Thursday, June 30, 2022

Live @ Bell Hotel, Holihaven - Fordell Research Unit

Edinburgh’s Fordell Research Unit have just released Live @ Bell Hotel, Holihaven, a digital album in tribute to Robert Aickman’s short story ‘Ringing the Changes’ (Dark Entries, 1964). Depicted as if taking place at the story's eccentric Wrack Street setting, it is offered with ‘Thanks to the Pascoes, and the Commandant’, the main inhabitants of the eponymous establishment. 

The music, in the ambient/drone mode, conveys subtly both the ominous brazen tolling of the bells and the desolate bleakness of an English seaside resort, and, as it builds, captures the tale’s remorseless atmosphere of the sinister and strange. 

(Mark Valentine)

Monday, June 27, 2022

Undefined Boundary - The Journal of Psychick Albion

Temporal Boundary Press have announced pre-orders for Volume 1, Issue 1 of Undefined Boundary: The Journal of Psychick Albion. Citing influences from William Blake to modern antiquarian Julian Cope, the magazine aims to celebrate the visionary, psychedelic and numinous in Britain. 

The ten contributions to the first issue discuss Andrew Sinclair's 'Albion Triptych'; the surreal landscapes of Paul Nash; the TV drama 'Penda's Fen'; the fiction of Susan Cooper; a demonology of old quarries and suburban woods; and much else. 

My own essay, 'In a Remote County', starts from a Robert Aickman story to explore the Nobottle Grove Hundred, a West Northamptonshire domain of decaying manors, sleepy post offices and pubs, old roads with odd names, and peculiar monuments, the haunt of many of my youthful wanderings. 

This is a new project from the publisher of Waiting For You: A Detectorists Zine, and Man is the Animal: A Coil Zine. I'm delighted to be a contributor to the first issue, which is due out around the end of this month.

(Mark Valentine)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Guest Post - Godfrey Brangham reviews Nina Antonia's 'Lunar Moths'


Lunar Moths by Nina Antonia

The Black Light Engine Room Press

As in all things there are fashions in poetry, yet the thread of gold that runs through excellence always defeats these affectations. So for lovers of poetry the arrival of a new publication is always exciting, though I must admit to viewing this volume with a certain curiosity. I am very well acquainted with Nina Antonia's previous books, ranging from a novel, The Greenwood Faun, to a number of biographical works, including the defining Incurable, the life of the ill-fated 1890's poet Lionel Johnson; therefore one can visualise my curiosity with regard to a book of poetry.

This was quickly answered, as one delights in wide-ranging themes, employing tumbling imagery which in my case rekindled the guttering flame of past memories like a long lost and lamented tune. In Bric-a Brac, an old man has died leaving his shop and contents to his grieving widow. And here the poet subtly intertwines the chaotic, but now silent, jumble of the shop to the conflicting emotions of his distraught wife. 

Chatterton, Euston, 2018, is an excellent example of her impressionistic eye; here, as in all of the poems, she exhibits  a subtle warmth coupled to a vivid imagination. Images are created that flicker in the mind long after the book is put down. It is not for me to analyse in depth each and every one of the thirteen poems within, that is left to the reader. Yet in one line the author is incorrect when she writes, The poet's task is often thankless. Wrong! The appreciation by readers is essentially private, the pleasure she instills is also personal, only the creators of the poems themselves are left unaware of this.  

This is a truly delightful collection and one hopes that we may expect many more from Nina Antonia's pen.

 (Godfrey Brangham)