later I then got an email from producer Andy Starke, asking to get the design printed to give out as a gift for cast and crew. So I guess I stayed in their address book from that experience. During the first Covid lockdown, I had another email from Andy enquiring about producing some art for Ben’s latest film (it was called simply ‘The Woods Film’ then). Of course I jumped at the chance, got to chat with Ben about the project, and he sent me some of his initial design sketches as a starting point. I’m especially keen on Ben’s darker pictures, the naturalistic mundanity of Kill List, making the sudden and shocking jolts of horror even more powerful. A Field in England is my favourite, the terrific ensemble cast and wonderful flow of the dialogue in Amy Jump’s screenplay. And it’s funny! I would’ve loved a spin-off series with the double act of Richard Glover & Reece Shearsmith’s Friend & Whitehead on an occult cross-country walking odyssey.

FHR: You have recently released the rather marvellous anthology of classic folk horror short stories Damnable Tales selected and illustrated by you. How long did this take to put together and what are the reasons for selecting the tales you have? Some of the stories are by more obscure writers, were they all already familiar to you or did you have to do some digging? Who are your favourite writers and which is your favourite short story and book?

RW: The Damnable Tales project came pretty much out of the blue. In early 2020 I received an email from John Mitchinson (co-founder of crowdfunding publisher Unbound), asking if I might like to collaborate on a project. I think he’d seen some of my lino print work online. At the time I’d been working on a series of lino prints based on the ghost stories of M.R. James. I’d been thinking about expanding the series to encompass vintage Folk Horror tales, so when coming up with potential ideas for a book, that seemed a good way to go. It came about at just the right time, as like most people, my day job instantly collapsed with the arrival of the first lockdown. So I was able to solely concentrate on searching for tales and working on lino prints for a good few months. As Folk Horror has fairly slippery and wide-ranging definitions, I was generally looking for short horror stories with a folkloric element, though that isn’t true of every story. Something like Shirley Jackson’s brilliant ‘The Summer People’ has no supernatural or folkloric elements, but I think the deep rural unease and suggestion of a sinister community at work are entirely in keeping with the genre. Right off the bat, I knew two stories I definitely wanted to include were from my two favourite writers: M.R. James and Robert Aickman. ‘Bind Your Hair’ from Aickman’s 1964 Dark Entries collection is probably my favourite short story. I love how with Aickman you’re never sure where the horror is going to come from, how the stories unfold like a dream, the uncanny stealthily creeping in. ‘Thrawn Janet’ is another tale I was familiar with. I wonder if readers unfamiliar with it will be put off by the untranslated Scots text of that story, but I find it a pleasurable experience to decipher, and I think lends itself to the evocation of the period. Other tales came from fishing for recommendations, some from Folk Horror lists I found online. Others came simply through scouring any vintage horror anthologies I could lay my hands on. I’d never read any horror tales by A.C. Benson before, so ‘Out of the Sea’ came as a nice surprise, one of my favourites in the collection, fantastic imagery with the demonic goat snuffling along the seashore! A couple of tales came from my searching of Folk Horror buzzwords in a mammoth e-book of 1001 horror stories (I never claimed to be a professional anthologist)! That was how I came to find ‘A Witch-Burning’ by Gertrude Minnie Robbins (writing under her married name Mrs. Baille Reynolds).

FHR: Your work suits the book medium incredibly well; do you have any plans afoot for further illustrated anthologies or other books and what other projects can we expect to see from you in time to come?

RW: As of next week I’ll be finished on my current TV project, so I’m looking forward to getting back to some lino cutting. I’ve had a design based on In the Earth lying half-finished for months. Plus I’d like to get a few more designs added to my M.R. James series. Speaking of Monty, this Christmas we’re getting Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of The Mezzotint, in which I perform the title role! I’d produced a 17th century pamphlet for his previous adaptation Martin’s Close, and was given a lot more to do here. I was unfamiliar with the mezzotint printing process beforehand, so enjoyed researching that. The time constraints of TV meant I had to produce the haunted imagery digitally, but I had a lot of fun with it.

I think I’m going to be doing some more cursed artwork for the band Green Lung, whom I’ve enjoyed collaborating with over the past few years. And there’s a very exciting illustration project with Unbound on the horizon, but I can’t talk about that, yet (suffice to say, it will be of particular interest to fans of Folk Horror). And there’s also early talk of a second book of illustrated short stories. One idea I’m keen to pursue is a second volume of Damnable Tales that takes in vintage tales from around the world. Looking forward to researching that. Watch this space…

Damnable Tales : Book Review

As soon as I had heard the initial musings of a book of classic folk horror short stories selected and illustrated by Richard Wells, my curiosity was piqued on several levels. Being a ‘book-artist’ myself(writer, illustrator & small-press publisher) I have both a bias and fondness for illustrated editions and Wells is not an artist that has bypassed the attention of many folk horror revivalists. Should his name have somehow escaped attention then his film posters for The Wicker Man and A Field in England, his lino-cut prints of folkloric entities and his cover for Edward Parnell’s atmospheric and resonant book Ghostland, and his work featuring in film and Tv (most notably here in Ben Wheatley’s film In The Earth) will very likely not have passed unnoticed. The subject matter of this tome unexpectedly caused my ears to prick up with curiosity considering my own involvement with this whole folk horror thing and as I am a little bit of a collector of weird short stories, I was very intrigued to see which tales he would select. 

As with all collections of short stories there are likely to be tales that appeal to some readers and others less so. I believe this is generally subjective on the part of the reader and not always because a bad selection is made.  I will not dally on the tales which sat less well with me, because there is nothing constructive in doing so, my taste is not necessarily your taste, and I didn’t actually dislike any of the tales selected – there were just some I liked more than others, as is the way with anthologies. This book is more voluminous than I expected and within its hallowed pages may be found some familiar tales by some familiar writers, some unfamiliar tales by some familiar writers and some unfamiliar tales by some unfamiliar writers. This makes the book a good choice for those new to the folk horror ways whilst still being of appeal to those already acquainted with the strange goings-on behind the old hedges and the standing stones.

The tales are presented chronologically according to when they were written, starting with Sheridan Le Fanu’s darkly romantic Laura Silver Bell of 1872 and culminating in Robert Aickman’s delightfully bizarre 1964 story Bind Your Hair. This shows how the sub-genre or mode of folk horror developed over nearly a century, which is more stylistically than subject-wise for the most part. It also clearly illustrates otherwise to anyone who may still think that folk horror originated with 3 British films at the tail-end of the hippy dream. A note therein though is that the majority of stories in this book do have a British or Irish origin, with Shirley Jackson’s 1950 tale The Summer People notablybringing an odd slice of Wyrd Americana to the table. This may not be too unexpected as folk horror is a prevalent feature within British and Irish weird fiction as it fits so well with the landscape, lore and history of these isles. It is not of any detriment to the book but should further volumes follow (which I hope they will) then my curiosity would again be piqued to see stories selected from a variety of nations – certainly Eastern Europe and Asia could provide a wealth of possible content and it would be intriguing to see how Wells would visually approach the writings of Gogol, Meyrink and Kafka for instance or the translations made by Lafcadio Hearn of Japan’s haunted heritage. And what wonders could be dug from the soil of Africa, Australasia and Scandinavia and rendered with the imagery of Richard Wells? Temptation to the imagination, but anyway back to the book in hand and before I speak further about Well’s art, just a note that some of the early tales in this book are quite heavy on the use of vernacular dialect, which when done well can illustrate the versatile skill of a writer but can alas also sometimes put something of a screen between the reader and the tale being told. It is easier to become absorbed and drenched in the delicious dread and atmosphere of a spooky tale if you do not have to repeatedly reach for a dictionary or try to second-guess what is actually being said. However, these tales are important examples of the diversity of the folk horror tradition and worthy of inclusion in such an anthology. There are only a couple of tales that do this, so for the casual reader or those entirely new to folk horror, do not be put off. As these stories occur early in the book, it would be advised perhaps not to read cover to cover but to dip in and out randomly or even start at the last story and work widdershins back to the beginning. If, however you do wish to read chronologically and do strain a little to engage with the earlier stories due to the linguistic unfamiliarity, do not let this put you off pursuing further with the book. And what a book it is, it is a considerable and considered selection and delivered handsomely. When I heard it was being crowd-funded I was a bit wary of what the quality would be like but there’s no complaint here. It is solidly constructed and well presented. The subtle touch of adding an earthy red to some of the text of chapter opening pages is just a little thing but I found that a nice attention to detail. And the illustrations are superb. Sharply printed and the olde woodcut style suits the material. There is a quirkiness and humour to some of the illustrations which suits some folk horror tales really well, yet even so the image for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Thrawn Janet is rather disturbing (and also my favourite illustration in the book).

Of the writers included in the book are some of my personal favourites – Algernon Blackwood, Shirley Jackson, Arthur Machen and Robert Aickman, but it was great to read alongside well-known writers such as M.R James who is represented with his tale The Ash Tree , Saki (The Music on the Hill), Walter de la Mare (All Hallows) and Thomas Hardy who with his The Withered Arm, is possibly a contender for my personal favourite story in the book – tales previously unfamiliar to me such as The Sin-Eater by Fiona Macleod and Cwm Garon by L.T.C. Holt. 

The book is fore-worded by the author Benjamin Myers, amongst whose gritty novels, The Gallows Pole has made an impression on many folk horror revivalist readers (and which has been adapted to screen by Shane Meadows and the BBC) and that’s another box in its favour ticked. So wicked witches, bad fairies and the restless dead be damned, for those who are looking to fill up their folk horror fiction shelves Damnable Tales is a must have.

Available Now from Here & other book stores

All Artwork © Richard Wells

Reviewed by Andy Paciorek. 


Treasury of Folklore: Woodlands & Forests: Wild Gods, World Trees and Werewolves by Dee Dee Chainey & Willow Winsham – Book Review

Following in the footsteps of the Treasury of Folklore: Seas & Rivers: Sirens Selkies and Ghost Ships (Reviewed Here ) folklorists extraordinaire Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham (the masterminds behind the #FolkloreThursday social media phenomenon) take us by the hand now like babes in the wood and lead us … er … into the woods! But fear not, you could find no better guides to alert us to the wonders and the woes of this strange sylvan kingdom.

Within its pages, upon the paper that came from the woods itself, we are introduced to many amazing arboreal creatures and woodland wanderers from forests the world over. Some of them heroes and heroines like Vasilisa the Beautiful, a fair maiden who braved the cold Birch forests of old Russia and encountered one of folk horror’s favourite supernatural witches – the iron-toothed crone, Baba Yaga, and Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack of the North American timber lands & his loyal companion the blue-haired moose, Babe. We encounter strange creatures such as the timid Squonk which upon capture would dissolve into nothing in a flood of tears and the human-faced tree dogs of China – the Penghou. We meet gods and demi-gods and elemental spirits of the wild woods – the Leshy, Hamadryads, Herne the Hunter, the Moss People and many many more. We encounter those denizens of dark woods for centuries – the bears and the wolves, yet these bears and wolves may be more than we dreamed and may disturbingly be more like us than we’d dare to imagine.
And we hear the lore of the trees themselves from the Dragon’s Blood Trees of Yemen to the ancient funereal Yews of Britain; from the sacred Banyan trees of India to the giant old Cedars of Canada.


The book is illustrated throughout by the charming block-print style illustrations of Joe McLaren. Images both dark and strange but with a quirky humour to them, which will likely appeal to readers of a wide age-range. Again as with the Seas and Rivers volume, some adult subject matter is touched upon but with parents’ own discretion and judgement I could see this book being popular with both themselves and their kids. I know I would have loved these Treasury books as a youngster. Furthermore I remember years ago when I was doing Tree Warden training at an agricultural college one of the tutors asked the class what it is we liked or indeed loved about trees and forests. I had numerous reasons, their role in the environment and natural habitat, their look both as pleasing landscape and for their interesting aesthetic from the point of an artist, their smell, their ambience and I also mentioned their role in folklore. At the end of the class another student approached me and asked if I could recommend any books that featured the folklore of trees and had Dee Dee and Willow’s book been available then I know it would have been top of the list. It is a great introductory book to the topic, yet it is also so diverse and so widely researched that all followers of folklore no matter how seasoned will find something unfamiliar or of further intrigue within this beguiling little book. I myself was rather bemused to encounter Tió de Nadal, within these pages. If unfamiliar with this bizarre Yule Log of Catalan tradition, then I’ll say no more and let you discover this rather odd custom for yourself within this fantastic book.
Woodlands & Forests makes an excellent companion both visually and content wise to the Seas & Rivers volume and also Dee Dee’s earlier A Treasury of British Folklore.
It would make a great little present for a loved one or for yourself for Halloween or a great stocking filler for Christmas … but maybe not put it in the same stocking as Tió de Nadal !!

Treasury of Folklore: Woodlands & Forests: Wild Gods, World Trees and Werewolves.
Dee Dee Chainey & Willow Winsham
Batsford. 2021. Hb. Illus. 192pgs.

Review by Andy Paciorek


Podcast Spotlight: The Silt Verses.

Silt%20Verses%20Logo_edited.jpg

Those ghosts in the machine really wont leave my computer. It must be warm and inviting in there. On the positive side of things though it means I have had more time to sift through the tidal wave of podcasts to find something unsettling to recommend.

I would take a guess that most of us reading this know of a bizarre podcast called I Am In Eskew. If you havent then stop reading and go give it a listen. It is mental. The Silt Verses is created by the same people, Eskew Productions, who are John Ware and Muna Hussen. The show follows two characters, Carpenter and Faulkner, as they travel the length of a river in search of their deity and his lost followers. It is a world in which god’s are easily manifest and have flourished in the backwaters of America and have become intertwined into the everday life of the population and authority has had to step in to control the worship. The makers describe the show as a Folk Horror audio drama and so far I would not disagree. I am three episodes in and the themes of ritual and sacrifice is interwoven deeply into the fabric of each episode.

Unlike many other audio drama podcasts I have listened to the Silt Verses has episodes that clock in at anywhere between 40 to 60 minutes. The production value is really high quality and the voice acting is the same. Lots of effort has been put into these and it really shows as the episodes begin subtle world building that you will hardly even notice until the scene is over. You then question why you thought sacrificing a stranger on the river bank to appease its deity sounded like normal practice. It is high strangeness in a very familiar and comfortable place.

It has great reviews too, with even the BBC singing its praise, so when you have a moment find them on whatever platform you listen to podcasts on and give them a subscribe. Thanks.

https://www.thesiltverses.com/

The Folk Horror Revival Creative Theme Art Challenge

Brian Gomien

Brian Gomien, FHR administrator and Guru of the Folk Horror Revival Creative Challenge run on our Facebook Group, has established a gallery of works from the challenge.

Included below (and above) are just a sample of the fantastic artwork sent in by Revivalists.

Visit ~ https://fhrcreativethemechallenge.blogspot.com/ to see more great art



For further information or to submit work to upcoming challenges, if not a user of Facebook, you can email Brian at –
briangomien@gmail.com

Jenny Clements
Andrew Foley
Ron Harper
Jessica Trainham

Header Image: Andrew Foley


To see more fantastic folk horror art visit


fhrcreativethemechallenge.blogspot.com/

To view Brian’s own portfolio of work visit ~
https://briangomienillustration.blogspot.com/

And follow him on Instagram at ~

https://www.instagram.com/brian_gomien_illustration/