Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Hemlock Crescent, I mean Grove

Many years ago I lived on a street called Hemlock Crescent. In response to the return address on my envelope a friend responded, in a written reply--sent through the post with a stamp and everything!--that only I would end up living on such an appropriately named street (given my interest in dark and witch-ee things, etc). I spent a year in that gas filled apartment and was lucky the only thing to blow up was my then relationship.

But that's partly why I was interested in watching the premiere of the new Netflix series, Hemlock Grove. No, not for relationship drama but because as my letter writing friend noted, any place that includes Hemlock in its name has got to have some witch-ee connotations. However, after watching this first episode I was left with a burning question...what /where is Hemlock Grove? Is it the woodsy ravine with the gypsy caravans (ok, not real gypsy caravans but the American equivalent, trailers)? Is it the large estate where the bwitch and her strange offspring reside? Or is it the name of the community? Oh, right. I remember now. There was a big banner over a street scene so it IS the name of the community. And the highschool, right?

And therein lies one of the problems with this promising new series. Its first episode, at least, is a tad bit disjointed and slow so my attention wandered. Despite that I admit to being intrigued. What will keep me watching? The inclusion of Lili Taylor in the cast for one, to see where they take the references to Gypsy / Roma culture, the small nods to Twin Peaks (the PA announcement made to an empty school hallway), and finding out what the back story is to the strange Quasimodo / Frankenstein like Godfrey daughter and why and how does she glow!?

Read more in the National Post - Of Monsters and Young Men.

Trivia Note: Check out the resemblance of 1970s actor Michael Sarrazin to Bill Skarsgard.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Three Ravens

The Three Ravens by Walter Crane c. 1900
Like many of you, I suspect, I have a fascination with crows and ravens. Where we live in Canada there is no shortage of them and I miss hearing their distinct "kaaaaw, kaaaaw."  I don't think I'd ever seen a raven though until I went to The Tower of London where, as part of the tour, you are introduced to its winged residents. And you are told, by the Master Raven Keeper, that as long as ravens remain at The Tower there will be a monarch on England's throne.

Segue several years later to an episode of Simon Schama's, A History of Britain, called The Body of the Queen. While watching this compelling episode about the Queens Mary and  Elizabeth, I heard a song in the soundtrack that had me rewinding repeatedly to hear it again. I later learned  it was a traditional ballad called The Three Ravens. And while I've since heard other versions, nothing beats this eerily haunting rendition by John Harle sung by Sarah Leonard (although Sonne Hagal's version is a close second).

So before it disappears have a listen...

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Scent in the Night

Ok, so the other night I could smell flowers in the air. It was everywhere. The scent was a bit like lilies (of which there are none around here). Sure, we do have some fragrant frangipani in the neighbourhood but you have to get close to smell them and this scent seemed to be EVERYWHERE. To be perfectly frank, it reminded me a bit of a funeral home.

As the night wore on, and the smell did not dissipate, I asked my husband several times if he could smell flowers. He 'claimed' to smell nothing. By the time we got to bed I had almost convinced myself I was having a psychic portent of a death. I mean, isn't that what smelling flowers when there are none around is supposed to mean?  That or maybe it heralds the appearance of a Saint or the Virgin Mary?

The explanation turned out to be a little less supernatural. First, my husband has asthma and allergies so he rarely smells anything. Second, the trees around our compound have all recently sprouted these teeny tiny blooms. As I was leaving a friend's place the other night, the air still full of scent, I walked straight into a low hanging branch of one of these trees and voila, THERE was the scent! Turns out to be a form of night blooming jasmine. How lucky am I?

This is a scan of a one of those tiny blooms
which are about the size of my fingernail. And below is the music that goes with the experience...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Creepy Photography from Ellen Rogers

I'm testing the Blogger app today. Hoping it will mean more postings if I can do them from the iPad. And this first test features the creatively creepy photography of Ellen Rogers. This one reminds me of Magenta from Rocky Horror...

Ellen Rogers Photography

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lady Lavender - Ken Nordine

There's something about Ken Nordine's "Lavender" track that is very Halloween-ee. It's like a word picture of the-witch-in-the-woods after she's aged and been mostly forgotten about.

Lavender from Anthony Penta on Vimeo

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Maybe so many of us are keen on the monsters of Halloween because the World seems so full of things far more terrifying these days. Or maybe that's the way it's always been. Monsters are a metaphor for our fears, right? So which one are you most afraid of?