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Senseless acts of beauty (H/T George McKay)

I’m guessing the first of the articles linked below is from the same Dazed magazine that, in hard copy - if it still exists - would be chockful of emaciated 17-year olds with pink text on green backgrounds and guaranteed to be unreadable to anyone aged in their thirties or over. (Fortean Times went through a phase of doing this, which is when I put my foot through the letter box and cancelled my subscription).

That’s the bad sub-Viz ‘jokes’ out of the way :wink:

This article has some interesting things to say, albeit rather superficially, about the yearning for meaning and the refuge that some find in paganism. I hadn’t realized that the Hellebore editor had studied under Ronald Hutton and am quite surprised because Prof H often stresses how much of the Wicca mythology, and many folklore traditions, for example, are not really all that ancient. This doesn’t invalidate them in any way: most traditions were invented at some point.

As well as the two mags cited a sometimes useful website is A Beautiful Resistance (founder Rhys Wildermuth) whence comes this cracking article about mystical Kentish Bluebell Hill. Known mainly for insane amounts of traffic these days, but thankfully there are some folks engaging with the landscape in more respectful (dare I say authentic) ways. These too are very recent innovations.


Cheers, K - 2 smashing articles there. Just 1 niggle (always is with me) - this about Howie from the Dazed article: ‘the moralising authority figure who arrives to interrupt their May Day celebrations’. No, Howie is actively drawn to Summerisle in order that the celebrations can be more potently carried-out.

That aside, I found both article very entertaining. Particularly the Jack in the Green stuff. Though not quite the same guise, we were along for the Castleton Garland Day last bank holiday. The event is a bit twee - being the 29th May it clearly has associations with Oak Apple Day - though it’s origins a firmly fixed in the restoration of the monarchy - - this year’s event had particular resonance - just as in 1660 when a Charles ascended, here we are in 2023 with another right Charlie astride the throne. Though there is an edginess to the proceedings, expressly when the Garland (the lower bout is the King, the upper 6 inch or so being the Queen - - the 2 riders are also King and Queen - with the Garland encasing the King on horseback - - in days of yore the 2 riders were simply called the man and woman)…the Garland is hoisted off the rider and up on to the church tower where it sits atop a middle pinnacle where it is left until nature scatters it on the winds. It has been speculated that the event was initiated by Cornish miners who’d established them selves in the area on account of the fabulous minerals in the locale - - that might explain the similarity of the Garland tune to that of the Helston Furry (Floral) Dance. Here’s a snapshot of the event - - it’s clear, the garland is truly a fabulous creation…

Castleton Garland Day

On a wholly unrelated matter, did you see this thing in Brittany France: Outcry in Brittany as megalithic standing stones cleared for construction of DIY store. I’ve only just heard about it this morning, so a bit more reading around is needed - but on the face of it, it’s just staggering - whilst the Mayor in question may not turn out to be a latter-day ‘Stone-killer’ Robinson, the actions are just astounding.

Btw, a great thread title - George’s book is a delight.


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I wonder if Dazed have seen the proper film or the remake with Nic Cage which I guess I’ll watch sometime but would prefer to hate without any reason :wink:

Great video, the sound quality is especially good and weren’t the horses well-behaved, and a decent turn-out too. I would have loved to see the bit where the Garland is chucked atop the church.

We spent a week in Castleton a few years back, a short rental of a cottage more or less opposite the youth hostel. I was sorting through some old Orkney photos earlier today and found (below) a shot of a really amazing Blue John goblet which I think was in this rocks and crystals place nr. Bursay.

Now I’m racking my brain trying to think of the famous film that was (partly) made there, but can’t quite bring it to mind. A Hammer horror iirc. It’s in the Gareth Rees book so I’ll go find that in a mo.

I heard about the desecration at Carnac which I think came into the headlines last weekend. I knew there would be some ponce with a ‘Never mind, plenty more where those came from’ statement. And there it is: “Given the uncertain and in any case non-major character of the remains, as revealed by checks, damage to a site of archaeological value has not been established,”… apart from there not being stones there anymore.

I’m reminded a little of the walk to Beckhampton to Adam & Eve, lots of old avenue stones scattered about, e.g. to denote ‘no parking here, riff raff’ at the end of posh driveways, etc. I suppose the damage was done long before the post driveways were constructed.

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: ) Hilarious! I made the mistake of watching the remake - spare yourself.

Yes, the horses were unflappable - particularly important for the Kings horse as he needs to be led - he needs to keep his hands firmly on the harness of the Garland - there’s about 60lbs of weight in that thing, so carrying it as the rider does is reckoned to be no mean feat!

The timings for the different parts of the ceremony weren’t at all strictly observed - they brought the hoisting (disembodiment) part forward, so I was caught napping, though I did capture a small bit of it - uploaded for you: Hoisting the Garland

That’s a beautiful goblet - I had my eyes on similar one the other week - it had a price tag just short of 400quid!!!

You’ve got me wracking over that Hammer movie - gis a shout if it comes to mind.

Your mention of Beckhampton/Adam and Eve brings back to mind the vandalism on that part of Avebury a good few years ago - somebody had daubed symbols over the stones in white paint - there wasn’t much effort needed to remove the paint but iirc some ancient lichens were damaged in the process :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

There was photo in the Dazed article of some characters stood in the Cove at Avebury - brought to mind this rarity of a snap of me and Iz in that spot

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Lovely. Somehow the cove stones always look really different no matter how many times you see them. I think there was some propping up underway a few years back but I didn’t notice a great deal of change.

The shots of the garland being hoisted give a decent impression.

So: I found the film in English Heretic (the author is Andy Sharpe, not Gareth Rees - I read the title from one book and the author of the book next to it…). Can’t find it on his old old blog http://englishheretic.blogspot.com/ but in any case It’s The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue and I remember now that this is discussed in the extras for Censor (which is a lot better than the lukewarm ImDB ratings suggest.)

Here’s the page for the locations: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) - Filming & production - IMDb

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Nice one - on reflection - I don’t think I’ve seen it - will go ahead and watch it - looking forward to seeing the Winnats Pass part - what a great location!


I’ve ordered the DVD despite reviews saying the dubbing is the worst ever. I doubt this very much as I have seen several early Klaus Kinski films that were obviously recorded from row J of the flea pit . . .

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