Owls and Flowers: Alan Garner’s The Owl Service At 50

I cannot remember when I first read Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967); like its inspiration, The Mabinogion, or the Stone of Gronw that sits at the centre of its mystery, it seems to have always been here.  It’s an unusual feeling because the novel is not particularly old by standards of literature – it turns fifty on the 21st of August – and yet it … Continue reading Owls and Flowers: Alan Garner’s The Owl Service At 50

“Wyrd” Wirral – Spirits Of Place (02/04/2016)

This is an edited version of the paper given at Spirits Of Place in Calderstones Park, Liverpool 02/04/2016.  My thanks to John Reppion and Leah Moore for organising the event and for to the other excellent speakers (Gill Hoffs, David Southwell, Gary Budden, Kenneth Brophy, Richard Macdonald, Ian “Cat” Vincent and Ramsey Campbell).  Here’s to the next one. There is strange landmass on the opposite … Continue reading “Wyrd” Wirral – Spirits Of Place (02/04/2016)

Wanders: Alan Garner’s Edge And Cadellin’s Home.

“When I was not confined to the house, I would spend my days and my nights on the Edge.” – Alan Garner (1997, p.12). On a frosty but sunny January morning, I was making my way along the M56 towards Macclesfield.  The pilgrimage was not one of unique exploration but one of repetition; I was treading my own ghost steps to a place I had … Continue reading Wanders: Alan Garner’s Edge And Cadellin’s Home.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Part 1. Part 2. The Eeriness of Landscape Entities. The final aspect to assess is the natural eeriness created from putting an object within a landscape; here, it is the context of such an action and implications of the aesthetics that is key.  When Hepworth’s work is situated in the landscape, two things can occur.  The first is that the link between the work and … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth) – Part 3.

Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 2.

Part 1. Portals, Dimensions and Time. For Barbara Hepworth the process actually began in Yorkshire, and Cornwall is the second and last English phase of a basic topographical emotion which is no longer a matter of geography but one of the mind and creation. Neither is it any longer a matter of feeling for landscape in the narrow sense but one of the relation of … Continue reading Uncanny Portals And Standing Stones (Children Of The Stones, The Owl Service and Barbara Hepworth)- Part 2.

The Ritual Of Craft In Folk Horror.

With the ideas of the Folk Horror Chain starting to seem incomplete as the sub-genre grows in popularity and is more analysed, it’s about time further facets, themes, ideas and traits were added to the conversation.  This will be the first in a number of pieces about other traits not accounted for or addressed in the initial idea of the chain (which itself was only … Continue reading The Ritual Of Craft In Folk Horror.

Short Film – Weirdstone (For Alan Garner).

“It is for this reason that we find that co-existence, which could neither be in time alone, for time has no contiguity, nor in space alone, for space has no before, after, or now, is established through matter.” (p.12, 1891) – Schopenhauer, The World As Will And Idea Volume 1. It seems fitting to open with this quote from Schopenhauer when discussing the themes behind … Continue reading Short Film – Weirdstone (For Alan Garner).

The Music of Folk Horror – Part 1 (Sub-Genre Theories).

The Sounds of Sacrifice: The Music of British Folk Horror Films. Introduction. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, a small group of horror films made in Britain set themselves apart from the rest of the genre, becoming an aptly cult phenomena now acknowledged under the banner of folk horror.  As a newly recognised sub-genre, it can be difficult to assess though, as new … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 1 (Sub-Genre Theories).

The Wicker Man (1973) – Defining Of The Folk Horror.

Its geography is stark, rugged and eerily inviting, its characters are sickly happy and lying through their teeth and its narrative is immersive and questioning to the point where its finale is deeply affecting and horrifying. It’s a crying shame that viewers of The Wicker Man (1973) will never fully see the film as its director intended. Having been slashed to bits by the studio … Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973) – Defining Of The Folk Horror.