Ione’s Dream Festival: Dreaming as a Musical Practice

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Today’s entry by Lys Guillorn, singer-songwriter and all around great gal, can be found at her website. Here’s a taste:

I trust my dreams to reveal aspects of reality that I can’t access in waking life. The shuffle of influences, information, and stimuli creates new combinations in music, writing, and visual art impossible to activate with my waking mind. My dreaming self is my most constant collaborator… [read the rest here]

Horror, The Fall & other news

Mark E Smith of the FallOut now:

Over on the Fox Spirit Books blog I get to kick off Women of Horror month with a piece on The Haunting of Hill House, one of the finest novels ever written. Go read it (my piece and the novel).

I have a piece ‘The Three Rs’ over at 3AM Magazine. I had written for another thing that fell apart but it suited as a kind of encomium for Mark E. Smith. More to come doubtless as there are many things floating around in my head.

Chapter 4 of Madonna of the Wasps is out: chapter 5 at the end of the month. If you want to have a print copy, I have good news coming soon.

You listened to the radio show, right? Feel free to let WGXC know you liked it.

UPDATE: I am always forgetting to share my History Witch posts: most recently Sounding Out the Water Elf (another bit in my thinking about the sound of charms which I’ll be talking about at the Harvard conference in April).

NEXT WEEK: The SpeakEasy dames and I will be guest hosts at Ione’s Annual Dream Festival next week. If you’re on Facebook, join us talking and thinking about dreams and how they affect our waking lives. Some of the posts will be here as well. Starts on Monday!

Forthcoming Publications:

Twice Reviled: Medieval Fact & Fantasy.’ Out of the Cloister: Lone Medievalists Making the Middle Ages Matter: forthcoming piece on what it’s like to be the lone medievalist in a department as well as a fiction writing-lit prof (hint: even people in academia like you to stick to one category or the other).

The Unlikely Milliner & The Magician of Threadneedle-Street.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: forthcoming essay on the use of tarot in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — yes, yet another piece on that book so I suspect I may well end up writing a book about it.

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Travel: after a break of [cough] years, I’ll be heading to Kalamazoo for the annual Medieval Congress. Looking forward to my first paper on Rauf Coilyear, one of my new obsessions. I feel a little sad because I think the last time I was at the ‘Zoo was when I got to hang out with Kathryn Fernquist Hinds, who died suddenly this week. Her husband Arthur has asked those honouring her memory to make donations in her name to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. You might also want to read her books.

I hope to go to MAMO as well: this year it will be in Rome. We shall see. Finances always questionable — and of course, I need to get accepted! But a scheme afoot to catch up with Alexandra Bava naturally and Dan Curley who I think might be there as well in November.

[Fill in the elventy thousand things I have forgotten to mention or haven’t finished]

Oh, and I have more Edinburgh pictures to share: must remember to do so!

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Hudson Valley Writers Showcase 26 Jan 2018

My guests were Faith Green and Nancy Klepsch.

Low tech stream available at the WGXC archives (downloadable)

Hudson Valley Writers Showcase @WGXC

hvwg-logoHudson Valley Writers Showcase
Friday January 26, 2018
2-3 pm NY (7-8 pm UK)
WGXC Radio
Guests: Faith Green & Nancy Klepsch

This Friday I make my radio hosting debut! I know I’ve crashed other folks’ shows but this time I am taking the board myself (eek!). Thanks to the folks at WGXC for giving me a trial run. If they like it we’ll probably aim for quarterly shows.

WGXC is community radio and well known for its Wave Farm where experimental sound projects take place. You should check them out if you haven’t before. They broadcast events around the region like the Drone Fest at the Hudson Basilica.

I’m grateful for the support of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, including President Faith Green volunteering to come on the show. And all the folks who attend 2nd Sunday @2 open mic in Troy will recognise co-host Nancy Klepsch who has a new poetry collection out. Tune in on 90.7 if you’re in the region or listen online.

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Review: Radio Girls

9780749020682RADIO GIRLS
Sarah-Jane Stratford

The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio …and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC London, 1926.

‘If we have the sense to give [broadcasting] freedom and intelligent direction, if we save it from exploitation by vested interests of money or power, its influence may even redress the balance in favour of the individual.’

Hilda Matheson, Broadcasting (1933)

Did you know talk radio was started by a woman? Did you know she wrote a handbook for radio broadcasting in 1933? And was also an agent of MI5? And worked with Lawrence of Arabia and Lady Astor? Does it sound like too much to pack into a novel? Are you now shouting aloud, ‘Why has no one told me about this amazing woman before!’ because I certainly was. Hilda Matheson was a pioneer, a visionary, spy, writer, insightful revolutionary, lover of Vita Sackville-West — well, it’s all gilding the lily a bit. If she hadn’t existed, you’d have wanted to invent her.

In this novel Stratford does a very wise thing: she looks at Matheson through the eyes of a young Canadian-American expat whose life is transformed by working with her. In so doing she gets to use all the fun of a novel (adventure, romance, intrigue, friendships) to show the glories of the beginning of the institution that is the BBC. It was once full of women who were over time systematically driven out. As I’m also immersed in early electronic pioneers Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram, it’s easy to see how women keep getting nudged out of history by neglect because men are trumpeted for genius and women are loathed for it.

Stratford’s protagonist, Canadian-American Maisie Musgrove, is gauche and a bit overwrought at first, but this allows us to see the peculiarly British system that makes up the BBC. It’s one that has the latitude to offer opportunities to women — when everyone thinks it will fail — and then squeeze them out casually once the power of the institution becomes clear.

Musgrove’s transformation is gradual and affecting. Though desperate for a job, any job, at the start she soon comes to realise the power of sound and voice. She begins to listen to the people on the trams, the click of heels on lino, and appreciates the artistry but also the science behind the broadcasts. When an emergency requires use of the old 2LO transmitter, Hilda introduces Maisie to its intricacies and she’s captivated by its magic ‘but it wasn’t magic. It was better. This was the result of endless questions, the search for answers.’

The pace is breezy: I read two-thirds of it in one evening, but there’s a lot of history and information here too. In the lead up to the second world war, there are a lot of people who want to commandeer the power of the new medium and very real intrigues went on behind the scenes. Matheson’s determination to keep the plurality of voices represented is something, alas, the BBC seems to have lost.

I appreciated the author’s note at the end and just ordered Kate Murphy’s Behind the Wireless: An Early History of Women at the BBC which Stratford recommends. The book is out in the US too (though the cover isn’t as pretty, as usual). A very fun read that’s also chock full of interesting history.

Radio Radio

Listen to me have a natter with Hannah Kate on Hannah’s Bookshelf. It’s a free ranging discussion that takes in my many writing hats from academic to crime and historicals as well as the weird fiction that comes out under my own name. At the end I choose the three books I’d like to have left after the apocalypse. Have a listen!

Pirate Crew

I always approve of pirate hats — arrr!

On the Radio with Hannah Kate

How is it possible that I was interviewed on Manchester radio and never once mentioned The Fall?! Not sure, but I had a great time talking with Hannah Kate, whom you might know from Hic Dragones as well as her radio interviews. Last week she had Ramsey Campbell on, so be sure to check out her other interviews.

Tune in today at 2pm UK / 9am NY for Hannah’s Bookshelf on North Manchester FM (if you’re in the area) or listen online wherever you are! Find out how I juggle my pseudonyms, what I’m up to next, why I love #FolkloreThursday and what three books I’d want to have on hand for the apocalypse. Be sure to let Hannah know what you think.
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