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Day #356/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #6; fading vessellings…

Howlround-Torridon Gate-inner booklet page-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #52/52.

(Retransmission:) If you should look closely amongst this particular year in the country you may well see that around these parts there has been activity which has involved the encasing of disturbances in the airwaves.

Audiological Reflections and Pathways is inspired by those particular encasings and the related work/creators of said work…

Along which lines, Howlround’s Torridon Gate.

When I think of Howlround’s working methods – a self-defined/defining exclusive use of tape based technology without extra more recently created technology – my mind tends to wander towards other media from times gone by, vessellings and encasings used for the transmission of songs and stories that are now slowly fading and crumbling from view.

And one of the set of artifacts I would probably wander towards would be laserdiscs.

Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country-4

I’ve recently renewed something of an interest in these forerunners of todays more compact (generally) shiny silver disc encasements of zeros and ones…

…in terms of packaging/presentation of flickering celluloid/cathode ray stories, I’m not sure if laserdisc have ever been quite equalled nor surpassed; films and television programs were contained within what now seem like massive 12″ vinyl size sleeves, often gatefolds…

Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country-3

…they allowed for plenty of physical space for the culture, artwork and design that constellates around film (see Mark Fisher’s comments on such things at Day #163/365).

Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country-2

(Above is the laserdisc of Zardoz with a more contemporary disc – Kieran Evans The Outer Edges (Edgeland Version) to be precise – placed at its centre for comparison purposes… also, if you look closely you can see the effects of the passing of time, nature and related actions/reactions. More on that in a moment…)

Films would often be presented on 2, 3 or even 4 discs and unless you had/have a “posher” player you need to arise from your viewing during the stories reading to turn over the discs… which some part of me quite likes, in a reaction to the conveniences and continuances of modern-day zero and one story telling transporting…

They’re lovely things. They seem terribly extravagant and are a very physical, hefty feeling transportation medium.

…I would then probably wander along to 8mm cine film – the home viewing material of choice before the increasing ubiquity of ferrous reels for containing flickering visual imagery…

These only had a relatively short running time and were sometimes only black and white and silent – whatever their source material.

Witchfinder General-8mm Super 8-different versions

That short running time meant that their source stories were compressed, chopped up and edited sometimes beyond all legibility and recognition – sometimes different companies would release different versions of the same film, with different edits or a section of a film would be released on its own under a different name (and I have heard tell of a particular dedication from modern days enjoyers of such things undertaking the resplicing and editing of these different versions to try and create a more complete version).

Witchfinder General-8mm Super 8-back of packaging-2…and there’s something almost subterfuge like about these particular encasings, their presentation, packaging, the almost manually typewritten appearing text and under drawn covers – something curiously under the radar, small-scale industry, under the counter, sold in brown paper bags from the back streets of Soho in the day-esque…

And then I may well wander to 8 track cartridges. Below is a certain lionheartesses encasing…

Kate Bush-The Kick Inside-8-Track-A Year In The Country

…and talking of under the radar, small-scale replication and access…

It’s interesting with such things as over time the physical artifact recordings may still exist but functioning versions of the devices that can play them may not; the spinning of a reel of celluloid and shining a bright light through it to create shadows on a screen – in the case of 8mm film – is something which could well still be created/recreated on an ad hoc basis but the technology required to create machinery which can  read, interpret and display say a laser disc is likely to remain somewhat elusive due to its complexity…

Having said which, said artifacts/encasings may not survive themselves; see below the laserdisc encasing of an earlier mentioned “secret room from the past where the future was sought” (see Day #177/365) – the markings on the disc are signs of that self-same encasing slowly surrendering to the actions and reactions of nature and time, slowly fading away…

Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country

Future lost vessels.

Encasing, envoying and interrelated scribing / contemporary town-crying techniques.


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Day #313/365: The curiousities of Puffball… “Everything has changed, we don’t belong here…”

Puffball-Nicolas Roeg-2007-A Year In The Country-5File under: Trails and Influences.
Other Pathways. Case #51/52.

Puffball. now this is a curious film.

It was made in 2006 by Nicolas Roeg, he of such all time celluloid mythology creators such as Performance…

Puffball is a sort of folk-horror film, one that is uneven in tone on various levels while also being somewhat intriguing (and in a way I think that sense of an uneven piece of work with sometimes jarring multi-layered elements has to a degree infused trying to write about it)…

Puffball-Nicolas Roeg-2007-A Year In The Country

Set in a remote part of the countryside, if I was pushed to describe it briefly I would say it was a television-esque kitchen sink folk-horror film that mixes Grand Designs with the music of Kate Bush and England’s Hidden Reverse.

Hmmm. Curious.

(As an aside, Grand Designs is a British television program where people are often cheered for their “bravery” in paying huge sums of money to have contractors build them homes that often look like slightly soulless corporate research facilities, in say, the middle of swampland.)

The music to the film starts like something that you would expect a purveyor of experimental sound recordings to be, well, purveying… possibly somewhere like Boomkat or possibly Cold Spring, possibly somebody like Haxxan Cloak… all sinister portents and drones… and veers upwards and outwards, venturing into more normal climes and back again…

Puffball-2007-Nicolas Roeg-folkloric sign-A Year In The Country

Alongside that, new age-ish imagery intermingles with are-they-real or not folkloric/witchery shennanigans, tales of fertility battles, fertility ending and the slick yuppie-ish outsiders gutting and rebuilding a cottage that was the site for extreme local loss in an inappropriately modern, minimalist, over-angled style.

Puffball-2007-Nicolas Roeg-new age ish imagery-A Year In The CountryIn some ways it feels like the story of the old ways battling with the new, of the arrogance of money and man trying to push out the mud and nature of the land.

In a way it reminded me of both Robin Redbreast (see Day #127/365), in the sense of the entrapping of an outsider in fertility rites and rituals and the use of a slightly simple man of the land to those ends and In The Dark Half (see Day #21/365) – the way that both films mix social realism with a sense of the otherly in the landscape (although In The Dark Half introduces an understated, undefinable beauty to that gritty realism)…

…Puffball adds a graphic, almost dissolute sexuality to that realism. This is not an easy film in parts, unsettled and unsettling in various ways.

Puffball-Nicolas Roeg-2007-A Year In The Country-2

…and at one move removed, it is connected back to early 1970s folk-horror by the appearance of Donald Sutherland… it is but a hop and a skip from him to The Wickerman via Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now that he was in and which was sent forth as part of a double bill with The Wickerman…

…in this he appears an almost slightly deranged happy old owl (albeit one in respectable business garb)…

Puffball-Nicolas Roeg-2007-A Year In The Country-4…and talking of strigiformes, Puffball also features the owlish late beauty and fascination of previous kitchen sink inhabitant Rita Tushingham, all staring eyes and grasping country ways…

Throughout the film Kate Bush’s Prelude from her album Aerial appears and reappears, the angelic voice of her son and piano playing interconnecting with the themes of the film and its stories of progeny to come and those lost…

…and as I re-watched it, my mind thought of Coil and other such investigators of England’s hidden reverse… so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see that both their music and that of Nurse With Wound featured on the soundtrack…

I find this DVD cover interesting – one of those attempts to make a film appear to be what it is not and to, I assume, appeal to particular demographics and tastes…

Puffball-Nicolas Roeg-2007-A Year In The Country-3

…so it has been renamed the more exploitation-ish friendly The Devil’s Eyeball (puffballs are actually large round white fungii, also known by this other name) and the imagery makes it look nearer to a cheap b-movie, teenage friendly take on maybe The Company Of Wolves.

Hmmm. Kate Bush. Folk-horror. Nicolas Roeg. Rita Tushingham. Nurse With Wound. Miranda Richardson. Coil. Folkloric rituals and shennanigans. As I say an uneven, multi-layered, intriguing piece of celluloid.


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Day #307/365: A journey from a precipice to a cliff edge, via documents of preparing for the end of the world, a curious commercialism, the tonic/lampoonery of laughter, broken cultural circuits and quiet/quietening niches…

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #50/52.

Or how do you wander from government advice on the end of the world to a nice bit of casual wear on an English cliff top, via the work of a once folk club organising comedian, a million plus selling hit single, borrowings from an avant-garde art movement and the thoughts of a hauntological scribe…

Well, I’ve been putting this off for a while as quite frankly even looking at/thinking of such things gives me the heebie jeebies… but I seem to be being followed around by Threads of late, even over the airwaves during my morning cereal and so there’s no time like the present…

There’s a curious cultural niche that has taken it upon itself to reproduce on a pecuniary basis the documents/films etc that present advice on British preparations for the end of the world (or at least civilisation as we know it) via a somewhat cataclysmic form of conflict.

Protect and Survive-A Year In The Country-4

A curious commercialism of the end of times, if you like.

Anyway, quickly moving along…

Which got me thinking of times in my younger days when I would repeatedly listen to comedy albums on tape (when that storage medium filled the racks of shops up and down the land, a fair while before its recent specialist revival as a subcultural music format)…

…one of those tapes was by Jasper Carrott. And on one of such albums he has a good old consider and rant about the government’s Protect and Survive leaflets/advice: he quotes that in one such publication it says something along the lines of a major attack would seriously disrupt the country’s banking system… and how of course the first thing on your mind as you stood among the smoking rubble, the remains of your whitewashing brush in your hand (a result of the leaflet’s advice of how to reflect a blast with the power of hundreds of suns by painting your windows white), the first thing on your mind would be “Well, where am I going to cash my giro?”.

Woolworth-Record Blitz Bag-A Year In The CountryThis was a skit done by him apparently at the height of Cold War paranoia, on mainstream television and sent forth via the shelves of Woolies (a high street shop in Britain once upon a time, which amongst pick’n’mix sweets and house hold goods you might also find records released by Futurist borrowing record labels, more of that in a moment)… so hats off to that gent for such things.

Duck and cover indeed.

ZangTumbTumb-1914-Futurist-Futurism-A Year In The CountryAll of which made me think about popular culture and what’s allowed in the mainstream at different points in history: in my younger years one of the biggest singles for a fair old while, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes, took as its theme just such a conflict and its futility, using as it’s opening salvo the sound of an air raid siren that would be used to announce an attack, also incorporating the spoken words from the Protect and Survive series of information films in the recordings and sent forth into the world by a record label that took its name from an avant-garde art movement.

That single went to number one in the British popular music charts, was a mainstream cultural phenomenon and has sold in excess of 1.5 million copies.

It’s hard to imagine such a thing occurring today.

Which brings me back to niches and Mr Mark Fisher:

Here’s one of the things that people say, “oh we don’t know if things are new yet, there might be new things, we just don’t know yet.” But that’s just a fallacy, people did know when things were new before. Even if that’s true, and in this age of hyper-visibility it would be slightly odd if there are things that we hadn’t really seen, what’s missing is a popular experience of newness. At the very least that is what has disappeared. But I think what’s also missing is this circuit between the experimental, the avant-garde and the popular. It’s that circuit that’s disappeared. Instead what we have is Experimental(TM), which is actually well established genres with their own niche markets which have no relation to a mainstream. And despite the network propaganda, the mainstream still exists, but in a more unchallenged way than previously. Why? Well, because people like me have our own niches now. In order to get some sort of audience I don’t have to be on the BBC. You know, there’s lots of space on the internet for me. And that just means that it allows the Simon Cowell’s of the world to dominate the mainstream.” (See Day #304/365 for the source of such things.)

Throbbing Gristle-20 Jazz Funk Greats-A Year In The Country

Which is a variation in a way on a quote from that co-wrecker of civilisation Mr Genesis P. Orridge:

I think something very smart happened a few years ago. There’s no need to make anything the enemy anymore.

If you don’t make anything the enemy then you can accept it back as activity that can feed into your powerstructure – you co-opt everything and everyone.

Not only do you not have to waste time controlling people, but you also defuse the problem and make more money. Everything could be subverted by commerce and fashion and logos.

And so back to curious commercialisms. All grist to the mill as it were.

Waiting for the end of the world and havens beneath our feet.

Constelators and cultural constellations here and here.


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Day #302/365: sleep furiously… Views from a slumbering village…

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #49/52.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country

I think this was probably one of the first/early films that I sat down to watch on the way towards/exploring towards A Year In The Country…

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-9 copy

It is a sort of documentary view of a small village community that is slowly falling away into a gathering sleep.

Some of my favourite parts of the film are nearer to stills than film… contemplative views of the landscape, sometimes time-lapsed, sometimes with just one tiny figure/vehicle traversing the land.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-8

I suppose in a way it shares a sense of an almost painterly/photographer’s eye for such things that General Orders No.9 does (see Day #51/365) and re-looking at the images it reminds me of art-photography views of the landscape such as Paul Hill’s work (see Day #24/365).

Although, in contrast to General Orders, this isn’t an overtly “otherly” view of the countryside/pastoralism but it is more than just a straight documentary. I’m not quite sure why, can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s a quiet, understated, gentle magic to it.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-7

And gentle is an apposite word as in many ways this is a gentle film … gently soporific and (largely) gently soundtracked, a gentle (muted?) visual colour palette and gently visualised.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-5

The soundtrack is (also largely) by The Aphex Twin… and apart from one brief venture into such things, is mostly subtle, quiet, keyboard refrains and motifs… nearer to classical sketches than the casual listener of his work might expect.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-2 copy

Throughout the film, indeed possibly the village itself, is threaded and woven together by the visits, journeys and returns of the mobile library van – a service that feels like its public service extravagance belongs to a previous, more municipally caring era and watching it wend its way amongst these few villagers I felt myself almost holding my breath for the time when it would do so no more.

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-A Year In The Country-6

sleep furiously-Gideon Koppel-Aphex Twin-New Wave Films-DVD cover-A Year In The CountryView a glimpse of this way of life here. View its encasers and transmitters here.

Visit a place where “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” here.


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Day #297/365: The Department of Psychological Navigation and fragments of fragments of a conversation…

Ghost Box Records-Mark Fisher-A Year In The Country-2
File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #48/52.

And while I’m talking about being haunted by words in the ether and spectral events at venerable cultural institutions (see Day #294/365)…

A fair while ago now I came across a consideration of another such thing; another Ghost Box related event, though at a different venerable cultural institution…

…and a number of the ideas in amongst this set of words (761 according to the faithful semi-invisible robot brains around these parts) have, if not haunted me, then definitely intersected with various strands of thoughts that have had something of an on/off extended stay around these parts…

This particular event was a display and demonstration by the “Department of Psychological Navigation”, an imaginary government body which in the words of Mark Fisher (who wrote the aformentioned 761 words)…

…seemed less like a transparent hoax than like a fictional organization that had forgotten it was fictional and stumbled out into what we are pleased to call the ‘real world’. If Ghost Box LPs are like the incidental music for television programmes that have not yet been broadcast, or better, that have already been broadcast but in an alternative past, then the DoPN was like something that would have formed part of the fictional background in a television series, now detached from the series itself.

Ghost Box Records-Mark Fisher-A Year In The Country-larger…and then in an overview style he goes on to detail fragments of conversation that he had with Mr Julian House of Ghost Box Records… the part of which that has stuck with me is how modern day British fictional television fails to present a world that feels lived in… which is something of a precursor to ideas that he develops in his book Ghosts Of My Life and something which tends to send me scurrying away from such contemporary home grown produce…

I suppose what such modern programs from “over here” don’t do is allow the viewer to step into, believe in and immerse themselves in the worlds that create. Which is interesting in this context as that’s something that Ghost Box Records seems to achieve with a much smaller, though quite possibly more singular, set of resources at their disposal.

They convince/allow us to be part of/give us space to join experiments in consensual hallucination (to semi-quote Rob Young once again – see Day #294/365 once again), to step for a moment or two over the threshold.


View the fragments here.


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Day #293/365: Harp And A Monkey, paper wrapped round chips and an aside of late night charabangs

Harp and a Monkey-Folk Police Recordings-A Year In The Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #47/52.
Field Trip Report: Case #3.

Talking of departed friends and Folk Police Recordings (see Day #288/365)…

Not so long ago I was walking past my local library and I know not why, as such things don’t often appear there, but there was a poster for Harp And A Monkey playing almost locally but the next night… leaving my local environs via public transport can sometimes seem like trying to leave the village of the damned… well I suppose more of semi-inverted village of the damned that stops you leaving rather than incapacitating those inside or trying to enter… anyway I braved myself and wandered off to see them. Lovely stuff and I also briefly managed to inquire of the reasons for the departing of Folk Police Recordings… for some reason I don’t want to go into it all here but I think its possibly fair to say that day-to-day life got in the way… oh and that leaving the village of the damned? Well, I could either arrive rather too early for the opening of the doors or… well, I arrived slightly after the band had taken to the stage… I only got lost once and then had a wander up possibly the steepest paved hill I’ve ever wandered up, while enjoying a brief discover of a part of town I’d never been to… and then a step into a room above one of those hostelries that seem stunningly local and independent, the kind of place that makes you have a think and wander about how they survive in amongst the joys and days of “fun pub” chains and cheap unfrozen meal deals… and then wandering back into the aforementioned village of the damned seemed to involve watching the tumbleweed begin to furl down the local high street, broken only by the occasional last stragglers, revellers and those hobbled by high heels as you debate just how long you wait for the last automobile carriage service before you have to pay for a taxi home… answer: quite a while it would seem and so the late night charabang wended its way home, punctuated by stopping down country roads to pick up the imbibed wanderers who had given up the ghost and decided to make their way home on foot… ah well. Well worth it to hear tails of tupperware, tinfoil and paper wrapped round chips from these chaps.


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Day #283/365: Noah’s Castle; a slightly overlooked artifact…

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The Country-4File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #46/52.

There’s an almost cannon of late 1960s/1970s television series/broadcasts that have come to be seen as hauntological touchstones, cathode ray flickers that have resonated through the years and come to represent an otherly spectral folklore.

In that particular more widely accepted cannon you could probably start with The Owl Service and Children Of The Stones and wander off towards The Changes, Sky, The Stone Tape… all good stuff and to varying degrees and for different reasons somewhat explored and/or appreciated around these parts…

But one series which often seems to be slightly overlooked amongst such things is 1979’s Noahs Castle.

Many of the above series were intended as children’s/younger persons entertainment; their oddness and possible inappropriateness for their target audience is now part of their appeal…

…but I suspect that the ideas and plot of Noah’s Castle quite possibly trump them all in such terms; it is a series that has at its core hyperinflation, food shortages, societal collapse and a patriarch’s attempt to hole up and bunker away with his family… cue troops on the streets and food riots/looting…

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The Country-7

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The CountryAlthough, I suppose that not too dissimilar ideas of the downtrodden poor and divided dystopias still appear today as fiction for not quite yet adults in the likes of The Hunger Games…

(As I type, Noah’s Castle also reminds me of the comic book version of V For Vendetta in a way; a tale of a Britain returned to the deprivations of a more austere earlier age – V For Vendetta seems set in some alternative or returned to version of the 1970s.)

Curious themes for stories intended for a particular transitional age, although enduringly popular it would seem that  they may well serve some purpose during that liminal time, possibly in some way helping with a coming to terms with adult responsibilities and the removal of the protections of “grown-ups”

In terms of being a particular view of societal collapse, Noah’s Castle could be seen as the lower budget, more youth orientated flipside to the final series of Quatermass… although the final tale of Dr Quatermass is probably easier viewing material for a modern sensibility. Noah’s Castle requires more of a recalibration towards the rhythms and pacing of earlier times (see Day #33/365)…

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The Country-6

…although in terms of subcultures, Quatermasses restless youth are more new age/traveller-ish (in the TV series at least), whereas those in Noah’s Castle are nearer to a kind of street-level punk…

And Noah’s Castle could also be linked to a mini-genre of 1970s largely cinematic science fiction that dealt with societal/ecological/resource collapse that I’ve tended to wander amongst around these parts, ie Soylent Green, Zardoz, Phase IV, Silent Running and No Blade Of Grass… although in No Blade Of Grass the particular youth subculture that is running amok are those oft-picked upon lawless bikers…

I think also I was drawn to (slightly) re-watch Noah’s Castle as on first broadcast I had only seen literally a minute or two of it but I had gleaned the general theme of food shortages which had intrigued me and my mind had wandered off with that small slice of material to create and consider a whole world and story around it…

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The Country-2

…and so, as mentioned earlier in this particular year in the country (see Day #183/365), when I revisited it, I wasn’t necessarily rewatching the series that I remembered, the images on the screen seemed in some ways quite removed and separate from the stories in my mind, a sense that was added to by the aforementioned different calibrations in terms of stories.

…and I tend to think of it as being called Noah’s Ark rather than Noah’s Castle, the Ark title seeming more fitting in a way…

And returning to a slight overlooking… Possibly as well Noah’s Castle feels slightly separate from the earlier mentioned canon as it seems to be one of the few of such things where its wandering back out into the world hasn’t been stamped with a seal of official cultural approval by a venerated cultural institution (ie the BFI) or by the endless trawling of the nation’s cathode archives by a particular more commercial body (ie Network).

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-A Year In The Country

Anyways view a small slice of the series here (with a curiously punk rawk soundtrack rather than the intriguing voice over of the nation’s woes that was the original end title music). View the silver disc resending here.

Noahs Castle-1979 TV series-John Rowe Townsend-A Year In The Country-3

Noahs Castle-John Rowe Townsendtv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryView the aforementioned curious mini-genre and lawless bikers at Day #88/365 and also a slither or so at Day #83/365.


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Day #275/365: Borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth (#2)… becometh a fumetti…

030-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences.
Other Pathways. Case #45/52.

And while I’m talking about borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth and slightly guilty pleasures (see Day #273/365)…

When I was a considerably younger personage than I am now I had a small number of book adaptations of films that used multiple photographs from their cinematic parents in order to tell their story in a live action comic strip/annotated stills manner.

You would see similar kinds of things in romance comics, where the tales of loves won, lost and fretted over were represented by posed actors…

Very occasionally since I’ll come across such a book from back when that I haven’t seen before and they always seem like quite a find, an odd little corner of culture and merchandising.

Or indeed Punk magazine’s couple of issues done in that vein that featured New York’s downtown/blank generation cognoscenti such as Debbie Harry, Richard Hell, Chris Stein, Joey Ramone, David Johansen and the like. Good stuff if you should ever find such a thing.

They’re known as fumetti apparently, somewhat popular on the continent.

The only other time I have come across such things was in the pages of the revival of Eagle comic in the early 1980s…

…and talking of revivals and revivifications… a day or so ago I had a wander through the folkloric, folk-horror, science fiction and fantasy borrowings of the remake of Randall & Hopkirk (deceased)…

…and talking of that and fumettis, I thought a bit of a mix and match of the two may well be appropriate.

009-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The CountryThis is a particular episode called Fair Isle and this particular fumetti could well be called spot the borrowing and reference point…

…which is largely a rather sizeable amount of The Wickerman (which is… spoiler alert… postmodernly referred in the episode itself)…

…and along the way a somewhat familiar approach to a particular island state, a dash of Doctor Who-esque 1970s costume clad monsters…

…a 1970s Doctor himself, a police officer who has the physiognomy of Sergeant Howie’s brackish beliefs, a visit to the eccentric Lord of the manner…

…folkloric costumes as decoration in the lordly manor which remind me somewhat of the (car crash) of The Wicker Tree…

…the kung fu butler from The Pink Panther… hi-jinks with the locals in the very local hostelry… the hiding of the covenant in Raiders Of The Lost Ark… some more chasing by those costume clad folkloric monsters… “I would’ve got away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids” Scooby Doo-esque unveliing… the transformations of Altered States courtesy of Ken Rusell…

Anyways… complete the captions below…

035-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
Ah, straw bears and a Summerisle similarity I see…

034-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
Our intrepid hero is corned by 1970s Doctor Who-esque folkloric costume creatures…

033-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 032-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
The approach to the island state with its own laws and ways of doing things…

031-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 030-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 029-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
028-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country

The Doctor himself…

027-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The CountrySergeant Howie’s belief system makes an appearance in physical form…

026-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 025-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
A visit to the eccentric Lord ruler of this island state… perhaps to discuss the growing of fruit and food resources?

024-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country023-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country022-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
Just a touch of the faceless villain creatures that seemed so prevalent in 1970s science fiction and fantasy…

021-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 020-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 019-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 018-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 017-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country.jpg
Hi-jinks with the locals in the local hostelry…

016-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country.jpg 015-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
…and now to hide the relics…

014-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 012-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 011-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
Those costume clad folkloric monsters don’t give up easily…

010-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 009-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 008-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 007-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 006-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country

005-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country
The Scooby Doo-esque “I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids” unmasking…

004-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 003-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 002-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country 001-Randall & Hopkirk-Charlie Higson-Vic Reeves-Bob Mortimer-Emilia Fox-Tom Baker-A Year In The Country

…and you could add to that list, although not directly represented in the fumetti above but in the episode itself…

…an island state that produces its own unique foodstuff under the direction of one particular lord and master… the ecological worries and disasters of Doomwatch (another part of the mini-genre of ecology and resources gone to heck in a handbasket that was somewhat prevalent in the 1970s).

Oh and although without an ability to take references from cultural work that hasn’t yet happened, this is unlikely to have been a reference point… but there is more than a dash of the workmanlike-took-me-a-few-goes-to-get-through-but-I-don’t-seem-to-hate-it-as-much-as-I-thought-I-would-and-its-still-better-than-The-Wicker-Tree remake of The Wicker Man in the playing with gender expectations and roles in this Fair Isle story.

A visit to that particular mini-genre in the company of No Blade Of Grass, Z.P.G., Soylent Green, Phase IV, The Omega Man, Logan’s Run at Day #88/365… artifacts from that curious mini-genre at Day #213/365… and a visual tip of the hat to both that particular mini-genre and a particular lionheart(ess) at Day #83/365.


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Day #274/365: Borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth…

Randall & Hopkirk-collage-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #44/52.

I have a mild soft-spot for the turn of the millennium remake of Randall and Hopkirk (deceased), chaired by Charlie Higson, starring Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Emilia Fox and a gloriously white-haired Tom Baker.

It is a series which concerns itself with a still living private investigator who is visited/helped/hindered by the white-suited ghost of his former partner (the deceased of the title) and isn’t a million miles away from the likes of say Doctor Who in its mixing of fantasy and science fiction in a mainstream setting.

And yes, it’s cheesy. Yes, it has that curiously dated appearance that cultural work from the 90s and around then currently has… not yet old enough to have gained a patina of retro fetishistic kitsch, not quite modern enough to fit with current tastes… yes, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s acting isn’t necessarily going to be having Sir turning in his grave but…

…it’s good knockabout fun. Nothing too challenging but it often shows a great love for a whole slew of fantasy, crime horror and science fiction films, television literature etc from years gone by.

The episode Man Of Substance in particular, which seems to predate Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg’s Hot Fuzz in a number of its themes, borrowings and the story of a sleepy country idyll gone bad by a year or few…

It begins somewhat noirishly with a red silk clad femme fatale giving a private eye the glad eye and purr in his office…

…before it wanders off to a classic chocolate box English idyll of a village… all tea rooms, commemorative tea towels, an avuncular British bobby on the beat (who appears to be the living incarnation of a laughing policeman you might have chuckle for 20p at the seaside); a neat, quiet and tidy piece of heritage real estate.

But… well, not so surprisingly things aren’t quite what they seem (spoiler alert about now)…

The village has a dark secret or two and quite quickly turns more than a little Belbury/Hot Fuzz like; something is not quite right in this particular chocolate box.

Randall & Hopkirk-collage-A Year In The CountryEssentially its population have been trapped inbetween life and death, unable to leave the village since the days that a pestilence had cleared a considerable percentage of the English population a number of centuries previously.

I guess we should have known something wasn’t quite right when we passed that monument earlier on the way into the village that looked as though it should have been on the cover of one of the John Barleycorn Reborn Dark Britannica albums (see Day #248/365).

Along the way towards the almost taking over the world shennanigans that the villagers get up to, the episodes wanders into the territory of/borrows from;

The Wickerman… petal scattering woodland nymphs dance through the churchyard… 1970-ish British horror portmanteau films such as The Monster Club and its “you’re never going to escape from the village” theme… medievalistic fetishistic pleasures by way of Curse Of The Crimson Altar… a touch of Hansel and Gretel and the fattening up of the chose calfs… the somewhat unpleasant punishments of the incarcerated via The Witchfinder General (or it’s less well-known brethren The Bloody Judge)… maybe even a touch of Penda’s Fen and its sense of the mythic/mystical in the landscape and returning kings… and back to The Wickerman, as the fool becomes the king for the day (and eternity) during a local festival  in service of the communities ends and a pyre is made for a sacrifical burning…

…and just having Tom Baker, possibly still the archetypal Doctor Who, in amongst it all makes it fundamentally interconnected in the minds of watchers of a certain vintage with certain culture and tropes. Oh and that’s before we get to Gareth Thomas, one Federation fighting Blake’s 7 leader as a real ale pushing pub landlord who later turns out in his festival garb only to be revealed as a centuries old medieval lord of the manor…

Randall & Hopkirk-collage-A Year In The CountryAt the time of its transmission the revivification of all things Wicker Man and folk-horror-ish had not yet fully gained pace and yet here are many of its themes and interests looked to for peak viewing entertainment.

(Just prior to Randall & Hopkirk’s broadcast the The Wickerman soundtrack had been first sent out into the world in 1998 on its own via the efforts and investigating of Jonny Trunk and Trunk Records, which has been thought to have been one of the sparks that reignited that particular conflagration of interest but the number of different references to fantastic fictions from before it suggest a knowledge, interest and love of such things that stretches back some way… Randall & Hopkirk isn’t as dark but thinking back this episode may have shared some ground with the similar time period’s The League Of Gentleman and its mixing of horror and comedy in a rural setting gone bad where “You bain’t be from round here” is the general refrain).

So, borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth… as a TV episode this is a guilty pleasure but a pleasure nonetheless.

A previous glimpse of Albion in the overgrowth at Day #146/365, in the good company of pop-psych-folk courtesy of Stealing Sheep.

Some background information on Randall & Hopkirk (deceased) via the electronic pages of the world’s current Encyclopedia Britannica-And-All-Else here.

The Curse Of The Crimson Altar and the majesty of Ms Steele at Day #184/365.

That from which it borrows: The Wickerman – the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folklore at Day #90/365.

Randall & Hopkirk-collage-A Year In The Country


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Day #253/365: One For Sorrow; Helter skelter, hang sorrow, public minded urgings from times when the lights may well go out of an evening and heading towards Rocket Cottage-isms…

One For Sorrow-Chloe Rodes-A Book of Old Fashioned Lore-Thomas Berwick-A Year In The Country 1File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #43/52.

Now, folk music, folklore and traditional English ways can become a somewhat trapped in amber, Toby Jug and chocolate box twee version of such things. The imagined village idyll, lazy afternoons amongst the just goldening grass, striped deckchairs, warm beer and all that.

Doesn’t sound all that unpleasant in a way but I suppose that I have tended to wander off to the side of such approaches to culture and its older stories.

(Venturing too far into those bucolic pastures could well become a little “Rocket Cottage”, to semi-quote Rob Young in his book Electric Eden… the point when folk/folkloric concerns, reinterpretations and contemporisations tip over into an almost comedic semi-caricature of themselves.)

Rocket Cottage-Steeleye Span-A Year In The Country

Electric Eden-Rob Young-folk-folklore-The Wurzels-Steeleye Span-The Strawbs-A Year In The Country
Rob Young-Electric Eden-George Ewart Evans-The Changes-folk-folklore-A Year In The Country

(Above… extracts from a meta-fictional(?) narrative section in Electric Eden.)

One For Sorrow is a book which quite pleasingly walks a line. It begins with a consideration that despite the modern-day “definites” of science and technology, often now often ancient pieces of lore still belong in and punctuate our day-to-day lives.

(Along which lines, one of the ongoing points of interest is just how much of such lore was actually based upon informal ongoing observation – everyday scientific collation without the lab coat robes and their conferring of legitimacy, particularly as concerns predictions of the weather).

One For Sorrow-Chloe Rodes-A Book of Old Fashioned Lore-Thomas Berwick-A Year In The Country 2 One For Sorrow-Chloe Rodes-A Book of Old Fashioned Lore-Thomas Berwick-A Year In The Country 3 One For Sorrow-Chloe Rodes-A Book of Old Fashioned Lore-Thomas Berwick-A Year In The Country 4

It is a collection of sayings, often rural in origin, from yesteryear and considerations of their uses, meaning and from when they have sprung; there is a rigour to its research and explanations, while maintaining a thoroughly accessible approach.

Here are a few that caught my eye on a recent revisiting, both in their current incarnations and their lore-ic roots

Birds of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together… Better a wolf in the fold, than a fine February… You are like what is said that the frying-pan said to the kettle, ‘Avant, black-browes’… Whan the sunne shynth make hey. Which is to say. Take time when time cometh, lest time steal away… While that iren is hoot, men sholden smyte… Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care’ll kill a Cat, up-tails all, and a louse for the Hangman… If you run after two hares you’ll catch neither… Cold is the night, when the stars shine bright… As an ook cometh of a litel spyr… Hares may pull dead lions by the beard… If wishes were horses then beggars would ride… Ne’er lose a hog for a half-penny worth of tarre… When the moon lies on her back, then the sou’-west winds will crack…“.

And so, with that, I shall step a little further away from considerations of such pastoral dreams before the booster rockets are fired up.

One For Sorrow-Chloe Rodes-A Book of Old Fashioned Lore-Thomas Berwick-A Year In The Country 5As a postscript… planting a tree for prosperity reminded me of another piece of rhyme from a time of turbulence and social consensus ending… Plant A Tree In ’73 (and Plant Another in ’74)…

…it’s that year again. 1973. It does have a tendency to crop up around these parts.

I always find it curious how images from the relatively recent past can so quickly come to appear to be from a land, history and culture far away and removed from current times.

Here are a couple of such things (stumbled upon here):

Plant A Tree in 73-A Year In The Country 2 Plant A Tree in 73-A Year In The Country
Electric Eden in the ether and a few of its resting places amongst this year in the country:

Day #4/365: A researching, unearthing and drawing of lines between the stories of Britain’s visionary music.

Day #40/365: From the wild woods to broadcasts from the pylons.

Day #190/365: Acts of enclosure, the utopian impulse and why folk music and culture?

Out in the ether: the isle is full of noises, the magic box and other considerations.


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Day #247/365: Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word and voyages through other playful fancies from behind the once ferrous drapes…

folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #42/52.

I can’t remember the order I came to this in. Did I find this album in advance of the audiological unearthings of Finders Keepers Records and Jane Weaver’s Fallen By Watchbird or was it after those explorations? I’m not sure but I think I found it in my then local library.

Ah, the good old library system. There’s nothing quite like a publicly available and owned cultural hub, one which is in part curated by people with an eye, ear and mind for the edges of culture.

What I do know is that the cover art of both of the Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word releases is some of my favourite from before and during this year in the country. Put together, if I’m not mistaken, by Mr Andy Votel, who also compiled these albums.

folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word 2-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country(As a first aside, the albums are a good old delve and forage through the world’s sometimes dusty, forgotten and overlooked record crates; a condensation of that feeling when you stumble upon some rare and precious long-lost album/s in the corner  of a carboot or hidden under the clothes racks in a charity shop… not dissimilar in a way to Gather In The Mushrooms – see Day #3/365 – but in this case the enclosed folk gems have been scattered and discovered from across the globe rather than the shores, meadows and nooks of albion.)

The artwork is playful and curiously stylish, harks back to yesteryears but is thoroughly modern. It also seems like a harbinger of future Finders Keepers and related releases, cultural strands and influences, in particular the somewhat magical fairy tale visions of Czech new wave films such as Saxana – Girl On A Broomstick (Dívka Na Koštěti) and The Little Mermaid (Malá Mořská Víla) and Jane Weaver’s Fallen By Watchbird project/album which was apparently sparked in part by coming across that particular shimmering sea fable.


(And as a secondary aside, when I’ve recently revisited such films, I was struck by how much in a way they remind me of such 1960/1970s British television that I have visited around these parts – The Owl Service, Children Of The Stones and the like. Why? Well, maybe it’s because these are stories which have/have gained a sense of otherlyness, which take variously childhood/childish themes/production circumstances and intentions but have come to signify and represent fantastic otherly worlds, tales and interests, often well beyond their original intended audiences and intentions.)

(Ah, the beauty and intrigues of former Eastern Bloc celluloid illustrations…)

Well, all I can say is that whatever order I stumbled upon such things (Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word-Fallen By Watchbird-Finders Keepers Records), they have helped send me on a fair few rather intriguing pathways.

Along which lines, a few pathways…

One. Two.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (MALÁ MORSKÁ VÍLA)-A Year In The Country-collage 3Step under the oceans.

It’s winged brethren (and another nesting here).

Those winged brethren around these parts

A duo of related audiological unearthings from around these parts: 1. 2.

Other fables from behind the once ferrous walls and curtains: Blossoming escapades courtesy of a playful avant gardism. Seven days of wonders. A re-Broadcast-ing of those wonders.

The fringes of stories courtesy of English libraries: 1. 2.


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Day #246/365: The Singing Loins – The cuckoos in the nest and thee English “kitchen sink” folk music…

The Singing Loins-Steak and Gravy-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #41/52.

And while I’m talking of music from the Medway Delta  and a certain under-the-radar, away from the cultural rhythms / expectations / fashions of the time, kitchen sinkness (see Day #243/365)…

I suppose one of the first times I properly sat down and lost myself to what could (loosely) be called a folk record (or two) were the early recordings by The Singing Loins, a fair few years ago now. I don’t think I thought of it as folk music at the time, it was just music to me. It still is.

And fine music at that.

Back then I only saw them perform live once, in amongst a largely otherwise garage punk bill and they described themselves as “the cuckoos in the nest”.

The cuckoos in the nest? Well that would probably refer to their sharing an evening and stage with more rawk’n’roll raucousness. And what were they doing on a largely garage punk bill? Well, I expect it was because they’re from the Medway part of the world and had worked with/had records put out by Hangman Records, Billy Childish’s record label.

(For anybody who shouldn’t know, Billy Childish is from that part of the world and is variously a musician, poet, author, painter who has put out over a 100 albums, thousands of paintings, a fair few dozen books of poetry and prose etc. A good starting point could well be the Billy Childish Is Dead documentary.)

Billy Childish With The Singing Loins-At The Bridge-folk variations and new songs-A Year In The Country

Steak and Gravy and At The Bridge were the two records that I really lost myself to. Steak and Gravy is full of songs that are heartbreaking, moving snapshots of life and loves, while at times it is also stacked to the brim with ire and anger at the prejudices of smaller town overlooking of murderous crimes.

The Singing Loins-Songs For The Organ-A Year In The Country(Though a special mention should probably be almost made for Songs For The Organ and Songs To Hear…)

Kitchen sink in more ways than one: this is music that reflects the lives of its makers in an artful but away from artifice manner and was also sometimes recorded (on half-track, whatever such a thing might be) literally in Mr Billy Childish’s kitchen (or thereabouts).

To be honest, as I type and look away for a second at the titles of its songs, I want to just step away for a moment and here these songs once more…

The Singing Loins-Steak and Gravy-A Year In The Country-2On spinning vinyl mind, rather than digitally.

Not in a holding back the transmission mediums of time way…

Just that it’s never felt quite right to listen to these particular records via shiny or magnetic discs full of zero and ones. Their sound and stories for me seem to belong in amongst those shellac grooves and cliff edges.

Time to step away and think and dream of years gone by, those particular spinning discs and the stories they told.

The aforementioned spinning discs here and here.

A little history here and a touch of associated damaged goods here.

(Ah, so half-track is this…

Billy recorded us on a circa l960 Revox half-track – Half track means you record live into two mics which mix straight down to one mono track. Billy would set the levels as loud and trebly as they would go, turn the clunking great knob to start the tape, and dash into the bog to join in with the general stamping, bashing and singing.

“Songs for the Organ” and “Steak & Gravy” were recorded like this, live in Billy’s toilet (for the acoustics), with whatever guests were available, standing in the bath, kneeling on the toilet seat, the taps dripping, the phone going off in the kitchen next door…“)


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Day #244/365: Rosy Parlane, Willow

Rosy Parlane-Iris-Willow-Touch-A Year In The Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #40/52

I know little or nothing about Rosy Parlane or their Willow release. It came out in around 2008 and was released on 7″ vinyl by Touch and I seem to be trying to mildly avoid knowing much more.

Rosy Parlane-Willow back of seven inch-Touch-A Year In The CountryI don’t know how I came across it but it’s quietly hung around my consciousness

There is something about the music and the back of the vinyl packaging that puts me in mind of documents of edgelands

Willow is a gently, slightly unsettling track, ambient but to the side of soothing, a touch glitchy, full of initially smoothened crackles (static? rain?). It begins with what sounds like the hope of a new day and then slowly builds into a disintegrating full stop.

Visit it tangibly here and intangibly here.

If you should like such things, then a perusal of Ghosts of Bush and Grey Frequency may also take your fancy. Visit them at Day #142/365 and Day #192/365.

Rosy Parlane-Jessamine-Touch-A Year In The Country Rosy Parlane-Iris-Touch-A Year In The Country copy

Something a little more long form.


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Day #237/365: Your Face Here; peering down into the landfill – a now historical perspective on the stories of The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man-Your Face Here-Ali Catterall-Simon Wells-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences.
Other Pathways. Case #39/52.

And while we’re talking about semi-lost celluloid (see Day #235/365)…

Although there has been much written about The Wicker Man over the years and across the ether, I tend to be quietly pleased when I come across writing about it on the printed page and in particular in the bound sheafs of books…

Your Face Here is one of my favourite film books. It was published just after the turn of the millennium. I read it a reasonable number of years ago now but it has stuck in my mind and stayed with me since.

It is a book which takes a wander through British cult films since the 1960s and has a good old gander and consider of amongst others Blow Up, If…, Performance, Get Carter, Clockwork Orange, Quadrophenia, Withnail & I and The Wicker Man itself, dedicating a chapter to each.

All fine and/or intriguing films in their own various ways and while that list may seem like a fairly obvious selection of cult films, an almost accepted canon of such things, there are other things at play that make this a thoroughly enjoyable, informative and engrossing read. I can’t quite put my finger on what those things might be but in part I expect it is that there is a rigour to the research without it stepping into the drier grounds of academia and the text reflects a genuine love for and appreciation of these films.

The Wicker Man-Your Face Here-Ali Catterall-Simon Wells-A Year In The CountryThis isn’t something that is written by rote or which just trots out well visited stories in a cut and paste manner. The authors (Ali Caterall and Simon Wells) have put the footwork in, visiting locations, interviewing all kinds of associated folk and bringing forth something of a wealth of new information and connections.

If you don’t feel like or haven’t the time to read a full book on The Wickerman, say one of the versions of Allan Brown’s Inside The Wicker Man, then the chapter here acts as a fine precis of the story of the themes, production, loss and part-refinding of The Wicker Man. That story is vastly entertaining in itself and as I type it brings forth images of a good narrative film romp that could well lend itself to being made…

…plus when re-reading the chapter, it has gained an interesting historical perspective as it was written before the more recent longer versions of the film were made available on various shiny digital discs, the Hollywood remake or the sort of follow-up were sent out into the world. Also the book was published not all that long after Trunk Records made the soundtrack available for the first time and at a point when the films long march towards cultural rehabilitation and inspiration had just started to gather pace.

In that sense, the chapter now reflects a sense of the ongoing and growing story of this still not completely yet unearthed or unburied film (literally so, if the stories of its negatives being used as motorway landfill are historical fact).

The Wickerman-Your Face Here-Ali Catterall & Simon Wells-A Year In The Country

In case you’re wandering the full title of the book in question is Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since The Sixties. It was written by Ali Catterall and documenter of butterflies on wheels Simon Wells.

The book is currently out of print but can be found for but a few pennies. Well worth a look-see and those few pennies.

Future lost artifacts from said story here. Pathways that lead to the soundtrack here.


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Day #236/365: The Owl Service: fashion plates and (another) peek behind the curtain

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #38/52.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have something of a soft spot for press release for cultural releases from previous years. I’m not completely sure why but I think it’s in part the sense of seeing/discovering something which was once only seen by/intended for a very limited, behind the scenes audience; coming across them feels like quietly discovering a touch of cultural buried treasure or maybe pulling aside the curtain to reveal Oz working the levers and machinery that power his phantasmic stories/apparitions.

Along such lines, below are the Granada Television press sheets for the colour transmission of The Owl Service:

The Owl Service - Granada Press Release (1978) 1-Alan Garner-A Year In The CountryThe Owl Service - Granada Press Release (1978) 2-Alan Garner-A Year In The CountryThe Owl Service - 3-Alan Garner-A Year In The CountryThe Owl Service - Press Release 4-Alan Garner-A Year In The Country

Although black and white television sets could still be found around and about for a decade or two or more after the aforementioned colour transmission, it still feels like a curiously distant and far away time when such things were a consideration…

Two of my favourite lines for the press releases are these:

“One essential point in its favour is that it will hold adults as firmly in its Welsh hobgoblin grip as the children.”

“The world of the book is wholly adult. Only the language, the angle of vision, belong to childhood.”

…which rather nicely sum up the curiously adult/cross-generational aspects and themes of the series or to quote Mr Ben Wheatley at Day #136/365 around these parts:

“The Owl Service… it’s like David Lynch… I watched it about five or six years ago, and I was just stunned by it. You wouldn’t even fathom showing that to children now. That’s what would pass as adult drama now, even quite difficult adult drama…”

And while I’m on the topic of such semi-lost cultural documentation, although probably quite normal promotional activity at the time, the article below is slightly head-shakingly curious considering the otherly significance/signifying that the series has/has gained over the years.

The Owl Service-Alan Garner-television series-A Year In The CountryThe Owl Service-Alan Garner-television series-A Year In The Country-2

There’s nothing like some “cosy country-wise winter fashion” to accompany mythological tales of tackling the wolf in every mind (!); “Outdoor life is great when you’re dressed for the job in hand”.

Other related artifacts around these parts here and here. Remnants of transmissions before the flood here.

Previous glimpse-behind-the-curtain documentation: a selection of artifacts from a boy who fell to earth.

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Day #228/365: Studys and documentation of the fading shadows from defences of the realm…

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #37/52.

I’ve mentioned this before but I seemed to spend a good part of my younger years fascinated by small-scale defence installations; concrete pillboxes that stood in fields, resisting the passage of time, debris filled air raid shelters and the like…

These were part of what appears to be/have been a vest network of semi-invisible defences scattered across the landscape, on cliff edges and beneath our feet.

Over the years there has come to be a growing body of literature that documents and investigates such buildings and their associated preparedness; the eyes, ears and quiet claws that were intended to defend the realm.

Here are but a few of such things…

The Royal Observer Corps-Underground Monitoring Posts-Subterrania Britannica-A Year In The CountryOne of my favourites (if that’s the right phrase to use in such a case). The Royal Observer Corps Underground Monitoring Post were a series of around 1500 such two-man installations… there is something both heroic and tragically hopeful about them. The small hand cranked air raid siren on this cover both fascinates and gives me the heebie jeebies.                                              
Cold War-Building For-English Heritage-Subterrania Britannica-A Year In The CountrySomething of a magnificent structure (well, if you overlook its purpose)… All the energy, resources etc that went into all this kind of boggles the mind…
Burlington-Nick Catford-Subterranea Britannica-A Year In The CountrySubterranean Britain-Cold War Bunkers-Nick Catford-Subterrania Britannica-A Year In The Country
Ghost Fields Of Suffolk-Roderick McKenzie-A Year In The Country Ghost Fields Of Norfolk-Roderick McKenzieGhost Fields Of… is such a wonderfully evocative title, a fine piece of accidental hauntological naming… and the fact that there is a pairing of such books seems to help quietly confuse and fascinate my mind.
British Anti-Invasion Defences-A Pocket Reference Guide-Pillbox Study Group-A Year In The CountryAnd while I’m talking of accidental hauntological namings… The Pillbox Study Group sounds as though it is something I should’ve stumbled upon via The Belbury Parish Magazine.”Cold War dread” is a phrase that I have often come across while studying, researching and wandering amongst what has come to be labelled hauntological culture and is something that seems to often be associated with those of a certain age and who grew up in a particular era when the possibility of such conflagrations was potentially all too real…

That sense of dread and its sources aren’t something that I often overtly refer to during A Year In The Country but I think in many ways it constantly underpins and informs much of these otherly wanderings.

Now it is almost as though it has become in part merely a possibly over referred to cultural aesthetic/signifier but though the “hot” characteristics of such cold conflicts does not currently seem to abound, it would seem that all the associated machinery is still posted around the world, still pointed somewhere but I’m not sure quite where or what for.

‘Twould seem you can keep the genies in the bottles (fortunately and much praise for that) but not have them dissolve away, even when it is claimed that there wishes are nolonger required.


Henry Wills-Pillboxes-A Study Of UK Defences-A Year In The CountryMike Osborne-Pillboxes Of Britain and Ireland-Subterrania Britannica-A Year In The Country…and while I’m mentioning such things, above are two more explorations of these stoic guardians…
Fortress Kent-The Guardian Of England-A Year In The Country…and talking of guardians… this brings to mind both defence and attackers from elsewhere, the wording reminds me of long sleeping protectors from The Changes, the installations themselves could be The Tripods marching across the land…
 Defending Britain-Mike Osborne-A Year In The CountryDefending Anglesey-Mark Dalton-A Year In The Country
…and more investigative studies of such forgotten and not currently thought needed structures… I find a strange kind of beauty in the one on the above right. I’m not quite sure why. There’s an optimism, a loneliness and a joy to it in some way…
A Year In The Country-hauntological diagram
The above image is from one of these investigations; it seems like album clipart just waiting to be sent out into the world….

I feel that I should use the phrase England My Lionheart somewhere on this page. I’m not quite sure why. Not in a jingoistic little England manner. More I think because it is a song/phrase that conjures a very particular yearning, loss and hope, which is something that architecture such as the above can also at times seem to…

So with that, as the soldiers soften, the war ends and the air-raid shelters bloom over, I shall depart these fields of zeros and ones for a moment or two…

Thankyou to Subterrania Britannica.

Step under the ivy: An English Lionheart.

Previous installations and ghosts.


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Day #222/365: “Here be monsters”: a note on ritual – introductions to and discoveries of Summer Isles predecessors via Ritual, Old Crow and the work of an archivist, literary sometimes pop-star

Ritual-David Pinner-Finders Keepers Records-Bob Stanley-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #36/52.

A piece of writing that I have returned to a fair number of times on the way and leading up to this year in the country is Bob Stanley’s introduction to the reprint of David Pinner’s Ritual.

Ritual is the book that was in part the inspiration for what became The Wickerman… it’s story of a puritanical policeman outsider coming to investigate a murder, references to the old ways and associated rituals can be quite easily linked forward to what became it’s now much more well-known celluloid semi-offspring.

For years the book remained obscure, out of print and fetched rather large sums of money but it was relatively recently re-released by Finders Keepers Records, which includes the aforementioned introduction, A Note On Ritual.

I’m not quite sure why the introduction has intrigued me so and has caused me to return to and delve through it on repeated occasions.

In part it is maybe because it’s one of those times where the introduction makes me not sure if I want/need to read the whole book.

The introduction opens with a sense of how nature can come to almost dwarf you, how our sense of urban/modern security can easily be dismissed by the ways and whiles of nature (cue visions of the alone-ness, at the mercy of powers, forces and whims far removed from on/off switches, taps and swooshes that wandering through such landscapes can sometimes bring about).

It seems to capture and conjure up the stories and atmosphere of the novel, to summon up a sense of the potential wildness of rural life/ways and to almost exist as a thing unto itself, separate from the following pages; it is an overview of/background to a very particular, small slice of literature which dealt with and in pastoral otherlyness.

Shena Mackay-Old Crow-book-A Year In The CountryAlso, it was this introduction which lead me to that other tale of village flipsides, Shena Mackays Old Crow. Though not a particularly rare book, the available copies of the version where the artwork does the story and its subject justice seem comparatively few and far between. The image to the left is one of those particular copies. A lovely, if unsettling silhouette.

Mr Bob Stanley seems to have a good eye and ear for collecting/commenting/dispensing musical work, whether it be Keeler-esque gatherings of songs for soho shenanigans, collections of swinging sixties beat gal combos, aural collations of music for a good old cup of tea and symphony or sending early missives for that great semi-lost English lost pub afternoon, British Rail ralliers Earl Brutus out into the world.

Along such lines, his Gather In The Mushrooms compilation of late 1960s/early-mid 1970s acid/psych/underground folk I think is still one of the finest, well, gatherings of such things that I have come across and indeed was one of the sparks in the undergrowth that became this particular conflagration of words and culture that is A Year In The Country. Well worth seeking out indeed.

Read the introduction here (where it can also be purchased) or have a look-see/background read here.

0001-A Year In The Country-Gather In The MushroomsGather In The Mushrooms here.

Mr Stanley’s wanderings through mid-century minxes and other (not always popular/populist) popular music findings here.



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Day #213/365: Artifacts of a curious mini-genre (and misc.)

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #35/52.

I’ve mentioned this before but it seems that in the 1970s there was a curious mini-genre of science fiction films, often with big budgets and stars, which dealt with population control and ecological collapse/disaster.

The main culprits? Well, that would probably be Z.P.G., Soylent Green (aka Make Room Make Room), No Blade Of Grass, Logan’s Run, Zardoz, Phase IV, Silent Running… all of which seem to somehow connect with a journey through the flipside of edenic idylls which is part of this year in the country.


Such celluloid stories seemed to vary in their depiction of what form such events would take place and included the replacing of living children with robot offspring and staged depictions of what life was once like, a rather unusual closed food chain choice, new age self-immolation rituals and an escape to the country, shipping the remaining plant life into space, the collapse of society into feudal like barbarism, advanced evolution enabling the control and shepherding of mankind and so on.

And like the previously mentioned paper encapturings of fleeting televisual transmissions and in contrast to modern times which has an almost atemporal access to most of culture at but a swoosh and a tap (see Day #212/365), these celluloid flickerings were also often rather temporary in their viewing and perusing lifespan.

Like their cathode based brethren, one of the few artifacts which would still be on the shelves as it were after a brief theatrical run were the associated novelisation/film tie-in paperback adaptations…

Here are but a few of such things…

A curious mini genre-Soylent Green-Logans run-make room make room no blade of grass phase iv-zardoz-A Year In The Country

Of that curious mini-genre there were a few that escaped novelisation and/or weren’t adapted from a pre-existing story. In the above list that would be Z.P.G. and Soylent Green. I suppose at that time that one of the few other artifacts which might still wend their way into the world after the silver screen showings were the playbills and pressbooks.

So, with that in mind, here is one such appropriate promotional item…

Z.P.G.pressbook-oliver reed-geraldine chaplin-A Year In The Country

I suppose it’s in part the scarcity and rarity aspect of pressbooks from previous eras,  an effect arising in part from them only having previously existed for circulation amongst and for particular commercial groups and purposes, that tends to make me think of them as rather pleasing items,… not dissimilar in a way to how library music has become sought after, foraged for, collected and coveted…

I suppose that the replication and commercialisation of posters and playbills was not at that point as developed an arm of entertainment, though it could be said that the freedom that was then present in the design of such items was in contrast to todays tendency towards (I assume) contract fulfilling cast line-ups in posters (again see Day #212/365).

Along which lines, Silent Running appears to have inspired one or two quite lovely pieces of modern filmic art…

Silent Running-Paul Johnstone Creative Output-Version Industries-Dirty Great Pixels-A Year In The Country-2

The vinyl soundtrack album might be one of the other celluloid story artifacts that could escape into the world back in the 1970s… and I could probably draw a line from the above films to the scientific battle against time of The Andromeda Strain, alongside which, this is a particularly fine looking piece of vinyl…

The Andromeda Strain-soundtrack vinyl lp-A Year In The Country

…and finally, while we’re talking about library music (or rather afficionados, delvers and revivifiers of such things) and slightly away from this particular pages theme but interconnected with some overall themes, I suppose if needs must you could always make-do-and-imagine from household objects and consumables…

The Wickerman-Jonny Trunk-cornflakes-Own Label-Sainsburys Design studio-John Coulthart-A Year In The Country

…that always makes me smile and chuckle when I see it. Thanks to this gent, these gents and this gent for that (is it just me or does the work you’ll find via those just mentioned gents abodes look like some impossible art project that never quite existed rather than something that sat on the tables and in the mother hubbards up and down the land?).

Contemporary re-posterisations: here, here, here, here and here.

Previous pathways which may be of interest: in this secret room from the past, I seek the futurelost celluloid flickering (return to), through to Beyond The Black Rainbow and journeys Under The Skina curious mini-genre…the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folklore.


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Day #212/365: With but a tap and a swoosh; the loss of loss and paper encapturings of once fleeting televisual flickerings…

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #34/52.

It’s already becoming almost hard to remember a time when almost all of cultural output and memory wasn’t available at the touch of a button (or I suppose more strictly speaking often a swoosh and a tap in these modern times)…

For a good while now we have been able to hear the voices of dead men (to paraphrase Mr William Gibson) via recording technologies, without thinking that such capturings and passings through time were odd… increasingly we’re now able to see and hear the strummings and playings and flickering imaginings of all people at all times in an increasingly atemporal manner carried via the pipes, strings and invisible waves of “modern day magic on a monthly tariff.

Mark Fisher-Ghosts Of My Life-Zero Books-hauntology-A Year In The CountryI’m wary of being “Bah, humbug, in my day it was all fields around here and you had to traipse, forage and seek out culture and that was part of the thrill” (which it was)… most developments in cultural recording and transmission have pros and cons (although I think that Mark Fisher’s idea that we are experiencing the loss of loss itself to be quite intriguing and possibly something the implications of which have not yet been fully explored or contemplated)…

There are still some cultural items which remain curiously elusive, whether through a muddle of legal rights, considered lack of commercial viability all possibly via their guardians and gatekeepers still working on or thinking in terms of previous business and dissemination models of controlled and restricted distribution coupled with relatively expensive exclusively physical replication and large scale infrastructure dependent signal transmission processes…


Anyway, once upon a time once the signals of a particular serialised story had gone on their journey through the air at a particular time and date, those stories were largely confined to memory and oral transmission. Apart from the occasional repeat, they were locked away on their ferrous reels…

Although there was a possibility that they might also be sent out into the world via the pages of mass-produced paperbacks (which often seemed to be bound for the bargain book racks and shelves of newsagents and remaindered publications shops).

For a long while, before the ubiquity of electronic recording techniques, these were quite possibly one of the only mementoes or capturings of these stories that could be had (something which is also strange today, when you can practically wallpaper, decorate and outfit yourself, life and house in merchandise for serialised stories).

So, this is a small corner of the world that remembers those (no doubt now) somewhat browned and burnt with the passing of years pages…

The Owl Service-Alan Garner-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryWell, while we’re on the subject (see Day #211/365), here’s the curiously understated cover to Mr Garner’s masterpiece. An early case of “get all the main younger cast members on the cover” over “Let’s make it a great design”, such thinking quite possibly leading to the end of classic, innovative film and television poster design in favour of American football team style line-ups… and the rise of custom produced posters to try and return well designed one-sheets to the world.
Sapphire And Steel-Peter Hammond-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountrySomething of a classic piece of prime time television that’s not so much off the wall but through the brickwork and visiting elsewhere… very little actually happens, particularly in comparison with contemporary rollercoaster plot rides and yet it is eminently entertaining…
Day Of The Triffids-John Wyndham-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The Country.Food for a thousand dreams and nightmares of natures bounty gaining mobility amongst a stricken mankind…
Raven-Jeremy Burnham & Trevor Raytv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryChildren Of The Stones scribes return in the company of a modernist droog for a touch of Arthurian archaeology…
The Omega Factor-Jack Gerson-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryIt seems that this particular set of stories is often overlooked… not quite part of the “hauntological” cannon it would seem but the opening titles and the very first scene are something to behold……pre-Scanners paranormal psychic warfare and research in the musty greys and greens of 1970s Britain.
Noahs Castle-John Rowe Townsendtv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryAnd another slightly overlooked item… hyperinflation, food riots, the breakdown of society and be-cardiganned survivalism in a reflection and consideration of possible future pathways for a strife filled Britain.
The Nightmare Man-David Wiltshire-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryThis still clings to my memory, just in glimpses… there’s something that shouldn’t be there on a very dour, wet, fog shrouded British isle…
Children Of The Stones-Jeremy Burnham & Trevor Raytv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountrySomething of a cuckoo in the nest… opting for the grotesqueries of period illustration rather than stills and scenes from the transmissions…
Day-14-Nigel-Kneale-Quatermass-book-A-Year-In-The-Country-higher contrastI expect it wouldn’t be quite right to not mention this particular ringstone round… huff-ity puff-ity indeed…
The Changes-Gollancz-TV-Peter Dickinson-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryThe bad wires… I shall say no more until…
The Change-Peter Dickinson-tv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The CountryTalking of cultural items which have remained largely under lock and key for many a year (or maybe sneaking out under cover of versions frozen in the fuzzy quality of fifth generation transfers by not so legitimate digital transmissions)… arriving on a shiny disc or two reasonably soon…
The-Green-Gene-Peter Dickinson-A Year In The Country.jpg…the cover of said shiny disc wrapping would appear to bear somewhat of a similarity to another book penned by Mr Peter Dickinson… an intriguing racial/apartheid analogy story based around people of Celtic origin having green skins….which arrived in the world in 1973, a year which would seem to be a particularly good vintage for certain kinds of off-kilter and left-of-centre culture…
The Devils Children-The Changes Trilogy-Peter Dickinsontv tie in tv adaptation book-A Year In The Country…and while we’re on the subject of such things… not strictly a cathode ray tie-in edition but I’m rather partial to this version of one of The Changes trilogy books… it puts me in mind of the cover to Rob Young’s Electric Eden and links to visionary English myths and culture.

It seems in particular as though it should be an accompaniment to his The Films Of Old Weird Britain piece

The majority of the items of culture covered here, in their transmission form, date from the late 1960s to around 1980.

Why do they stop then? Well to quote myself, it may well be in part because after then British science-fiction/fantasy television seeming to begin to try and compete with the slickness and spectacle of cinema blockbusters and in so doing seemed to lose some of its own character or mystery (see Day #183/365… also rather handy for perusing some of the flickers from the above stories)…

…or to quote Mr Julian House of otherly town planner and parish re-imagineers of that period, Ghost Box Records, the late 1970s was a point when “The landscape changed. The post-war sensibility – that essentially left-leaning utopian sensibility that created things like the Radiophonic Workshop – was chopped off at that point.” (see Day #205/365).

Chocky-John Wyndham-A Year In The Country 3-lighterAnd while I’m talking about such things spectral and hauntological… the televisual adapatation on the left arrived after that cut-off point but I rather like the somewhat sinister geometry of this book version…


Previous pathways: Quatermass. The Twilight Language of Mr Nigel Kneale. The bad wires. Celluloid flickerings from an otherly Albion. Ghosts Of My Life. The changing shadows of Mr John Wyndham. Remnants of transmissions before the flood. Lonely stones. Spinnings from the Ghost (Juke)box.



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Day #211/365: Memories of midnight dreams and other nocturnal flightways and pathways

File under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #33/52.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen-Alan Garner-A Year In The CountryAs I think I’ve mentioned around these parts before, many years ago (many indeed), I think I first came across the work of Alan Garner via having part of the book The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen read to me at my then institute of learning (if memory serves correctly, the imparter of knowledge in question would read part way through a book and then stop, hoping that we were intrigued enough by the story to go and find the book and keep reading… a somewhat cunning ploy to instill a fascination and yearning for the printed word).

Around the same time I seemed to come across/be introduced to in a similar manner a fair few other books which took as their setting otherly/supernatural/mythological takes on English garden idylls, the landscape and edgelands (well, dumps as they were known then)…

Toms Midnight Garden-A Year In The CountryThe Secret Garden-F Hodgson-Burnett-A Year In The CountryMarianne Dreams-Escape Into Night-Paper Dollhouse-Catherine Storr-A Year In The Country


As the years have gone by I’m not quite sure which I read and which I just think I did… some of them have become mixed up in my memory: Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Secret Garden are particularly intermixed, Marianne’s Dreams which became Escape Into Night upon transmission through the airwaves and then Paperhouse via celluliod (see Day #79/365) also strikes a bell but I’m not sure if I actually read it or just its cover seems familar… remembering them via such transmissions may have come to make me think that I’d sat down and perused their pages…

The Secret Garden-Frances Hodgson-Burnett-book-A Year In The Country

…all seemed to promise late night journeys into other lands, accessed via the backs of wardrobes in the walls of gardens where we feel secure… more than a little intriguing and irresistible back then (and now?).

The Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-A Year In The CountryThe Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-A Year In The Country 2The Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-A Year In The Country



That perusing is something that I’ve thought about/planned on doing/re-doing but I’m not sure if I want to ruin the memory of being read a story about mythological stone related goings on in a newly built school extension building (which even to this day, seems like a curious juxtaposition of the old and the new)… I’m not sure if I would be able to recalibrate myself correctly to appreciate them now (see Day #33/365 for more on such things).

But I still find myself drawn to them. In particular the cover art and the way it sums up and reflects the time of its arrival in the world and the travel of their stories through time (and see Day #176/365 for more on those such things).

The Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-Darren Hopes-Folio Society-A Year In The Country-2The Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-Darren Hopes-Folio Society-A Year In The Country-3The Owl Service-book-Alan Garner-Darren Hopes-Folio Society-A Year In The Country

…and while we’re talking of curious things and juxtapositions between the old and the new, when searching for those aforementioned book covers, I came across a recent somewhat “posh” reissue of The Owl Service. It would require the breaking open of a piggy bank or two to be its owner but it’s looks like a lovely and lovingly created edition… the illustration of the owl design being cut out makes me think of the impossible glamour (in the modern-day and archaic sense of the word?) of Gillian Hills character from the series having tumbled forward through the years and then stumbled into the here and now, changed and reinterpreted via contemporary minds and the pen and paper tools of new fangled adding/counting machines.

View it’s re-interpretation and leaves here. View the re-interpreter of said book here and here.

The Owl Service-dinner service-plate-Alan Garner-A Year In The Country…and while we’re on the subject of she who would be flowers, stumbling upon this (left) made me think of the glorious days when jumble sales and charity shops still seemed to hold the promise of unique, hard sought finds… ah, we can but dream.




Some other owl flightways and pathways:
Early morning sustenance amongst the ruins: here.
Construct your very own nocturnal strigiform here.
Debates around the existence/non-existence and visitations of spectres here.
More on precious crockery here.
Audiological namesakes via Day #30/365.
Tomato soap and lonely stones at Day #202/365.