Showing posts from October, 2014

More Halloween tales

A friend of mine is continuing a Halloween tradition of hosting a gathering of people to read each other ghostly short stories by candlelight, whilst enjoying a drink or two. Sadly I cannot make it to London for the gathering, so thought I would contribute a virtual story. This is "Kecksies" by the rather under-rated Marjorie Bowen. Her collection of Gothic tales, "The Bishop of Hell & other stories", is well worth a read and heartily recommended.
If you've not come across her work before, it's in the tradition of M. R. James ~ creepy rather than gory, with the malevolent frequently weaving its way into the everyday and mundane. Much of her work, like this particular story, is set wholly or partly in the 18th century, an age of rakes, goodwives and beldames.

Happy Halloween

A spectral tale for Halloween, drawing on Irish folklore and revising one of Hans Christian Anderson's most nauseatingly twee stories. If I can string three brain cells together, I might record another tale on the day itself.

A Suffolk Tale

This is my version of a story about the cunning man of Ipswich, a genuine 18th century figure known as Old Winter or sometimes Doctor Winter. He appears in my crime anthology, A Dangerous Place. The story in the book is one of my own invention, whilst the recorded story here is a traditional folk tale mentioned in a number of sources.
To my imagination Old Winter is the spitting image of British character actor Geoffrey Bayldon, but I'll leave you to dream up your own face for him.

New Anthology

Pleased to say that I have recently heard that a poetry anthology to which I have contributed about ten poems will soon be out on the shelves, should any of you wish to order a copy (from on-line companies or, better yet, local bookshops).
Moon Poets is published by the same publisher as my previous books and features work by a number of excellent poets, some of whom I have met and heard perform (such as Lorna Smithers). More details on the book to follow.

Elemental, Dumbledore

I'm not a massive fan of the elemental framework that Empedocles and others built up, or the four humours promoted by Galen and other medics. It strikes me as rather too simplistic. However, it does form a convenient tool for exploring ideas. Much is made in education of learning styles, but we might as equally talk about teaching styles.

Earth teachers (Jung's sensation function)  are practical people who prefer to demonstrate skills which students can then emulate. Not that I've ever attended such a class, but probably best suited to teaching pragmatic crafts like carpentry, car mechanics or catering. The hands-on approach to mastering the implementation of talents.

Air teachers (thinking function as Jung would have it) develop the intellectual approach, uses the tools of chalk and talk to stimulate the minds of students. Discussion and debate are regular features of the air/thinking class. Air teachers are those who find their own specialism fascinating, and convey that…

Anyone Here?

A few days ago I accompanied a friend who lives halfway up an Essex mountain to attend a clairvoyant gathering near where he lives. Without being too specific, this was not a Spiritualist Church but a meeting in a hired village hall. They have different psychics taking the stage each month, and this particular one was a lady hailing from one of the cultural epicentres of that county.
After a vaguely Christian prayer, the evening's guest medium launched into her patter and delivered various messages to random people in the audience (neither I nor my friend being on the receiving end of any Words from Beyond).
My friend had been several times before, but this was my first visit and I was there as an observer more than anything. It's an interesting thing to watch in so many ways, and brings many questions to mind. Even the most devout believer must accept that there is an element of performance involved in any public display, and there were certainly times when it felt as if we w…