Wednesday, 31 August 2022

The Modern Antiquarian

Wyrd Britain reviews Julian Cope's 'The Modern Antiquarian'.Made in 2000 two years after he published his book of the same name this film finds Julian Cope back on the road again visiting some of his favourite prehistoric sites.

His journey takes him to Cornwall, the Isle of Lewis, Orkney, Aberdeenshire, Silbury Hill and Avebury as Cope enthuses about his love of the stones and the circles and his beliefs surrounding their use and their construction.  He's an engaging host and makes some intriguing observations and assumptions which makes for an interesting watch.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Monday, 29 August 2022

The Fall of Koli: Rampart Trilogy 3

Wyrd Britain reviews 'The Fall of Koli' by M.R. Carey
M.R. Carey
Orbit Books

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy - set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.
The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .
Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he'd be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.
Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they've been following - the mysterious "Sword of Albion" - there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.
Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

And so we come to the conclusion of Koli's tale as our charmingly naive and endlessly good hearted hero attempts to make good on his dreams.

Having been cast out of his village into the almost certain death of an Ingland covered in murderous flora and fauna and having journeyed with his three companions to the lake where London had been before Koli finds himself at the 'walls' of The Sword of Albion, source of the message the travellers had been following.

Now, I'm going to be very careful here not to give away any spoilers as this is, of course, a pivotal moment in Koli's story and what we have is a book very much of two halves. For me much of the first half was a bit of a jarring change of pace but one proved necessary by the second where Koli is finally presented with the opportunity he's been searching for in an ending that is as bittersweet as it is triumphant.

Finally, I've definitely said this before in my reviews of Carey's books - and it seems likely I'll say it again - but for me he's the true successor to those writers of the end times and beyond - the two John's in particular - that we revere here at Wyrd Britain.  His work, whilst very much his own, is rooted in tales of Triffids, Tripods, Chrysalids and Cuckoos and personally I adore them for it.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Randalls Round: Nine Nightmares

Wyrd Britain reviews Eleanor Scott's 'Randall's Round: Nine Nightmares' published by British Library Tales of the Weird.
Eleanor Scott
British Library Tales of the Weird

'These stories have all had their origins in dreams... These dreams were terrifying enough to the dreamer... I hope that some readers will experience an agreeable shudder or two in the reading of them.'An enigmatic and shadowy presence answers the call of an ancient curse on the coast of Brittany; a traveller's curiosity leads him to witness a hellish sacrifice by night; a treasure-hunt in a haunted mansion takes a turn for the tentacular.

Eleanor Scott was a pseudonym used by an Oxford based teacher named Helen Magdalen Leys under which she produced the nine stories that make up the Randall's Round collection.  Taking her inspiration from various writers of the supernatural - most of them her contemporaries - Scott wrote a series of tales that draw from stories such as 'Seaton's Aunt' and 'Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad' as well as finding much inspiration in both archaeological and folkloric sources that have given her work a new vitality in an age of renewed interest in rural or 'folk' horror.

Where Scott's stories fall down however lies in her seeming unwillingness to allow her stories to end on a dark note as again and again she insists on allowing her protagonists a last minute escape which becomes more than a little wearisome.

Closing the book are two stories by 'N. Dennett' who Richard Dalby (anthologist and ghost story expert extraordinaire) identified as potentially being another of Ley's pseudonyms.  These two tales continue the rural theme both in terms of location - a witch's house alone on a desolate moorland in 'Unburied Bane' and the tainted pagan idol that looms over the entrance to the churchyard that's held in superstitious awe by the parishoners in 'The Menhir'.  It takes a better eye than mine to make such a claim as to Dennett's identity but beyond the obvious similarities these two tales proved to be my favourites of the set and rounded off a mostly fairly light but enjoyable collection very nicely with their distinctly darker hue.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Monday, 22 August 2022

Psychic TV / Current 93 / Coil - Christian Documentary Expose

Psychic  TV, Coil, Current 93, Wyrd Britain
This is a small clip from a US Christian documentary from 1989 that took issue with the prevalence of 'rock' music in US culture called 'Hell's Bells - The Dangers Of Rock & Roll' if you're interested you can watch it here but be warned at three and half hours it's very long and often both very dull and very dumb.  

This small 6 minute extract focuses primarily on Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and at this point Psychic TV taking about his belief in music as a transcendent medium but also gives passing mention to Coil and Current 93 too but the longer doc features all the usual suspects that were enraging the so-called moral majority of the time along with the likes of Diamanda Galas, Patti Smith, Crass, Lydia Lunch and The Birthday Party and apparently it did manage to unintentionally introduce many kids in Christian households, youth groups and schools across the US to musicians they'd otherwise have missed so we'll call it a success although not in the same way the makers would probably claim it to be.

 

 ..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Friday, 19 August 2022

The Ghost Slayers: Thrilling Tales of Occult Detection

Wyrd Britain reviews 'The Ghost Slayers: Thrilling Tales of Occult Detection' edited by Mike Ashley from the British Library Tales of the Weird.
Mike Ashley (ed)
British Library Tales of the Weird

Occult or psychic detective tales have been chilling readers for almost as long as there have been ghost stories. This beguiling subgenre follows specialists in occult lore – often with years of arcane training – investigating strange supernatural occurrences and pitting their wits against the bizarre and inexplicable.

I absolutely love an occult detective story.  It was my gateway drug into all the wyrd wonderfulness that I feature on the Wyrd Britain blog.  I get that for some people they make for both an unsatisfying detective story and an ineffective supernatural one and I occasionally agree but equally I just adore the central idea of a crusading occultist vanquishing malign forces preferably while dressed in a frock coat and weilding a swordstick.  This newest release in the British Library's Tales of the Weird imprint celebrates that figure with stories from some of the key writers alongside several more obscure ones.

The book opens with one of Kate and Hesketh Prichard's 'Flaxman Low' stories, 'The Story of Moor Road' which features an attack of an earth elemental.  It's an entertainingly pulpy tale that keeps Low on the back foot as he attempts to thwart the creatures vampiric attacks.

The next two stories feature perhaps the two most recognisable names with Algernon Blackwood's 'Dr Silence' and William Hope Hodgson's 'Thomas Carnacki'.  The former is represented by perhaps one of his most hands on cases as he attempts to exorcise a haunted house in 'A Psychical Invasion' whilst Carnacki does something similar in 'The Searcher of the End House'.  Both are strong tales but neither are my favourites from their various casebooks with the Carnacki having a particularly muddled Scooby-Doo ending.

I read the various 'Aylmer Vance' stories by Claude & Alice Askew in the Wordsworth Edition a few years back and enjoyed them immensely yet I don't really remember this story, 'The Fear',  featuring yet another haunted house which surprises me as it's an enjoyably creepy tale with a nicely open ending.  Bertram Atkey on the other hand is a new name to me and his occultist detective, 'Mesmer Milan' is an intriguing prospect with his astral travelling and intense personality and the story plays an interesting contrast by placing Milan in some decidedly frivolous company in a winningly different love story.  The following 'Dr. Taverner' tale 'The Death Hound' is one of the more pulpy of occultist Dion Fortune's 'Taverner' stories and again probably wouldn't have been my choice but it works here especially in the company of the preceeding story.

Happily for me I'm on fresh ground for the rest of the book and Moray Dalton's fabulously named 'Cosmo Thor' is a vague sort of character in a story that too closely resembles the 'Aylmer Vance' to particularly satisfy but as a - yet another - haunted house story would perhaps have worked better if I'd not read the that other one earlier the same day.

For the last two stories we travel across the ocean and meet two American investigators both of whom conform - as do most here - to the well trodden path of detective and chronicler.  Gordon Hillman's 'Cranshawe' is all action, racing to investigate strange goings on at a lighthouse whereas Joseph Payne Brennan's 'Lucius Leffing' has a much more sedate and deductive manner.  The former is breathless and a touch inconsequential whereas the latter is thoughtful and more satisfying with a slightly jarring pulp moment in the middle.

With Ashley at the helm I was always fairly confident that this was going to be an rock solid collection coming on the back of his mammoth 'Fighters of Fear' collection of a couple of years ago which it absolutely is but I do have a slight quibble with the number of haunted houses but don't let that put you off. If you've an interest in the idea of the occult detective this should prove a worthwhile read for novice and devotee both.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Monday, 15 August 2022

This World and That Other

Wyrd Britain reviews 'This World and That Other' by John Howard and Mark Valentine from Sarob Press.
John Howard
Mark Valentine
Sarob Press

This is the second of John and Mark's shared exploration of the concepts and ideas of 'Inkling' Charles Williams following on from 2020s 'Powers and Presences' from the same publisher.

John opens the book with his 'All the Times of the City', a story of a cathedral and a poem and the influence that both exert over different times and different realities.  It's very typically John, delicate, poetic, poised on a razor's edge and deeply immersed in the lure of the city and in the shapes that buildings take on in our imaginations and the hold they have over us.

Mark's story has a more pulpy feel to it.  A cross country romp that reminded me of his Connosieur stories and in particular 'Descent of Fire' (co-written with John Howard). It's great, breathless fun that introduces a variety of eccentrics and their associated artifacts all of which resonate with mythic significance.  I must admit to being a little disappointed that we didn't get the return of Rachel Verulay, Thomas 'Marmoset' Mulberry and Lepus the straw hare from that previous volume but maybe another time and as replacements the cast of characters we have here did not disappoint.

I've never read any Charles Williams despite having three of his books on my shelves for a few years now - so many books so little free time - so my understanding of how these stories  resonate with his own writing is for other people to appreciate but for me this is another great read from two of our finest writers of supernatural fiction.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Friday, 12 August 2022

When The Wind Blows - radio play

Wyrd Britain reviews 'When The Wind Blows' by Raymand Briggs.
In memory of Raymond Briggs who died earlier this week - 9th August 2022 - I thought we could take some time to listen to a radio adaptation of one of his seminal works, 'When the Wind Blows'.

I know for many people he'll be most fondly remembered for 'Fungus the Bogeyman' and for his contributions to Christmas with the books and films of 'The Snowman' and 'Father Christmas' but for me it's the delicately desolate beauty of 'When the Wind Blows' for which I'll remember him.

Published in 1982 'When the Wind Blows' tells the story of a nuclear war between the UK and the Soviet Union from the perspective of an elderly couple named Jim and Hilda Bloggs.  The story follows their futile attempts to survive the nuclear exchange through their home made shelter - doors leaning against a wall - and the advice given in the government's useless 'Protect and Survive' leaflet.  It's both warmly amusing as the pair reminisce about their experiences in WWII and devastatingly sad as the effects of the blast takes it's toll.

This radio adaptation, originally broadcast on 6th February 1983, stars Peter Sallis and Brenda Bruce and received the Broadcasting Press Guild award for the most outstanding radio programme of 1983.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Zenith: Phase Four

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase Four' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell published by Rebellioon.
Grant Morrison - writer
Steve Yeowell - artist
Rebellion

With the Lloigor defeated nothing can stand in the way of the superhumans and universal domination! The remaining members of the original British super-team Cloud 9 with some additional powered affiliates (including Zenith's infant son) have destroyed America in retaliation for an attempt on their lives. Now they plan to incubate in the sun and evolve to the next level of existence, destroying the Earth as they do so.
Once again Zenith and St. John must make a stand for humanity and this time it's personal! Grant Morrison (WE3) and Steve Yeowell (Devlin Waugh) bring you the mind-blowing finale to one of the most celebrated series in British comics.

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase Four' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell published by Rebellioon.
The fourth and final volume of Morrison and Yeowell's Zenith relocates the story slightly into the future and brings back, unsurprisingly, 'The Lloigor' for one last attempt at dominating the universe.  The end of Book Three saw a number of the supes poised to put their long term plan that's been getting occasional cryptic mentions since the start into action and here we see the consequences.  I'm not entirely sure I thought this story could become more cosmic than 'Chimera' becoming his own universe in Phase Two and the dimension hopping romp that's gone before but Morrison manages it with the black sun that looms over London and the machinations of those superheroes not preoccupied with popstardom and political gain.  Their plan is suitably grandiose and transcendently egomaniacal on a universal scale and unfolds with the type of twisted gothic grandeur that Morrison would later occasionally return to during his run on 'Doom Patrol'.

It's a fitting end to the story and one that is very much in sync with how other, earlier, parts of the story resolved themselves and whilst it's missing the elaborately pulpy joie de vivre of Phase Three's transdimensional shenanigans it's more intimate nature is perfectly suited to bringing the story to it's conclusion and yes I'm aware that describing a universe spanning storyline as 'intimate' is a little odd but this is esentially a story of a family at war. Admittedly a family that can wipe out America in an afternoon but still just a family. 

In the final reckoning though this series proved itself to be big and bold and suitably epic in scope and it was refreshing to see the main character utterly fail to learn anything from his experiences and finish the series just as much of a dick as he started it and depressingly realistic to see the Tory politician at the heart of the story not only get away scott free but to profit from it.

A brilliant series and well deserving of these big, beautiful, deluxe reprints and of your time and attention.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Zenith: Phase Three

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase Three' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell published by Rebellion.
Grant Morrison - writer
Steve Yeowell - artist
Rebellion

After saving London from the supernazi Masterman and a nuclear missile strike, the shallow superhuman popstar Zenith has found that his fifteen minutes of fame are almost up. With his career on the downturn, he agrees to go to Alternative 23 where another version of the WWII superhero, Maximan, is gathering an army of superhuman beings from alternate Earths to take part in a multidimensional battle for survival. With the fate of all reality in the balance, will Zenith be able to drop the sarcasm and take things seriously for once? It's doubtful.

Zenith: Phase Three finds our unheroic hero recruited into the fight to save the multiverse from 'The Lloigor - The Many-Angled Ones'.  To do this an alternative version of the WWII British superhero 'Maximan' has brought together a team of heroes from across the various alternative Earths that includes amongst a host of others 'Cat Girl' (from Sally Comic), 'The Steel Claw' (from Valiant comic), 'Thunderbolt Jaxon' (from Knockout comic and incidentlly one of the reasons why Zenith has been out of publication for so long) and 'Robot Archie' (from Lion comic) now an acid anarchist with an occasional penchant for riding a dinosaur to pursue his plan that involves sacrifices on a planetary scale.

After the fairly sedate plotting of Phase Two where Zenith dealt, quite calmly, with a nuclear threat and we learned more about his history and met some of the characters that were about to play a much larger part in the proceedings Phase Three is a pretty breathless affair.  Hopping between universes in the company of an army of those half forgotten heroes from the heyday of British comics in pursuit of Maximan's plan Morrison and Yeowell really come into their own here with a wonderfully uncompromising and brutal tale. 

The big twist is fairly obvious to spot and my partner is never going to forgive Morrison for what he does to 'Cat Girl', her childhood favourite, but this penultimate book is a series highlight, a great big, fun, transdimensional crossover event of the kind that DC comics used to do in the 1970s but with extra added Lovecraft.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Zenith: Phase Two

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase Two' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell and published by Rebellion.
Grant Morrison - writer
Steve Yeowell - artist
Rebellion

It’s 1988 and Zenith is as popular as ever thanks to his victorious battle against Masterman. The threat from the Lloigor has been quashed and now Zenith must face an all-too human threat – Dr. Michael Peyne – the creator of Britain’s post WWII superheroes and ‘father’ to Zenith’s parents, has teamed up with the megalomaniac billionaire Scott Wallace who is intent on taking over the world. Together with C.I.A. agent Phaedra Cale, Zenith must stop Wallace from destroying London whilst also confronting his past and a less-than-happy reunion with his father!

Zenith's second act opens with the pop star superhero riding the success that his part in the defeat of the Nazi Masterman brought him.  It's short lived however when he gets attacked in his own flat by a giant robot type thingy and whisked off to Scotland by an exotically named CIA agent to stop a rogue superhero programme funded by a Richard Branson style billionaire.  

Meanwhile we get a much more detailed look at the bigger picture as former heroes return and new ones appear from across the multiverse as we start to see the extent of the bigger threat that will soon face our arrogant and barely competent hero whilst he himself is shown winning the day thanks to his own unrepentantly shallow world view.

It's beautifully paced and treads some similar ground to the "Project Zarathustra" storyline in Alan Moore's 'Miracleman' although with a decidedly more 'pop culture' bent as we discover some of the truths behind the genesis of the superheroes from the mouth of the comic's very own Dr Frankenstein-esque 'mad' scientist creating new life as Morrison adds depth and mythos to an already genuinely intriguing plot and cast.  With the exception of the, fairly pointless origin story coda, the book ends particularly strongly going fully - and I do mean fully - cosmic as we meet and discover the fate of 'Chimera' a character mentioned in passing earlier in the book in a sequence that allows Yeowell's pristine art to truly shine..  

Phase Two, whilst having a fun but fairly inconsequential menace confronting Zenith,  provides a step back from the main event slowly coming to the boil in the worlds of the supporting cast and a welcome chance to learn the back story of how our superbrat came to be.  Storytelling wise it's real step up from an already strong but breathless start that gives a solid foundation for what's to come and it's going to be a trip seeing where it goes next.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Zenith: Phase One

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase One' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell and published by Rebellion.
Grant Morrison - writer
Steve Yeowell - artist
Rebellion

Berlin, 1945: The allies unleashed the second world war hero Maximan upon the German supersoldier Masterman. Maximan’s defeat was only kept secret by the nuclear bomb which destroyed both men. Forty-plus years later, and twenty years after a generation of ’60s British superpowered heroes came and went, the teenage pop star Zenith is the only superhuman left – and his only interest in women, drugs, alchohol and fame.
So when he is contacted about the threat from the many-angled ones and the impending destruction of our world, his first reaction is to steer well clear.But the superhumans of the past have other plans.

Back in 87/88 when Zenith was first published I was an intermittent reader of 2000AD.  I was working in a comic shop and occasionally flipping through the one copy that was ordered through us so I was aware of Zenith but having read this first of four stunning, large format, hardback reprints I think I only ever read the very first episode, at least from this first story arc.

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Zenith: Phase One' by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell and published by Rebellion.
Zenith is a pop star superhero. The only active superhero in the world following the deaths of the original WWII era superpowered pair and the disappearence and retirement of those active in the 1960s.  He's a party brat, selfish and hedonistic only drawn into any actual heroics by the return of the original Nazi Ubermensch powered by the 'Many-Angled Ones', dark gods from another dimension.

What we see at this early point in the story is Morrison playing around with the same sort of ideas of reinventing superheroes as many of his peers were at the time but, as would continue to be the case throughout his career, doing so with a lot more affection for the genre than was perhaps more often the case at the time with those others.

Partnered with Morrison here is the brilliant Steve Yeowell which means that along with the transdimensional storyline the book has a very strong feel of kinship to the pairs brilliant 'The Invisibles'.  Yeowell is a beautifully delicate artist with the ability to give his characters depth and weight and a sense of realness even in the most ludicrous of situations and, as you can see in the image above above a fantastic flair for the dynamic and the dramatic.

So, this first book, despite being all wrapped up a tad too quickly and neatly it all made for a very satisfying read and I head onwards to book two with high expectations.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

The British Surrealists

Wyrd Britain reviews 'The British Surrealists' by Desmond Morris from Thames & Hudson.
Desmond Morris
Thames & Hudson

Honored for their idiosyncratic and imaginative works, the surrealists marked a pivotal moment in the history of modern art in Britain— pioneering the Surrealist movement between World War I and II. Many artists banded together to form the British Surrealist Group, while others carved their own, independent paths.

Hands up who knew Morris was a surrealist artist before he became a zoologist? Not me but apparently so and here he provides an overview of many of the artists he knew at the height of the movement with a beautifully presented series of pen portraits of thirty four British Surrealist artists and featuring 107 illustrations, most of them in colour. 

Featuring artists such as Francis Bacon, Leonora Carrington, Ithell Colquhoun, Tristram Hillier, Paul Nash. Roland Penrose and Ceri Richards if you're already fairly knowledgeable on the artists included then this book perhaps isn't for you as the portraits provide a pretty brief - and occasionally bitchy - overview of the lives of the artists with little to no critique of their work. But if like me many of these folks are new to you then this makes for an attractive primer giving a couple of examples of each artists work with just enough background info to tantalise. 

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Fifty Forgotten Books

Wyrd Britain reviews R.B. Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books' published by And Other Stories.
R.B. Russell
And Other Stories

Fifty Forgotten Books is a very special sort of book about books, by a great bibliophile and for book-lovers of all ages and levels of experience. Not quite literary criticism, not quite an autobiography, it is at once a guided tour through the dusty backrooms of long vanished used bookstores, a love letter to bookshops and bookselling, and a browser’s dream wish list of often overlooked and unloved novels, short story collections, poetry collections and works of nonfiction.

There is a small but much loved and growing section of my collection that can be described as books about books including Nicholas Royle's love letter to Picador and Penguin Books 'White Spines', Mark Valentine's championing of forgotten and underappreciated authors in, amongst others, 'A Country Still All Mystery' and Mike Ashley's celebration of British science fiction 'Yesterday's Tomorrows' to name just a few and now joining them is Ray Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books'.

Wyrd Britain reviews R.B. Russell's 'Fifty Forgotten Books' published by And Other Stories.
This new book from Tartarus Press publisher Ray finds him discussing the fifty books (and referencing many more) both old and new that, along with the shops and the people he discovered them through, have impacted on his life.  Featuring authors such as Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, M.P. Shiel, Aleister Crowley, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Walter de la Mare, David Lindsay, Robert Aickman, Rosalie Parker, Mark Valentine, Avalon Brantley, and many, many more it's an enthralling, and very gracious, wander through a love affair with literature that has, in many ways, defined his life.

Presented as a nifty dust-jacketed paperback 'Fifty Forgotten Books' tells a literary autobiography as Ray relates a life spent amongst books and of the various folks he has encountered on his quest for the next perfectly formed sentence.  It is a sublime read that's heartily recommended to everyone with a love of books and in particular of those beautiful obscurities that seemingly only exist on the lowest shelves, in the dustiest corners of the most charismatic of second-hand bookshops.

Published on 13th September 2022.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

The Hobbit (Jackanory)

Between the 1st and the 12th of October 1979 Jackanory -  a long running Children's BBC series where actors and authors would read a story directly to camera - the BBC undertook a 10 episode telling of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'.

To do this director Roger Singleton-Turner turned to his most reliable reader, the man who had very much become the face of the show as well as being the voice of 'The Wombles', Bernard Cribbins here ably supported by the brilliant Maurice Denham, Jan Francis and David Wood.

..........................................................................................

If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.