Come, come -- If you're done with the cinnamon infused
Mexican chocolate French toast that the kitchen staff has been
having folks sample this morning, I want to show you something.
Over there, on the other side of the main lobby from the pub entrance,
is the inside door to the Green Man Gift Shop. I bet you
never even noticed it -- we do keep the lights a bit dim in the
lobby. That's for atmosphere, you know!! And our gift shop is
intentionally unobtrusive. You wouldn't expect neon lights, would
Actually, the entire lobby of this building was
very likely an indoor shopping mall back in the early days (you
know, the late sixteen hundreds . . . ) So it's not surprising that
we should still have one small shop to remind us of those days.
At least it looks small from here -- you'll be amazed when we
go inside to discover how deceiving that appearance is!
From this part of the lobby, you can see (now that
you are looking) a wooden door set between two decent-sized leaded
glass windows. There's even a nice carved wooden sign over the
door. As we walk closer, you may notice that some of the wares
offered in the gift shop are on display in the windows. A couple
of the house brownies take considerable pride in their window
dressing skills, so I hope you appreciate what they've done with
the arrangement of the t-shirts!
Yes, there is a door to the gift shop on the outside
of the building, too. But it's pretty well covered with ivy, and
the stone path leading up to it is grown over with thyme, so it's
no wonder you never noticed that one!!
Let's stop for a moment to read this week's reviews,
and then we'll continue our tour. . . .
here. Several years back, I did a review of what I thought
was all the studio albums
(not including collections mined from various sources) released
by The Pogues. I was wrong in that belief, so I've updated that
review to included several more CDs, the last album by that group
featuring the snaggled tooth wonder 'imself, Sean MacGowan. The
producer of that album was the now deceased Joe Strummer who would
replace the now almost completely incoherent MacGowan on the next
Pogues tour as the lead vocalist. (How was Strummer as their vocalist?
Bloody fine judgin' by the boot I have 'ere.) MacGowan would later
form a group called The Popes which sounded (sort of) like The
Pogues. Go read my review to see why I think they are one of the
$#@! bands ever.
Now I'm going to tease y'all. . . . Sometime this fall,
we'll be doing a look at the creative output of Joe Strummer,
The Clash, and Big Audio Dynamite, the band Mick Jones formed
after Strummer pissed off from The Clash. SPike's doing a retrospective
look at The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite; Nellie Levine giving
us an in-depth examination of Strummer, I'm looking at officially
released Clash DVDs, and a number of folks are doing book reviews
that relate to these performers. It should be a bloody interesting
Before I take your leave, I found a story on line
site that a Pogues re-union is in the offing: 'Billboard
reports: 'Irish rock act the Pogues will stage a brief reunion
tour, its first since 2001, in the United Kingdom, beginning Dec.
13 with a two-night stand at Glasgow's Academy. According to the
official Web site of frontman Shane MacGowan, the group will also
play Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin. A Dec. 20-21
stand is slated for London's Brixton Academy.' I hope they have
better luck with MacGowan showing up to perform than did I the
three times I paid for tickets to concerts which were canceled
at show time due to 'im being AWOL!
speaking. I believe I've mentioned before that I am both honored
and absolutely gleeful to be able to edit such a stable of superb
writers. This week is no different, as we have some truly fascinating
stuff for you here.
Brazil has his second review of work by Mark Chadbourn,
and if his review of the Age of Misrule series sparked
my interest in this author, this review of the first in the next
series by Chadbourn has me on my way to the bookstore to track
down these books! Nathan says that '[T]his first book in the Dark
Age sequence shares the same earthy, realistic dialogue, and
skillful characterisation of its predecessors. Yet it differs
in a number of ways, stylistically. The author has chosen to strip
down his story, with everything and everyone revolving about the
centre.' Read his review of The
Devil in Green for more.
wanted to like her review material this week -- Leah Cutter's
The Caves of Buda -- but found it lacking despite a few
good points: 'The Caves of Buda is admirably ambitious
and willing to explore new territory for fantasy. It's based on
Hungarian folklore and largely set in Budapest, has one protagonist
with Alzheimer's Disease and one with obsessive-compulsive disorder,
and switches between the present day and WWII. I approve of ambition
and originality, so I had hoped to be able to write a rave review
of it, and perhaps encourage other fantasy authors to also take
paths less traveled on. Unfortunately, this particularly path
leads to less-than-thrilling territory. Like many thoughtful and
high-minded novels, The
Caves of Buda is so busy being historically, medically,
and folklorically accurate that it forgets to be entertaining.'
Though Neil Gaiman is a beloved Green Man
fixture, I hadn't actually read much of his work prior to my tenure
here. What I tend to do now is read one of our reviews and then
go out and fetch the material in question. Now that I've read
Matej Novak's thoroughly
researched and enticing review of 1602,
I'll be adding more Gaiman to my library. Matej convinces me in
his Excellence in Writing Award winning review: ' . . . it
is not absolutely imperative that a reader be familiar with the
specifics of all these people, places and events, but it is fascinating
to see how Gaiman can bring together and play with so many historical
details to form a coherent, cohesive whole. This being a Neil
Gaiman work, there are clues everywhere. Even Scott McKowen's
striking covers are not only part of the story, but also pieces
of the greater puzzle. The series may be a joy to read, but it's
an even greater joy to read again as you watch it all come together,
and all those little things you missed the first time around suddenly
jump out at you as vitally important.'
Sedinger says that Kenneth Oppel's new novel is 'told
in the wrong medium.' That doesn't mean he doesn't like it, mind
you: ' . . . Oppel's gift for conveying the visual element of the
story is so strong that I think this book shouldn't have been
a book at all. At the very least, it should have been a graphic
novel, with panoramic art by, say, Paul Gulacy or Colleen Doran
-- but even better would be a motion picture. This is exactly
the kind of story I would expect from a really well-made summertime
adventure matinee, right down to the score by John Williams. No,
this isn't actually a criticism of Oppel's novel, but surely there
HAS to be a Hollywood producer somewhere who wants to do
a movie that's original and fun, as opposed to remaking the same
old tired TV shows and movies that were already done well thirty
years ago. Airborn
tells a wonderfully rollicking adventure.'
I'm fully admitting to bias in the case of our next
review. I read the books in question many years ago, and adored
them beyond all reason. So when I discovered that they were again
available, I procured review copies. But then Mia-the-Editor whispered
maybe you should find someone else to write this review . . . someone
with a little more objectivity. Since Web Assistant Rebecca
Scott is one of our experts on Greek mythology and culture,
and since these books are placed in that setting, I gave them
to her. To my delight, she loved them as much as I do: '[Richard
Purtill] borrows smoothly from mythology, history, and archaeology
to create a living setting for mythological events. Interestingly,
in all three of these books, he avoids directly depicting the
most famous events of the myths concerned. He comes closest in
the third book, where he does show some of the major events of
the life of Helen of Troy and Sparta, but he skips over the period
of the Illiad itself. His plots are, instead, built around
the myths, concentrating on what made it possible for the myths
to happen or to be resolved. There's also the mythology itself,
my own first love. He knows it inside and out, better than I do,
and is very faithful to the stories. Every time I thought I'd
caught him out and sat down to do the research to prove it, I
proved myself wrong instead.' Rebecca takes an Excellence in
Writing Award -- not for her decidedly good taste in agreeing
with me, but for her brilliantly knowledgable review of The
Kaphtu Trilogy (The Golden Gryphon Feather, The
Stolen Goddess, and The Mirror of Helen). Now, go order
these books today!
Wisoker has a delightful little mystery novel revolving
around one of our favorite topics here at GMR: food. Translated
from Carmen Posadas' original Spanish novel by Christopher Andrews,
Indiscretions is the story of a chef who knew too much
about goings on outside of the kitchen and ended up dead: '[T]hat
'hmmm' moment is one I've missed in many books lately,
where the action is nothing if not predictable and the villain
blatantly obvious. This one kept me guessing until the end, with
its many hooks and side trips and twists. The characters are well
drawn and detailed, the flaws of each person carefully presented
and used to advance the story...I enjoyed this book very much,
and am looking forward to picking up more of Carmen Posadas' work.'
Michael Hunter, who edits Fiddlestix (the
Fairport Convention e-zine) weighs in with an in-depth interview
with Jeff Lang.
'Who is Jeff Lang?' you ask...'masterful guitarist...great
songwriter...singer with an unaffected Australian accent...[and]
a friendly down to earth person...' Have a look at this fascinating
conversation, you may discover some more new music you can't live
Good morning, and welcome to the music section!
David Kidney here,
back from my trip to Lugano Switzerland where I saw the finish
of the Tour de Suisse (it ended in front of my hotel!). Who knew?
It's a beautiful country, even if the people are a bit sports-centric.
They celebrated Portugal's victory over England in the EuroCup
with two hours of racing their Smart-cars up and down the mountain
roads, honking their horns! Meep-meep-meep-meeeeeep! Shouting
'Portuguese! Portuguese!' at the top of their lungs.
Now I don't mind a little excitement, but remember...the game
didn't end til 11:30 pm local time! Anyway, we have music, this
week, from around the world too.
Condon is up first, with a look at the Rough
Guide to the Music of France. Very interesting it is,
too. After opening by wondering how hard it must be to create
these compilations, Richard then considers all the French artists
NOT represented here, before he concludes that this CD is 'valuable
for having brought a number of interesting artists to the attention
of a wider public,' whoever that public might be. Well, read
this Excellence in Writing Award winning review for yourself
and you might be part of the target audience for this Rough
Now, down here in my office in the sub-basement,
SPike's been listening to the Clash and Joe Strummer, preparing
for his next review...but I've gone even further back in rock
history, thanks to those Aussie re-issue kings at Raven Records!
The liner notes quote Julie Driscoll as saying, 'Sometimes
I think about my job as a pop singer and...wish I could [do] something
really big...I've got to be satisfied with what I'm doing right
now.' If what you were doing, Jools, was creating the music
(with Brian Auger and the Trinity) on A
Kind of Love In: 1967-1971 then you should be very satisfied
indeed. I also got to hear It's the Sound by Tracy Spuehler. Tracy's
been described as 'alt-bubblegum edgy power-pop' but
if you can't get your mind around all that...bear in mind that
listening to Ms Spuehler led me to use words like 'naivete
in the lyrics,' and 'insoucient vocals,' a cool
has been talking about Dulaman at the Green Man Pub over
a Guinness (or two). 'Dulaman is a tight little band that
shows a lot of promise...on one hand they are a Bluegrass band
and on the other...a young contemporary folk band.' If that
description intrigues you, read all that Peter had to say about
their album Four
Years in November.
And finally, Barbara Truex looks at Andrew Cronshaw's
the Shoulders of the Great Bear as she asks the age old
question, 'if I play music [for you] from the Arctic Circle
during a long August heat wave, will it cool you off? And will
African drumming or steel drums warm you up on a cold January
day?' Discover the answer, along with Barbara while she grooves
to some Finnish zither playing!
So that's it for this week. Nashville Bluegrass from Cheshire,
UK; 'alt-bubblegum edgy power-pop' from LA; a guitar
master from Down Under; B3 Blues from the 60s; a retrospective
of la musique de France and cooling sounds from Finland . Who
says the Green Man doesn't know where it's at? It's everywhere!
I can't begin to tell you about everything that's
available here, but I'd like point out a few tasty items that
we are selling, plus a few that friends of Green Man are
offering for your consideration!
Green Man Review t-shirts have been offered
for decades in various designs. When we entered the digital age,
we decided to do a new one that reflected the digital format of
GMR which is how this design
came to be, The front artwork, design by Lahri Bond, graphic designer
for Dirty Linen, is indeed the greenman that we've used
for years, but the backside artwork with Pan sitting on the computer
-- again designed by Lahri -- reflects the merging of mythical
and digital realities that makes us so bleedin' interstatial.
Grey Walker would later designed yet another design that made
use of the computer in a more abstracted manner.
Our most successful products of the past few years
are now being handled directly by Will Shetterly, he of Dogland
novel fame, and husband of one of the coolest folks you'll ever
meet, Emma Bull. Ever hear of Cats Laughing? As Maria Nutick says
in this review,
'The Green Man Library may be the only place where you
can go to read William Shakespeare's The Trapping of the Mouse
or Edgar Allen Poe's The Worm of Midnight while listening
to the music of Gossamer Axe or Snori Snoriscousin and His Brass
Idiots. The world of literature is a big, big place, and it's
an intrepid and meticulous soul who can keep track of the shifting
tapestry that we call 'reality'. There are books within books
and bands you can only listen to in your imagination. So you're
to be forgiven if you've seen references to Cats Laughing in novels
like Bone Dance or the Bordertown series and assumed
that they were only another fictional group like Wild Hunt or
Eldritch Steel. But if that was your assumption, it's time you
learned the truth: Cats Laughing were very real, and they were
one hell of a band -- and they live on in these CDs, and they're
still one hell of a band.' Go
here to purchase these must have CDs!
Will added, 'The first Flash Girls CD and both Cats
Laughing CDs are available again at Emma's and my
new shop which has the same name as our small press of
the 1980s, but this one has no physical location, which seems
appropriate. (But the products are real!) You'll find other things
for sale there, too, as the whim strikes us.'
Which is a terribly nice way to bring up these items...
Now it's rumoured that Eddi and the Fey only exist
within the text of Emma Bull's War
for the Oaks novel, but I don't believe it's true. Why,
we've had visitors here to Green Man Pub swear they saw
the band play in Minneapolis nigh unto twenty years ago! Now I
admit that they had a few rounds of Old Boar Applejack (motto
is 'Hard cider for hard drinkers. Favoured by the Gentry when
listening to the Neverending Session'), and it doesn't help that
our staff wears black Eddi and the Fey 'War for the Oaks' tour
shirts quite often. Yes, you get get them in both large
and extra-large sizes, all cotton of course. Will has several
variants for sale which you
can pay for here. A very nifty selection of bumpersticks
and other Oaks themed stuff can be found there too.
What's that playing on the flat screen over in the
corner, you ask. Oh, just the War for the Oaks movie trailer.
There was a movie?!? Sadly no, but there's a
great twelve minute trailer featuring Emma, Will, and
more amazing great folks than I can mention here. On our soon-to-be
sales page, you'll find ordering information for this trailer
and all the other goodies mentioned here. It'll make you just
a bit sad that the film itself was never produced.
Now here's a rarity that I thought would never be
commercially available -- the War
for the Oaks movie script! Now a copy of this has been
in the Green Man archives for decades now, but there was
no sign that Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, or Will and Emma as
they are affectionately known hereabouts, were thinking of letting
it be made available. But over a breakfast of huevos rancheros
and stone ground corn muffins recently at the Hard Luck
Cafe, he told me that a publisher had agreed to publish both this
script and the script they did for Nightspeeder. He said,
'The script for War for the Oaks will be available soon
from Black Coat Press as part of a series of unproduced scripts
by writers known in other fields.'
On a related note, Green Man Review is published
by Midsummers Eve Publishing which I'm pleased to say has started
producing a nifty line of chapbooks for your purchase. The first
chapbook was Jennifer Stevenson's 'Solstice'
tale which was designed by grey Walker and the next will be 'A
Bird That Whistles', the prequel to the War for the Oaks,
which will be published this Fall on the 20th anniversary of the
original publication of that novel. Our Editor is promising a
press conference in the Pub on it as soon as the final design
is approved by Emma!
Now feel free to explore the nooks and crannies
of this pace to see what tickles your fancy. I'll be in the Pub
sampling a just tapped cask of early season Pumpkin Ale. Bjorn,
pur Brewmaster, is quite pleased with how good it is.
18th of July, 2004
'If I told you the whole story,
your head would burst. There is no one story, there are branches,
rooms... corridors, dead ends.' -- The Storyteller
Well, we had a bloody good idea for this week's
I'm a fairly new addition to the staff, my name
is Zina Lee, and
I love and play Irish music, which was why I first came to the
site -- to read reviews on Irish music. Now I write some
of those reviews, or would, if I could clear a space of longer
than 5 minutes on my calendar. Really, I'll start writing
again real soon, here. By the end of July, I promise, Cat,
you'll have them on your desk. Honest.
Errr, but back to the bloody good idea.
See, there's this convention that we use here at
Green Man, one that you'll find all over the Net. Communities
that are built online and that exist solely in etherspace often
use a metaphor for themselves, that of -- well, of a community,
the same sort of physical community that you get anywhere on the
planet. One where people live and breathe and work and care
and argue and die.
Back in the day, I remember the original Geocities
model -- there were community leaders (and I was one of those),
and the whole thing was modeled after a city, complete with streets,
blocks, neighborhoods and small groups that formed larger groups
within the overall group. Geocities was swallowed whole
by Yahoo, but I still remember the neighborhood feel of the original,
and am constantly reminded of the community building that went
on there in the new communities I belong to now out in the ethers.
Our community metaphor here at GMR is of
a large city of medieval framework and busy modernity, and my
clever idea was to map this city for you this week.
There's only one problem with this clever idea,
and that is that no one on staff can agree on what this city looks
like, how the streets are laid out, or even what it's name is.
We've sort of made the thing up piecemeal, conjuring up places,
people, and buildings as we need them. There's a medieval-ly
laid out old section of town, there's magic places and buildings,
and pragmatic shopping, and places to drink, swim, learn new and
old things, fall in love, fall out of love, or learn to juggle.
There's a building in which we 'exist' here at GMR, where
we write, gather to talk about everything from good and bad writing
to asking for names for the new family cat, do all the myriad
tasks that you must do in order to keep a publication such as
GMR afloat. There's a pub, there's schools, there's
everything you could ever need or want, including some places
where no one in their right minds would go.
We've been slagged for being just a little too twee,
off our collective rockers, or of living in a fantasy world.
But, over and over again, people who work and band together on
the Web will start referring to themselves as a community, and,
if they're as imaginative and creative as all this crew, they'll
eventually build themselves a new place out of electrons and good
wishes. Why is that? What's this drive towards building
a place and a community for yourselves even if it's only in your
imagination? Why do we insist on making places for ourselves
even if they don't, technically, exist? I'm not a psychologist
or sociologist. But I've been around the Web now since almost
the beginning, and one thing that I've learned is this:
there's real people on the end of those keyboards, terminals,
cables, and wires. And real people are social animals;
we like to band together, and we're passionate about things, and
we close ranks often, it seems to be a human thing.
Somewhat weirdly, the communities built on the Web
can be more strongly connected than our real-world ones.
When was the last time you spent time with your neighbors in a
real, connected, and meaningful fashion? I just got back
from a week spent flying about the country, meeting online friends
to play music. Some of these people are old acquaintances
by now, and a small handful are the kind of friends you can call
in the middle of the night for help, the ones you know you can
tell anything and they'll still love and accept you afterwards..
The house we've built online, these Irish player friends of mine,
has no form, etherical or otherwise, and we've never gone to the
effort of erecting walls or buildings, but the community we've
built is just as strong despite that.
here. Before I tell you about our featured review, we have a couple
of staff changes to announce. Our Aigne, Grey
Walker, has moved on. We wish her the best and hope that
she knows how much we'll miss her. We've revived the position
of Managing Editor, and I've been asked to assume that role. And
we're proud to announce a promotion, as Rebecca
Scott steps up to become Webmaster Ryan
Nutick's new minion...er, I mean, Assistant Webmaster.
Congratulations, Rebecca! We'll have more promotions coming soon.
In the meantime...
Letters Editor Craig
Clarke brings us our featured review this week: a brutal
horror novella from Brian A. Hopkins. Craig notes 'Brian
A. Hopkins is an acclaimed writer and editor (he has won Bram
Stoker Awards under both guises) who also operates an innovative
publishing company (Lone Wolf Publications, which produced the
multimedia anthology Tooth and Claw, Volume One and another
Stoker winner, The Imagination Box), yet who still has
time to crank out terrific work for other smaller houses like
Earthling Publications. El Dia de los Muertos ('the
Day of the Dead') is his most recent Stoker recipient, winning
the 2002 award for best novella...Coming in at a mere 100 pages,
de los Muertos is tight, crisp, and fast, with not a word
wasted.' Which, incidentally, sounds like most of Craig's
reviews...which is why he picks up so many Excellence in Writing
Awards -- and here's another one for you, Craig!
is up first this week, with a pair of extremely diverse reviews.
The first is a work of nonfiction by noted choreographer Twyla
Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life: 'The
Creative Habit is a fast and easy read. Just under 250 pages
long, it has relatively large type, lots of white space, and some
interesting design features like the use of red type for some
of the text and gray-scale or black background with reverse type
on some of the pages. Each of its twelve chapters focuses on a
concept related to creativity and ends with a series of exercises
that the motivated reader can use to work on his/her creativity.'
Donna also reviews a book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón,
set in mid-twentieth century Barcelona. Donna says 'The
Shadow of the Wind is a book about a book. In fact, the
title of THIS book is the title of the book IN the book. And the
dust jacket for this book is printed to look weathered and creased,
with a faux red leather spine apparently intended to resemble
the book in the book. Oh, dear, I hope I haven't utterly confused
'I have waited a long time to read The
Shape-Changer's Wife by Sharon Shinn. For years, it has
existed at the periphery of my consciousness. My eyes have always
been drawn to its spine whenever I wandered the fantasy section
of the bookstore. It has simply always been a book I knew I wanted
to read, yet never managed to get to. I maintain that some books
come to us in their own times, when we are ready most to enjoy
or find enlightenment in their pages. Finally, today, was The
Shape-Changer's Wife's time for me.' Hmmmm . . . I wonder
if Deborah Brannon
enjoyed the novel? Find out in her Excellence in Writing Award
Clarke is a nose-to-the-grindstone reviewing machine this
week -- which is great, because we adore his reviews! In addition
to his featured review, he has a new/old work by Richard Matheson
for us: 'The history of Come
Fygures, Come Shadowes is nearly as interesting as the
story inside. Early in Richard Matheson's career, he outlined
the entire arc of what was to be a 2000-page novel about spirits
and mediums. His publisher at the time, however, warned him that
a book of that size would be prohibitively expensive and would
not sell. Due to a lack of confidence in his instincts, Matheson
stopped writing the novel to work on more commercially viable
projects, leaving only a tiny portion written of what may have
proved based on what has been published to be a
defining work of his career . . . The published portion of Come
Fygures, Come Shadowes only covers a part of the whole storyline.'
Craig also has a look at an intriguing reference
work by Leslie Dunton-Downer and Alan Riding. 'Any visitor
to a random bookstore will uncover myriad books on Shakespeare,'
Craig notes, 'but DK's Essential
Shakespeare Handbook is one that truly fulfills the promise
of its title. With all the works divided into color-coded sections
for Histories, Tragedies, Comedies, and Romances, it's easy to
find the one you want. There is also a section on the Narrative
Poems, but 400 of the almost 500 pages are devoted to the 39 plays
in the canon.'
Cormier explains, '[t]he Wee Guides are a
series of introductions to aspects of Scottish history, whether
an era or a person.' Charles Sinclair's Wee
Guide to St. Margaret and Malcolm Canmore explains a good
bit about the couple: 'St. Margaret and Malcolm Canmore had
pivotal roles in the history of the British Isles. Their marriage
united the Celtic and the Saxon royalty of the time. Their daughter
Edith (Matilda) married Henry I of England, adding these same
Celtic and Saxon bloodlines to those of the Norman conquerors.'
If we saved up reviews for another All Tolkien issue,
it wouldn't take long to fill one up. We've got two more bits
of Tolkiena for you this week. Scott
Gianelli has the first, with Untangling
Tolkien: A Chronology and Commentary for The Lord of the Rings.
Michael Perry's book is a mixed bag for Scott: 'Perry intends
the book to serve as a reference to The Lord of the Rings,
enabling the reader to get a better sense of what events happened
simultaneously in the story, where in Tolkien's writings a particular
event is described, and a deeper appreciation of the structural
coherence of Tolkien's work. Untangling Tolkien generally
succeeds in these regards, especially the latter; this book is
essentially an exposition on Tolkien's attention to chronological
detail. Unfortunately, the book also gives every appearance of
having been put together in great haste, as though the publishers
were more concerned with releasing the book by a certain date
than with presenting the best possible book.' Scott receives
an Excellence in Writing Award for this critique.
Another Excellence in Writing Award goes
to April Gutierrez
as she takes us through another installment in the saga of
Roland the Gunslinger. Stephen King takes the reader back into
Roland's history in this sequel to The Stand: 'Wizard
and Glass continues King's excellent characterization
of Roland, and, if you're like me, leaves you longing for more
of his past, to see the boy he was before ka (fate) stepped in
and the world began to move on. This does mean that there's precious
little involvement for the other companions for most of the book,
but the transitory characters King populates Roland's story with
more than make up for their prolonged absence.'
'Seth is the nom de plume of Gregory Gallant.
He has gone by Seth since the early '80s which he says might have
been a youthful error, but 'little can be done about it now.'
I first became aware of Seth when he started drawing Mister
X, a comic book I had followed since its obscure beginnings.
He was following in some major footsteps . . . Los Bros Hernandez
and Dean Motter . . . and he did so beautifully, until the story
just fizzled out. Since then his work has appeared in Mother Jones,
The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and the New Yorker, among
others . . . but his passion lies in a self produced series called
Palookaville he began in 1991. The two books under discussion
first appeared, serialized in the pages of Palookaville.'
David Kidney is
speaking of two works from Drawn & Quarterly Press: It's
A Good Life If You Don't Weaken and Clyde
Fans: Book One.
Live Editor Liz
Milner has the other bit of Tolkiena for us this week:
In Tolkien: A
Cultural Phenomenon, Brian Rosebury presents a critical
assessment of the entire body of J.R.R. Tolkien's works. He also
attempts to locate Tolkien within Literature and the History of
Ideas and to examine the 'afterlife' of Tolkien's works
in today's popular culture. He sees the book as both a complete
introduction to Tolkien and his works for general readers, and
as a critical analysis for fans and scholars. A shorter version
of this book appeared in 1992. This new extended edition was written
in the light of new scholarship and two new developments: the
publication of Tolkien's unpublished manuscripts by his son Christopher,
and the release of Peter Jackson's film version of The Lord
of the Rings.'
'Let's see: Plucky preteen girl? Check. Parents
who don't pay attention to her? Check. Spooky old house for them
to move into? Check.Creepy, mean, elderly relative who lives there?
Check. Bullies at the new school? Check. Ghoulies and ghosties
and long-leggedy-beasties and things that go bump in the night?
Check. Looks like we've got the full checklist for a run of the
mill young adult fantasy/horror novel. Fortunately, that's not
what we've got.' Rebecca
Scott goes on to explain that in these graphic novels,
'[Ted] Naifeh pulls off darkly charming fairy tales, using
classic tropes in new ways.' You'll want to pick up Courtney
Crumrin and the Night Things and Courtney
Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics, vol. 2 after you read
Rebecca's enticing review.
Collectively known as The Pearl Saga, or
at least the first three books thereof, Eric Van Lustbader's
The Ring of Five Dragons, The Veil of a Thousand Tears,
and Mistress of the Pearl are melded science fiction
and fantasy -- a combination that Green Man reviewers and
readers often find riveting. Not so for Elizabeth
Vail, who picks up a combined Excellence in Writing
Award/Grinch Award for her brutally honest yet entertaining
look at this series: 'If Mr. Science Fiction and Ms. Fantasy
both got really, really drunk at the Christmas party and had wild,
unprotected sex, and then Ms. Fantasy proceeded to descend into
alcoholism and drug addiction during the pregnancy, the twisted,
mentally unsound baby they would have would be Eric Van Lustbader's
Several books reviewed in this issue are older material.
And why not? Our readers are as likely to haunt dusty used bookstores
as they are to wander the New Releases aisle at Barnes and Noble.
Sara Sutterfield Winn
discusses two older books by Patricia McKillip, currently out
of print -- but who knows when that might change? Sara describes
a set of novels that bears searching for: 'The Cygnet series
is a pair of books worthy of McKillip's reputation for the numinous
and lovely. Both are full of magic, though they are as different
as two sides of the same golden coin. In The
Sorceress and the Cygnet, Patricia A. McKillip introduces
the reader to the Ro family and captures the confusion, anger,
despair, fear and otherworldliness that results when ancient common
stories come to life and reveal the secret realities behind our
songs and folk tales. The
Cygnet and the Firebird continues the adventures of the
Ro family as they encounter a whole new world and a new set of
emotional and magical dilemmas. While both of these novels can
be read independently of each other given their stand alone plot
lines, they each take place in Ro Holding and involve the developing
relationships and personalities of the Ro family, and when read
together form a richer tale that plumbs the depth of loyalty,
sense of place, love, and magic.'
Winslow has another worthy older work, a comic series
just rereleased as a graphic novel: James A. Owen's Starchild:
Awakenings. Matthew explains that '[M]ore than most
other forays into the format, Starchild is indeed a graphic
novel, being a mix of traditional prose and comic art.
The story was originally told in the first 12 issues of the Starchild
comic, published over the course of a few years (in the midst
of which Owen ruined his drawing hand in a car accident and then
forced himself through rehabilitation in order to continue the
series). The art is at first a bit stiff, but Owen quickly finds
himself and his style such that by story's end, the art is comfortably
at home with itself and its environs. Likewise, the prose can
be stiff or turgid, but by the end, the pretensions are gone and
the story soars to mythic levels.'
Here at Green Man, we're all writers -- that's
what we do. And writers build things out of words.
We build ideas into something you can hold in your hands with
all the heft of something that used to be a tree, can see with
an inner eye, can listen to the symmetry of it's music, can partake
in a draught of your own while you chat. It's a bit of silliness,
a modicum of fun, about things we're very, very serious about.
So here we have The City, which some of us call
Samhain, or Midsummer. It's stuffed full of people -- our
staff and editors -- who care passionately about music, writing,
the visual arts, ideas both big and small, and how those things
make us more fully human. It's streets run with ghostly
inhabitants whose bodies reside in different places around this
globe, some who are us, some who are figments of our imaginations.
I hope you'll rummage around our shops, wander our
streets, find your own café where they know how you like
your coffee, sit and think over a pastry or two as you watch the
ghostly traffic move by, and find a dialogue with yourself that
satisfies that itch we all have in our souls -- that of needing
to be who we are as hard as we can, as long as we can, as well
as we can.
While we, the staff, enjoy our community and our
varied missions (each of us write for different reasons), there
would be no purpose to it all if we couldn't share it with you,
those of you who read our words, share our ideas (and sometimes
argue vociferously about them) and walk along these virtual streets
Welcome to our city.
11th of July, 2004
'I smiled as I recalled that gloomy day. We had
been reading tales of chivalry in the mausoleum. In a fit of nobility
I led her outside as the thunder roiled and I stood among the
grave markers of unknown mortals -- Dennis Colt, Remo Williams,
John Gaunt -- and swore to be her champion if ever she needed
one. She had kissed me then, and I had hoped for some immediate
evil circumstance against which to pit myself on her behalf. But
-- from 'The Shroudling and the Guisel' by Roger Zelazny
What is fact and what is fiction are often matters that cannot
be decided. Have you watched a Punch and Judy show? Did mean old
Punch with his murderous intentions towards Judy seem any less
alive for you because he was made of cloth and manipulated by
a puppeteer? Were you even aware there was a puppeteer? I wasn't,
while watching! Is John Gaunt of John Ostrander's Grimjack
any less real than Winston Churchill was? And what
about that ever-so-troublesome puppet in Carlo Collodi's The
Adventures of Pinocchio
? As Jacob Burroughs was quoted in
Robert Heinlein's The
Number of the Beast
as saying: 'Let me tell you, you non-existent
reader sitting there with a tolerant sneer: don't be smug. Jane
is more real than you are.'
I'm Jack, one of many, many House Jacks and Jills
here down the centuries. Some doubt that we really exist, and
insist that we are but a story spun by tellers of tales very late
at night in hopes of garnering one more pint, a few more coins,
or a warm bed. I've no doubt that I exist, but that proves
nought, as I might be just part of that tale someone else is telling.
. . What is true, what is not, largely depends on what you wish
to believe in. And what I've been thinking about lately is how
easy it is for that which is not real to be taken for that
which is. And how things refuse sometimes -- or ofttimes -- to
fit into neat little categories. Like we Jacks and Jills, they
defy easy definition. All I know for sure is that all of us are
an aspect of the same narrative.
Which brings me to the matter of our new section
of reviews. Indeed we review literature, film in all its guises,
music, live performances, and even staffers' favourite venues.
But what about a tour t-shirt
for Eddi and the Fey's War for the Oaks tour? Or Brian Froud and
Jessica Macbeth's Faeries'
Oracle? Or perhaps a particularly tasteful collection
of prints which Charles Vess did for Gaiman's illustrated Stardust?
Where do these cultural artifacts fit? In the new section that
we are calling the Treasure Trove. The truly weird, incredibly
cool, and prolly even quite silly review items that don't fit
elsewhere will end up here. It's modeled (in a way) on the Cool
Stuff section of Scifiweekly, where they've reviewed everything
from the Hellboy action figure to (I kid you not!) the Pigs in
What we will review will depend on what gets sent
to us, so expect to be surprised! Our inaugural review for the
Treasure Trove is this week's Featured Review of a wonderful
set of puppets the good folks at Folkmanis sent us!
From Editor-in-Chief Cat
Eldridge: 'It's been an exceptionally good summer for
fiction reading for me, with this being one of the better reads.
And that's saying something as I've finished not one, but two
Charles Stross works (Iron Sunrise and The Atrocity
Archives), Kage Baker's Mother Aegypt collection, and
Neal Asher's The Skinner novel, to name just some of what
I've read! All were excellent but for sheer fun nothing beats
reading a Thursday Next novel for the first time. If I may make
a comparison of a literary nature, what the Thursday Next series
reminds me most strongly of is the metaverse that Robert Heinlein
was attempting to create in his later novels, particularly The
Cat Who Walked Through Walls and The Number of The Beast.'
Now go read his featured review of the new Thursday Next novel
from Jasper Fforde, Something
Jack here. As I write this, I'm wearin' a Fairport
Convention t-shirt (black of course) from one of their late 90s
tours. Like so many Green Man staffers, I have a strong
liking for that British folk rock band. Certainly Michael
Hunter who edits the #$@! finest email newsletter, Fiddlestix,
the fanzine of the Australian Friends Of Fairport, is more than
merely qualified to review their newest CD, Over
the Next Hill.
Just savour his opening statement: 'Assuming for a moment that
one actually can judge a book or CD by its cover, there are possibly
a few clues on the packaging of this new Fairport Convention recording
that changes are underway. The most noticeable, of course, is
that, with almost a handful of exceptions, this is their first
album since 1979 not to be on the Woodworm label; instead it is
the initial release of Matty Grooves, a new label set up by Dave
Pegg and Simon Nicol. The personal matters which have led to this
necessity are documented well enough, but the fact that they have
quickly set up this new label must be taken as a positive sign,
as indeed could the title of the set be seen as another clue to
the band's current mindset. They have gone over many 'hills' through
the decades, and as far as ends of eras go -- this is also most
likely the last CD to be recorded at Woodworm Studios -- this
isn't a bad one! It must be said they have turned the upheaval
to their advantage and put together a collection of tracks which
is their strongest overall for quite a long time.' So grab a pint
of your favourite libation and let's drink deep to Michael as
a writer, Fairport as a band, and our good luck to have them both!
In our new section, the Treasure Trove, we're exploring
what is often catalogued in modern libraries under the heading
of ephemera. This week Matthew Winslow looks at puppets:
'There are few things that can rouse me from my generally lethargic
state in the Green Man Breakroom, but the offer of some
puppets did the trick. When the illustrious Chief offered
them up for review, I threw in my lot and won out over the competitors.
And I'm glad I did. Just like the three finger fairies my daughters
own, these two puppets are true winners. I have had to restrain
all my kids from playing with them long enough for me to do 'research'
on them for this review.'
Brazil says: 'Whenever a writer of fiction has a hit novel,
any publisher associated with him scrambles to stick their nose
deeper in the trough. What this means is a sequel, and if that
too is a hit, the back catalogue is raided. Sometimes this produces
unseen masterpieces, while on other occasions the result is a
work that, although readable, was written some time before the
author had really perfected his craft. This is the case with The
Ragwitch, a novel originally published in 1990, five years
prior to the first publication of Sabriel, the book that
made Garth Nix into a well known author, world-wide.' See why
Nathan considers The
Ragwitch merely ordinary in his astute review.
Express a deep interest in, or write a stellar review
of a book involving, any particular subject, and it's likely we'll
come to associate that subject with your name. This explains why,
when I [Maria Nutick]
think of hoboes, I think of Craig
Clarke. This week he takes a look at another book on the
mythos: 'The mythology of the hobo is fascinating. We perceive
their lives as a combination of freedom and struggle, and their
often-celebrated poetry does nothing to quash that idea. Multi-award-winning
author Lucius Shepard delves into this world with both factual
and fictional results. An article, a novella, and a short story
appear together in the themed collection, Two
'I have,' says Denise
Dutton, 'a rather large collection of short stories that
take up more than their share of room on my bookshelves. Some
are stories about dragons, others describe a single day from the
viewpoint of a select number of authors. But most of them are
horror. From Edgar Allan Poes tales to Clive Barkers
Books of Blood, these collections draw me. Ill usually
down them in one sitting or on a lonely weekend, re-reading the
good ones, shrugging off the bad ones, and then crawling into
bed to see if any of the stories really got me. And a few
of them have. Some of the stories that get me when the lights
are out can be found in this collection, a sampler of tales old
and new by Richard Laymon.' She explains why the stories in this
new Cemetery Dance collection got to her in her review of Madman
Stan and Other Stories. Oh, and she picks up an Excellence
in Writing Award as well!
knows more than a bit about Alan Moore and other such graphic
storytellers and artists. This week she gives us her take on a
new printing of an older work from Moore and Jose Villarrubia:
'Alan Moore, known primarily as a cutting edge comic author (From
Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Watchmen),
is no slouch when it comes to other artistic endeavors. He's written
a novel, songs and even poetry. The
Mirror of Love is one such foray into the realm of poetry.
Originally published in 1988 in comic form (as part of an AARGH!,
or Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia, comic anthology)
as a protest against England's anti-homosexual Clause 28, Mirror
encapsulates the history of same sex love, from pre-history to
Sappho to today.'
'Around a summer campfire . . . beneath the covers
with a flashlight . . . a candle-lit house during a storm . .
. these are all good places for Ask
the Bones, a book of scary folktales from around the world,
which brings little shivers whether read alone or out loud with
others.' Nellie Levine
receives an Excellence in Writing Award for her review
of this book of tales retold by Arielle North Olson and Howard
Mythopoeic Society is chock full of learned folk dedicated
to preserving the Really Good Stuff for the rest of us. Here Liz
Milner reviews Charles Williams' The
Masques of Amen House, a worthy though highly specialized
piece of literature reprinted by the Society: 'Amen House is the
London office of Oxford University Press. It was Charles Williams'
workplace from 1908 to 1945. Williams wrote the The Masques
of Amen House to entertain his colleagues at the Press. Unlike
the pallid parodies of popular songs and movies that many of us
endure as part of the Christmas office party ritual, Williams'
Masques are highly original allegorizations of people and
events at the Press.'
O'Donnell is taking a break from GMR for a while
to work on his own writing. While we'll miss him, of course, we
look forward to his return from sabbatical with something for
us to review! He leaves us with a look at a couple of ebooks from
Lone Wolf Publications: Brian A Hopkins' Wrinkles
and Steve Beai's Dark
Rhythms. Patrick says: 'Technology has brought us a long
way in the past 20 years. Cell phones are replacing land lines,
and instant messaging, in some cases, has replaced spoken conversation
altogether. Personal data assistants have replaced notebooks.
CDs have replaced, for the most part, records and tapes. But will
'e-books' read on a monitor ever replace the old-fashioned kind
that require page turning? Will microchips, circuitry and LCDs
ever replace cardboard, paper and ink? Will the smells of plastic
and over-heated processors ever replace the smells of binding
glue and musty paper? Ye gods, I certainly hope not. Still, there's
no sense in being a Luddite, and testing out the new is one of
the best things we can do.'
We have two omnibus reviews of illustrated children's
books this week! In the first, Jessica
Paige explores three works by Linda Sue Park -- Seesaw
Kite Fighters, and The
Firekeeper's Son -- 'set in an ancient Korea that really
was.' Jessica says that '[A]ny of these books would be a nice
addition to the shelf, whether gifted to burgeoning readers --
or hoarded for old hands.' And an Excellence in Writing Award
goes on Jessica's shelf in the Pub...
Rose looks at the second set, all written by David Bouchard
and illustrated by either Zhong-Yang Huang or Allen Sapp. 'All
three books, then,' explains Lenora, 'gained my appreciation in
different ways for their use of artistic styles and effects, and
different ways of combining with the text. David Bouchard impressed
me with the range of styles in which he could write, and the elegant
brevity of his words.' Her review of The
Mermaid's Muse: the Legend of the Dragon Boats, Dragon
of Heaven: The Memoirs of the Last Empress of China, and
Within My Heart garners an Excellence in Writing Award.
At Green Man we prefer honesty in our reviews,
so it's not necessarily a bad thing when a reviewer admits that
he or she is stumped by a work. Such is Kelly
Sedinger's experience with a work by Nick Mamatas combining
elements of the 50's beat movement history with Lovecraft's Chthulu
mythos.'My approach to reviewing,' Kelly notes, 'has always mirrored
Roger Ebert's: my task is to report the experience I had in exploring
a work, whatever that experience might have been, and to give
possible reasons why my experience may have been what it was.
My problem with Move
Under Ground is twofold: not only can I not figure out
any reasons for my experience in reading it, I'm having trouble
even figuring out what that experience was.'
'Spider-Man. Batman. Inu-Yasha. Those are the names
that spring to mind when I think of comics. I think of brightly-coloured
tights, vibrantly-scrawled action scenes spilling over several
pages, and cute teenage boys with superpowers. When I volunteered
to review Dead Herring Comics, an anthology of graphic
tales published by the Israel-based Actus, arrogant youngster
that I am, I was half expecting to open the volume and read the
works of Stan Lee or Frank Miller. Needless to say, it was quite
a shock when I actually opened the book and discovered a type
of artwork I was completely unfamiliar with. However, it turned
out to be a rather pleasant shock, all in all.' Elizabeth
Vail elaborates in her review of Dead
Ogden Nash penned the popular line 'Candy is
Dandy, but Liquor is Quicker.' In Gary
Whitehouse's review, it's the liquor which is dandy. Gary
does a fascinating writeup of Jessica Warner's Craze:
Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason, Tequila!
A Natural and Cultural History by Ana G. Valenzuela-Zapata
and Gary Paul Nabhan, David W. Maurer's Kentucky
Moonshine, and Col. Joe Nickell's The
Kentucky Mint Julep.
Wisoker experienced a neat bit of synchronicity when the
author of Cloak
of Obscurity showed up at Leona's monthly writing group
just after Leona finished reading her book! Luckily, Leona liked
the material: 'At under two hundred pages, this book 'weighs
in' as a relatively quick and easy read, lightened with plenty
of wry humor along the way. I'm glad I had the chance to read
it, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Angela Wade's work.'
Does suburbia make you uneasy for a reason you just
can't pinpoint? Denise
Dutton might be able to tell you why. Denise has been
watching two versions of Stepford
Wives, as well as reading the book. Read her review,
and let her explain why '...you can bet your life that if I ever
get married, I'm gonna take a good, hard look at any suburb my
husband picks out. You know, just in case.'
Vail went swinging into the theatre to see Spider-Man
2, which she pronounces 'So very, very good that
it made the original look like a cheap knock-off.' Take a look
at her review to learn her views of the acting, screenwriting,
and and just plain fun of the film.
Letters editor Craig
Clarke here. Before we took our three-week break from
our usual style of issues, I had only a few letters in the mail
can to choose from; but during the short hiatus, this ballooned
to the plethora of correspondence that I am just aching to share.
Sometimes it seems that our reviews are magnets
for complaints. Since we're not afraid to write exactly what we
think, artists will often write in asking just who we think we
are to write such a review. Many examples of this kind of thinking
can be found just by browsing through our letters archives (just
look for the ones with a lot of text).
Though not nearly as harsh as some we have received
from artists who shall remain nameless (at least until you find
them in our archives), two of our letters this issue illustrate
this concept. Richard Carbajal's
letter regarding Big
Earl Sellar's review of Jackalope's CD Weavings,
and Christopher Norman's response
to Pat Simmonds'
review of Norman's CD, The
Caledonian Flute, both provide some pretty heated reading.
Luckily, those aren't the only kinds of letters
we receive. Occasionally we'll get one from someone who really
seems to appreciate our unbiased look at the arts. Glenn
Phillips expresses those sentiments well in his letter
regarding Mike Stiles' review
of his album, Angel
Other artists who seem to appreciate what we do
include Barbara Ryan on Peter
Massey's review of Iona's Branching
Out. Michael William Harrison
also appreciated Peter's look at his First
Time 'Round album.
We received two letters about Peter's review
of the John Bull Band's Alive
and Kicking: from Neil Stuart
and Robin Boyle. In addition,
Mick Buck wrote in to thank
for his review of Everybody's
Tuned to the Radio: Rural Music Traditions in West Georgia, 1947-1979
and to answer Gary's hypothesis on why it has such a long title.
And then we get letters on myriad other subjects.
Some, like Claudia Velasco
and Erich McMann, are looking
for further detail. Our reviewers are often very well-versed --
sometimes expert -- in the areas they cover and you've just got
to be impressed by David
Kidney's intensively well-researched answer to McMann's
Others offer reminiscences that were triggered
by reading GMR: Joe Du Vall
simply was reminded of an earlier time by David's omnibus review
of the work of King
Biscuit Boy. And then there are those who want to let
us know that they just came across our site inadvertently while
doing something else online, like Loretta
Kelley, who found us while spellchecking the name 'Steintjønndalen'.
We appreciate all of these letters and encourage
our readers to write in to us, whether they think we're morons
or want to tell us what a great job we're doing. So, if you are
affected by the work we do, take the time to write in to the reviewer
or to the Letters editor,
whose email can be reached through the link at the top of the
'ere again, introducin' the music section. While Dave wuz away
in Switzerland, I wuz listening to a lot of CLASH!!! We'll be
doin' a big Clash issue later in the year! @#$%in' BRILLIANT!
Clash books! Clash music! Uncle Joe! The whole story of the English
Civil War! But I'm gettin' ahead of meself! Today we 'ave a real
cross section of music. We are nuffin' but ECLECTIC!!!(Cat here.
We will also be covering Big Audio Dynamite, the group Mick Jones
created after the Clash imploded, and the other work of the much
missed Joe Strummer. It will be, as SPike notes, @#$%in' BRILLIANT!)
Huw Collingbourne starts us off wif some Classical
music. Not bein' a fan of anythin' more classic than my old pair
of Wayfarers I know absolutely zero about this music, but Huw
knows his stuff. He wuzn't in the best mood when he popped this
rendition of Handel's Water
Music / Royal Fireworks Music .by Pierre Boulez and the
New York Philharmonic in '...but, grouchy as I was when I put
the disc into my CD player, I have to admit that I pretty soon
found myself in a much more cheerful mood. There's no getting
away from the fact that, cliché or not, this is wonderful
music. Foot-tapping melodies, indeed!' It cheered Huw up, an'
he so convinced the editors they awarded him an Excellence
in Writing Award!
Tim Hoke's been listening to a lot of strange stuff!
In his first of two reviews this week he looks at...well...let
Tim describe it! 'Can you imagine swing spoons playing? Give a
listen to the Shillings' cover of Mark Graham's dinosaur requiem,
'Their Brains Were Small,' and you'll hear how it can be done.
The other dinosaur song on the recording, the original 'Jurassic
Jaws,' also swings. The pastoral 'To The West' is a pretty piece;
the whistle plays curlicues among and around the sustained, harp-like
tones of the hammer dulcimer.' That's Four Shillings Short's From
Ragas To Riches. .Sounds a bit odd to my ears! And then
Tim reviews the Barn
Owl Band Live CD .! He describes them like this...'The
Barn Owl Band is sizable, capable of producing a lot of sound
when everyone is playing. It would be overpowering if it were
done too much. Wisely, though, these tutti passages are not overused,
and when they do appear, you can feel the sudden groundswell of
energy (and hear the cheers of the audience). Otherwise, instruments
nimbly drop in and out of the mix, always keeping the arrangements
interesting, with plenty of tension and resolution. As befits
dance musicians, the beat never wavers, although it does swing
at times, such as their rendition of the Duke Ellington classic
'It Don't Mean A Thing'. @#$%in' great! Owls, 'tutti' an' Duke
Ellington all on one CD!
Now, since Dave (that's David Kidney to you folks)
is all rested up after takin' some time off to sample the boiled
meats of Lugano he was fit enuff to turn in four different reviews
this week. As long time readers know, Dave's had a love/hate relationship
goin' wif Eric Burdon for quite awhile. It all stems from when
'is Mum gave 'im a 'House of the Rising Sun' 45rpm for 'is thirteenth
birthd'y. His EIWA winnin' review of The
Animals' new compilation sounds a winner. 'Eric Burdon's
current tour might bring him to a small theatre near you. I think
he's playing in Ontario's cottage country next month. Seeing him
live might be a risk, but for a good 77 minutes of historic re-mastered
tracks, with an informative and well-written essay by Ian MacFarlane,
look no farther than Gratefully Dead. Psychedelic, man!' He wuz
also taken by Maggie
Brown's debut album. Her voice is a revelation, soaring,
whispering, trained in southern churches, Texas honky-tonks, roadside
bars and picnics. This is bluesy music, funky as all get out,
informed by years of struggle, and shaped by the hard life Maggie
shared with her disfunctional mother.'
While he wuz in Switzerland Dave (all right, @#$%!!!)
DAVID!!! met a bloke from Georgia who gave 'im a self-produced
CD. Entitled Essays
& Contemplations .Mister @#$%in' Kidney describes
it thus, 'there are eleven compositions gathered here. Each one
seeks to comment on, or display, an attribute of life on God's
green earth...Just right for an hour of meditation.' And finally
he discusses the
reissue of two early albums by Albert Lee (who should
be known to Emmylou Harris and Eric Clapton fans). 'Albert Lee's
guitar solos are not self indulgent timewasters, but rather intense,
subdued, melodic bursts of magic that punctuate the choruses.
Very tasteful.I told ya that we wuz eclectic! An' we ain't half
Lars Nilsson must be doin' 'is own laundry!
He wuzn't especially complimentary 'bout the new Sara Cox, CD
Arrive. 'I would
say it is rather anonymous music, which is quite comfortable to
have running in the CD player while ironing shirts, but it never
really catches your attention.' You should read the review for
more details though!
GMR's resident Celtic specialist John O'Regan
(who, by the way, just wrote liner notes for Raven Records' re-issued
2-disc set of Christy Moore LPs) (an' you thought ole SPike wuz
jus' anuvver pretty face!). He concludes 'is review by sayin',
'from high energy, uplifting Celtic rock to instrumental virtuosity
and low maintenance acoustic original ballads, this is a worthy
and entertaining bunch of albums, highlighting Celtic music's
overall diversity.' But believe you, me, 'e's got lots more to
say about these three albums! Baltinget's Classic;
The Fenians' Every
Day's a Hooley and Smithfield Fair's Winds
of Time. Read it for y'self! .
Our next Excellence in Writing Award
goes to Barbara Truex for her in depth study of a Scandinavian
group called Frifot .. 'If there are superstars to be named on
the Swedish music scene, I would like this opportunity to nominate
Lena Willemark, Per Gudmundson, and Ale Möller, otherwise
known as Frifot. The group's CD Sluring
is most certainly a masterpiece.' You see, the reviewers 'ere
don't all like the same kinda music. It makes fer an int'restin'
walk thru the halls!
Now, I know we've got some older writers workin'
'ere at GMR! Since I joined up I've noticed there's some
white hair and some balin' pates, but I never knew we 'ad an 'incipient
geezer!' Take a look at Christopher White's article about American
Gypsy by Mark Sylvester an' you'll see wot I mean! 'Incipient
geezer that I am, a recording like American Gypsy by Mark Sylvester
inevitably gets me musing on the way in which technology has changed
'The Music Business.'
Fascinatin' but that's not the end of Mr. White's
opinions! He also listened to Eddy Cole's I
Know What's Going On .and 'ad this to say about it. '...this
more an EP than an LP CD, but I'm not going to complain too much.
Going out to eat, if quantity is a priority, I could head to Ton'O'Beef
for their Half'A'Heifer special with SpudNuts. Filling? Yes. Satisfying,
healthy, or delicious? Not damn likely. But, if quality dining
is important and I go to Chez Say Wha for their Petite Nouvelle
du Jour, I might still find myself a tad hungry at the end, but,
like I Know What's Going On, it sure was tasty.' Chistopher has
yet annuver review! Jenny Bienemann's Late Night Elaborations.'
Great, anuvver chick singer! But see what Christopher says...'Jenny
Bienemann may be yet another 'Girl with Guitar' tossing her beret
into the ring, but on this well designed, self produced, and ably
performed disk she demonstrates that she more than deserves to
rise above the pack.
Finally...one more review! We 'ad so many
CD reviews turned in this week, our editor held some over for
next time, but THIS one by Master Reviewer an' all 'round good
guy, Gary Whitehouse is a goodie! Gary combines two compilation
CDs in his EIWA winnin' review. No
Depression: What It Sounds Like (Vol. 1) and Just
Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton both featuring
a variety of artists performin' country music sound quite intriguin'.
Gary writes, 'No Depression magazine is the bi-monthly bible of
alternative country music, whatever that is. This disc does a
good job of, if not defining alt-country, at least giving some
good examples of what it is;' and 'tribute albums can fall into
a couple of different traps: the artists either too closely ape
the originals or they push them so far outside the envelope that
they're unrecognizable. Ideally, the performer paying tribute
strikes a balance between the two extremes, which is generally
the case on this salute to country icon Dolly Parton. As is nearly
universally the case with such encomiums, some tracks work better
than others.' 'Enconiums?' Where the @#$% is Dave's dictionary?
These people are so @#$%in' smart around 'ere! Maybe some of it'll
rub off on yours truly. Til next time...whether it be classical,
celtic, country (this one or some other one), blues, folk, singer-songwriter...keep
Green Man wishes to extend our heartiest
congratulations to Jasper Fforde for winning the Wodehouse/Bollinger/Everyman
award for Best Comic Novel, 2004. He gets the complete Everyman
editions of PG Wodehouse's novels, a case of vintage Bollinger,
and a live pig currently very happily living in Powys,
Wales. (No word from Fforde on what he plans to do with the pig.)
His winning novel, The Well of Lost Plots, has as its hero
Thursday Next, a literary detective and expectant single mother,
who spends her life hiding inside the plots of unpublished bad
novels. So join all of us here in the Green Man pub in
downing a pint of Dragons Breath XXXX Stout to one of the best
writers living today!
4th of July, 2004
'Dear Sir (I said), Although now
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons -- 'twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we're made.'
-- poem by J.R.R. Tolkien in answer to a critic
For many of us, J.R.R. Tolkien is the grandfather of fantasy literature.
His work stands (along with that of a few others, certainly) in
the central fire circle around which current authors spread their
own stories. Almost no author of traditional 'high' fantasy today
can escape being compared to Tolkien -- certainly no one who uses
as characters dwarves, elves or orcs.
When Peter Jackson and his company had the chutzpah (hubris?) to
translate the epic The Lord of the Rings into live action
films, those of us who read the story almost like our own family
history delighted and despaired. Some of those who'd read it and
thought, 'What's the big deal?' found the films made the story more
appealing to them. And many who'd never read it at all found themselves
welcomed into Tolkien's Middle-earth by the gorgeous landscape of
New Zealand and the gracious musical compositions of Howard Shore.
Naturally, upon the release of Jackson's three films, Tolkien-related
flotsam and jetsam started washing up everywhere. Plastic swords,
yes, but also books about Tolkien, about Tolkien's friends, about
Tolkien's world. Documentaries, you name it. Some of this Tolkieniana
is terrible, or just cheap. But some of it is wonderful.
In the Peter Jackson' films, Gollum is a CGI character
based on and voiced by actor Andy Serkis. Serkis kept a record of
his work on the films, and published it in a volume entitled Gollum:
How We Made Movie Magic. Huw
Collingbourne says of Serkis' book: 'In a little over 120
pages, this book takes us through the entire history of Andy's involvement
with the Gollum character, from the auditions right through to the
release of The Two Towers. While the fairly large format
of this book (9.5 in by 7 in) and its lavish colour illustrations
may make it look like no more than a glossy souvenir for Lord
Of the Rings fans, it is much more than that. It is very much
an actor's personal account of his involvement in a ludicrously
ambitious technical and artistic experiment.'
The folks at Rough Guides send us an amazingly diverse
selection of material. And yes, there is indeed a Tolkien Rough
Guide: The Rough Guide to The Lord Of The Rings: Everything You
Ever Wanted to Know about Middle-earth. Faith
Cormier says that 'The
Rough Guide to The Lord Of The Rings lives up to its promise
of giving a thorough overview.'
As revered as The Professor is, there are still humorous
takes on his work. In 1969 Harvard Lampoon published a parody by
Henry Beard and Douglas Kenney. This is a book that many people
initially found hilarious, but on rereading it, Jonathan
Northwood realized that it's not so great, after all: 'At
first glance -- when I was much younger -- I was struck by how fresh
and punchy it seemed: it had crisp prose, biting satire and astoundingly
well-realized caricatures; however, as its 1969 publication date
has continued to recede into the mists of time, the story has lost
some of its luster, and has managed to acquire a rather nasty odor
of banality.' Read his astute review for more on Bored
of the Rings.
There are books on Tolkien's use of language and books
on his music; here's a book on his artwork. Wes
Unruh looks at Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull's J.R.R.
Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator and has this to say: 'I
don't think this book is for everyone. There are much more interesting,
cohesive ways to be introduced to J R R Tolkien's work, and I would
rather have seen an edition of 'The Book of Ishnessess'
published, or as complete as possible an edition of Roverandom
produced than be presented with only partial elements. And while
the text succeeds at showing the effect interplay between words,
images, and design had or might have had on Tolkien's creations,
it does so more or less in passing than by design.'
As Tolkien said, 'Roads go ever, ever on.' Wherever
your road takes you, our beloved reader, we hope it brings you back
to GMR next week for more reviews of the stuff that makes
us all, well, folk.