More Gothic gossip.

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More Gothic gossip.

nov. 30, 2017, 4:06am

A thread for any odds and ends that we think might be of interest to the group.

des. 24, 2017, 6:09am


Actually, I'm fishing for sympathy: I'm spending Christmas all alone, my plans derailed by a dose of flu (despite having had the flu jab a month or two back).

I understand flu victims should avoid exercise, but if I ever figure out who gave it to me something vigorously Gothic will ensue, season of goodwill or not ...

des. 24, 2017, 7:55am

>2 alaudacorax: Oodles of sympathy for you. Have as Merry a Christmas as you can under the circumstances.

I had the flu jab on three occasions in my life. Every year I got the jab I caught a dreadful dose of the flu. I understand your suffering.

Keep the hot whiskeys lined up and keep a pile of good books by your side.

des. 24, 2017, 8:14am

>2 alaudacorax:

Oh dear. I may be in the same boat. I avoided all the bugs doing the rounds, until yesterday. Christmas 2017 may be hot water bottle and BBC Radio 4-themed.

Ged well soon, and if Christmas isn't sufficiently merry, I hope you rally for the new year!

des. 24, 2017, 9:45am

Thanks both.

des. 24, 2017, 9:49am

>4 housefulofpaper:

Snap! I was okay the day before yesterday, perhaps a bit of catarrh, then woke up yesterday morning feeling like I was dying. We'll suffer together.

des. 24, 2017, 1:40pm

>2 alaudacorax:, >4 housefulofpaper:

I wish you the very best Xmas possible under the circumstances.

des. 24, 2017, 2:26pm

>7 AndreasJ:

Thank you.

des. 24, 2017, 8:47pm

>2 alaudacorax: >4 housefulofpaper: I am sorry to hear that, and hope you both make a very swift recovery. Drink plenty of fluids and rest. I hope you both have as merry a Christmas as possible under the circumstances, and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

des. 25, 2017, 2:43am

Thanks >7 AndreasJ:

>9 Rembetis: - I'll drink to that ... in tea, unfortunately ...

des. 26, 2017, 1:48pm

Aw, no fair being alone AND sick! I hope you get better soon.

des. 27, 2017, 9:07am

>11 LolaWalser:

Thanks, Lola. I'm on the mend - today I can cough without my brain hurting ...

feb. 14, 2018, 8:31am

I can't be the only one to find this rather disturbing. Some really creepy material for horror stories here, and I can't help wondering what Poe would have made of it - my thoughts immediately went to The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar:

març 13, 2018, 9:49pm

There are lots of upcoming Frankenstein events.

The Science and Media Museum in Bradford is showing Hammer's 'The Curse of Frankenstein' with a Q&A with Sir Christopher Frayling (to accompany his new book 'Frankenstein the First 200 Years'), on 15th March - tomorrow.

The British Library has a free photographic exhibition 'In search of Frankenstein' from 13 April - 1 July, and Sir Christopher Frayling is giving an illustrated talk 'Frankenstein the First 200 Years' on 17 April.

London's Science Museum is holding a Frankenstein festival from 3 - 8 April, and on the 28th April are showing Hammer's 'The Curse of Frankenstein' with a Q&A with Sir Christopher Frayling and Kathryn Harkup (author of 'Making the Monster - the Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein').

Editat: març 26, 2018, 8:14am

Just experimenting - ignore me!

è é ô ñ ä ç ō °

ETA - Aha!!! It works.

ETA, again - Don't mind me, I'm getting over-excited - having learned to type some twenty years ago, I've only now discovered what the 'Alt Gr' key does on my keyboard. I can't believe the decades of shenanigans I've routinely gone through to add those little thingees to my letters. Daft old sod!

març 26, 2018, 6:23pm

>15 alaudacorax:

That wouldn't work for me because I'm using a Mac. Luckily there's a crib sheet on pages 180-181 of Type and Typography, e.g. "Alt" and "F" for ƒ, should I ever need it!

Editat: març 27, 2018, 6:32am

>16 housefulofpaper:

With hindsight, I might have got my post a bit wrong. When I wrote it I overlooked that I 'de-Microsofted' myself a year or two back - now I use Ubuntu - a Linux distro. Possibly the little thingees are easier on a Linux system than they were with Windows. So, possibly, I've only taken a year or two to get up to speed, not twenty - I suppose that's a little better for my ego ...

ETA - Nope - just looked them up online - most of them are easy enough on Windows. I really am a daft old sod. Except that, as far as I can see, the degree sign isn't, and I've always used that a lot - always a bugbear. It's simple now - hold 'Alt Gr' and tap the 'o' twice.

març 27, 2018, 8:54am

The degree sign is ALT+0176. It's one of the very few ALT+number things I use often enough to keep in memory.

(The others would be ALT+0198 for Æ, ALT+0230 for æ, and ALT+0223 for ß.)

març 28, 2018, 5:37am

>18 AndreasJ:

Aha! The 'ash'! Has that faded away now? I'm pretty sure that I used to see at least 'mediæval' and, I think, 'archæology'. Checked a couple of likely books, but realised they had American spelling, so don't really know. Bet M R James used the ash. Can't do it here any way I try - had to type offline and copy it in.

On a slightly more Gothic note, the crows outside are kicking up the devil of a row ...

maig 24, 2018, 9:48am

I've just discovered that this coming Saturday is World Dracula Day!

Um ...

I've done a bit of googling but I'm not really discovering much of interest ...

Did find some cartoons, though -

Editat: maig 25, 2018, 5:21am

>20 alaudacorax:,>21 housefulofpaper:

I've just thought to check tomorrow's TV schedules. British TV is resolutely ignoring World Dracula Day.

maig 27, 2018, 3:58am

Best thunderstorm for years in the early hours this morning. Like it was auditioning for a horror film - continuous rumble of thunder with big claps punctuating and lightning coming so thick and fast I just couldn't know which belonged to which to do the eleven-second count thing.

maig 27, 2018, 1:19pm

Every day is Dracula Day!

I've been testing a few places for the Veidt posters, but it's such a PITA getting around the piles of books and scaling the walls in my apt I think I'll just leave them up here for now:

Looks like I needed another six, huh?

maig 27, 2018, 4:54pm

>23 alaudacorax:
World Dracula Day was marked somehow then! I understand that London had a spectacular storm too, but just 40-odd miles west there were only a few rumbles.

Actually, Radio 4 Extra programmed some stuff from the vaults (appropriately enough) including something not broadcast since 1974 - "Lord Dracula" by Brian Hayles. I haven't heard it yet - it's on the Radio iPlayer for another month - but I think it's a straight historical play about Vlad Tepes.

maig 27, 2018, 8:05pm

>24 LolaWalser:

They look good! I haven't put my Veidt print up yet (I pushed the boat out and bought a frame).

Of course, I've also been peering at your picture trying to make out the titles of your books...

maig 27, 2018, 10:30pm

>26 housefulofpaper:

The books on top of the closet? They are all Folios. You can probably guess at a few from the spines.

I've a few paintings, prints and original photos framed, but posters I like to rotate so framing them is very unpractical, especially now that even my locker is filled with books--there's just nowhere to store them if they aren't rolled up. I'll probably want to keep the Veidts up "forever" but I'm still looking for more--I don't think you can make it out in the photo but below the posters there's a small scene from Caligari that I'd like to find in a much larger size. (Cesare and kidnapped Jane on the crazy pathway, pursued by the posse.)

maig 28, 2018, 4:37am

>25 housefulofpaper:

(Slaps forehead ...)

Never thought to check radio schedules ...

maig 28, 2018, 4:44am

>24 LolaWalser:,>26 housefulofpaper:

Sorry Conrad, but my eye was dragged round to the Folios, too. Conrad definitely grabs the eye first, though - or, I should say, 'the Conrads'.

maig 28, 2018, 7:44pm

>27 LolaWalser:

Actually I've got that cast of mind that tries to read all the book titles - but I daresay quite a few of yours won't be in English, and so unreadable to me (to my shame). I did, I think, spot the Folios that I also own (M. R. James, Odes of Horace?...)

I would never have puzzled out the still from Caligari, though.

maig 28, 2018, 8:51pm

Heh, I never meant to tantalise, the angle is so dumb in order to give some idea of the posters relative to wall space... I'll take a more readable pic of the Folios tomorrow for the guessers. :) Yep, M. R. James is there, and also the Odes--that's some eye you have, these are hardly the most conspicuous!

>29 alaudacorax:

Sounds odd, but it struck me only after I put them up that they are posters of the actor, as opposed to some character of his. I'd prefer the latter--but they'll have to do for now. Conrad's judging me! I feel Rasputin, say, would be more forgiving of my dark ways! :)

maig 29, 2018, 11:08am

Down with puzzler torture! Legible spines for everyone!

Well more or less legible...

maig 29, 2018, 11:10am

And before anyone asks, the empty slipcase is of Folio 60, which I'm currently perusing.

maig 29, 2018, 11:11am

And because what could be more fun than reading pictures, yet another row of Folios (plus some other stuff...)

maig 29, 2018, 11:11am

Editat: maig 29, 2018, 7:50pm

I came in close on one of my Billy bookcases so that the titles would be legible - a bit TOO close - only a handful of books in the picture. It's a suitably creepy selection though.

maig 29, 2018, 8:01pm

I got a few more in with this one!

maig 30, 2018, 5:20am

Drool ...

Editat: maig 30, 2018, 5:31am

>37 housefulofpaper:

Are those all Billy Bookcases?

I've been vaguely thinking of making my own shelves out of Speed Frame tubing, but haven't made up my mind on the actual shelving material. Those look so good, though, I'm thinking I'd rather go with them.

Actually, with so much less work involved, I'm that much more likely to actually get on with it ...

maig 30, 2018, 1:28pm

Very nice! I'm still kicking myself for not getting the Peter Suart Deptford Trilogy on publication... That Sherlock set is giving me the feels too. (Hey--empty slipcase. WHAT IS IT...)

>39 alaudacorax:

Billys rule. I have 6. I've heard rumours the new ones are shallower, though, if that's a consideration. Mine (bought in 2004) accommodate double rows of books without sticking out. Seems that's not possible anymore.

maig 30, 2018, 3:37pm

Thanks for the kind comments!

>40 LolaWalser:
The empty slipcase is The Shining. I took it down to answer that question over on Folio Society Devotees yesterday.

It's a bit worrying that the shelves are narrower, given that we're putting heavy books on them, rather than just a couple of books and a dried flower arrangement. Width of shelving is important for strength, I understand. A few years ago there was a comment, or a link to a site, explaining that the physics of bookshelves are the same as the physics of suspension bridges - if that's a help to anyone? ;)

maig 30, 2018, 6:59pm

Suspension bridges have one over bookshelves due to greater flexibility, but yeah, in both cases there's increasing pressure and wear and tear on side joints. My worry is the sag--I started noticing it on a few of my shelves not long ago and no doubt it's to become worse with time. Since those books aren't going anywhere! But it's still relatively slight (My benchmark is the state of a friend's Billys with truly spectacular curvature--but then she had them for decades.)

How old are your bookcases? The shelves seem perfectly straight, and that looks as mostly very heavy load. Not to alarm you or anything. But maybe it's enough to forestall the sag if you resist double-shelving.

maig 31, 2018, 4:19pm

>42 LolaWalser:

I do look at the shelves sometimes and worry that I see a slight sag, but if my glasses are only slightly wonky they don't fix my astigmatism, so it's difficult to tell! The shelves went up around October 2016, I think.

juny 1, 2018, 3:01am

My billies from the '90s are the same depth as the ones from last year. What's changed, tho, is that you used to be able to buy them in 60 cm width - now there's only 40 and 80 cm, which I think is a shame because the 40 cm ones are really narrow and the 80 cm ones are, naturally enough, more prone to sagging than the 60 cm.

juny 10, 2018, 8:59am

I'm probably odd man out here, but I have several billys and my shelves are adjustable. Every year I "flip" my shelves, meaning I just turn them over (both sides are the same), that way I never get any sag, and I've got some hefty tomes.

jul. 1, 2018, 10:16am

The week just gone, slogging over Snowdonia in sweltering heat ('sweltering' for a Brit, at least - near 30°C/86°F), I came across another of those locations that make me feel almost guilty about not being able to write good horror stories about them.

I came across the entrance to one of the numerous abandoned gold mines in the area, hidden down a narrow, overgrown, walled cutting.

The point is that on this well-nigh tropical day there was an icy breeze coming out of there. There has got to be a good story in that - if only I could dream it up ...

jul. 1, 2018, 7:02pm

>46 alaudacorax:
Very atmospheric pictures. I admire you for venturing out in that heat!

jul. 3, 2018, 7:45am

>47 housefulofpaper:

Yeah - I suspect I was learning the hard way the necessity for electrolyte replacement - I think I was coming close to heat exhaustion on some of those hills!

jul. 8, 2018, 9:29pm

>46 alaudacorax:

Love the pics. But don't go in!!! :)

set. 9, 2018, 6:28pm

I did something uncharacteristic last week. I travelled more than a couple of miles from my front door! Here's a photo of Strasbourg Cathedral last Sunday.

Editat: set. 11, 2018, 1:31pm

So lovely. So in-SPIRE-d. =D You would have had to pick me up off my knees. I'd have been a crumpled heap! Good for you to lay tracks and leave footprints in its shadows. Nothing like the 'there' in a memory.

set. 12, 2018, 4:41am

>50 housefulofpaper: - Such an evocative image - brings up all sorts of jumbled thoughts of Gothic tales and the looming power of the church which can be such a feature in them - which reminds me that The Monk thread is active again - really must get back on with that.

set. 12, 2018, 8:34am

Not Enough Hunchback. ;)

set. 13, 2018, 7:23pm

>53 LolaWalser:
True, Strasbourg struck me as a very civilised and friendly city. Even the cathedral looks delicate (the sculptural decoration stands free of the stonework by about a foot and gives a kind of filigree impression).

The Alsace museum did introduce me to Hans Trapp and the Christ Child though, which is a Christmas tradition in that part of the world..Hans Trapp (monks habit, cowl pulled down over face, only a long protruding beard visible, wielding a bundle of sticks to beat naughty children with) and the Christ Child (I can't recall the actual French name), a woman dressed in what looks like a wedding dress more than anything, wearing a white veil with a star over her brow, impersonating Jesus and, I believe, giving presents t good children. The museum has two mannequins dressed in the above-described (I assume traditional) costumes. They look like something straight out M. R. James.

set. 15, 2018, 7:07pm

I thought this image might be of interest. In medieval times Reading Abbey was a wealthy and important administrative centre. Most of it has disappeared now, but some rubble walls remain (the nice dressed stone was taken away and reused, some of it in Windsor Castle).

The "Abbey Ruins", as they are known, are next to Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Reading, formerly Reading Goal. Oscar Wilde, via The Picture of Dorian Gray, gives a hopefully not-too-tenuous Gothic connection.

The prison has been closed since 2013 (I think).The building is Grade II listed and awaiting redevelopment.

Editat: set. 29, 2018, 1:10pm

I watched a two-part docu-tour hosted by Derek Jacobi retracing the steps of Charles Dickens. At the tail end something was mentioned about the ghost of Dickens haunting a moat. What is that about? They showed his modest name/date over his tomb in Westminster Abbey, then showed a grassy area rising slightly toward a castle wall (quite low) which must have extended around something but I couldn't see what. Neither was there any sign of water. Is the moat supposed to be the grassy area? Where can I find out more about this haunting rumour? It mentioned that he'd wanted a modest private burial in one of two places, but the powers that be stepped into insist he be laid to rest in the Abbey. It showed views of the water observed from his desk, to inspire his writing (a small chalet type structure someone gifted him?), a waterfall where he bathed (unusual for the time apparently), and talked about his father's early years associated with the Royal Navy, the docks, The Thames, etc. He seemed to move around a lot in his life, and I was wrung out (tired) during the second half so it all clouded over. It was supposed to show locations found in his novels, most prominently (from memory) Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, David Copperfield, Edwin Drood? It was nice to see a piece like this put together for those of us who have never/will never see England. There might have been a ruins also but it was not the one pictured above.

set. 30, 2018, 6:19am

>56 frahealee:

Hell's teeth - a couple of hours just sorcerously disappeared!

Googled 'Charles Dickens's ghost' - didn't find anything about the ghost on the moat, but came across a whole slew of intersting articles. Now it's 11:15 and I haven't had breakfast yet! Did you know that Dickens' publication of A Christmas Carol permanently ruined the popularity of the name 'Ebenezer' for new-born boys?

set. 30, 2018, 7:21am

>56 frahealee:, >57 alaudacorax:

Okay. Had breakfast and it's 12:08, so my Sunday morning has officially disappeared - AND there are yet two more books on my wish lists - two biogs of Charlie (as Doctor Who called him). Don't know whether to blame Charles Dickens or frahealee ...

And I've just remembered that there's at least one reputedly really good ghost story by Dickens that I'd never heard of - and I forgot to make a note of it and now can't remember the title. If I go through my browsing history and check through all those articles again the afternoon's going to disappear as well ...

Editat: set. 30, 2018, 10:10am

>58 alaudacorax: Finally someone to blame other than poor 'houseful' =)

My twins are grocery shopping for me right now while I hunker down in the basement doing their laundry, so I can spend another 2hrs watching that documentary again, because it's driving me buggy.

Which reminds me, what in blazes is 'coming the cropper' ?? Does it mean to bite the dust or die?! Honestly, just when I get used to jumper/sweater, lorry/truck, torch/flashlight, green grocery/F&V stand, etc. Cockney (or other) accents are delightful to hear but slogging through in print mirrors Mark Twain or other southern USA Lit, ie. The Gold Bug with Jupiter's voice. The effort is always worth it, but I alternate between countries just to keep my head on straight. Too much of a good thing or all things in moderation? Who knows, but it works for me. Never stale that way. Never frustrated. Always hungry for more. One big pinball game, bouncing from the UK to the USA to the desert to the arctic.

Point being, you're not alone. My problem is all this detail is going into my brain, but I may never get it out again. I need a pensieve like Dumbledore. I have Dickens Cmas stories on a list somewhere to find eventually, not just his most famous. Something about a brass cricket? If you ever locate that ghost story reference, post it so we all can find it!

set. 30, 2018, 10:32am

>59 frahealee:

To come the (or a) cropper simply means to have experienced misfortune. Probably not serious misfortune as there's an undercurrent of "jollying along" if the phrase it used nowadays. When I was little, my mother used to commiserate that I'd "come a cropper" if I'd fallen and grazed a knee, or some such.

Editat: set. 30, 2018, 1:00pm

>60 housefulofpaper: I appreciate your clarification. I thought it had something to do with sinister mischief. Is a cropper like an obstacle? Tripping uphill comes to mind. A crop is a horse whip is it not? A riding crop? I don't know, with my allergies to animals, but it sounds familiar from Black Beauty or similar. No wonder I had associated a sense of foreboding with the term.

Another question. The pronunciation of scone. My mother pronounced it as shone/Shawn/lawn. Everyone around me insists it's scone like cone/blown/groan. Any thoughts? She made them often, I tried, but my sister got that gene. I do the shortbread in 8 inch cakes. Once a year for Christmas.

set. 30, 2018, 2:14pm

>61 frahealee:

I had a quick look online before writing that last post but the sites I found only suggested that the derivation is obscure.

Oh dear! There is no definitive pronunciation of "scone" - it's a marker of regional and class differences. Scone like "gone" is "posh"; scone like "stone" is northern...but I'm from southern England, but not posh, and I don't actually know how I'd say the word unselfconsciously anymore!

set. 30, 2018, 2:25pm

>62 housefulofpaper: Well, I'm at a loss. One grandmother was from Kent (I picture David Copperfield's 'donkeeeeey' great aunt), the other, from Liverpool. Now whether she simply sailed from there or was a local, is unknown.

I also get confused about the dinner/supper interchange. I understand that is a matter of class/breeding as well. My kids don't know whether they're coming or going because we use any term that springs to mind; usually breakfast, lunch, supper ... with dinner and teatime sprinkled in randomly. Mum said I was born at teatime, which was 4:22pm on a Friday, but she could have been scamming me, since I thought 'high tea' was at 5pm since 'dinner' was taken later, 7-8pm ish. No wonder history is so tough for me absorb. It keeps changing!! ; )

set. 30, 2018, 3:10pm

>56 frahealee:
I've caught bits of the Derek Jacobi-fronted documentary but I haven't seen the whole thing. I noticed it's currently all on YouTube and skipped to the end.

The anecdote about Dickens haunting a moat refers to Rochester Castle; but the image you must be referring to is actually unconnected to that story; it's a cemetery in Portsmouth where,, curiously, Dickens' first and last loves (Maria Beadnell and Ellen Ternan) are both buried.

If you're interested in seeing more documentaries presenting England in this way you could look out for The London Nobody Knows fronted by James Mason in 1967 (I think) or Metroland from the early '70s (John Betjeman); or a more acerbic take (also more up to date) various of Jonathan Meades' series and one-off documentaries - quite a few were uploaded to YouTube last time I looked.

No, Reading doesn't have any great connection or claim on Charles Dickens so the Reading Abbey ruins wouldn't have been used as a location. We can claim Oscar Wilde of course, and Jane Austen (who went to a school that used rooms in the Abbey Gateway, which still stands although it collapsed and was completely restored in the 19th century). And John Bunyan who spent some time in an earlier town lock-up a couple of hundred years earlier.

It's hard to think of a writer who would have enjoyed their time here!

>63 frahealee:
Again, I can't help! My mother would use "dinner" for the main meal of the day whether it was eaten around midday or early evening (never as late as 7-8pm). If dinner was in the evening the midday meal would be lunch. If it was midday, we'd have tea at around 4-5 pm. But as I said we're not posh and this wouldn't be "correct".

oct. 1, 2018, 7:23am

>61 frahealee:, >62 housefulofpaper:

Aaargh! Pronunciation! Originally from the South Wales valleys, I often come a cropper over it. It's only in the last four or five years that it's dawned on me 'their' is pronounced just as 'there' - I'd always pronounced it the same as 'they're' - which, to be honest, seems a lot more logical to me.
My heart fell a bit reading >61 frahealee: because I don't pronounce 'shone' the same as 'lawn' or 'Shawn' and I don't pronounce 'blown' the same as 'cone' or 'groan'. It gets even more complicated: my mother, as Welsh as her accent was, was a cook in service before she married so would probably have pronounced food items 'correctly', but 'correctly' as they would have been for the upper classes in the 'thirties. How that might have correlated with Received Pronunciation I have no idea - I don't assume Downton Abbey and the like are historically accurate. For what it's worth, though, a scone was as in 'shone' - which latter I think I pronounce quite uncontroversially ...

oct. 1, 2018, 8:16am

>59 frahealee:

Turned out it wasn't a ghost story - more a horror story - A Madman's Manuscript - I wrote about it in the 'So whatcha readin' now, kids?' thread. It was very good - I could see why I saw it praised in various articles.

oct. 1, 2018, 6:28pm

>64 housefulofpaper: Yes that's absolutely it, Rochester Castle. He wanted to be buried there (it seems close to Chatham where he also spent time, between the two neighbouring 'haunts'). So his bones rest quietly in the Abbey but his spirit roams the moat. Wonderful visual.

>65 alaudacorax: This is perhaps why the written (or typed) word is so powerful. No oral conflict. We each absorb it in our own 'language' and it is comfortable and familiar and honest. I was just trying to be respectful. I studied French and German, never caught on to Italian, wish I'd pursued Latin, but lived in Toronto's Greek section for six years. Conflict of culture!

Have to admit one of my low points; during my second viewing of the two-part documentary, I had to look up Wellington. I knew Napolean and Waterloo but had no idea who claimed the victory. So don't worry about varied sounds when history is still so fragile to some of us. =( Bonus is, now I know, thanks to Derek Jacobi.

oct. 2, 2018, 5:31am

>67 frahealee: - I was just trying to be respectful.

Not sure why you included that sentence: If you took my words to imply I'd taken offence I really hadn't - I actually thought I was being mildly humorous, with an implied but unwritten point that I don't actually know how to correctly pronounce a lot of common words.

Editat: oct. 2, 2018, 11:42am

>68 alaudacorax: Dear me no, I didn't want to infer an offence, merely tried to be attuned to each preference. I am part of a writing group, and when we try to pump out haiku poems, we often differ in syllable counts, which I never see coming initially, it has to be explained to me each and every time, which can be exhausting for both sides. It's not a matter of class (upper/middle/lower/then there's me, the foreigner) or even of writing style, it is pure phonetics. Which makes me think of Henry Higgins, so can't help but giggle. Canadians are renowned for apologizing for everything, at every turn, before any accusations might be made! Might be due to the French/English/Indigenous perpetual overlap.

Also, in learning high German, it was very important not to use the familiar form of German with a new acquaintance. That is what I meant by respectful, the 'Sie ist' vs. 'Du bist' conundrum. The variables within English alone are extensive, but studying French helped my English, studying German helped my French. Now all that merges in the mist of yesteryear.

I listened to a few more MRJ audiobooks online (Michael Hordern) and each one makes me laugh, although it's supposed to be a scary tale, because I trip over something in nearly each paragraph, that I don't understand, or have never heard before, or perhaps was phraseology of the times, etc.

ie. After Casting The Runes, I found A Warning to the Curious similar in tone and theme, but it still made me laugh when I read this;

"as he was a reasonable kind of person — not the sort to bestow his whole family history on you"

MRJ would have hated someone like me, my personality type, and he would have found some polite reason for abandoning my presence as quickly as possible. That in itself would also make me laugh. Likely because I saw something similar on a daily basis between my mother and father. They were always correcting me on the flaws of the other, but never to each other (not in my presence). Do you see what I mean? I'm trying to be respectful to the author, to his/her writing, to the fans of the author, but I often find humour in places others do not.

Also, with there/their/they're … no difference in the way I flick each of those words off the tongue … they are identical. If others pronounce or enunciate these differently to me, it is neither good nor bad, only evident. Mum said she'd wash my mouth out with soap if I said certain words certain ways, and I believed her! Not worth tempting that flick of a tea towel that hurt more than any spanking ever would.

ETA: I also tripped at Michael Hordern's way of saying Magdalena or Magdalene … he said something similar to 'maudlin' which I found hysterical. It was in the Number 13 in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary story I think. Something about the RC Church and St. John and 'red' denoting a scarlet woman. Again, my own response sometimes mystifies me, but there it is.

oct. 2, 2018, 11:20am

>40 LolaWalser: I am a bit late with this information, but I confirm your information about the Billys; the new ones are shallower and cannot take two rows of books.

I have eleven Billys, thankfully of the deeper variety.

Editat: oct. 3, 2018, 8:02am

>65 alaudacorax: Confession time. I have never seen a single episode of Downto(w)n Abbey (my own inside joke, our parish priest loves the show so I mispronounce it each time which drives him bonkers), or of Game of Thrones for that matter. Too busy on my book binge!

I pronounce shone the same as the name Ron. So also is scone & dawn & gone. Sigh. Highlights difference with shown (or tone, drone, phone) orally. Now I see why ESL studies are as difficult to teach as they are to attend.

oct. 2, 2018, 11:26am

>71 frahealee: Snap! Never succumbed to those particular ailments. Of course, I generally avoid long running series as I am bound to miss some episodes and get very frustrated along the way.

Editat: oct. 2, 2018, 11:38am

>72 pgmcc: Hello there! Can you answer a question for me?

Stumbled upon a reference to Dublin, St. something-or-other mentioned in a story by M.R. James - might have been Lost Hearts. About preserving the dead. Would this have been a catacombs or a church or yard or hospital perhaps? I'll go looking for the correct name... it was absolutely new to me.

ETA: Found it!

"On the night of which I am speaking, Stephen Elliott found himself, as he thought, looking through the glazed door. The moon was shining through the window, and he was gazing at a figure which lay in the bath.

His description of what he saw reminds me of what I once beheld myself in the famous vaults of St Michan’s Church in Dublin, which possesses the horrid property of preserving corpses from decay for centuries. A figure inexpressibly thin and pathetic, of a dusty leaden colour, enveloped in a shroud-like garment, the thin lips crooked into a faint and dreadful smile, the hands pressed tightly over the region of the heart."

Editat: oct. 2, 2018, 12:00pm

St. Michens is not far from the city centre. It used to have many visitors but I underdtand it is either closed to tourists now or the numbers are limited as the atmosphere was being affected by the people coming in and the bodies were suffering.

It is a church and the bodies are in the crypt. One of the is reputedly a crusader and it was a tradition to shake his hand.

oct. 2, 2018, 7:39pm

>69 frahealee:

Magdalen College, Oxford is pronounced "Maudlin". It's probably something to do with being founded way back in 1458!

Editat: oct. 3, 2018, 8:24am

>75 housefulofpaper: Gracious sakes alive. No wonder British records are astounding. I watched an online clip of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki (a national hero) about Jumbo the elephant, whose demise was not far from here, in St.Thomas, Ontario. The records for the zoo had the entry in the archives for his exact arrival date, etc. This made the 'paper trail' much easier to follow for the scientists trying to pinpoint what actually killed him, had he been sick for a long time or not at all, which involved close investigative ties to London, to New York City (the Museum of Natural History), and to Canada (McMaster University in Hamilton, for it's ancient genetics lab). Fascinating and sad.

Anyway, it was bizarre to see that handwritten ledger entry, when Jumbo (an African elephant), age four, arrived sight unseen at the London Zoo, with historical records maintained by Zoological Society of London, est.1826. At the 9min mark is mention of Mon26Jun1865. Link included here simply for ease in my own future access;

oct. 16, 2018, 6:30pm

>76 frahealee:
Sorry about not replying to you earlier. Fascinating to learn that Jumbo ended is days near you. As a child I'd assumed "Jumbo" was merely a generic name for an elephant. When I was 13 I saw a television adaptation of one of Peter Lovesey's Sargeant Cribb detective stories, which was all about the historical elephant. I found his eventual fate quite affecting, I remember (this series did get shown in the States, by the way, under the PBS Mystery! banner - introduced by Vincent Price).

I should have mentioned this earlier - there was a discussion of the Gothic on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme, on 3 October. The occasion was the publication of Sarah Perry's new novel Melmoth (I've bought it but haven't read it yet).

Interesting discussions about the nature of the Gothic, and also the relation of the novel to drug literature, as Perry was in great pain through a back injury, and on a cocktail of painkillers whilst writing the novel (there's a long piece about this on The Guardian website):

The Edition of Free Thinking is still available on the Radio 3 app - for UK listeners at least. I don't know what the situation is outside the UK (I know you can't (legally) watch BBC television on the player but is radio different?)

(Strange thing, I have the BBC programme in question open in a different window as I type, but previewing this message stops it playing!)

oct. 17, 2018, 6:04am

>77 housefulofpaper:

Odd - I could have sworn I remember us discussing The Essex Serpent here, but I ran a search and - nothing. I was going to say I still haven't got round to reading it, but that's meaningless now. From that article alone she's quite a powerful writer, though.

Disappointingly, if you google “I saw him, this character of mine – he was standing on a station platform with a red coat and he bared his teeth at me.”, it only throws up this article. It seems she wrote it herself - I'd thought she was having a little dig at someone ...

oct. 17, 2018, 6:12am

>77 housefulofpaper:,>78 alaudacorax:

Oh. Slightly disappointed to find that LTers don't rate any of Perry's books highly. Oh well, I have enough reading on hand at the moment ...

Editat: oct. 17, 2018, 2:44pm

>77 housefulofpaper:
Busy is as busy does so no need for pardon. My comment was simply a 'sidebar' or offshoot.

Both links materialized easily so thank you for highlighting them. I have not heard of this author before, nor did I know you could do a PhD in The Gothic.

I emailed the 'Free Thinking' St. Augustine link to my son, having enjoyed it also. I have read Confessions a few times through, plus City of God and The Trinity, since my son and father and grandfather all share the name. (48 minutes) begins at 22:40

Here is the Canadian access for The Gothic discussion (unsure about The States): (48 minutes)


oct. 21, 2018, 4:33pm

>80 frahealee:

You might want to also investigate "In Our Time" on BBC Radio 4. There's even an edition on the Gothic!

oct. 21, 2018, 4:56pm

This is a Gothic scene - although probably too serene to be "Gothic" - quite near to me.

The house that these gardens belonged to was demolished in 1933 but the gardens themselves are publicly owned and were restored about 10 years ago. The faces inset into the posts of the "Griffin Steps" (not the griffins on top, you can see one in my photo but it's just a brownish blob) ARE genuinely medieval.

oct. 21, 2018, 5:30pm

Beautiful scene. Those griffins are so Amphigorey.

Editat: oct. 21, 2018, 6:23pm

>81 housefulofpaper: I will, thank you.
>82 housefulofpaper: Lovely. Needed a dose of serene today. A good chaser for my first Machen story.

oct. 21, 2018, 6:25pm

oct. 25, 2018, 8:43pm

For info - some radio delights all on UK BBC Radio 4 this week:

Saturday 27 October at 2.30pm - a new radio adaptation of Nigel Kneale's 'The Road' (45 minutes) - this was a tv play, broadcast in 1963, which has been lost.
"Mark Gatiss and Adrian Scarborough star as a philosopher and scientist investigating ghostly outbreaks in a country wood in 1768. Neither is quite prepared for the shocking truth that they uncover."

Sunday 28 October at 3pm - 1hr adaptation of Henry James' 'The Turn of the Screw' (the blurb says this has been recorded "in binaural. For an immersive 3D experience listen on headphones").

Monday 29th Oct - Friday 2nd Nov, the daily 15 minute dramas are all from 'The Second Pan Book of Horror Stories', and include 'The Judge's House' by Bram Stoker and 'The Black Cat' by Edgar Allan Poe.

All these shows will be on the BBC iplayer radio platform after broadcast.

Editat: oct. 26, 2018, 12:26am

>86 Rembetis:

I think it will have to be the iplayer - they are all much too early in the day for horror - unfortunate scheduling ...

oct. 28, 2018, 10:15pm

>86 Rembetis:

Just listened to Nigel Kneale's 'The Road' (in the depths of the night, here, and its near pitch black outside my window). The story very much of its time, but powerful, too. The only problem was I had real difficulty distinguishing the three 'educated' male voices - they just weren't aurally differentiated enough.

And now I've confused myself: do I really mean 'of its time', or very much the kind of thing Kneale was doing back in the day? Too late in the night to investigate, now.

oct. 29, 2018, 9:44pm

>88 alaudacorax: Just listened to Nigel Kneale's 'The Road' on iplayer radio. I could just about differentiate the 'educated' voices, but you are right that they were aurally too similar.

I also found the piece powerful, and can see that it 'fits in' with Kneale's other work. So fiercely intelligent! As to subject (not wishing to give anything away), I think it's even more relevant today than it was in 1963.

Changing the subject, did anyone see the 'Inside Number 9 Live Halloween special' last night on BBC2? I thought it was very clever and very scary.

oct. 30, 2018, 8:40am

Visiting the Bing home page this morning has revealed that it is "bat appreciation month" which made my day, to learn there is such a thing. Cute photo of the mosquito vacuum in flight! =)

oct. 30, 2018, 4:56pm

>89 Rembetis:

I thought Inside Number 9 was a terrific piece of work and I'll admit to being caught was only indolence that stopped me changing the channel when the "repeat" started. Apparently about a fifth of the audience switched over at that point!

oct. 30, 2018, 7:28pm

>90 frahealee: Is it? I didn't know there was such a thing either. Makes me feel bad though, given I'm pretty sure I hit a bat sometime last month. He left some pits in my windshield. I didn't think about it then, or when I was getting the pits fixed, but now I have this teen goth idea in my head. Hit a bat, find an unconscious vampire (with broken fangs) behind my car.

Granted though, apart from reading Byron's "Vampyre" fragment, I'm not much versed in literary vampires that aren't otherwise represented by Hollywood...or role playing games.

Speaking of vampires, my mom's got this book (we aren't sure where it came from), Lord of the Dead. Anyone familiar with it? Back cover summaries tend to ham things up so much I'm not sure I really trust them.

oct. 30, 2018, 8:11pm

#89, #91

I've seen the first season of Inside no. 9 since houseful brought it up here a while back; very enjoyable. Also I'm in Vienna again and jet lagged and not looking forward tbh to the party tonight with the bright young things from work... at least I don't need to worry @ scary makeup... :)

oct. 30, 2018, 8:20pm


So annoying... if only it didnt bore me to get dressed again id go looking for Harry Lime or something...

oct. 30, 2018, 8:32pm

And I desperately want to go to bed...but I'm writing a post...and Night of the Demon is on TV...

oct. 30, 2018, 8:39pm


Is "someone wrong on the internet"? ;)

I dont want to turn tv on im watching St. Stephan from my bed. Beautiful night

oct. 30, 2018, 8:54pm

Plenty of people wrong on the internet, but I try to keep out of their way :)

And I'm in Reading, so the television is very often preferable to the view outside!

Editat: oct. 31, 2018, 4:49am

I've been up for over an hour now, due to pouring rain, so made a French Press pot of dark roast and I'm roaming the hallowed halls of Gothic Literature for unearthed treasures.

A buddy told me not to start off by reading Graham Greene's The Third Man since it was not one of his best efforts at novel writing or screenplays. Was the 1949 film ok? I will get to it eventually, with my Orson Welles phase. It was on the film-noir 'best of' list on IMDb but I never pursued it because I wanted to read the book first.,g...

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN EVERYONE! Draw a spider on your cheek with eyeliner and see how many people notice ...

nov. 4, 2018, 5:04pm

>98 frahealee:

I don't think I'd personally classify The Third Man as Gothic, although it perhaps has enough elements to be a debatable "outlier" using the core-and-cluster idea I referenced in the Gothic Films thread (secrets and betrayals inherited by the crime thriller from the sensation novel, which took it from the original Gothic novels; chiaroscuro lighting and Dutch camera angles from German Expressionist Cinema by way of Noir, and so on).

This isn't a straight literary adaptation, anyway. Wikipedia confirms what I'd half-remembered: Greene wrote the novella in preparation for the film. I'd straight to the film.

nov. 5, 2018, 9:59am

>98 frahealee:,>99 housefulofpaper:

It's not one of my all-time favourites but that's just personal taste - it's something pretty special and everybody should see it at least once in their life. There's some wonderful camera work that alone is worth seeing it for.

nov. 10, 2018, 9:32am

I've just discovered this several days too late. It had me giggling like a little kid all the way through - even though I do like Lovecraft. If you're not familiar with the five stories listed, though, you probably shouldn't watch as she gives the plot of each one.

nov. 11, 2018, 6:22am

>101 alaudacorax: that was pretty good! Although regarding the datedness of the stories, that technically works in favour of weird and eldritch things.

nov. 13, 2018, 7:05pm

>101 alaudacorax:

I think that might be a little hard on Lovecraft when it comes to non-Euclidean angles and undiscovered colours and so forth. I've a vague sense that the boundaries of our universe where not very clear to even cutting-edge astronomical theory in the 1920s/30s. Was there an idea that individual galaxies (or nebulas - where they still calling them nebulas?) were island universes and could possibly have their own physical constants and so on. The difference from the modern "multiverse"theory would be, I suppose, that communication between universe would be possible if only the gulfs between them could be crossed. But then I immediately remind myself of "Dreams in the Witch House", where travel through higher dimensions in this universe allows space travel - you don't need a TARDIS, you just have to turn in just the right direction!

nov. 13, 2018, 9:27pm

>102 WeeTurtle:, >103 housefulofpaper:

To tell the truth, I'm very good at simply not noticing an author's bad or outdated science - as long as I like their writing. If their stuff gets up my nose a bit, then I'll notice and, even, hold it against them ('fair and consistent' spoils the fun). I think Red doesn't much like Lovecraft and her video is probably that much more fun because of it.

Treating 'Cool Air', she particularly amused me when she refers to the doctor as 'seemingly never pausing for breath' ...

Editat: des. 6, 2018, 5:40am

>103 housefulofpaper:
>104 alaudacorax:

On "Cool Air" I'd have go to back and see if that was a detail pointed out by Lovecraft himself, as that tends to be a "this detail is important!" flag. "Gillman" I didn't think was too bad because I've heard that name before, so it seemed enough like a normal name and the pun didn't click until later in the story.

I tend to give author's a pass for time frame. I think I was more annoyed at the (what I think was) era relevant sexism in Howard's writing than by Lovecraft's racism, though I did notice it. (That well be my life experience talking. Being a white female I've only had to deal with racist comments a handful of times while sexism tended to be in my face. Not as much as ageism though. Soooo many isms. It would be nice if they would go away)

I don't agree much that Lovecraft hasn't aged well. I think he's age just fine. Some of the writing is dated, and it's likely the racist parts really, and some of the "science" picked at my brain a little, but I think his stuff still holds up. Or, it might be that I've read enough fantasy that my suspension of disbelief is pretty generous. You're telling me there are angles and direction that are not possible in any understanding of physics that humans are capable of? Okay! I mean, as least it's not a horror plot that depends on no one having a lick of common sense or instinct for self-preservation.

I'm going to watch some more of her stuff to see what I think of the channel in general. I did get a kick out of comments like the dead guys in Call of Cthulhu, with one of them tripping over something and "clipping through the map."

Editat: nov. 15, 2018, 4:30am

I re-read The Colour out of Space yesterday.

It was a long time since I'd previously read it and it had had plenty of time to fade from my memory, so I was getting it 'fresh', so to speak. I found it really powerful - an impressive piece.

It reminded me I'd previously had no problem with the 'colour' thing, and I didn't this time. Rather than assuming Lovecraft didn't know his physics, I've always assumed that he was stretching for some really way-out strangeness - the fact that the 'thing' doesn't obey the laws of physics being sort of the point.

... and in spite of ten minutes' trying I simply cannot write a grammatically and logically correct second paragraph that doesn't contain 'had had' ...

Editat: des. 5, 2018, 9:53am

More on the subject of Lovecraft: I don't know if you all can access this, and you have to create an account with the BBC (it's free), but there's a podcast or series of podcasts (not clear on the terminology) described as 'a terrifying modern spin on cult author H.P. Lovecraft's classic novel' - the novel being The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Or are podcasts different from episodes? Now I'm getting confused. Anyway, here be the episodes:

I'm not sure if I approve of 'modern spins' on the radio - depends whether they are dramatising it or simply reading it - I'd be happier with a dramatisation.

There's also on the BBC a little feature on Lovecraft's influence, which has a few things I didn't know:

des. 5, 2018, 10:01am

>107 alaudacorax: - I'd be happier with a dramatisation.

Actually, I was thinking I'd be majorly p*ssed-off if I listened and found they'd had the cheek to simply re-write it. Now I'm thinking 'why worry?' - I might just as well save my time and use it for re-reading the original ...

des. 5, 2018, 10:04am

>108 alaudacorax:

Not that I'm discouraging anyone else from listening - you might tell me if it's any good ...

des. 5, 2018, 10:19am

>109 alaudacorax:

Sorry, not me--not much of a fan... ;)

I dropped by to post a link to this YT video about Tartarus Press (houseful's photos of his bookcases show several of their titles, btw) and their Gothicky catalogue, with emphasis on Machen:

A Mild Case of Bibliomania

I don't recall seeing it before but it's quite possible I missed it, in which case, apologies for the repeat.

des. 6, 2018, 5:49am

>109 alaudacorax:

I might forward that to a friend of mine who listens to old radio stuff along with her reading. She got us to listen to a radio story called "Chair" in which the world is now overtaken by the rich and commercial consumerism and the word of Forbes magazine is the word of god, or maybe that's just the interpretation of the very optimistic, quadriplegic, "entrepreneur" narrator. It was an odd thing.

des. 6, 2018, 6:27am

>111 WeeTurtle:

Um ... okay, perhaps I wouldn't describe Forbes as 'the word of god' quite yet, but as for the rest of it ...

des. 6, 2018, 7:03am

>110 LolaWalser:

Pretty sure I've seen that before, and maybe even discussed it here, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Several things chimed with me - especially when he bemoaned the way the internet has taken the excitement out of used book shops.

Editat: des. 6, 2018, 7:25am

>110 LolaWalser:, >113 alaudacorax:

I've yet to buy any Tartarus hardbacks and for some time I've been regretting not buying several of their titles when they were still in print. The ones I'd like now cost an arm and a leg on AbeBooks, etc. It so often seems I only with hindsight make up my mind that I really want something.

des. 9, 2018, 12:43am

Not sure if this is covered elsewhere, but I decided to look up the etymology of "Gothic" to see if it had anything to do with the actual Goths/Visigoths and how that might relate to today's idea of the word and apparently, it seems to crop up when something is considered as going against the cultural grain or rest of civilization.

This is an interesting overview that makes some sense when considering all the uses of "Gothic" applied to different things. In short, the Goths beat up Rome, the epitome of western culture and civilization, therefore, "gothic" is anti-culture and anti-civilization. Gothic is bad and scary and not okay!

This explains a little how "Gothic" can encompass a people, a literary style, and Marilyn Manson. ;)

des. 9, 2018, 1:54pm

>115 WeeTurtle:

I found Nick Groom's The Gothic: A Very Short Introduction a good and wide-ranging exploration of the Gothic. I didn't make notes when I read it, and flicking through the book now, I couldn't remember the argument it puts forward sufficiently well to attempt a précis here.

However, I did find an interview with Nick Groom which is structured around book recommendations about the Gothic. In the course of it he outlines some of the points he makes in the book.

Here's a link to the article:

des. 22, 2018, 12:12am

The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies seems to have changed its name. I was just checking the site and it's now the Irish Gothic Journal (they don't do the definite article). For anyone who doesn't know about it, it's online, free, quarterly, properly scholarly but very readable, and altogether really very good.

At the risk of stating the obvious, you can get any or all of the back issues by clicking on 'Menu' and 'Issues'.

des. 25, 2018, 2:31am

Merry Christmas everyone!

des. 25, 2018, 12:09pm

Merry Christmas Paul! What's on the programme today? I managed to fall sick a few days ago and am therefore missing out the annual Christmas extravaganza at my friends'... first time in... hmmm, oh no, FIFTEEN YEARS...! Minus the times I was elsewhere... maybe ten.

They insist on bringing me food later today but food is the last thing I want.

I will brew a cauldron of tea and try to stay awake if not alert...

des. 25, 2018, 4:43pm

>119 LolaWalser:

My sympathies, Lola. Happened to me last Christmas - not fun. Take care of yourself.

des. 27, 2018, 1:22pm

Thanks, still feeling like an overcooked noodle but I'm mending. ;)

des. 27, 2018, 6:33pm

>119 LolaWalser:

My sympathies too. Glad to hear you're on the mend.

gen. 1, 2019, 1:05pm

Happy new year, group. Here's hoping Gothic horror may keep to books and movies and not "real life" this year.

Editat: gen. 1, 2019, 1:11pm

um... double post... have some bats.

gen. 1, 2019, 1:31pm

>124 LolaWalser:

I think I just LOLed ...

gen. 1, 2019, 1:35pm

>125 alaudacorax:

Best start to a new year possible. :)

Editat: feb. 19, 6:57pm

I feel this is something I should know, but I don't and I haven't been able to find anything online.

Is there, in Gothic literature, a character who dresses in Victorian Gothic "gloomy" style, and is sinister, and is accompanied by a pet vulture? Is it a character from Dickens?

The reason I ask is there's an episode of The Goodies that guest-stars Patrick Troughton as a mad scientist misleadingly named "Dr Petal" dressed just as described above and with a {puppet} vulture. It looks like they are borrowing a familiar even clichéd image but - I don't know where it's from.

(I think I do remember seeing such a character drawn by Will Eisner as an adversary for The Spirit, but that seems far too obscure a source for a British comedy team to be drawing on in the early 1970s - so was Eisner also referencing something older (and which I should know!)?

gen. 7, 2019, 8:14pm

Hmm--I think the Addams family had a pet vulture in the cartoons--but it seems as if there ought to be many examples and yet I can't readily think of anything that fits the bill. There's of course the famous bald eagle puppet among the Muppets, Sam... :)

I've read (lots of) The Spirit comics but don't recall a baddie with a vulture.

gen. 8, 2019, 7:53am

>127 housefulofpaper: This is a long shot, but might this be a reference to the 'articulator of human bones, preserver of animals and birds' - the taxidermist Mr Venus in Dickens' 'Our Mutual Friend'? A depressed, sinister and eccentric character, who joins Silas Wegg in his scheme to blackmail the saintly Mr Boffin - although, by the end of the book, Venus does the right thing.

However, whilst Venus handles dead birds in the book, I can't recall a vulture!

gen. 8, 2019, 9:21am

This is infuriating. I have this very vague memory of a drawing or cartoon that fits the bill, but I'm not at all sure that my imagination hasn't just made it up in response to >127 housefulofpaper:. Possibly a UK children's comic paper of the '50s or '60s? A vulture on the shoulder seems to be a bit over the top for Gothic lit, but spot on for a comic strip parodying Gothic tropes. I can't dig up anything through googling, though.

gen. 8, 2019, 7:15pm

Thanks for the suggestions. Clearly it's not quite as straightforward a request (or quest) as I'd assumed.

Look - I have found the Will Eisner picture, as well as grabbed a picture from the television of the "Dr Petal" character (and vulture).

They're not the same, are they? The Eisner character looks to me like an undertaker from the Old West (and that's not a vulture -a buzzard, is it?). There is surely an "Old West Gothic" (maybe more than one? I can immediately think of Noir-ish psychological westerns, and baroque spaghetti westerns, as two distinct strands in cinema.

Dr Petal, though, the image looks like it comes from an existing tradition. Gilbert and Sullivan? Specifically Ruddigore? I'm still making wild guesses, I have to confess.

>128 LolaWalser:
As this is a colour spread from the Will Eisner Color Treasury - originally the cover of one of the 1970s reprints from Kitchen Sink, I would guess - I can't be sure he was ever a character in one of the newspaper strips.

>129 Rembetis:
Hmm. Have to make another confession - to not having read much Dickens. I haven't read this one. Googling the name pulled up images of Omid Djalili in the role. He doesn't look anything like either of the images below. But does he diverge very much from the book?...

>130 alaudacorax:
Interesting. I'm not an expert on UK children's comics, being diverted away to Marvel superheroes at the age of 5. I did recall - and ruled out - "Creature Teacher" and "Frankie-Stein". Googled Leo Baxendale's "Grimly Fiendish" - a bit closer, but no...

Editat: gen. 11, 2019, 8:21pm

>131 housefulofpaper: I agree that Will Eisner picture doesn't look like Dr Petal, but it could have been an influence on the writers?

Omid Djalili is nothing like the description of Mr Venus in 'Our Mutual Friend'. Timothy Spall played Mr Venus in the 1976 tv production, and was more like it. Mr Venus is described as having 'reddish-dusty hair', 'a sallow face with weak eyes', and, when introduced, he is wearing a 'loose waistcoat over his yellow linen'. His shop is full of dead stuffed birds and animals, and he is working on a dead robin in his first scene. On reflection, the physical description doesn't sound right for Dr Petal (though the sinister character and stuffed birds fits).

Looking at images of Troughton as Dr Petal on line, there was one where he had a crown on his head and wearing regal robes. This, and his hair style and dark cloak in other stills, very strongly remind me of Laurence Olivier as another 'baddie' - Richard III - just to throw another possible influence in the mix! Again, no vulture that I can recall in Richard III.

(Edited for spelling mistakes)

gen. 9, 2019, 6:24pm

>131 housefulofpaper: Depending on where you're from, "Buzzard" also refers to vultures so I expect that's what it's trying to be, though I can't pinpoint the specific type.

Now I'm curious. I'm pretty sure I haven't heard of any of these characters but both those images look familiar, like I've either seem them without knowing what they were, or I'm seeing the caricature that is so familiar it is almost a person.

gen. 10, 2019, 7:41pm

>132 Rembetis:
but it could have been an influence on the writers?

Maybe. The Spirit would have been even more obscure (in the UK) in the early '70s than it is today. My initial thought was to rule out the idea. But then again, it looks as if those 1970s reprints were packaged as Underground comics (Robert Crumb, etc.) so maybe they came across them that way. Bill Oddie, at least, was fairly close in real life to his screen persona, I understand.

I could kick myself for missing the Richard III influence.

But that doesn't still doesn't trace the image back to one distinct source. Could it be that there isn't one, but various figures of differing degrees of similarity, sort of overlapping Venn-diagram fashion, have produced a mental image "that is so familiar it is almost a person" as WeeTurtle eloquently phrased it?

gen. 11, 2019, 8:34pm

>133 WeeTurtle: >134 housefulofpaper: I think WeeTurtle has hit the nail on the head. In the early 1970s, 'The Goodies' was written by all three stars of the show, so it's likely, when writing scripts, that they would have bounced ideas around, back and forth, and created characters that were based on multiple sources and influences. The images of Patrick Troughton do look like an amalgamation of 'The Spirit' character and Olivier's Richard III, and the character's behaviour (from the synopsis) sounds like an amalgamation of crazed scientists from classic horror and sci-fi films.

gen. 13, 2019, 6:37am

This vulture thing has been niggling away at me for days and the only thing I can come up with is that Google is definitely not the search engine it used to be. However I try to set the search terms - "1950s", "UK" "comic book", etc, and with plusses or quote marks or whatever - I just get pages of quite irrelevant hits.

Let me just describe the image that has been in my mind since I first read >127 housefulofpaper:
It's a cartoon, as it might be drawn in a 50s or 60s, UK, children's comic book like The Beano or The Dandy. It's an old man with a sour, unpleasant face. He's dressed like the old-fashioned undertaker in the black top hat and tail-coat. Everything is a little bent - the top hat, the legs, the walking-cane, the character's back - and perhaps a little scruffy. And, of course, there's the vulture on his shoulder - typical cartoon vulture with the white ruff and bald neck and head - and it has an evil expression, too.

It's occurred to me that the character might have been a personification of Death, but I really don't know about that, as I have absolutely no idea where I'm getting the image from; the comic book thing is just best guess ...

gen. 13, 2019, 6:37am

A question occurs to me. Do stock depictions of supposedly evil people in popular culture tend to hark back to Richard III (Olivier's depiction was in a tradition dating back to the Tudors and Shakespeare himself, of course)? I'm thinking everyone from Quasimodo to Igor and beyond. Or is the depiction of Richard simply part of a much wider tradition dating right back to the Classical period's linking of physical imperfection to moral unsoundness and encompassing such characters as the bent, old witch?

gen. 13, 2019, 7:20am

>110 LolaWalser:
The Tartarus publications are beautiful books. I have all their Aickman publications and a number of others from their catalogue.

gen. 13, 2019, 7:29am

>117 alaudacorax:. I agree that the journal is very good.

An irony in my life is that I live in Dublin, work near Trinity College, and only heard about this journal through an online friend from the Philippines. Luckily for me he introduced it to me when the first issue was published.

To add to the irony I had met the two lecturers who established the journal at a Science Fiction Convention I had organised. (The convention included SF, Fantasy and Horror.)

The same friend introduced me to the joys of Thomas Ligotti and Robert Aickman.

gen. 13, 2019, 5:30pm

>136 alaudacorax:

I'm not particularly well informed about British comics (Eagle and '70/'80s 2000 A.D.apart, I guess); however I do know the names of a couple of creators who are respected as more than ordinarily comedically inventive and also have a taste for the grotesque, namely Ken Reid (Faceache, Frankie-Stein) and Leo Baxendale (Sweeney Toddler, The Bash Street Kids). Ken Reid. I discovered, had a character called "Jasper the Grasper". He fits the image you conjured up almost exactly - only, there's no vulture in the strip I found online; and he's a Victorian miser rather than an undertaker or something equally Gothic.

gen. 13, 2019, 6:15pm

>137 alaudacorax:

I've come across the argument more than once that Shakespeare drew on older traditions such as Medieval Mystery plays - that he was himself half-modern and half-medieval. I can't swear to it but I think I've heard or read that Richard III as portrayed in the play is very much the medieval tempter devil overlaid onto the historical personage of the King.

Was the devil always portrayed as ugly, though? All I can bring to mind is Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, the scene where Mephistopheles is first summoned as a dreadful image (his true form, I presume) and then commanded by Faustus to change/disguise it. also, although this can't be classed as historical evidence of course, in the scenes for the play put on for an Open University module, back when you could catch OU programmes at odd hours on BBC2, when Helen of Troy is summoned up, is is clearly a devil (with a tail!) wearing an impassively beautiful mask, that fools Faustus.

But you are right of course that physical beauty was linked to a moral/sound mind and ugliness to (not sin, that would be anachronistic) unsoundness, wrong-thinking, madness.

gen. 29, 2019, 7:56pm

I took this picture today. I thought it might be interesting as a follow up to the photo of the Reading Abbey ruins I posted a while ago.

This is the Abbey Gateway. Although it looks in better condition than the rest of the remains of the medieval Abbey complex it DID collapse in the 19th century and was completely reconstructed.

This is where Jane Austen went to school 1785/86. I have been in there once, sometime in the mid-90s when the Council were hiring it out for meetings etc. It smelt of damp and had large Victorian history paintings on the walls. It was closed because it there were fears it would collapse again, soon after. It's very recently had some restoration work done to it.

It's not large, in the photo it's flanked by two buildings. On the left is a modern office building, which I suppose is "in keeping" with the area. On the right is Reading Crown Court.

feb. 6, 2019, 5:20pm

So nice, I love associations to places that can happen so casually (as opposed to special "pilgrimages" etc.)

I didn't know Austen received education outside home, really should read up on her life.

feb. 6, 2019, 9:48pm

>143 LolaWalser: - I didn't know Austen received education outside home, really should read up on her life.

I echo that sentence exactly: I'm a little startled to realise I know practically nothing about one of my all-time favourite authors.

Going back to the gateway, one wonders about the intentions of the original builders - it seems more designed to overawe the visitor in a political sense than to suggest contemplation and prayer. The Wikipedia page has some interestingly Gothic things to say about it: there is the last abbot being hanged, drawn and quartered somewhere near where Andrew is standing, but what really has me intrigued is the sentence, "Other royal persons buried in the abbey include parts of Matilda of Scotland, William of Poitiers, and Constance of York" (my italics).

feb. 6, 2019, 10:52pm

>144 alaudacorax:

it seems more designed to overawe the visitor in a political sense than to suggest contemplation and prayer.

Heh, frankly if houseful had said "and here we have the entrance to the (in)famous Reading correction facility", that would've seemed just as normal. Must be those black brick inlays. Probably some fancy stone, but it does give it a severe tone.

Editat: feb. 10, 2019, 9:23am

I really, really must get started with the wax dolls and the pins.

I've just been reading a bunch of reviews on a Tanith Lee novel on Amazon. I was the larger part through the last one when it dawned on me that the expletive-deleted plonker had just given me the whole plot.

I left a terse comment, but what he really deserves are boils like pebble-dashing and hemorrhoids like really big bunches of grapes ...

feb. 10, 2019, 9:35am

>146 alaudacorax:

Curiosity got the better of me and I read some more of his reviews. Mistake. Didn't come upon any more spoilers, but his most-favoured writing style is so silly and annoying I want to kick his ankles and shins really hard - while wearing my walking boots.

Perhaps I should forget the wax dolls and take up some form of meditation ...

feb. 10, 2019, 11:23am

>146 alaudacorax: It is for this very reason I avoid reviews until I have read a book. It is also why I avoid plot when writing reviews; I don't want some walking-boot clad rank amateur kicking me to pieces while sticking pins in a doll and contemplating taking up meditation. :-)

Editat: feb. 10, 2019, 2:08pm

>148 pgmcc:

Hahaha! Thanks for that - you gave me a chuckle towards the end of what was turning out to be a rather sour day.

feb. 10, 2019, 2:20pm

>149 alaudacorax: We are glad to have been of service, sir.

abr. 15, 2019, 12:17pm

For those in London, there is a Weimar Cinema season at the NFT in May and June. The May programme is on line, and includes some amazing films, including restored versions of 'The Student of Prague' (134 minute 'reconstruction') and 'Opium'; 'The Chronicles of the Grey House', 'Waxworks', 'Nosferatu', and more:

abr. 17, 2019, 6:16pm

>151 Rembetis:

Many thanks for the heads-up!

abr. 18, 2019, 4:34am

Not strictly on-topic, but the news reports at Notre Dame de Paris a few days ago brought tears to my eyes and I thought perhaps it should be marked here.

abr. 18, 2019, 11:11am

>151 Rembetis:

Wonderful. If anyone plans to go to the Student of Prague, I'd love to hear about certain sequences and what
was restored. At 134 minutes it should contain almost 44 minutes of new footage!

Opium remains the one I never saw in a cinema so far. *wistful sigh*

>153 alaudacorax:

Horrible shame to be a contemporary to that devastation. The external appearance will be restored but its living organic heart has been destroyed.

"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned..."

abr. 18, 2019, 10:10pm

It looks at least like the bulk of the damage was to the roof, and that certain parts are still intact, like the stained glass and the cross. It all remains to be seen though.

abr. 19, 2019, 6:10am

>151 Rembetis:, >154 LolaWalser:

I was hunting online yesterday for a DVD or Blu-ray of that reconstruction, but I drew a blank. Surely if someone's made it (Filmmuseum München, I think I read) and there's a copy available to the BFI there must be a commercial release in the offing?

Editat: abr. 19, 2019, 7:35am

>154 LolaWalser: Years ago I would have attended many of these screenings with glee, but I don't yet know if I will make any, which is really frustrating, though 'The Student of Prague' is top of my list and I am keeping a keen eye on the available seats (it seems to be selling very well). I think at least part of the 134 minute running time might be due to normalising the movement which is usually speeded up in the available versions? The wording 'reconstruction' hints at the use of stills in missing sections perhaps?

>156 alaudacorax: So few restored silent films make it to dvd or blu ray, it's absolutely bizarre. I can't understand why.

Not gothic, but fans here of silent Weimar cinema may be interested to know that an enterprising soul has uploaded some silent films on you-tube, including two restorations - of 'Variety' and 'Chronicles of the Gray House' (both in the NFT season). I think these were grabbed from European tv channels. I watched 'Chronicles' a few nights ago and the restoration is jaw dropping (HD). The story is pedestrian but the visuals are glorious - like something out of Ann Radcliffe. Don't know how long these will stay on line?!:

Chronicles of the Gray House:


Edited to add - Both have English sub titles if you click on the subtitles tab.

abr. 19, 2019, 12:49pm

>157 Rembetis:

If anyone is looking to purchase those, both are available on DVD. I got both last year; Varieté from Kino--the Murnau Stiftung transfer from 2017 (not to be confused with earlier NTSC releases), but with more musical options and extras than the German issue--and Zur Chronik von Grieshuus from the Murnau Stiftung.

Speaking of DVD releases... tentatively... there may be some good news? But it has to go in the Veidt thread...

abr. 19, 2019, 6:49pm

>158 LolaWalser: Gosh, thanks. I search under the English titles - no wonder I come up with nothing. I found the dvd of 'Zur Chronik von Grieshuus' on Amazon but can't work out if it has English subtitles?

abr. 19, 2019, 9:27pm

No English subtitles, BUT, the extras include the full 97-minute American version--At the Grey House. A romance of the moors, 1927. With intertitles in English, of course.

abr. 19, 2019, 10:03pm

By the way, I noticed Eureka! (UK-based) has issued quite a few of the Murnau Stiftung versions, sometimes even with the same bonus material (as in the case of The cabinet of Dr. Caligari, for instance). So you may want to keep an eye on their releases: (Masters of Cinema series in particular).

That said, I just noticed they have discontinued bunches of silent era stuff (hmm, I wonder if Brexit isn't causing some new copyright issues?), AND they seem to be switching to Blu-Ray only (I got from them several "dual version" packages).

abr. 20, 2019, 12:35am

I'm still waiting for the dude who has The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to return it to the library so I an watch it. It was due 5 days ago! I complain!

abr. 20, 2019, 7:47pm

>160 LolaWalser: Thanks for the info. That's worth a punt!

>161 LolaWalser: I do keep my eye on Eureka and own a few of their silent releases (like Caligari, Der Mude Tod), which are excellent.

Brexit could cause some copyright and other problems. E.g., there is an exhibition at the Tate at the moment - Van Gogh and Britain - and I read that the European museums that have lent Van Gogh art were worried that they would have to pay exorbitant tariffs when the art was returned when the exhibition ends at the end of August.

Indicator is switching from 'dual version' packages to blu ray only, and Eureka seem to be doing so too. The BFI is sticking with 'dual version' for most releases for now.

abr. 21, 2019, 12:09pm

>162 WeeTurtle:

I'd be happy to send you one of my extra copies if you'd like.

>163 Rembetis:

As you've seen it, you know what you're getting (I couldn't recommend it at that price to anyone but a proven fan of silent cinema), but I should mention that I only glanced at the American version to check for the presence of English-language intertitles for you and so can't vouch that the quality is the same as in the German version. What I saw looked fine to me.

Yes, it's weird they'd limit the already small audience even more by not providing subtitle options--surely those can't cost much? Especially in comparison to the costs of restoration, digitalization etc.

abr. 21, 2019, 6:52pm

>164 LolaWalser: Thanks for the warning! Such a beautiful film, I can't resist. I think I could even watch the German intertitle version given I have seen it before and the story is so straightforward.

abr. 22, 2019, 8:48pm

>161 LolaWalser: Maybe Eureka! are discontinuing some titles because Connoisseur video have entered the UK market. I have absolutely no inside knowledge about this but seeing their respective editions of Tarkovsky's Solaris and Stalker going head-to-head on the shelves of HMV, it didn't look like a situation that would be allowed to continue for long.

abr. 22, 2019, 9:09pm

Ordered a full-length documentary about Clark Ashton Smith, Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams from Hippocampus Press. Postage more than the price of the Blu-ray itself.

It can be rented from Vimeo for considerably less money!

abr. 23, 2019, 10:23pm

>164 LolaWalser: Wow, that's pretty generous Lola. Thanks, but it looks like it's on its way last I checked the library. Canadian postage from one side of the country to the other isn't too friendly.

abr. 24, 2019, 8:02am

>167 housefulofpaper:

I bought the download from Vimeo but I haven't got round to watching it yet. On impulse, really--£7-66 compared to £3-82 for a 24hr rental seemed rather a bargain.

abr. 26, 2019, 11:34am

>168 WeeTurtle:

Agree that Canada Post is awful, but it's the unreliability that annoys me especially, more than the prices.

>166 housefulofpaper:

Maybe Eureka! are discontinuing some titles because Connoisseur video have entered the UK market.

Hmm, who may they be? I looked but can't seem to find them.

>165 Rembetis:

True. Once you get the hang of who's who the plot is hardly a chore to follow.

abr. 26, 2019, 5:39pm

>170 LolaWalser:

Oh no! I'm sorry! That's the second time my clumsiness here has sent someone on a wild goose chase. I meant The Criterion Collection.

There was an arthouse label called Connoisseur video, and it introduced me to a lot of classic films, but that was 25 or more years ago.

Again, apologies.

abr. 26, 2019, 8:04pm

So went to the local bookstore today. Nothing promising in the horror section or the "gothic series" (the only sign with gothic in the title) but over in the classics I found a small "Victorian Bestsellers" edition of The Castle of Otranto. I'll guess I'll hold off on scoping out anthologies for the moment, until I'm through this and the anthology I picked up at the library.

And yes, I got my film!

abr. 26, 2019, 8:46pm

abr. 26, 2019, 9:43pm

>171 housefulofpaper:

No worries, 'twas just a few clicks... Hmm, so Criterion is going PAL--yes, not good news for anyone in the same line in the UK... Ah, the bear hug of your greedy transatlantic "cousins"--probably just the start.

>173 Rembetis:

Delish! But, pfft, so much Metropolis, and not a single scene from the Student. Great soundtrack, though.

Editat: abr. 27, 2019, 2:51am

>173 Rembetis:

I had no idea what that was about but it looked pretty cool. I find it amusing that I only recognized Dr. Caligari, because of the description in Morrow's book I'm reading, and my comparison of it to a glance at the DVD cover. I should watch that tomorrow.

>174 LolaWalser:

What is PAL in this context? Internet isn't helping too much.

abr. 27, 2019, 5:11am

>175 WeeTurtle:

I think PAL has gone, now, and I was never clear about what it was anyway and I have no idea what's replaced it. The important bit is that your DVDs are Region 1 and ours in the UK are Region 2, which is because the industry wants to be awkward because it's run by a bunch of miserable, soulless ratbags who hold the customer in contempt, but there are several ways of circumventing regions so yah-boo-sucks to them!

I'm such a rebel ...

abr. 27, 2019, 1:00pm

PAL, like NTSC, is a type of DVD format; the first used in Region 2 (UK and Europe), the second in Region 1 (North America).

I've some dim recollection of talk how it all serves the need to control different release dates in different countries but yes it's nothing but a damn nuisance from the customer's point of view.

abr. 27, 2019, 5:39pm

>177 LolaWalser:

It's a different approach to picture fidelity:
The difference between NTSC and PAL formats is resolution quality. PAL may have fewer frames per second, but it also has more lines than NTSC. PAL television broadcasts contain 625 lines of resolution, compared to NTSC's 525. More lines usually means more visual information, which equals better picture quality and resolution. Whenever an NTSC videotape is converted to PAL, black bars are often used to compensate for the smaller screen aspect, much like letterboxing for widescreen movies.

So not simply a matter of saying one is better than the other. What's "better" will depend upon individual preferences regarding aspect ratio versus flicker versus resolution.

abr. 27, 2019, 6:35pm

>178 elenchus:

What the... Um, I said NOTHING whatsoever about one being "better". Please don't refer to my posts if you don't bother to read them first.

abr. 27, 2019, 8:10pm

My understanding is that the different television standards (PAL, SECAM, NTSC etc.) were the result of a lack of an agreed international standard when analogue television services were being developed from the middle of the last century. That and, perhaps, having to fit with practical local constraints such as different domestic electrical supply standards (for example, the UK is 240v at 60 Hz but the US is 120v at 60Hz, if I read the Wikipedia entry correctly.)

But yes, now we've moved to digital transmission and playback, there's no longer any practical reason (as far as I know) to maintain different standards (as demonstrated by my new computer giving me five goes at playing DVDs from anywhere in the world, after which I had to lock into one region) (Also, even my last CRT television could display the sound and picture from a (region-free) NTSC DVD).

PAL (in the analogue days) also has a much better colour signal than NTSC. I never noticed any screen flicker so I'm going to stick my neck out and say it IS better :)

I don't remember US TV shows broadcast in the UK with black borders - obviously shows shot on film wouldn't be affected (and they were the majority of the imports) but we did have some shows originated on video - Barney Miller for example. After all both television standards were based on the 4:3 Academy ratio. Maybe it's a function of modern digitisation software/hardware? I learned from a recent Captain Disillusion upload on YouTube that these can be quite crude in their results (I also learned from these that the dimensions and proportions of the pixels that make up the TV picture can be set to different standards - one more way in which conversion and /or digitisation can give a distorted result).

Here's the link:

abr. 27, 2019, 11:09pm

Ah. I understand the regional thing, just forgot about the PAL acronym. (I'm pretty sure I came across it only once in a guide for librarians purchasing DVDs, etc.) When I googled it, I got "Paid Annual Leave," and my initial thought is always "Possession and Acquisition License" for firearms. That didn't seem to fit.

It wouldn't surprise me if regionality is eventually tossed. It's probably a thing where people who make DvDs/Blu Ray want it there so they can make money, but it won't be too long before streaming or downloads beats them out and they'll be stuck catering to people like me who are stuck enough in the 90s to still want hard copies of things. Musicians are now starting up their own online storefronts and cutting out middlemen (Radiohead for example) who make or markets CDs, etc.

On the other hand, no region blocks means larger markets. The best thing ever was when the EU (I think it was the EU) basically agreed to use one type of connection cable for electronics and iphone makers and such would just have to deal with it. So much easier to get compatible parts now for smart phones and what not. We used to have several cords for different phone models and different editions of the same model from the same company! bah!

And that was slightly off topic.

Current topic, what's my horror movie for the evening? ;)

abr. 28, 2019, 5:17am

>180 housefulofpaper: -... as demonstrated by my new computer giving me five goes at playing DVDs from anywhere in the world, after which I had to lock into one region ...

Yet another reason why I 'demicrosofted' myself and went Linux. Linux distros (or the latest Ubuntu, at least) take a very neat approach to this business-they simply don't include DVD-playing software. A quick search online will find you the names of some suitable freeware, though: you check the Ubuntu depositories (safest way to download stuff), find one that's there and download and install it; then you find it doesn't care about regions and will play anything--and it isn't Ubuntu's fault because you found it and installed it off your own bat!

I connect my laptop to the telly with an HDMI cable to use the telly's screen and soundbar--the telly doesn't know what region disc I'm playing.

The whole system is really daft, though, because it's perfectly legal for us in the UK to buy multi-region DVD players, and we can buy Region 1 DVDs as long as we only buy one copy of each film and don't try to sell it (we can even buy the occasional one on UK Amazon though the sellers usually overcharge so much it's cheaper to buy direct from the US, from where they would be shipped anyway).

Don't know what the situation is with blu-rays, though, haven't looked into that. Don't remember ever coming across a multi-region blu-ray player. Anyway, I'm sceptical on the matter--don't remember ever watching a DVD and thinking 'wish this was a blu-ray'.

abr. 28, 2019, 6:28am

>182 alaudacorax:

My mistake--plenty of multi-region blu-ray players available.

abr. 28, 2019, 3:14pm

>182 alaudacorax:

That's impressive. When (a late adopter) I finally bought a computer I was talked into using a Mac, so my computer skills are accordingly next to nothing - literally "plug and play!"

I do value the high definition image that Blu-ray gives you, and UK DVDs of films do still run slightly fast - whatever the technical issues involved, they have been resolved for UK Blu-ray, which does run at the correct speed (it's not really a problem unless you have a good ear and can spot that the strings on an orchestral score are out of pitch, or that actor's voice is deeper than you're hearing).

abr. 28, 2019, 3:30pm

Like Paul, I watch on my laptop (or rather, on a large monitor connected to my laptop--I use good external speakers too) and that via the VLC software which decodes both PAL and NTSC discs. I've read that Blu-Ray drives can run DVDs (the opposite is not the case) so I may get one by and by, especially if this "Blu-Ray only" trend spreads even more. For example, I'm deeply disappointed that the fabulous L'Inhumaine was released only on Blu-Ray (by Flicker Alley) but still don't feel it in me to add more tech junk on my desk for the sake of ONE movie.

maig 23, 2019, 1:06pm

I’m in France again (photos of a nearby castle when I again have access to a computer and not just a phone). But this note is merely to alert you to the fact that the venerable high-end tea merchants Mariage Freres have a blend of green tea and ginger named after the Phantom of the Opera.

And that, as a Brit, their slogan “welcome to the sophisticated world of French tea” seems to be “throwing shade”...!

maig 23, 2019, 1:37pm

>186 housefulofpaper:

I’m in France again

The Scarlet Pimpernel in reverse, whisking away sad Brexitannians into the land of free and plenty???

Mariage Frères make tea typically too perfumy for my taste, but I wouldn't say no to a cuppa. As I watch from the sidelines the Great Anglo-Gallic Tea Wars. :)

maig 24, 2019, 6:43am

>187 LolaWalser:

Ah ... escaping into the Gothic literature group I am roughly yanked back into reality. When I voted in the Euro elections yesterday morning the polling station was deserted--I thought 'this isn't going to end well'. Today, I haven't, so far, summoned up the fortitude to switch on the news.

Having written that, I forgot to post it. Having now caught up with the news, sod it--back to the Gothic ...

maig 25, 2019, 4:06pm

Browsing in a bookshop, pick up Between the elephant's eyes! by Col. Robert L. Scott ("author of GOD IS MY CO-PILOT")--I'm chortling already--read the Dedication:

I dedicate this story to my wife Kitty Rix who stayed home while I flew three million miles in fighter planes and walked a great many more after lions, leopards, buffalo and elephant.

This just cracks me up so much. I think it was most probably to thank her for keeping the hearth fire going, but it also reads like a boast or reproach. Or both at the same time! Hilarious.

Oh, look, Ernest Hemingway had this book. Vitamin for manly men...

Random page opened, random spot alighted on:

But back to simba.
So each evening the last thing you do is put out the kills. That becomes a ritual too, no matter how tired you are. Then you trudge back to camp and gratefully accept the scotch and soda--or maybe just a cup of tea.

I'd love a chance to work that sentence into a conversation... "What do you do in the evening" "Oh, this and that, but mostly I put out the kills..."

maig 26, 2019, 9:34am

What on earth does 'put out the kills' mean? Does the reference to 'simba' mean it's some new version of putting the cat out?

Editat: maig 26, 2019, 9:41am

>190 alaudacorax:

... and now I'm back to childhood and 'The Goon Show' on the radio ...
"Put the cat out Henry."
"Why, Min--is it on fire again?"

Um ... sorry about that ...

maig 26, 2019, 1:46pm

That's funny actually!

Speculating wildly, I'm guessing they were maybe trapping lions? Would the kills be baits? It's the "each evening" that gets me. A man's work is never done...

Editat: maig 27, 2019, 12:35am

>191 alaudacorax:
>192 LolaWalser:

I assumed it was a hunting reference. When you've killed something, you need to gut it and then hang it up so the blood can drip out and such, I think. I've never actually done it but it's why you see old hunting pictures with animals and such hanging from various contraptions, trees, etc. I figure "hang the meat" would be a good substitute but less lyrical.

Since it's very manly and such to go out on Safari and shoot things, usually lions, I imagine Simba is shot and needs to be hung outside to drain. So yes, someone needs to put the cat out.

Editat: maig 27, 2019, 2:34pm

>187 LolaWalser:
Yes it was, but only for a week...:)

On the subject of Mariage Fréres tea, I treated myself to a canister of Ceylon Orange Pekoe, rather than one of the more performed blends. I was tempted by the idea of a canister of "Fantôme de l'Opera" though!

Here are some pictures of the castle (Chateau d'Andlau) I visited last Wednesday.

Firstly, here it is visible from the town of Barr.

And two views after I'd climbed up to it.

I didn't manage to find a vantage point where I could get both towers in the frame. It's not clear from the first picture but the peak is forested and the castle is out of sight, once you're in the trees, until you're practically at its threshold.

(edited to correct the name of the castle)

maig 27, 2019, 2:24pm


maig 27, 2019, 2:40pm

>195 LolaWalser:


Even so, I managed to get lost on my way back. As in, 90 degrees in the wrong direction and accidentally up a mountain. If nothing else, it will give me a keener appreciation the next time I read one of Algernon Blackwood's "outdoors-y" horrors.

maig 27, 2019, 10:31pm

accidentally up a mountain

Sorry but lol! :) Must've been a slight incline? Also were you on foot? There could be bears! Wolves! Feral children!

maig 27, 2019, 11:34pm

I imagine outdoorsy horror to be less bright and pleasant looking and much more raw undergrowth and hidden rivers and other savage noises, etc. It was amusing watching an episode of Austen Stevens: Snake Master, when he travels from his usual Africa to explore Great Beat Rainforest and can't get over how fast it was to get lost.

maig 28, 2019, 4:50am

>194 housefulofpaper:

I always find it slightly amusing that--at the risk of being confusing--the most Gothic-looking buildings are not Gothic. I can 100% see Emily St Aubyn (Udolpho) running round that place--it's as Gothic a setting as you could get.

And I've forgotten my architecture reading. Is it Romanesque, Norman?

maig 28, 2019, 5:15am

>194 housefulofpaper:, >199 alaudacorax:

I got quite excited for a moment at finding a website claiming to have three hundred French castles for sale and I was having daydreams of picking one up cheap. I think there's a translation problem, though, where they are translating 'chateau' as 'castle' instead of just keeping 'chateau' in the English.

On the other hand, perhaps I could build my own -

And I still haven't figured out what type of architecture Chateau d'Andlau is ...

maig 28, 2019, 7:17pm

>197 LolaWalser:
Yes, living just south of the Chiltern Hills I'm used to a landscape of gentle undulations and at some level I didn't realise that walking uphill for the best part of six hours could get you quite a long way up a mountain - yes, it was on foot. They're still sore :) - I believe there are wild boar...

>198 WeeTurtle:
It's the trees. At the moment I'm seeing the most beautiful forested skyline as just slightly menacing. How much worse if I'd been out after sundown.

>200 alaudacorax:
There certainly seems to be a lot of them. And I'm informed if you see what looks like a castle then it is a castle not, e.g. a folly or a disguised water tower or something like that.

This one has been remodelled and beaten up over the years. There's a plaque at the sight that provides some info - The early castle probably built by Eberhard von Andlau around 1260. Construction uses granite blocks apart from the pink sandstone linings of the windows. It was reinforced in the 14th and 15th centuries to withstand firearms. The bailey was extended the 16th century and flanked by two towers. It was confiscated in the Revolution, then sold and torn down for building materials. It was bought back by the Andlau family in 1820.

maig 29, 2019, 7:39am

In the introduction to our group, our much-missed leader used the phrase '... what a certain outrageously popular contemporary author once deemed 'good trash ...' Every so often I have a search online but I've never figured out which author she had in mind. Can anyone enlighten me?

maig 29, 2019, 8:32am

>194 housefulofpaper:

I've been looking on Google Maps and that looks an absolutely wonderful area for walking and bird watching. Did you see any evidence of it being a popular walking area?

maig 29, 2019, 6:01pm

>203 alaudacorax:

Yes. There are signposted forest trails (which I didn't know how to read, unfortunately) and even when walking my friend's dog between Barr and Mittelbergheim we were often passed by walkers and cyclists.

A falcon and a stork (the emblematic bird of the area) were pointed out to me while I was there.

maig 30, 2019, 1:04pm

Sounds lovely. Storks are adorable.

juny 1, 2019, 3:55pm

My latest holiday cottage includes an official, 'thrusting-up-and-down-whilst-shouting-'Rhubarb-rhubarb!'-as-part-of-a-mob-hunting-Frankenstein's-monster' kit ...

Unfortunately, I'm only five foot nine and I can't actually reach them ...

juny 3, 2019, 4:09am

So I have been looking over another library book that I also neglected and now have to return in a few days because someone wants it, but I came across this passage while skimming the introduction:

"The Gothic is a psychological landscape as much as it is an architectural and geographical run. Its classic imagery -- ruins, castles, dungeons, Old Dark Houses -- offers a system of signs with which to represent the workings of the unconscious mind. The symbolism is important, as writers of the Gothic from Radcliffe to Poe to Stoker simply had no agreed technical technical vocabulary or scientific discipline at their disposal with which to describe and interpret the unconscious."

- xxi, Horror Stories Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson

It goes on to attribute the first terms to Freud and psychoanalysis.

I'm interested by the idea of symbols standing in for a lack of shared language. I remember commenting more than once how fantasy reading, and games like Dungeons & Dragons, create a perfect vernacular for discussion alternate planes and dimensions, etc., and things that aren't entirely of the same world and matter as we are. I'm tying to imagine what it would be like writing in a world without the psychological language to talk about the subconscious and such.

Good stories so far. :). Don't know if I will get to them all but I'm determined to hit The Yellow Wall Paper and Repairer of Reputations before I return this.

juny 3, 2019, 6:18pm

>206 alaudacorax:

Don't think I'd want to face Frankenstein's monster armed with a hay rake. :)

juny 6, 2019, 6:36pm

>207 WeeTurtle:
There's more about the Gothic as a "psychological landscape" in Sleeping with the lights on. Interestingly a further reading section at the end of the book cites "the insights of Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (1966)" as informing "the whole of (his) book".

Editat: juny 16, 2019, 5:34am

>209 housefulofpaper: I copied the bibliography at the back of my book before I returned it. I'll have to see if that ones's on there. I should start thinking about some of the books I actually own though, but not a lot are particular to Gothic lit. Alas.

juny 16, 2019, 4:43am

>210 WeeTurtle:

I don't think you meant >109 alaudacorax:, Meaghan--can't understand your post.

juny 16, 2019, 5:34am

Whoops, yup. Typo it looks like. My bad.

juny 16, 2019, 7:21pm

I saw a link, over in the Folio Society Devotees group, for a limited edition of Dracula (2 different limited editions, rather, priced at "Folio Society limited edition expensive" and "don't be stupid, step away from the computer!") from Amaranthine Books. And I think I have managed to talk myself out of buying a copy. Phew!

juny 17, 2019, 3:14am

>213 housefulofpaper:

Following up on your post, I felt quite joyous to be moving in circles where one can randomly come across a line like:
The blood thing and the Transylvanian soil sample might be taking things a tad too far.
Started my day off with a big grin.

juny 21, 2019, 6:51pm

>208 housefulofpaper: Channel hopping (or is it surfing?) and caught a bit of Van Helsing (2004). Fair enough, there are villagers armed with hay rakes...:)

Editat: juny 23, 2019, 5:07am

>215 housefulofpaper:

Ah well ... they only have to wave them up and down and shout, "Rhubarb-rhubarb!"

jul. 21, 2019, 8:43pm

This group has been great for just picking up names. I've been lazy about reading but following stories at least on youtube is my new evening pre-sleep ritual and I know have some things to investigate when I go to the used book store. I found a small paperback collection of M.R James' ghost stories. No Blackwood, but I finally got around to asking where the anthologies were in the book store. There was an Oxford Gothic collection and I didn't actually recognize many of the stories in it (save for The Yellow Wallpaper) but I need to be a little frugal. Left with my James paperback and a hard cover collection of poems by Robert Service.

jul. 22, 2019, 6:25am

>217 WeeTurtle: - This group has been great for just picking up names.

And now I've gone and bought a Kindle biog of Robert Service. You are getting as dangerous as housefulofpaper. To be honest, I'd never heard of Service and just thought of his best-known poems as old music-hall turns. Don't think I've heard or read them in many decades; but the Wikipedia page made him sound quite an interesting chap and the biog--Robert Service: Under the Spell of the Yukon--contains 'a selection of his best-loved poems', so ... thanks for that.

jul. 25, 2019, 8:27pm

>101 alaudacorax:, et al.

It's one in the morning here and--at least for a Brit--sweltering hot. I've just woken from what I thought was a nightmare.

Background: I'd been reading a little Lovecraft after supper; actually, the short story 'The Tomb', with which I was a little dissatisfied from realising I'd previously read it quite recently--I think the ribbon had come out of my Barnes & Noble, 'Complete' volume and been put back a long way earlier in the book than it should have been. Anyway, it was too late to start another and, for some light relief last thing before bed, I decided to watch the video in that link again.

But I fell asleep.

I dreamed that I and some lady I never seemed to visualise had strayed across some sort of border and been told we could never go home again, but in compensation we were going to live for ever. This was no sort of bargain because I was eternally buttonholed by some damn' fool who was telling me this long and weird story that seemed to have no plot or story line and it was just too hot to make some effort to get away from him and out of there. I wondered if I was dead and in hell.

Then I woke up and realised YouTube had run on and I was half-way through a three hour, twenty minute recital of Lovecraft's 'The Mound' ...

jul. 25, 2019, 8:44pm

You've been Spirited Away?

jul. 26, 2019, 5:09am

>219 alaudacorax: That reminds me of the time I fell asleep on the living room couch and had this dream in a very LOTR like setting and was imagine this foundry that was something like a combination of the goings on inside Thulsa Doom's lair in the Conan movie (with Arnold) and the foundry beneath Orthanc in The Two Towers movie. Looking around though, instead of forging swords for Isengard with their liquid metal etc, it was barbecue sauce concoctions on ribs. I woke up and the food network was on.

jul. 26, 2019, 5:47pm

>220 LolaWalser:

I think you could count Spirited Away as Gothic. One of my all-time favourite films.

>221 WeeTurtle:

It's weird how you can be fast asleep and dreaming and yet listening and reacting to something in the waking world.

jul. 27, 2019, 8:53am

Back in the '90s I used to have a 40-minute bus ride home after work. I always had a book and quite often would nod off mid-sentence, and dream a continuation of the text. When I woke up I would have a moment of disorientation and then have to find my way back to the real text. When I was reading an anthology of the pre-socratic philosophers, who expended a lot of effort on cosmological speculation with very little to go on and came up with ideas such as everything is in motion/nothing is in motion/everything is formed from fire/from air/etc.., it was difficult to know if I really had woken up, there being little difference between the dream text and the actual text.

Another thing that happened in the '90s - a rare TV broadcast of the film Wonderwall (pulled out of the archive off the back of the Oasis track, I'm sure). It was on too late to watch but I had a video recorder in my bedroom (still living with my parents at this time) and set the timer - it had always been an intriguing-sounding film). I don't remember sleeping well, or at all, but had a waking dream or dozing reverie of how I imagined the film to be. I am sure I'd never seen the film before but on watching the tape the next evening I had managed to correctly envisage the Jack MacGowran character's dark fusty flat (or apartment if you prefer). Strange isn't it. I've heard theories of people picking up radio broadcasts on the fillings in their teeth, but television?

ag. 16, 2019, 4:30pm

Green Shadows, White Whale mentions The Ballad of Reading Gaol and it made me laugh aloud because I wouldn't have known what that was without this group! The combination of Ray Bradbury, John Huston, Moby Dick, Ireland, etc. was memorable enough, but there was also a chapter including a short story about a banshee. Madness ensued in all 237p. My opinion of Bradbury as a man has increased exponentially. Class act.

ag. 18, 2019, 7:45pm

>224 frahealee:

By coincidence, I've been reading some Ray Bradbury recently, a late work (the mystery novel Let's All Kill Constance and the short story collection from the early '60s R is for Rocket). I do have a copy of Green Shadows, White Whale. I found it in the Piccadilly branch of Waterstones but it's in the "TBR pile" at the moment.

(To quote their website, "Occupying a beautiful art deco building, formerly Simpsons' department store, in the heart of London's West End, Waterstones Piccadilly offers six huge floors of books with over 200,000 unique titles". It claims to be Europe's largest bookshop. Although actually I prefer Blackwell's in Oxford with its selection of private press books (expensive!) and its unexpectedly huge Bond-villain's-underground-lair of a basement.)

ag. 19, 2019, 5:04am

>225 housefulofpaper:

Okay, I know this is a bit snarky and nit-picking, but what exactly is an 'unique title', Waterstones?

Editat: ag. 19, 2019, 7:20am

>225 housefulofpaper: I found it amusing, stem to stern, but you might take offense in that, the underlying theme throughout (as voiced by a nameless Irish gent), seems to be "Americans look down on the Irish, the Irish look down on the British, and the British look down on everyone else, and thus the circle is complete". The perfection in the writing, is Bradbury's ability to capture the tragic comedy of the poor who wish not to change their plight because it is familiar and without façade. It is their lot in life and interference is frowned upon. Smiling at certain 'characters' brought Steinbeck to mind, because once I caught myself smiling, I felt awkwardly aware that perhaps I shouldn't be, but that was his point.

I bought Something Wicked This Way Comes but ended up giving it to my son for his birthday before reading it myself. I have seen the online 1983 version with Jonathan Pryce/Pam Grier/Jason Robards. That's next up.

ag. 19, 2019, 8:48pm

>226 alaudacorax:
Ha! I didn't spot that. It's not what they mean, is it?

>227 frahealee:
I don't think I can reasonably take offence at that, given the politics of the last few years. Although it probably needs to be refined to "the English look down on everyone else" so as not to tar the Welsh and the Sots with the same brush.

I wish I could find a decent version of Jack Clayton's film version of Something Wicked This way Comes - a region 2 DVD or even a showing on TV I could record (yes! I have a DVD recorder again, although it's second hand and I fear it's not long for this world).What I have is a DVD copied from a 25 or thirty-year-old off-air VHS recording. Even worse, the VHS tape is scratched for about an hour of the film's running time, and the picture is distorted anyway because I recorded the film during a hot summer with interference, due to something going on high up in the atmosphere, and a thunderstorm (which was perhaps appropriate).

(Similar atmospherics actually lend an appropriate feel to my off-air copy of Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders).

Editat: ag. 20, 2019, 3:24pm

>228 housefulofpaper: Ah, good point. I also get mixed up with terms for Scandinavia vs. Nordic vs. ?? with or without Finland or Iceland alongside Denmark, Norway, Sweden. As a Commonwealth country, I should know better, and Peter/Dublin detailed the overlap for me but the finite has faded. Not being American, I can opt to ignore the whole political climate for as long as it continues to ruffle feathers. Canada is not quite Switzerland, but we are slow to stain alliance. Bradbury kept his scribbles 30yrs before its 1992 publication. I have no recall of current events back then...

I watched the whole thing through before I realized it was Pam Grier in the role as the Dust Witch, after looking up the acting credits in IMDb. Dismal quality. I wish we could have a big ole 'drive-in theatre' in the sky, with it visible in multiple countries simultaneously. Even with 4 or 5 hrs apart we could munch popcorn and laugh at the absurdity or share timely jump-scares!

ag. 28, 2019, 5:32am

LT's taken to asking me if I'm a robot. It's because I keep leaving out the first person pronouns, isn't it?

Editat: set. 1, 2019, 7:50am

I read a short story this morning that touched on voodoo. In regard to this, one of the characters mentions The Magic Island by William Seabrook. So I went searching for info on it. Found a couple of reasonably informative reviews on Amazon (UK). And then there was this one, entitled 'Cursed' ...

Since I bought this book I have had really bad luck. Im throwing it out

ETA - I've posted a comment asking the reviewer if his luck's got better ...

set. 1, 2019, 5:26pm

>231 alaudacorax:
thinking back to your enjoyment of the Weird Tales facsimile, "true life" tales of the supernatural had a share of the pulp market, didn't they? They moved - or expanded - to television in the fifties, now they're in Amazon reviews!

Editat: set. 1, 2019, 7:43pm

>232 housefulofpaper:

Funny you should write that just now. I've come to a passage in the book (Weird Tales: A Facsimile of the World's Most Famous Fantasy Magazine) purporting to be readers' experiences of the supernatural and I can't, for the life of me, work out if we are expected to take them as genuine or fiction. They are too well-fleshed-out and polished to be readers' letters, obviously the work of practised and accomplished writers (perhaps even HPL?), but is the reader expected to believe, rather than just suspend disbelief?

ETA - You've probably guessed from all my posts, but it's a long time since I've had so much enjoyment out of a work of fiction.

set. 1, 2019, 7:46pm

>233 alaudacorax:

Oops! When I ETA'd that post I'd completely forgotten that my first posts about the book were in the 'The Weird Tradition' group.

set. 2, 2019, 4:12am

>229 frahealee: I tended to get off with that too until I actually asked when I was over there. Scandinavian (or so I was told) is properly Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Nordic is those three plus Iceland, Finland, and maybe the Faeroe Islands?

I've been a ball of stress again lately so I think I need to go and check out more horror things. Funny how that works for stress relief.

Oh, also there's a new Devil May Cry video game with a character I haven't seen called 'V.' Pretty much the gothic academic sort, quotes Blake, has a Raven and panther he can summon. How lovely!

Editat: set. 6, 2019, 12:44pm

>225 housefulofpaper: I see that Margaret Atwood will visit Waterstones Piccadilly on 09/09/19. Again, it would have meant nothing to me to read that, without seeing this comment in the Gothic Literature Group. I've read six of her novels to date, with The Robber Bride next in line, but have not read her 1985 book or this sequel. Someday. First I need to get through Eudora Welty's The Robber Bridegroom, after spending time with the Brothers Grimm last year. These overlaps, honestly!! Lists solve nothing. =(

Oh, and somewhere you mention Tolkien perhaps having read weird fiction during LOTR?! I finished a re-read of The Hobbit not a week ago. Last time was in high school. It was a refreshing contrast to the glitz of the movie(s) since his pared down approach to people and place allowed me to better absorb the plot. People meaning character (which includes all hobbits and dwarves!). The bit about the 9 men corrupted by their original rings, now ruled by the Necromancer, was just a bonus! Speaking of Christopher Lee...

>235 WeeTurtle: I'm not entirely sure that I realized Greenland was part of Denmark?! Also, I have books by both Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter on my tbr list. My kids thought I had a death-wish illness I was hiding from them, with my 18mo. obsession with all things gothic and noir and weird/horror/sci-fi/etc. I had to switch back to CanLit for awhile to appease them.

For a satire boost, I spent 3h34m listening to John Cleese narrate The Screwtape Letters. Devilish grins abound.

set. 6, 2019, 7:08pm

>236 frahealee:

That was alaudacorax speculating over in The Weird Tradition group, I think. I have my doubts that Tolkien would have "lowered" himself to reading weird fiction as it was appearing in Weird Tales and the like. Also, how easy was it to get hold of that stuff, in Britain in the '30s and '40s? I know of the reprints in the "Not at Night" anthology series, but apart from that, the history of actual copies making it over to the UK (as ship's ballast, as comic books and rock 'n' roll records entered ports such Liverpool later on?), or reprints in home-grown titles is, I believe, very obscure.

The orthodoxy is that Tolkien was drawing on the mythology of Northern Europe, and writers like Robert E. Howard were tapping into the same source. Just to muddy the picture further, both traditions fed into Dungeons and Dragons and the like, didn't they?

Editat: set. 6, 2019, 9:35pm

>237 housefulofpaper:

It's infuriating: I'm sure I remember making this Weird Tales/Tolkein point, but the searches I run just come up blank, both for this group and The Weird Tradition. Belatedly, I think I'm remembering us coming to the conclusion that I was probably picking up on Tolkein and the The Weird Tales set both being influenced by Lord Dunsany.

set. 6, 2019, 9:35pm

Sometimes I miss hints of humour when I have no eyeballs to gauge. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. I didn't know it was unavailable in the UK, since it all blurs together in my mind, with the originators and the 'offspring'. My lists are all alphabetical and rarely take place into account. Lovecraft at least lived in England for a time, so maybe he tried to spread the word.

set. 7, 2019, 3:13am

>239 frahealee:

Lovecraft lived in England?

Editat: set. 7, 2019, 12:44pm

>240 alaudacorax: After his wifey I think, for a time, post-1928. I would need to check my research done earlier this year before I nabbed a collection of his works (Kobo ebook). Might have been Cornwall, which could be a mere brain misfire with Daphne du Maurier. If I can find my posted link in the Weird Tradition Group... a 90min documentary with Guillermo del Toro, Carpenter, Gaiman, Kiernan, Campbell and others discussing the Lovecraft legacy with a smattering of biography. He had family roots in Devon.

I see Nicholas Cage is scheduled for a TIFF appearance this week with The Colour Out of Space. I would see it, if only for Canadian Tommy Chong, but need to read it first. It's in my collection waiting patiently for its turn.

ETA: Nope, not in that documentary, although it was fun to revisit. Sonia his ex-wife went to Europe after their 1929 divorce without him. His health and finances likely wouldn't have supported the voyage but the desire was there. His fascination with not only Poe but Dunsany was well known.

Horror Babble's audio version of TCOOS is 1h21m so it can slot in easily this weekend. Apologies if my recall is hazy. I had to cold turkey quit the weekly TWT story discussions because it was quicksand for me. Having not grown up with knowledge of Weird Tales, it required more research than reading, and it grew to be too vast. As with novels, I like to follow one author's progress chronologically, and found flipping from one writer to another each week unfulfilling, until familiarity with both 'the penner and the penned' increases.

set. 8, 2019, 5:59am

>241 frahealee: - ... it required more research than reading, and it grew to be too vast.

Ha-ha--the curse of LibraryThing! I so often find myself carried away doing more reading about stuff I'm reading than I'm doing actual, primary reading. I'm currently finding myself more and more obsessing over the dividing lines and overlaps between Weird and Gothic. I probably overthink things ...

Are you talking about Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown? Don't answer that--just found it and you must be. Downloading as I write.

set. 8, 2019, 7:48am

I just finished a four book binge on Margaret Laurence, who did move to England for a decade after her divorce, before returning to Canada to live out her days near Peterborough. Got my "L"s crisscrossed likely. My brain is mud but still ravenous.

Enjoyed The Colour Out of Space much more than expected, and it might be in my top 3 Lovecraft stories! What a mood he creates... highly repetitive in parts but it made me shiver a few times in my dark corner with my eyes closed, as the neighbour progressed through the farmhouse. I wonder how his early poetry compares to CAS? Rainy day musings.

set. 13, 2019, 2:29am

Happy Friday 13th, everyone!

set. 13, 2019, 2:37pm

>244 alaudacorax:


Are you doing something special?

set. 13, 2019, 2:38pm

I think I'll try to find a ladder to walk under, and any black cats are invited to cross my path again and again...

set. 14, 2019, 6:25pm

>244 alaudacorax:

I hope it passed without incident!

I've just posted in the Weird Tradition group, and I'll put it here too, that BBC radio - specifically the digital channel Radio Four Extra - broadcast readings of five Robert Aickman stories nearly a month ago. That means they will only be on the BBC iplayer for two or three days more.

I know guess that most members of this group are in the States, but I've heard a rumour that BBC radio programmes are not region-locked. If true, you might want to have a listen. If not, sorry for wasting your time :)

Editat: set. 15, 2019, 4:48am

>245 LolaWalser:, >246 LolaWalser:, >247 housefulofpaper:

I don't know if this is a case of good or bad or bad timing.

I'm on holiday in the North Wales hills at the moment. Thursday 12th, I found myself high up on a mountain, several miles from here and on the far side of another valley, trying to find my way across a bog with no sign of a path, with the dawning realisation that I'd bitten off more than I could chew and wasn't going to complete my planned walk and get down off the hills before dusk, and no obvious way of taking a short cut straight down the hill because the map was showing one long jumble of cliffs and crags below me.

The sceptic in me realises it would have made for a much better story had it been Friday 13th; the Gothic literature fan in me slightly worries that might have been too much tempting fate.

set. 15, 2019, 4:47am

>248 alaudacorax:
I should mention that that was not a message from the beyond--I did get back to the cottage safely.

set. 15, 2019, 2:12pm

>249 alaudacorax:

Thank goodness for that!

oct. 20, 2019, 3:13pm

Not really sure where this should go, so I'm putting it here.

I've just been listening, on BBC Radio 4 Extra (, to a dramatisation of a short story--a vampire tale--called To See the Sun, by, of all people, Kingsley Amis.

I was expecting some sort of humorous treatment, but no, it's a straightforward vampire tale, and rather a good one. It's a bit of an unusual variant on the traditional vampire story, but firmly in that genre. It has plenty of the requisite Gothic trappings.

Evidently in homage to Dracula, the original short story is epistolary (as the dramatisation is mostly so).

Oops--I'm stuck. I've just realised that the next few bits I was going to write would be pretty hefty spoilers. So frustrating: I had one or two points I wanted to make to position it in relation to the multiplicity of vampire literature and I can't without giving away much of the plot.

Anyway, I was impressed enough by it to want to get my hands on the original. And I'm intrigued to read his other short stories, too--apparently he used them to try his hand at any number of genres, quite respectfully and straightforwardly. It's in his Kingsley Amis: Collected Short Stories (1980). I wonder if it's been anthologised elsewhere?

oct. 20, 2019, 4:30pm

I'm aware of Amis's interest in science fiction and have read, I think, a few of his sf stories--possibly anthologised by himself, not sure. And I think he also wrote a couple of James Bond novels? He was obsessed with Bond, I have this "Bond dossier" book by him where the love for the character is palpable. In short, it doesn't seem that he looked down on genre writing.

oct. 23, 2019, 5:11am

So, anyone else finding that the Gothic reading here has helped with the latest LT scavenger hunt? I know I wouldn't have gotten one of the Poe ones so easily without my reading here.

oct. 23, 2019, 1:48pm

>253 WeeTurtle:

I only did a few, to secure the badge. Hey, nice to hear this place is educational! :)

Editat: nov. 2, 2019, 5:31pm

>252 LolaWalser:
I think he wrote the first Bond novel after Fleming died, under the Robert Markham pseudonym (and Touchstones confirms one Robert Markham has been "aliased into" Kingsley Amis; the other is or was presumably a real life person).

His alternative history novel The Alteration was in my school library. For some reason I never read it (and still haven't), but all credit to them for having it there.

Edited - to add the missing ")".

oct. 23, 2019, 7:16pm

>253 WeeTurtle:
I got 9, but now I've hit a brick wall. It's also after midnight here so I'm calling it a day!

Editat: oct. 28, 2019, 10:38am

>253 WeeTurtle:, >254 LolaWalser:, >256 housefulofpaper:

Never tried one of those; was curious to see what you were all up to; so had a go. After a bit of struggle I got all except #2 and just hit a brick wall with that one. Then I solved the damned thing by accident! Not sure if that was frustrating or satisfying ...

ETA - Nope, it was frustrating--I really wanted to work it out for myself.

oct. 29, 2019, 3:10am

>253 WeeTurtle: I think I've done that before. Stumbled onto a page and got a banner. Then went to check the clue and couldn't' figure out how it was supposed to work. I just called that luck.

*goes back to look at #2.

nov. 1, 2019, 12:32pm

On BBC this Christmas, a new 'Ghost Story for Christmas' - 'Martin's Close', based on the M R James' short story. Adapted by Mark Gatiss, and starring Peter Capaldi. It's about a case before the notorious 'hanging judge', George Jeffries. It is being previewed at the NFT in London on 11 December at 6.15, + Q&A with Mark Gatiss and stars of the show.

Also, in January, the BBC is showing a new 3 part version of 'Dracula' (each part 90 minutes long), from the 'Sherlock' team of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffatt. There is a preview of episode 1 at the NFT in London, Monday 9 December at 6.15pm, + Q&A with Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffatt, Claes Bang (who portrays Dracula), and producer Sue Vertue. Some of this was shot at Bray Studios, Hammer's old home. The teaser trailer on youtube looks good (I am loving the nuns with the stakes!):

nov. 1, 2019, 1:18pm

>259 Rembetis:

Nuns with stakes and I'm in Ken Russell territory! I shall watch out for that, though.

nov. 1, 2019, 6:03pm

Ooh, I hope some of the piratical philanthropists manage to put those online somewhere for the rest of us...

nov. 1, 2019, 8:57pm

>260 alaudacorax: Haha! Yes, I thought 'The Devils' too!

>261 LolaWalser: I thought Gatiss's productions were sold by the BBC worldwide?! Hope you do get to see them, fingers crossed!

nov. 2, 2019, 12:33am

I don't have a television and by the time stuff gets to DVD, if it does... so I rely on the kindness of strangers. :)

nov. 2, 2019, 5:28pm

Maybe - just maybe - someone somewhere will decide that The Tractate Middoth, The Dead Room and Martin's Close will be sufficient to fill a new A Ghost Story for Christmas DVD.

Dracula looks good and - as all the YouTube commentators are pointing out, apparently leaning heavily on the Hammer films iconography. Funny to think that the single boldest thing about Coppola's film was precisely its rejection of that.

nov. 3, 2019, 8:01pm

On this BBC 'Dracula':

I've just seen the trailer again and it's starting to niggle me that I can't remember where I've seen that castle before. It's so, so familiar. Anybody?

I have to admit I'm starting to have my doubts about this production, though. I wasn't overly enthused by them advertising it as 'From the makers of Sherlock'--didn't seem a very comfortable match to me, but now I find, according to IMDb, "Mark Gatiss has confirmed that Dracula will play against type and be the hero in this latest incarnation according to TheMailOnLine". Loath as I am to belive in the veracity of The Mail, my heart is sinking.

nov. 3, 2019, 9:22pm

>263 LolaWalser: Yes, I recall you mentioned this in another discussion. I hope you will be lucky with 'Dracula'...:-)

>264 housefulofpaper: That dvd sounds good! Here's hoping.

>265 alaudacorax: It is Orava Castle in Slovakia, used in films like 'Nosferatu' (1922) and on tv shows like Gatiss's 'Horror Europa'.

I think the use of the line 'from the makers of Sherlock' is purely a promotional tactic to try and get the many millions who watch 'Sherlock' to watch 'Dracula'.

I read an interview with Gatiss in 'Pilot' magazine and he said that Dracula is often a fleeting presence in films of the book, and he wanted to put the character centre stage. He didn't mention making Dracula a hero. Dracula might be an anti-hero in this version, but who knows, the Mail might be right (however, I cannot see how Dracula can be portrayed as an hero?!)

Also, that dreadful rag 'The Sun' did a piece about Dracula being overtly bi-sexual in this version. That will upset some people (haha) although it shouldn't be a shock to anyone who's read the book, or seen other Dracula/ vampire films.

nov. 3, 2019, 9:31pm

>265 alaudacorax: I found a Gatiss quote on the Radio Times web page relating to the 'hero' quote -

“We sort of made a promise to ourselves and the people who are making it, paying for it, that we’d make Dracula the hero of his own story, and less of a shadowy presence, and that’s a really clever idea, but we had to make good on it!”

“We quickly found out why he’s often kept a shadowy presence,” Moffat agreed.

“Having an evil lead character is actually really difficult. That’s been the main challenge I think. But how we’ve handled that, you’ll have to wait and see.”

If they have kept Dracula 'evil', as they must have done, I cannot see the character being a 'hero' in the conventional sense. I think the Mail quote has been taken out of context.

Also heard that Gatiss has made a documentary about Dracula and Vampire films to accompany the series, and has interviewed stars from Hammer films etc for it.

Editat: nov. 3, 2019, 9:43pm

>263 LolaWalser: 'Dracula' is a BBC/Netflix co-production, so if you have Netflix, you might be able to stream it. It is being shown on the BBC in the UK and internationally on Netflix.

nov. 3, 2019, 10:05pm

>266 Rembetis:

Dracula being overtly bi-sexual in this version

Yess! Good old Gatiss delivers.

By hook or by crook I shall see this somehow.

>265 alaudacorax:

Well, but, technically, "hero" needn't be a good guy? Actually, I'm not sure what sort of alchemy would be necessary to render Dracula a good guy. He eats people after all. That's hard to put a positive spin on.

Maybe he's more central this time? Hammer's Dracula does tend to get less screen time than the vampire chasers.

nov. 4, 2019, 6:05am

>266 Rembetis: - It is Orava Castle in Slovakia, used in films like 'Nosferatu' (1922) and on tv shows like Gatiss's 'Horror Europa'.
Ah, right--I've seen both, of course. Thanks.

>266 Rembetis: - ... the many millions who watch 'Sherlock' ...
I'll have to have another look at that, sometime. I hadn't realised it was anything like as big as it is. I watched a handful but never stuck with it, and I suppose I've just assumed it was a relatively obscure show.

>267 Rembetis:
Okay, 'an evil lead character' is more reassuring.

>269 LolaWalser: - Maybe he's more central this time? Hammer's Dracula does tend to get less screen time than the vampire chasers.
This is going to be quite interesting: a lot of the power of various incarnations comes from the menace rather than the actual presence of Dracula--an unknown quantity, ominous shadow, sort of thing; they'll be risking seriously diluting that. More central, as with Coppola, or really the central character, I wonder?
I wrote that, then starting wondering about Gary Oldman's Dracula--how much of the screen time he actually had (such a barn-storming perfomance could distort one's perceptions) and now I'm wondering if making Dracula 'the hero of his own story' (>267 Rembetis:) is really such an original concept, after all.

nov. 8, 2019, 7:03pm

>270 alaudacorax: 'Sherlock' was huge for the BBC - it averaged 11 - 12 million people each episode! Hence it being mentioned in the trailer for 'Dracula'. I actually enjoyed 'Sherlock' very much, though it was too wordy at times.

I agree that making Dracula central to the story, or even telling the story from his perspective, isn't original - that was done, as you say, in Coppola's Dracula starring Gary Oldman (the whole 'Mina' being a resurrection of Dracula's lost love etc). Must say I found that version beautiful to look at, great central performance, but not at all scary, and Keanu Reeves (as Dick Van Dyke in 'Mary Poppins' playing Jonathan Harker) - was terrible! I also think Dracula was very much central to the story in the 1977 BBC version, starring Louis Jourdan - certainly to my mind the most literate and faithful adaptation I have seen, and very scary to boot (particularly the early scenes, and everything shot in Highgate Cemetery).

nov. 8, 2019, 8:03pm

I just listened to a BBC radio show, originally broadcast on Halloween, called 'Fear in the Furrows' about folk horror, running 28 minutes. It's available on BBC Sounds, the radio equivalent of the iplayer, for those in the UK:

Very enjoyable, if too brief, but an eerie and interesting listen. Here is the write up:

"From the nuggets of evil turned up by the plough in Blood On Satan's Claw and burning effigies off the mainland in The Wicker Man to the cursed woodland, stone circles and rituals that haunt a wealth of British film, television and literature, the countryside has always been the place that no one can hear you scream!

This programme explores the darker underside of the pastoral idyll and the tradition of folk horror being revived by a new generation of artists, writers and filmmakers. Far from being a green and pleasant land, this is landscape as a place of uncanny eeriness and even terror: places of dark isolation and older belief systems, places where the Enlightenment never happened, fens and fields where the soil holds secrets, buried trauma that rises to the surface - and where hapless city dwellers are lured in to meet their fate.

Observing the ritual slaying of the Jack In The Green followed by the culling and burning during Lammas, visiting lonely, de-sanctified churches sinking into the soil and recording incantations in the dark-wood, doomed documentary maker Simon Hollis draws on a lifetime of unease about the country and a treasure trove of TV and film archive to face the Fear In The Furrows.

Contributors include the writers Alan Garner and Ben Myers, horror aficionado Kim Newman and critic Helen Wheatley, filmmaker Adam Scovell, folk musician Sharron Krauss and Piers Haggard, director of the folk-horror classic Blood On Satan’s Claw."

nov. 9, 2019, 10:35am

>271 Rembetis:

That Louis Jourdan Count Dracula is a new one on me--doesn't ring any bells at all. It seems odd that it's not been discussed here, but I can't find any trace that we have. I have got to see it!

Funny how often this group surprises me with stuff from my 20s that I have absolutely no memory of. I must have been having a great time. Wish I'd kept a journal ...

Editat: nov. 9, 2019, 11:48am

>273 alaudacorax:

I think Andrew brought it up before. We both list it!

I posted about it here:

Note that Photobucket blurred the pictures after they hijacked everyone's accounts (attempt to blackmail clients into paying their $400 fee); when I posted them the images were sharp and without the watermark.

Short take: I like that adaptation although I'm not sure Jourdan fits the character--too sexy.

nov. 9, 2019, 12:25pm

>272 Rembetis:

Just listened to 'Fear in the Furrows'--though-provoking.

I often feel myself on the outside looking in on these examinations of folk-horror. I suspect the idea is very much an urban construct.

I don't fear the countryside or wild lands or the night or dark woodland. It's the urban that makes me nervous. Wander UK cities or larger towns (or even holiday resorts) on a daytime weekday, and just a hundred yards or so can take you from busy, commercial areas into more or less upmarket residential areas--that always seem to be deserted and silent. I hear my footsteps almost echoing. A couple of minutes and I'm sure unseen eyes are watching me from those blinds and lace curtains. I feel myself suspected and disapproved, and feel I've had a narrow escape from ... something .... when I find myself back in a nice, safe shopping street. And the horror of living in such a place with not even a small field or patch of woodland in miles! It must take a strange and alien breed to live there--who knows what horrors may being hatched behind some of those bland frontages? Ever wonder how many of them have cellars? I suspect some of the denizens are the ones creating folk-horror ...

... and then they make some money at it and buy a nice place in the country ... and spend their lives in a terror of no street-lighting and strange cries at night (is that a fox or a girl screaming?), of sudden rustlings in the undergrowth and unexpected gunshots in the near distance ...

nov. 9, 2019, 12:47pm

>274 LolaWalser:

Great review. At the risk of becoming a real bore about CinemaParadiso, I've now got Count Dracula at #3 on my wish list after Borley Rectory and Ken Russell's Gothic.

On looking for it here, I was a little startled to find myself in one of these threads giving Francis Ford Coppola's version a right slagging off and then find that I'd reduced my original IMDb rating of seven stars to four. I think I'll dig out my copy (I'm sure I've got one) and have another look. Perhaps I was in a bad mood that time?

Editat: nov. 10, 2019, 4:51am

>276 alaudacorax:
I watched Francis For Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" in the cinema. Given the title I was hoping to see a film that followed the story as told by Bram Stoker. I was disappointed that it was no more Bram Stoker's Dracula than the man on the moon but I enjoyed the film for itself.

Over the years I have developed the wisdom to judge a film on its own merits and not on how it compares to its source material.

I still think it was a liberty for Coppola to use Stoker's name in the film title give how much poetic licence he used.

nov. 9, 2019, 7:20pm

>274 LolaWalser: I like a 'sexy' Dracula ;-)!

>275 alaudacorax: Glad you liked the programme, and thanks for your interesting comments, which reminded me of the 1970 fictional 'folk horror' tv play 'Robin Redbreast', where a succesful middle class BBC script editor, played by Anna Cropper, does indeed leave London and moves to a house in the countryside. Only there really are strange things going on around her...!

You are right that deserted urban areas are creepy and can feel alien - all that concrete and no humans around - but I also find deserted countryside or woods frightening. I have been in Cornish villages with no street lighting. The stars are absolutely stunning, but I always feel uneasy in the dark. Perhaps I've seen too many horror films?! On one trip to Cornwall many years ago, a coven met at midnight for a ceremony, in a field bordering a property I was renting. They might have been friendly lovely people, but I was scared. 'Race with the Devil' shot through my head! I have never slept out in the open countryside or in woods either. Nothing between me and the serial killer but a tent flap - no thanks!

>277 pgmcc: I recall before Coppola's Dracula was released, he emphasised in interviews how faithful it was to the book! You are right - that was pure tosh. My first viewing of it was also at the cinema. I remember getting a bit angry as the film was littered end to end with artistic licence. It took me out of the film completely. I have seen it a few times since, and enjoy the way Coppola filmed it - so many different techniques, beautifully done; and Gary Oldman's central performance is great. I also love Coppola's introduction of Dracula as an old Kabuki queen...!

Editat: nov. 10, 2019, 6:44am

>278 Rembetis: - ... Coppola's introduction of Dracula as an old Kabuki queen...!
I've always thought Oldman was doing Glenn Close from Dangerous Liaisons ...

>276 alaudacorax:
Annoyed, last night, to find I apparently do NOT own a copy of Coppola's version. Now it will niggle me until I've seen it again (Just a digression for a rant, here: Pay an Amazon Prime subscription and then the sods want you to pay again to see most of the better films--like hell I will! Got to cancel that subscription).

>277 pgmcc:
I seem to remember someone on one of these threads saying that they only stuck in the 'Bram Stoker's' because the bare title 'Dracula' was copyright to whoever owns the rights to the Bela Lugosi one.

nov. 10, 2019, 12:03pm

Coppola says on the DVD commentary that Dracula was a favourite novel going back to his schooldays but the story he tells in his film is in essence the one Richard Matheson created for the Jack Palance TV movie (message sent from my film/TV account because that’s where my phone is signed in).

nov. 10, 2019, 12:59pm

>279 alaudacorax:
I seem to remember someone on one of these threads saying that they only stuck in the 'Bram Stoker's' because the bare title 'Dracula' was copyright to whoever owns the rights to the Bela Lugosi one.

Well, that would certainly sit well with the total mess Bram Stoker's agents made of the US copyright for the book.

nov. 21, 2019, 1:21pm

Another Christmas treat to look forward to - Channel 5 are showing a feature length version of Susan Hill's ghost story 'The Small Hand', adapted by Hill herself. I found the story quite atmospheric and chilling. It has the potential to make a good film.

nov. 24, 2019, 8:13am

Academic publisher Palgrave Macmillan, who have published a lot of books on various aspects of the Gothic - most of them too expensive for me to consider purchasing - are currently running a "cybersale" on their website. Titles are available for a about a tenth of their normal list price.

I have to say that I don't know whether this offer is available in all territories but definitely seems to be OK in the UK and Europe (prices seem to default to Euros, but there is a dedicated UK site priced in Sterling).

Worth a look, i think.

nov. 30, 2019, 5:55am

The algorithms used by websites are a constant bemusement to me. I cleared my browsing history and my YouTube watch history yesterday--as I do a couple of times a week. I logged-in to YT this morning (AFTER having checked on this group, of course) and what's first up in the recommendations? 'How to sew your own Gothic Pastel Apron'. Um ...

Editat: des. 16, 2019, 12:02pm

>259 Rembetis:
>282 Rembetis:
Great to see the Christmas ghost story discussion here too. Sorry for the overlap, I didn't know.

des. 16, 2019, 8:05pm

>285 frahealee: No need to apologise! I hope you manage to see the Ghost stories being broadcast at Christmas.

des. 17, 2019, 4:23pm

I feel the need to read The Small Hand and The Monkey Paw back-to-back, with maybe a claw chaser!

des. 18, 2019, 8:00pm

>287 frahealee: That should be fun!

des. 18, 2019, 8:10pm

I went to Knole House in Sevenoaks today (Vita Sackville West's ancestral home); and took a tour of the attics (it was freezing!) These are no ordinary attics - quite beautiful with ornate ceilings, etc, and they were lived in some of the time over the centuries. Fascinating, that when renovating the attics, they came across ritual protection marks (chequerboard and mesh designs) on beams and joists below the floorboards. These had lain hidden for centuries. The ritual marks were intended to trap demons, spirits and witches entering the house through the fireplace to cause mischief and demonic possession. The National Trust have put hinges on the floorboards on top of these markings, and lifted these up to show us the ritual protection marks underneath (the fireplace is about 4 feet away). The carpenters had also scorched one of the beams to protect the house against fires. The marks have been dated to the very early 17th Century, in the reign of King James I, (and shortly after the gunpowder plot in November 1605), and were found in the room above a room intended for King James I to stay in (though he never did visit).

It was fascinating to see evidence of the crazy witch/demon fears and mania of the time, shared of course by James I himself.

des. 18, 2019, 8:18pm

>289 Rembetis:

Very interesting. And maybe not something that we've overcome? At least, it sounds quite similar to the protections against the "evil eye" in the Mediterranean even today.

des. 20, 2019, 6:23am

>289 Rembetis:

I was vaguely aware of that place in relation to Vita, but, looking on Wikipedia and Google Maps just now I was astonished at the sheer size of the place--"... occupying a total of four acres"! Never taken that onboard before. 'Country house' seems rather an inadequate label--British understatement with a vengeance!

Editat: des. 20, 2019, 6:26am

>290 LolaWalser:

Touch wood there's no truth in it all.

des. 25, 2019, 2:35am

Half-seven, Xmas morning where I am. So MERRY XMAS everyone!
Or whatever your mid-winter festival is.

des. 25, 2019, 4:29am

Merry Today!


des. 25, 2019, 5:45am

Merry Christmas!

Editat: des. 25, 2019, 1:11pm

Merry Christmas, merry Mithrasmas, and for the true unbelievers, merry Humpday, y'all.

>292 alaudacorax:


feb. 27, 2020, 8:04pm

A few photos of the 2016 exhibition, "Scholar, Courtier, Magician - the lost library of John Dee', at the Royal College of Physicians, London. Sadly, most of my photos had too much reflection from the glass cabinets.

Dr Dee's magical disc:

Dr Dee's doodle of a ship in a margin of a book:

Victorian era oil painting of Dr Dee conjuring before Elizabeth I by Henry Gillard Glindoni

Dr Dee collector

Editat: feb. 27, 2020, 8:38pm

I visited Ambras Castle, Innsbruck, Austria, a couple of weeks ago, and was surprised to find the famous oil painting of Dracula (well, Vlad Tepes III) in their Cabinet of Curiosities. Painted in the 16th Century:

I was very taken with this stunning wooden sculpture, 'Little Death', by Hans Leinberg (1480 - 1531).

I was also struck by this oil painting of Gregor Baci (circa 1550) who survived a spear through his head whilst jousting:

Ambras Castle:

feb. 27, 2020, 8:16pm

Fascinating! Have you by any chance read Meyrink's The Angel of the West Window? Dee is one of the characters and the dominant influence in the book.

Editat: feb. 27, 2020, 8:39pm

Oops, double post--great pictures from Innsbruck!

feb. 27, 2020, 8:26pm

Wonder if the Baci portrait was painted after death. "Stop fidgeting, Gregor, I've had to change the angle of that massive stick in your face three times already!"

feb. 27, 2020, 8:45pm

>299 LolaWalser: Meyrink's book has been on one of my shelves for a couple of years now, unread! Must get round to it...

>300 LolaWalser: Thank you! I have deleted "Öl auf Leinwand" and proven my complete ignorance of German lol! I guess the painter is unknown.

>301 LolaWalser: Lol!! I didn't take a photo of the placard by the painting of Gregor, but it said he survived the joust and, if I recall right, lived for a further year. I guess they removed the lance, as it would have been pretty uncomfortable walking around with that in his face! Or maybe the whole story is a myth?!

feb. 29, 2020, 7:01am

I can't help thinking Baci looks a just a little vexed about the matter--the raised eyebrow, the pursed lips. Not sure if he's vexed about the lance or having to sit for the painter ...

feb. 29, 2020, 7:16am

I was quite puzzled by Little Death for a while. I've decided he's going to do a trick shot, having just that moment taken the two arrows out of his quiver preparatory to it.

feb. 29, 2020, 7:24am

>303 alaudacorax:

I'm trying to remember a Rennaissance figure--I think one of the Sforzas--who in his paintings has the most pronounced Roman nose you've ever seen. The reason was that the bit of the nose between the eyes was completely taken out by a lance during a tournament. Baci really trumped that, though--jousting must have been a pretty rough business back in the day.

feb. 29, 2020, 8:08am

>305 alaudacorax:

Federigo da Montefeltro - painted in profile by Piero della Francesca. It was the image that flashed up in my mind when I saw that portrait of Baci. I'd forgotten his name and who painted him though - thank goodness for the internet!

Editat: març 2, 2020, 6:59am

>306 housefulofpaper:

That's the chap! I'm not sure if I quite misremembered his story or what I originally read about him was wrong. He must have been a scarily formidable character, though. Imagine what it must have been like back then to have a surgeon removing the bridge of your nose, and that by deliberate choice!

ETA - Would they have used a hammer and chisel on the bone, or carved away at it like an old-time sailor scrimshawing?!

març 3, 2020, 6:40pm

>307 alaudacorax:

A quick look online didn't give any clue. I had assumed whatever they did would have to be quick, because of the risk of infection, and blood loss, and the patient going into shock. Apparently not, though or not necessarily. I found an article about Renaissance rhinoplasty...replacing noses with flesh treanspanted from the arm. The patient had his arm in a sling and wrapped around his head with extra the flesh encouraged to grow. Reminded me of the pioneering operations made on injured soldiers in the World Wars.

març 5, 2020, 5:28am

This is getting a tad slow to load, so I'm creating a new thread ...
En/na Yet more Gothic gossip. ha continuat aquest tema.