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Corrievreckan

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Term is about to restart and I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. I was going to record a philosophical witter, but my remaining brain cell needs warming up first! This poem was written by Charles MacKay, detailing the fate of a fickle article who falls for the charms of a Kelpie. It appears in a book given to me Christmas gone, the Book of Fairy Poems, and was written some time prior to 1872 - though I haven't pinned down the exact year.

The rather charming illustration inset left is by Warwick Goble, whose work appears in the same book that I have the poem in. Most descriptions of kelpies do not seem as pleasant or whimsical as the one in the one Goble came up with - but who can say for sure what they look like (given that few people ever live long enough to tell)?


Dream

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I had what might be best described as a narrative dream in the early hours of Monday. A long standing friend died back in January and, in the dream, she was telling me the story - although I couldn't, as such, see her. She was more a voice "off stage" and I was watching the events she was describing without participating in the dream world ~ the story of the prince, recorded here. This isn't word-for-word what was said in the dream because most of it is a bit vague. However the sequence of events and some of the phrases use are the same.

I am not sure why my friend should tell this story, because none of what happens is relevant to her life - however dreams, as Jung wrote  ton of texts telling us, are full of cryptic meanings and layered symbolism. I awoke with the sense that the story needed to be told - though without any idea of who to, so it may be that any meaning within it is more important for someone else to hear than it is for me (though it has relevance fo…

Ashwathama

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About a year ago one of the people who subscribes to my YouTube channel, Akesh Suresh, requested that I record the story of Ashwathama, which forms part of the Hindu epic The Mahabharata - a poem so long and complex it makes Game of Thrones seem like 'Room on the Broom' by contrast.
This is not the full story, just running from his birth up to the avenging of his father's death. Apologies to any Indian viewers for the poor pronunciations, but I haven't heard enough people telling these stories to get the pattern of sound. For anyone unfamiliar with the background plot, the short version is that the land of Kurukshetra descends into war as two rival dynasties (who are cousins) rip each other apart - the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Corpses pile up all over the place, including that of our hero's father. This carnage is the background to this short tale.
The descriptions of the divine weapons do sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but I have tried to resist th…

Gallifreyed II

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Not that I think anyone else gives a toss about my views of Doctor Who episodes, but I'm enjoying the self-indulgence of wittering about classic adventures that I enjoy. So here are three more reviews. First up, back in 1964 the First Doctor (William Hartnell) encounters a race of telepathic geriatrics on the strangely named Sense Sphere who live in fear of humanity (can't think why)...



Then there is this review of a Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) story from 1968 which is bereft of peculiar-looking aliens but instead deals with the deadly monster that is politics as a sinister politician destroys no end of people in his quest for power and wealth, with slight shades of how the Eloi and Molochs from H G Wells' Time Machine started off.



Finally (until the reviewing bug bites again) Tom Baker strides forth in a battle against the evil of Sutekh in the 1975 adventure Pyramids of Mars where Egyptian mythology, Gothic romance, and alien menace combine to great effect.


Adonais

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I was asked to conduct the funeral of a Wiccan lady, which took place this afternoon. The family had chosen a number of poems, including this excerpt from Percy Shelley's 'Adonais'. I've recorded it here because it is a beautiful piece and it might well be useful for anyone else who might be organising a funeral for a pagan or a pantheist at some point and need inspiration.


Path of Dogs

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My husky's ashes came back from the crematorium yesterday and will be interred after a suitable plant has been found to the garden centre today. This story is mostly therapy for me (the research into it has also kept my mind occupied), but also might prove off interest to other canophilists.

The Chukchi people are an ancient tribal group living in the far north-east of what is now Russia, and one of their claims to fame is having bred huskies for some 3000 years now - hence my decision to record one of their dog stories. Unfortunately I have found it nigh on impossible to dig up such a story, just anecdotal scraps about their mythology and how certain themes recur in many different cultures - Yuri Berezkin's research was very helpful in this regard, along with a book by Yuri Rytkheu. Quite a lot of tribes have stories of otherworldy rivers composed of curious substances, with a number of references to seven rivers (though I could not dig up a reliable account of what all seve…

Gallifreyed

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When not writing books or advising students I've been enjoying listening to assorted people on YouTube reviewing Doctor Who, discussing plot lines and the like (Geek Pride, I'll happily wear that badge). So I've joined the throng and reviewed a few classic episodes myself, which is likely to be of minimal interest to the handful of people who follow this blog - but for the one or two who enjoy British science fiction here are my thoughts on serials that I have enjoyed (the aim is to talk mostly about the things I like and hope to see more of in future, rather than being overly critical of what I dislike).

I will sporadically add more reviews in future...or do I mean past... it's all so timey-wimey I get confused. This is more self-indulgence than any realistic sense that anyone gives a damn what I think about a TV show, but if anyone has adventures they like that they want to suggest for review do say. It's nice to share a geeky enthusiasm every once in a while.

Fi…