Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Haunted Minds and a bit on Music

I'm trying to keep these blogs up but it's not easy. Under a great deal of pressure to get A Haunted Mind and American Vampires off to New Page.

The latter has sparked a lot of interest but I think the Lovecraft book will do so as well. I've been working on a section where I examine the main books in Lovecraft - the Necronomicon, the Cultes des Goules, the Book of Eibon etc and ask if there could be any truth behind them or ancient texts which were comparable.

Then it's on to the beings and creatures in the Mythos - could there be anything behind them. And then the places which Lovecraft and others talk about, could they be based on something as well? The results are surprising I think. O

n another topic - and I'll deal with some questions I've received here - some people have asked what sort of music I like. I have actually done part of the sleeve notes for a "metal" band - I hope I've got that right - who have brought out a dark album based around vampires, in particular Abhartach the Irish vampire. But my taste changes.

My son has got me into a lot of dance music and some of it is actually quite good - I'm listening to the album Free Wired by the Far East Movement which isn't bad. However, today I've been listening to an album which has remained one of my favourites for a while. It's a compilation of Irish tunes by the terrific Margaret Barry "the Queen of the Tinkers". Margaret Barry was an Irish travelling woman who lived for a while in both England and America and who had the rare distinction of being photographed alongside Bob Dylan and Joan Baez at the Newport Folk Festival.

In Ireland she was regarded as something of a travelling musician - she played the banjo and the fiddle and she was a singer of Irish ballads. Some of you may know that my grandfather, with whom I was raised, was also a traditional fiddle player and he knew Margaret Barry well. As a child she was in our house on several occasions and when my grandmother moved home after his death, she received a photo of Margaret taken in 1980, two days before she died in the hospital in Banbridge, Co. Down, sitting in a chair with a bottle of stout. Her voice is that great "tinker voice" that was common amongst travelling women singers, heavily tinged with a Cork accent and I still have a great love for that. The compilation is just as she recorded it without any technology and that's the sort of music I grew up with. I recall seeing Margaret Barry in the early 1970s singing on a street corner outside the public toilets in Smithfield in Belfast and she was a powerful woman and I'm glad to say she still remembered me.

I'm getting a bit nostalgic but maybe it's the time of year and now would be a good place to stop. Will talk again before Christmas I'm sure but now off to listen to some more Margaret Barry!

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