Saturday, 29 December 2018
Getting off the bus in Edinburgh while it was still daylight my intention was to head down through Princes Street gardens and make for the Union Canal Basin, reaching it, hopefully, just as dusk fell.
This isn't Edinburgh Castle by the way, just buildings around The Meadows... a large expanse of open parkland deep within the city.... mainly short grass slopes crisscrossed by various paths running to different city districts.
but here's another one that may fit better... or also mere coincidence I hasten to add.
Andre Norton. Witch World. published 1970. A very successful children's/young adult author back then with hundreds of published works of imagination to her name and and entire galaxy of self created worlds dreamed up to charm readers. I still have a collection of her books. A man running from his past uses a standing stone ( actually an ancient stone seat set in a gateway, the Siege Perilous of round table fame.) to enter another past world where his skills may come in handy and he finds true love there with a female of the opposite sex, who happens to be a witch. It's a great read and is set in medieval castles, moors, battlefields, clifftop strongholds and swamps in a land where magic happens. He is referred to frequently as an Outlander in the book. The first time I heard that term although it may well be common in writing before then.
This developed into a popular series of interlinking novels in the 1970s about a land ruled by witches who go to a school for witchcraft as children.
She has been largely forgotten now sadly in the UK but the Witch World series of six books up to Year of the Unicorn is still a great read, developed by a highly skilled and gifted storyteller. Very different from the currently in vogue modern worlds of Game of Thrones, D,G or JKR in overall layout but just as complex and perhaps an early inspiration? Just a fleeting thought. It would also be wrong and just idle speculation to see certain comparisons/similarities between the 1858 edition of Phantastes and the later Lilith, 1895 both by George Macdonald and truly wonderful for the time and JRR Tolkien's 1950s masterpiece Lord of The Rings. But maybe a foundation stone to build on? Or Roger Dean's floating island paintings on Yes albums in my record collection....coupled with writer Philip Jose Farmer's The Stone God Awakens novel about a giant tree with god like properties and the race of half human creatures who live and depend on it, also.. 1960s/ 1970s concepts.... with the modern film Avatar. That's probably just me guessing out loud as well.
Having said that they are all good- all genuinely different... after adding and blending the colours together so its all academic where they came from.
But A. N.? Her best books deserve to be remembered and cherished again. They are still terrific today. As is Phantases and Lilith. A double edition in one volume. The shoulders of giants perhaps sitting on my dusty bookshelf?
And another person that should be better known is J.A. as he has a huge back catalogue of great songs and has been one of the outstanding alternative songwriters for well over a decade now. Numerous awards and critically acclaimed albums should put him up there with Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart etc as a songwriter but it's much harder these days to become a household name as an independent creative artist. This is one of his album tracks but suitably appropriate lyrics for this time of year with 16 hour long nights and a run of short, murky, dull days where car headlights have been on non stop, day or night due to the foggy conditions. Not sure that speed painting artwork between songs was ever going to be a winner though but top marks for trying :)
Saturday, 22 December 2018
Nowadays, photography is the main driving force for getting me out the house and exploring new places. I'd been to Edinburgh at night before, last year, but there was still plenty of new things to see at night in the capital that I hadnt seen yet in darkness so that gave me the interest and curiousity to jump on the bus and go there. Not in the morning this time but around lunchtime to arrive a few hours before darkness fell.
Merry Christmas all....
and a fantastic song to end with. Jeff Beck and friends. Women of Ireland. A truly beautiful version of this slow classic. Haunting and memorable. I've heard various versions of this moving tune over the years but this is easily the best rendition.