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Showing posts from November, 2013

Beware the Canandanti

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For those of you who like a short bit of nonsense, here's a story I wrote a couple of years ago. If you've ever wondered what your pets dream of, then maybe this will help to answer your questions. My dogs liked the story when I read it to them.
The story is inspired by the witch trial accounts of the magical order of spirit-journeying Benandanti magicians and their battles against the evil crop-cursing Malandanti in 16th and 17th century northern Italy (of which you could read further in Carlo Ginzburg's The Night Battles. 
Quite what those people who made their complex and involved confessions tot he Italian Inquisitors were actually up to ~ and whether or not they were part of some very late surviving pagan cult, Christian folk magic, or something yet odder still ~ is open to a great deal of debate. However, the world is a deeply strange place and, just occasionally, some humans take a full and honourable part in that wonderful strangeness.

Half Century

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Trying my best not to give any spoilers, but The Day of the Doctor was utterly wonderful and, for me, very emotional ~ almost all my positive memories of childhood are directly connected to that show. I have heard a fair few complaints from people about the 50th reversing the history laid down in the revived version of the show. Which it does, but personally I don't see this as a bad thing, given the way that they did it. The Doctor's character had become increasingly bleak and tormented, with many episodes dwelling on the idea that he is (to his enemies at least) a monster. Writers inspired, I dare say, by Nietzsche's view that, "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Whilst such sentiments are certainly true, I do feel the point had become somewhat over-laboured and the show was in danger of turning their hero into a self-tormenting neurotic w…

The Monster Club

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Last night I went to a Halloween party at a local gay pub, where almost everyone was in costume ~ some of them quite elaborate. Thankfully I recognised a friend and was able to spend much of the evening chatting to him and, contrary to my expectations of such events, found that I really rather enjoyed the evening. Halloween is a very curious time of year, distinct from but intertwined with the ancient Gaelic feast of Samhain, and I was struck by the liminal nature of both the gathering and the date in general. Though British society is centuries ahead of places like Iran in its integration of sexual minorities, those attending were still people whose place in society is decidedly out of the mainstream ~ not only gays, lesbians and bisexuals but those whose gender places them as neither entirely one thing nor another, transsexuals and cross-dressers. There were also a small group of people with learning difficulties, who appeared to be loving every moment of the karaoke event and findi…