Singing about my now downtown and filming in my old downtown. Warms the heart.
This beautiful performance of God Bless the Grass, Malvina Reynolds‘ haunting song about truth, has made me an instant fan of Frances Everett.
This is a song my sister and I used to sing together.
There’s more of Frances Everett’s music here. Watching her videos is like sitting with a friend playing favorite old songs.
From the homepage:
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.
Johanna Sinisalo‘s newest novel, The Core of the Sun, translated into English by your faithful correspondent, is scheduled for release in the U.S. in January, 2016!
It’s a very fun book with a sharper satirical bent than Sinisalo’s earlier works, but it’s still filled with the speculative elements, nature focus, and assemblage of real and created found texts that made Troll and The Blood of Angels so interesting.
The story is set in an alternative present, in which Finland never repealed prohibition and gradually became an authoritarian “eusistocracy”, where every aspect of life, including procreation, is controlled for the promotion of a “healthy” society. The newest substance to be banned is the chili pepper, and our heroes are illicit chili pepper dealers.
It’s a great book, and with its mixture of straightforward narrative with ad copy, didactic children’s stories, school instructional films, and many other kinds of writing, it was great fun to translate.
More about the book at Grove/Atlantic .
There are many interesting old shops and warehouses in downtown Tacoma.
When the Doves Disappeared is a complex, suspenseful story about life under occupation in Estonia, from the WWII era to the 1960s. It has a main character based on a real person who is a fascinating study in chameleonic machination.
Here are some of the reviews:
“A piercing look at characters striving to retain their humanity amid fear, violence, and secrecy.” – The New Yorker
“This is powerful fiction that stirs history, war crimes, and psychology into a compelling mix.” – Booklist
“Oksanen depicts civilian life in wartime and under communist oppression in rich historical detail, skillfully manipulating chronology and threading clues subtly throughout the narrative as suspense builds. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal (*starred review)
“A brave and important voice from the ex-communist world… Betrayal, secrecy and memory are the haunting themes of Sofi Oksanen’s accomplished new novel.” – The Economist
I also recommend it.
U.S. cover by Kelly Blair. Canadian and UK cover by Richard Evans.
This short 1971 BBC documentary is full of haunting children’s folklore from Belfast. I was surprised to hear several songs that I sang with my sisters as a child. But only a little surprised. Children’s songs and rhymes have a remarkable way of spreading and outlasting all other forms of folklore.
I wonder, though, if it’s possible for the poetry and song and dance of children to be eradicated by screens and recordings.
Found on the always interesting Nag on the Lake.