Words and Music

Myself, Bela, and one of the piping Jills are, over a few pints of a particulary good Hungarian ale by the name of Szalon Barna which I got in here for the Pub, discussing the excellent selection of music and books reviewed this edition. So sit, grab a bottle of this excellent ale, and join in our conversation… Now where were we? Ahhh, yes…

(Our usual narrator, Iain, is off instructing the Several Annies in the fine art of constructing indexes for personal journals so I got the honour of doing the update this time.)

Let’s start off with music. We first have a look first at five new Canadian recordings where you no doubt will find something worth hearing. We also have a female singer-songwriter duo, a band compared favorably to The Band which is certainly a strong recommendation for me, a English trad duo that the reviewer thinks could find themselves on the bill at Cambridge Folk Festival someday, next is a recording described by our staffer as ‘ambient music for quiet conversations or soundtrack material for a good book’, and we finish off with the latest from an Austrian Celtic trad group which is a favourite with many of our staffers.

Moving on to books where we cover a lot of different riffs including a supernatural Western and a zombie Western, a riff off of strong female characters where practicing magic is a choice between evils and lesser evils, a vampire ninja detective story, a sequel to Dracula (I kid you not), heroic fantasy noir (again I kid you not), an unapologetically SF trope heavy novel, and old fashioned horror.

I think I’ll single out the work our staffer described as being in ‘the vein of the Arabian classic, One Thousand and One Nights. ‘Jones invites us into a fictional ninth-century Baghdad: one of mysterious figures, magical artifacts, frightening djinn, and lost cities damned by God.’ It certainly sounds fascinating to me!

A final note before I take your leave… My winter reading recommendation for you this edition is Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint as I feel it’s a story well-suited to reading on a winter night as our reviewer notes it ‘explores the relationships between fairy and human, and magic and reality, and the role of chance in daily life’ and it’s really a great read as well!

Now I’ll have some more of the Hungarian kolbasz — it’s really heavy on garlic and paprika so it should go good with the fresh baked tiros lepeny (A Hungarian yeast bread with cheese topping) and more of this ale.

And yes, I’m constantly surprised at what our resident violinist still pulls out of that not-terribly-large bed roll he showed up here years back. The kitchen staff is still buzzing over that kolbasz he gave them as a gift when he first arrived here for us allowing him to stay here. They were so happy that they made him Translyvanian krumbumballe to help him get over the cold he was suffering from when he arrived…

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