Okay, hear me out on this one. Back about the time I graduated High School - 1994 - my girlfriend at the time's older sister was dating my friend Rob. They had a dingy little apartment in Palos Hills, above the iconically scummy Pizza Pub on 103rd and 88th avenue. Their neighbor was an 80s holdover with a super 80s cocaine mustache that listened to Night Ranger. Fancying ourselves as belonging to the indie rock hoi polloi, we nicknamed this poor guy "Night Ranger" and made him the butt of all our jokes. But guess what? This song fucking rocks, and as my A Most Horrible Library cohost Chris Saunders has pointed out, has one awesome guitar solo. Which was definitely important in its era. nearly 40 years later, I'm secure enough in myself to admit, I totally dig this song, too.
I've been on a bit of a "Folk Horror" bender, in both literature and movies, and I started my weekend bender with Arthur Machen's The White People (not about January 6th, 2021), then re-read H.P. Lovecraft's The Festival, one of the best examples of Lovecraft dipping his toes into Folk Horror, and also, probably my second favorite story among his oeuvre.
Next up, M.R. James' A Warning to the Curious, followed by his classic Oh, Whistle and I Will Come to You, Lad. I'd never read this one before, as James - just like Machen and their contemporary Algernon Blackwood - have been on my radar for the better part of twenty years. I wasn't disappointed.
Even though I'd never read Whistle, way back circa 2011 or 2012, I was introduced to the story at the H.P. Lovecraft film fest at San Pedro's timeless Warner Grand, where along with a host of other great Lovecraft/Weird Fiction films, they played the BBC's 1968 adaptation of the story, directed by Jonathan Miller and starring - in a rather iconic role - Michael Hordern as Professor Parkins. This one has stayed with me for ten years or so now, crystal clear in my memory compared to a lot of other movies I watch, and it was quite satisfying to finally read the source material.
Amazingly enough, the entire thing is on youtube. Here you go:
Totally worth your time, Miller's adaptation kind of feels like an extra spooky episode of The Twilight Zone. Now that I've read the story and found this online, my plan is to rewatch it within the next few days.
Finally, I'm working my way through Blackwood's The Willows, which is probably the longest of these stories I've read so far, and isn't really impressing me all that much. Yet. I'm hoping this is just a case of my falling out of sync with the concentration required to shift my mental palate to a place where I can read and enjoy fiction written in slightly outdated vernacular. Just based on this small sampling thus far, I'd have to say James stands out as my favorite of the three. I plan on continuing on, however, even if Phillip Pullman's final book in the original His Dark Materials trilogy is still at 83% on my kindle. I'm not usually one to be so capricious about my reading, but at the moment, I have to go where my passion takes me.
I'd like to add, if you're at all interested in reading James' work, I've found A Podcast to the Curious to be a wonderful supplemental source for exploring and contextualizing his work.
Boy Harsher - The Runner OST
Zetra - From Without EP
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Author & Punisher - Drone Carrying Dread (pre-release single)
Author & Punisher - Maiden Star (pre-release single)
Author & Punisher - Beastland
Author & Punisher - Women & Children
Drab Majesty - Careless
Zombi - 2020
Zombi - Shape Shift
Zombi - Digitalis
While I've never really been a fan of this card as a Pull, seeing it now makes me think there's a bit of tumult occurring in my creative side. That feels right - I've recently finished editing my friend Jen's first novel, and now I have to get myself back into my own groove. I may need to take a different tack than I'm used to if I want to jumpstart myself back onto the road to where I was.