Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weird Tales for Winter

Photobucket Winter has a lot of festivities. Some live for Christmas. Some swear by New Years. Some freaks even seem to love Valentine's Day, that candy coated abomination. But weird people need weird holidays, and for this night-dweller, it doesn't get any better than Weird Tales for Winter, produced by perennial favorite Johnny Mugwump, on ResonanceFM.
The premise is simple, and sublime. Modern noiseniks, many of the hauntological persuasion, which means, of course, that they really like weird old samples, doing sort of 'radio plays' of Weird Fiction; flights of cosmic horror, classic ghost stories, steampunk dinner parties, and what have you.
For me, this series, now in its second year, as well as Johnny Mugwump's weekly radio show, exotic pylon, come as a real blessing, being utterly compelled by the likes of Ghost Box, Mordant Music, Broadcast, etc. but not really sure how to dig beneath and beyond the canon, to find the mouldering bones and angry spirits of the underground geist of the freaks that make this shit. Like a true Lovecraftian hero, i needed to know MORE! I have also had difficulty finding excellent Weird Fiction, many years ago having exhausted the piles of Lovecraft, Derleth, even Algernon Blackwood and Lord Dunsany, for chrissakes. I thought i would spend the rest of the days of my meager, pitiful existence spending my pennies on ratty pulp magazines from the 30s, trying to unearth some gems from the drek. But this wonderful crew of English eccentrics have come and saved the day, turning me on to M. R. James, William Hope Hodgson, Nigel Kneale, and others i look forward to diving into. Along the way, i have found out about new audio alchemists like Dolly Dolly, West Norwood Cassette Library, and Vindicatrix, besides new works from acknowledged masters like Baron Mordant, The Advisory Circle, and Belbury Poly. Really, it is phenomenal that Mr. Mugwump has gathered this remarkable cesspool of talent, and doubly so that they give this shit away for free. We all must really be insane.
Icing on the cupcake, there's an excellent facebook group to whip the butter into a froth, posting odds and bobs of weirdness, to make yr day more surreal. You can even find some of the artists, shoulder to shoulder with the audience, in rank exaltation of sweet delight. For me, it has made all the difference in the world. Hauntology struck a resonant chord in my soul, strange and spooky, but ultimately inaccessible. I'd heard all the burial records, the caretaker, even the whole ghost box catalog, felt like i'd fallen down a rabbit hole, and was not looking forward to the sudden, abrupt halt. To get to know some of the people making vital art, exchanging pleasantries and geekery and arcane wisdom, all wrapped up in a candy-colored bow, has been inspiring and delightful.
In short, i recommend you listen to every episode, and tune into exotic pylon as well. All the episodes are available for download, including last years season, and there's guest mixes available, to sweeten the pot.


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