Posts

Speaks for Wolf

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Should have posted here earlier, but work has been manic.... On Saturday 17th June, 7.30pm at the Ipswich Oddfellows hall on the High Street I will be telling myths and legends involving wolves as a means of fundraising for the UK Wolf Trust (which looks after a number of wolves in their sanctuary and does a lot of educational and environmental work as well).

Turn up, bring alcohol if you want it (I will provide tea/coffee) and make a donation to the charity tin. Stories are drawn from various cultures and sources - Roman, Irish, Greek, and assorted others.

Driftwood

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I wrote this poem some years ago, and it appeared in the Moon Books anthology (published in 2014). It was inspired by the Greek myths of the sea deities Poseidon, Nerites (who was transformed into a sea snail), and Proteus the seal herder - a lovely idea, of a god looking after seals and steering them through the oceans.
I'm recording this because 2017 is the anniversary of the decriminalisation of gay sex in the UK and so this year is being marked with various events, films etc. Also recording this because I'm sick to death of the General Election, but also more than a bit perturbed by the sudden elevation of the very hard line anti-LGBT Irish political group, the DUP, to the position of "king makers". So, this poem is my attempt to focus on a more positive view of such issues.


London Pride

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Watching the unfurling horrors in Manchester and London, I am as bewildered as anyone else by the level of hatred and malevolence on display. I was born in London and still have family and friends there, so yesterday's incident is particularly close to the bone.

London is a city rich in mythology and legend (I'm sure Manchester is too, but I know very little about its stories) and the incident brought to mind both a favourite song - I am an admirer of the Golden Age of music from the 20s, 30s and 40s, including the Noel Coward number below, which I heard delivered to great effect by Kitt Hesketh-Harvey and Dillie Keane some years back. The song in turn brought to mind a semi-prophetic folk story from London's wide raging traditions. My spin on the story is included below - I hope it does not feel "too soon" to tell it.


Omnomnom

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A revolting little story, of which there are several variations in different regions of Italy. Not recommended as an aperitif, nor for those of an anti-capitalist disposition (though you could chose to see it as an indictment of the degree to which the rich will not be parted from what is theirs, no matter what).

Ixion

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We held a day long seminar on Greek mythology and its continuing influence in literature, film, psychology, politics, medicine etc. at West Suffolk College today (part of the ongoing programme within the Religious Studies & Ethics department). It was an enjoyable day (for me, if not the people attending!) and to make the most of my good mood after a rather heavy week, I've recorded this Greek myth about the life and demise of Ixion. It's a somewhat lurid tale and not suitable for any younger viewers.


Academic conference

On Tuesday 16th May the Religious Studies & Ethics department have organised their annual conference, at which I will be one of the speakers (talking about Roman and Greek notions of sexuality). The theme for this year is Gender & Sexuality. It is a free event - contact me at robin.herne@wsc.ac.uk if you wish to attend. The programme of speakers is as follows:



A Doctor Calls

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Two days ago the sad news was announced that British character actor Geoffrey Bayldon had died at the grand age of 93. Younger readers may not recognise the name, he having been retired for a while, but those old enough to remember Worzel Gummidge and Catweazle certainly will know him as the both the Crowman whose magic brought scarecrows to life, as well as the ancient time travelling wizard who landed in 1970s Britain to discover the perverse magic of electrickery and telling bones. He also appeared in a long old list of TV shows and films.
His magical characters inspired me with the visual image of Doctor Winter, a real life Cunning Man who lived in the 1700s and early 1800s in Ipswich. When writing fiction I find it helps if I can put a face to my characters, so often draw on both celebrities, people I know, and random strangers I see whose faces interest me. I wanted to restore Winter to life as the sleuth in a short story called 'A Doctor Calls' (part of the crime antho…