Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Weird Tales for Winter

This looks like it could be well worth listening to. Several tales of the uncanny accompanied by appropriately atmospheric music from so-called ‘hauntological’ (what an ungainly and awkward term that is – only an academic could have come up with it) musicians and groups such as Moon Wiring Club, Mordant Music and Belbury Poly. The obvious writers and stories have been avoided, leaving an interesting selection of the new, the obscure and the neglected, along with more recognisable names such as Nigel Kneale and Thomas Ligotti, the latter of whom has already partaken in a literary/musical collaboration with Current 93. Belbury Poly have chosen the story His Name Was Legion by Sir Andrew Caldecott, a former governor of Hong Kong and Ceylon who took to writing ghost stories after the war. These were collected in the volumes Not Exactly Ghosts and Fires Burn Blue. He’s not a writer I’m familiar with, but his work is currently in print (at bargain prices) in the Wordsworth supernatural series. Kneale’s story, chosen by Moon Wiring Club is his haunted house tale Minuke from his pre-Quatermass (indeed pre-tv screenwriting) 1949 collection Tomato Cain. Although maybe they found it in the Pan Horror Anthology (number 11) in which it also appeared in 1970, with a typically garish cover (this is quite some way off from being the worst). These anthologies were filled out with some appalling rubbish and gave me terrible nighmares as a child. The covers, frequently seen on revolving wire racks in newsagents or at stations, were pretty gruesome. Such ghastly colours, too. Ahhh, growing up in the 70s.

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