Sunday, October 03, 2004

if it's not scottish, it's crap!

I bought a t-shirt that said that for Shithead last year at the annual Highland Games ("Shithead" being the name I have since chosen to refer to my homophobic brother). There are some positives about living here in Podunk, the Highland Games being high up on the list. Nothing better, in my book, than listening to bagpipes and watching large men in skirts toss telephone poles. And this time I got to see Navan perform! They were amazing, of course; I love how they sing in Manx and Cornish and Breton as well as the surviving Gaelic languages. I enjoyed myself immensly and spent far too much money at the vendors. Rampant Lion had a booth and I spent a good hour or so agonizing over their music selection; they've got all my favorite artists, just about everybody you're likely to hear on the Mists of Avalon radio program (although I think they're calling it Celtic Sunday Brunch now, or something). I picked up Dervish's album Midsummer's Night, just for their rendition of "There was a Maid in her Father's Garden". Cathy Jordan has one of the most distinctive, beautiful, and downright eerie voices I've ever heard, and the whole album is excellent straight-up Irish trad. I also bought The Witches of Elswick, even though I had never heard of them before, because a) they have a cool name; b) they consist of four very cute girls; and c) they sing a version of "Two Sisters". I have a fascination with the Cruel Sister ballads, probably because they're so unabashadly fantastic and gruesome, what with all the drowned maidens turing into swans and magical instruments made out of her corpse. Loreena McKennitt of course has a gorgeous version, and Clannad has the miller boiled in lead as punishment for robbing the youngest sister. Gillian Welch's version stands out because it's so mournful; all the European renditions are bizarrely upbeat in tempo and melody. The Witches of Elswick have the most gothic version I've heard yet; not only does the fiddler make tuning pegs from the maiden's finger bones, he strings the fiddle with her blue veins! Ick! But anyway, the whole album's great; it's "acappella with attitude", lots of sex and death going on.

So. I'm debating whether or not to read The Turn of the Screw. I really, really don't have time to pick up another book; I'd have to put down either Tom Jones or Passions for the time being, and I hate doing that. But it's October! I have to read something creepy and gothic and fun! It's one of the immutable laws of the reading universe! Besides, fall's just no fun without a decent ghost story or two. It's finally cool out; it's just not 18th century satire weather, you know? I should be reading Bradbury's From the Dust Returned again, or maybe I'll finally get around to H.P. Lovecraft. Bah, humbug. All this education is really inconvenient.


At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELLO ANNE!! YAY we can actually have some idea of what's going on in each other's lives! i'm going to stalk you now. ;) anyway, I couldn't help noticing that you mentioned Gilliam Welch in your entry, and i was like weird b/c i had never heard of her until last month when she had a concert here at Dominican. Who'da thunk it. anyway, small world. Another thing your post made me think of was that you should have been here for Celtic Fest a few weeks ago. It was all free good irish bands and you would have enjoyed it immensely. Ok, you have a lovely evening! ~Katie

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Hey Katie! Yeah, Gillian Welch is majorly cool; I need to get some of her stuff. And a Celtic Fest would be so much fun with you! Hope your dance classes are going well. :-)

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For October reading, I can recommend "Chance of a Ghost: An Anthology of contemporary ghost poems" from Helicon Nine Editions (


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