Monday, 30 November 2020

3 Wyrd Things: Rosalie Parker

For '3 Wyrd Things' I ask various creative people whose work I admire to tell us about three oddly, wonderfully, weirdly British things that have been an influence on them and their work - a book or author, a film or TV show and a song, album or musician.

This month: Rosalie Parker

Rosalie Parker co-runs Tartarus Press with R.B. Russell. She has written four collections of weird short stories, The Old Knowledge (2010), Damage (2016), Sparks from the Fire (2018) and Through the Storm (2020), out now from PS Publishing. Her stories have appeared in various anthologies, including Supernatural Tales, Uncertainties II, Shadows and Tall Trees, Best New Horror 21 and 30, and Best British Horror. 

It is our pleasure to present her selections for this month's 3 Wyrd Things.


Frank (2014)
Buy it here - UK / US

Frank is an extraordinary black comedy Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. It’s a British/Irish production inspired by papier-mache head wearing Timperley comic and pop star Frank Sidebottom, about an experimental band called soronprfbs, led by Frank (Michael Fassbender). Frank is not seen out of his aforementioned outsized head until the end of the film. The band go to Ireland to record their debut album in a remote cabin, which ends up taking more than a year. They are invited to play in Texas, where they continue to experience personal and creative differences and gradually implode. The final scene may or may not be a surprise. The themes of mental illness and creativity are handled with insight, integrity and delicacy. It’s moving, weird and very funny.

David Bowie
Space Oddity (1969)
Buy It Here - UK / US

I first heard this single at my friend Nina’s house in the small Buckinghamshire village where I grew up. We played it over and over again until I knew every note and nuance. It has an indefinable longing and infiniteness about it which I found myself able to slip into, aged nine. I can still recapture that feeling whenever I hear the song. I’ve always been fascinated by exploration, and although I have done some adventuring into the unknown, I’m a slightly nervous traveller. I’ve never wanted to be an astronaut.

Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights
Buy It Here - UK / US

Bronte’s tale of mixed-race Heathcliff after he is brought to live, an abandoned orphan, on an isolated Yorkshire farm had a certain resonance for me. I read it first aged about 13 in my cold bedroom in the old, haunted farmhouse in which I grew up. It’s a tale of adolescent love and hate, class, rejection and vengeance, and the supernatural and horror elements are fundamental to the story. Heathcliff is the archetypal outsider (cf Frankenstein) and although Bronte’s portrayal of him as he seeks revenge for ill treatment is utterly unsentimental, her skill in the telling means that he retains some of our sympathy. His drawn out death as he seeks to be haunted by and reunited with his dead love Cathy is a Gothic tour de force. Aged 13, the book was like nothing else I’d read. For the last 20 years I’ve lived in North Yorkshire, not too many miles from the Bronte’s Haworth, so the book has gained a new resonance for me. When I re read it last I was struck by how well it stands the test of time.


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