Samhain Séance 11 : ęndleofon

Features excerpts from the films Nope, Hellraiser and Mad God

Listen on Mixcloud

1 afp – Flight
2 The Leaf Library – Architect of the Moon
3 Salvatore Mercatante – Detector
4 Katie Kim – Eraser
5 Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where the Time Goes
6 Clannad – The Theme from Harry’s Game
7 Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan – Locking Stumps
8 The Leaf Library – Goodbye Four Walls
9 Hania Rani – Zero Hour
10 Danny Scott Lane & Dennis Young – Sleepwalkers October 28th
11 Marisa Anderson & William Tyler – Lost Futures
12 Brian Eno – We Let It In
13 The Home Current – In The Moselle November 25th
14 anrimeal – i want
15 Mike Oldfield – On Horseback
16 Mortality Tables – On Mortality, Immortality & Charles Ives
17 Klaus Schulze – Osiris Pt. 3
18 Rupert Lally – Taking The Wheel
19 Anna Tivel – Outsiders
20 The Leaf Library – City In Reverse
21 Kayla Painter – Echoes of Pluto November 11th

Wyrd Question Daze : Oliver Brackenbury

photograph by Ardean Peters

Hi there!
My name is Oliver Brackenbury. I write screenplays, novels, and short stories. I also host two literary podcasts (So I’m Writing a Novel…, and Unknown Worlds of the Merril Collection), and I recently launched a career as an editor, with New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine.

That last one just had its first issue launch on the very last day of September, and I’d encourage people to check it out for free as an ePub/PDF download, as well as softcover & hardcover formats priced literally as cheap as possible, at cost. Our hope is to get people into this inclusive, boundary-pushing short fiction magazine with issue #0, so they’ll want to help crowdfund issues #1&2 in February. Our extremely low-intensity mailing list is a great way to make sure you’ll be the first to hear about new issues or crowdfunding campaigns for new issues.

And the fact that my intro is almost entirely creative projects does a fine job of implying, correctly, that I’m a very task & goal-oriented person…but I do try to make sure I pause to appreciate the world around me now and then.

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I’m from the small, Southern Ontario village known as Carp, where I grew up just around the corner from a now-defunct five story deep Cold War bunker the Prime Minister would theoretically flee to with his wife & cabinet if the missiles flew.

Nowadays you’ll find me in Toronto with all the other reprobates. Where am I going? Somewhere I get to dedicate as much of my life to writing – and editing, publishing, etc – as possible without having to starve, or fail to pay enough attention to other key things in life like nature or my partner.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Hahaha THE MAGAZINE. Wow, just so much mental bandwidth. Good thing I love it.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

Taste: Salted caramel.
Touch: Corduroy.
Sound: A strong breeze passing through leafy branches.
Sight: Looking straight down the middle of a long road, old trees leaning in from either side all the way.
Smell: Fall leaves on the ground

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

Recently my beloved little man, my little Siamese cat – Sam – died more or less of old age. The night afterward I had the most vivid, 8K IMAX etc dream about him sitting on his favourite footstool, leaning forward to nuzzle me as I lay on the couch. Knowing, in that way you know things in dreams, this was his visiting me from wherever he is now, I wished him well and let him know he was welcome to visit again any time he liked. Then I woke up.

Whether it was something fantastic or just my brain processing grief, I’m deeply grateful we got to say goodbye to each other one more time

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Honestly that dream felt a little uncanny, but I can think of one other thing. “Uncanny” might be pushing it, however when reading your question my mind went straight to an experience from eleven years ago where I stood on the end of a very long pier in California, at Venice Beach.

It was close to midnight, and the pier was long enough that I was actually free of pretty much all the light pollution. Looking out to sea you could forget what was behind you for a moment, and just focus on the vastness of the ocean, those inky black depths. I remember it really gripped my chest, this sensation of just how truly small one is compared to the Earth they live on, just how far down the surface of that ocean is. It was really something, as plain Jane as it sounds read off a page.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Well, it affects my mood, which of course feeds into whatever it is I’m trying to write. If you mean something beyond “Writing by hand in a nice park on a sunny day makes me write a bit cheerier than in my dark office on a rainy day”…I suppose it can help provide the clarity to express myself more accurately.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

I recently had cause to re-read the final chapter in Brian Murphy’s book Flame & Crimson: A History of Sword & Sorcery. That chapter is called “Why Sword & Sorcery?” and I find it quite inspiring, even moreso now I’m the editor of a magazine seeking to help give the genre a real shot in the arm.

It’s a whole chapter, so that’d be too much to quote here, however I will say that one key element is his discussion of the idea of Sword & Sorcery “re-enchanting” the world. To provide a condensed quote:

Fantasy fiction transports us beyond the boundaries of our normal lives…and upon returning enables us to see the world from a new perspective, through a process called re-enchantment. Re-enchantment is not false optimism, but is a stroke of lightning on the printed page, awakening readers to new possibilities and potentialities. As Ursula LeGuin wrote…fantasy offers somewhere else, a vision of other worlds that dispel despondency. “The literature of imagination, even when tragic, is reassuring, not necessarily in the sense of offering nostalgic comfort, but because it offers a world large enough to contain alternatives, and therefore offers hope.

This really speaks to some of what I hope to achieve with New Edge Sword & Sorcery magazine.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

Hahaha, ah yes, a question that makes me freeze on the spot when asked it in person.
But I will say I’m a fan of this old joke from Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

““Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.”

Wyrd Question Daze : Andy Falconer

Hi. My name is Andy Falconer and I am an electronic/ambient musician and producer currently working under the project names afp and Sedibus. I first came to prominence during the early 90’s as part of the UK new wave of electronica. This included being part of the first incarnation of The Orb, as well as work with/for System 7, The Art Of Noise, Hypnotone, Depeche Mode and many others.

By the mid 90’s I took a sabbatical of 20 plus years to raise a family, but have subsequently returned to my first love music. Since then, I have released 8 original albums and 2 live double albums as afp, and have once again teamed up with my old friend and Orb Meister Alex Paterson to form the band Sedibus. Our debut album The Heavens was released to critical acclaim and we are looking forward to releasing the follow up SETI in 2023. If you would like to find out more about my music, please check out the following links.

Official WebsiteBandcampFacebook

When I perform live as afp it is with my muse and life partner Ashka.

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I came from Oxford where I was born as the youngest into a liberal family comprising of 2 siblings and my mother and father. I had a secular upbringing and went to Oxford Boys school which can boast amongst its illustrious ex-pupils the mythical Lawrence of Arabia. It was definitely an “Old School” style of Oxford English school which greatly encouraged its intake to think for themselves and question the order of the world. Something I failed to appreciate or understand until years later, and something I will be eternally grateful for. Those were, without doubt, important formative years and was where I made my first foray into music with my school band The Angston Unit. An experimental synth duo heavily inspired and influenced by Kraftwerk, Eno, Yello and early The Human League.

As to where as I’m going? I think as far as this physical body will possibly carry me into a future of new musical frontiers.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

The realization that so many of the things that I once thought of as important in life and previously occupied my mind aren’t really of paramount importance after all. The ability to let go and be in the moment with the things that matter. My love, my family, my friends and to simply live and savour the joy of existence.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell.

My wife, my wife, my wife, my wife, and my wife.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares.

Oh I have a couple of vivid reoccurring ones if I may list more than one.

The first and oldest, and BTW is one I’ve not had since I was a small kid: In my dream I’m crossing the crest of a sand dune in an endless desert. I’m wading down the slope up to my knees in the fine sand that is cascading all around me and I’m putting out my hand to steady myself. The sand is running through my fingers, but it’s not sand. It has a far more liquid texture, and it’s a feeling against my skin that I’d never before experienced in the dreaming or waking world, or come near to. Memory and years have blurred the dream, but it’s a feeling that I feel I’m always on the look out for.

The second, that was an often reoccurring dream from about five years ago, has me working in a vast open plan office. Cubical after identical cubical stretching as far as the eye can see. Then in come a group of men in suits, the men in black if you will, and they march on over to my workplace. Haul me up by my collar and after putting handcuffs on me lead me out while all heads turn to follow. It’s not spoken, but I know the reason they are there is that I’ve been found out. I’m not actually an adult in and an adult world. I’m just a big kid masquerading as one.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Many, but the first one that springs to mind is from sometime towards the end of the 80’s. I’d been recording over the weekend at a 16-track recording studio with the band Jake The Pilgrim who I played keyboards for. The studio was in a converted barn of an isolated farm somewhere in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside. The session had run late but by midnight we were finally on our way home in our battered old transit van.

A dense fog had come up and we were carefully navigating the narrow lanes that led from the farm to the main road. Dense hedgerows lined the route and the night had an eerie feel to it. Someone had just said something about not wanting to be out on foot on a night like this when we had to brake sharply. We’d come upon a woman walking along the side of the road pushing a pram. Her back was to us and through the swirling mist we could see that both herself and the baby carriage had a vintage appearance. We all agreed later it looked very pre-WW2 in style, as did she. A bonnet masked her face and at no point did she look up or round at our approaching headlights.

Due to the narrow lane and hedgerows we had to slowly squeeze past her and the carriage and from our elevated position we could look down and see that the baby carriage was empty. I was driving, and I can’t speak for the rest of the band but at that moment. All the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and flooring the accelerator we shot forward as the mist enveloped her from view. After a collective WTF there was silence till we found the main road.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Place normally has not such a big effect on me, but people and their energy defiantly does. I hate being around negativity.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

The death of my friends Jason Filipchuk and Aaron G Miles. My latest album Cambra is dedicated and partly inspired/ in memory of both of them.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke.

Here’s a tale I’d written for an early afp Newsletter. I have a standing heading called Tall Tales where I normally tell of some adventure or more often misadventure from my past. I hope it’s not too long for this setting, and I hope you are amused.

Curry Out Of Control

It was 1989 and during my time as chief engineer at Falconer Studios (amazingly enough, no relation) I ended up doing a day session with Electribe 101 who at that time had had a minor hit with their single “Talking With Myself”. The boys in the band had come down to London from Birmingham and we were in the studio to lay down some extra musical parts on an existing backing track and record vocals with their singer Billie Ray Martin.

She apparently terrorised the band somewhat with her Diva attitude and I remember how they jumped and almost hid behind the sofa when during an early vocal take, I suggested that she’d sung a little flat on the first verse. However, Billie took the criticism well, and that coupled with my performance on the rest of the session prompted the band to book some more days to work up some backing tracks without Billie.

I believe it was on the evening of day two of the next session that they asked me if I could organise them something to smoke. I told them it should not be a problem and a call to my connection established that not only was he home, but that he had some Nepalese Temple Ball which he was just raving about. Nepalese Temple Ball was very exotic very expensive Hash that was legendary for the almost psychedelic total dribbling state it reduced you too. However no and not tonight. The band just wanted some normal Hash and so off I went to score.

Once I got my dealers house he was just so disappointed that I didn’t want to buy or even try the Nepalese. In fact disappointment turned to feeling insulted, and so much so that he decided that he wasn’t going to sell me anything unless I tried the Temple Ball. What could I do? My arm was twisted and so I had a quick suck on his bong and was within seconds grinning ear to ear. I picked up the order of normal Hash for the band and skipped back out to the waiting Mini-Cab and the studio.

I was fine, I was OK, I had my shit together and there was nothing wrong, or at least that’s what I thought. As I came back through the Control Room door Brian from the band took just one look at me and screamed “You fucker, you’ve smoked the Temple Ball!”. In answer I dissolved in laughter and fell to the floor. In fact, I laughed and I laughed until I cried and just when we thought it was over, somebody would say something to me and I’d start laughing again. Finally, I’d calmed down enough that you could talk to me without me dissolving in fits of giggles but I was still too stoned to work. It was then that Brian suggested we all go and get something to eat at a Curry House he’d seen down the the road. Maybe some food and some fresh air would help.

At the Curry house I was still so stoned that they ordered food for me and I was just playing the dribbling idiot. Positioned about 10 feet (2 meters) from the steps leading down to the toilets, the band, a friend of theirs, me and the studio assistant. I can’t remember how many people, but it was a full table and even fuller by the time the main courses had arrived to support the heavy array of glasses, beer bottles chutneys, sauces, Naan bread and Papadams.

Meanwhile Mr. Stoned was swinging his chair back onto two legs and getting further and further back with each swing until I lost my balance. Over the chair went, but instead of just hitting the floor with it I somehow managed to get up out of it in a wide legged unsteady stance. It didn’t matter much as my balance was screwed and so to stop myself going over I instinctively started to back-pedal while grabbing for the nearest thing to help me from falling. It just so happened to be the edge of the table cloth.

In two or three quick backward strides I covered the distance to the top of the toilet stairs that I’d been sitting with my back to, and I took the entire contents of the table with me. Over I went and down the stairs backwards. A trail of food, drink and broken plates and glasses leading from the table and down the stairs to where I lay. Once again laughing uncontrollably, flecked with curry and miraculously unhurt.

I can’t actually remember anything else so maybe I did bang my head, or maybe it was the Temple Ball. Apparently, the restaurant wasn’t too pissed (they were accustomed to visits from the studio) and my assistant told me he sorted it all out by grabbing my wallet and putting everything on one of my credit cards. I guess it could have all been worse.

I woke up in bed at home and the band headed back to Birmingham. We didn’t speak again but they didn’t complain to the Studio or Virgin Records and Virgin paid the studio bill.  Maybe the band figured they were not free from blame as after all the ball was set in motion with their request for some drugs. Maybe they just had a good sense of humour.

I became a legend at the Indian restaurant and I never smoked Nepalese Temple Ball again.