Jun. 27th, 2017

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I spent most of the last week out West with [personal profile] cybermule [personal profile] cybermule . I introduced H to the Penny Woolcock, BSP-scored documentary From The Sea To The Land Beyond. We watched Who, Brett's Holmes, gardening programmes. We grubbed up celandine in her back garden, went out to swim (well, H and her son did, I read and watched from the shade of a yew tree) at a pool on the way to Clevedon. That day, the heat felt like a forcefield. Teenagers smoked dope and bantered in a dinghy. Saturday, we went to see Inkubus Sukkubus play at St Briavel's Castle in the Forest of Dean. The trip took us through Gloucester - there were two young lads on a horse-drawn cart at the edge of a main road. Gloucester is a place I want to spend a lot more time in. The little corner H took me through was a patchwork of time and architecture: the stubs of old priories, thirties terraces rubbing up against bits of industrial estate; a security alarm company in a half-timbered building, a park bench under a railway bridge. You'd go from graffiti of a rugby player to a spraypainted portrait of Dali with the turn of a street corner. We drank rhubarb cider and coffee-flavoured milk stout at a lovely pub called The Pelican.  Inkubus were good - they're the only Goth band I know of who've used a bodhran over a drum machine (take that Dr Avalanche!) - but the storytellers who preceded them were a bit earnest for my taste. The last day, we saw a thin fox near the coach stop, lots of ash in its coat; as my coach got into the city, I looked up from my book and saw the smoke from a factory hang absolutely still, just as if we were driving through a picture.

I've finished reading Alexandra Harris' wonderful Weatherland, a study of how England's climate has influenced its artists and writers, stretching from Beowulf to Turner's painted suns to a performance of Noyes Fludd held in a town itself prone to flooding. (The subject line is the last few words of the epilogue.) I've become fascinated by the "Claude glass", the black-tinted pocket mirror eighteenth century painters and tourists used to look at the landscape: it seems fit for a Jamesian haunting. You could also buy tinted lenses to overlay other times and weathers on the land: blue for moonlight, grey for fog, yellow for autumn.

My elderly Nokia died last week. H was lovely enough to give me a second-hand smartphone of hers. <3 I'm just getting used to a touchscreen keyboard. She also gave me a brazen crow's skull pendant, which I'm wearing now. I'll let you know if this changes anything with the local corbies....

(ETA: Not One Of Us have accepted my poem "Abhaus"! It might be out in the October issue. More news as and when.)

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