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Feb. 7th, 2014 | 07:21 pm

WINTERSMITH

by
STEELEYE SPAN

There are those who say you don't need to know of or like Terry Pratchett to enjoy this album, but I disagree; you do if you want it to make sense, especially the children's series (of which the book that shares this album's name is the 3rd ), even if you never read another book of his again.

I could have looked the plot of the book that shares its name up rather than searching it out but me being me, I wanted to know more. Basically, there's 2 figures from a children's storybook; the spirit of Winter, who is in love with the Summer Lady, ends up falling for a young country girl and trainee witch (who he believes to be said goddess due to shared traits), tries to make himself human using words from a children's rhyme , so he can be with her.

She is helped out by a clan of 6in blue men called the Nac Mac Feegle, who have broad Scots accents and insist they're not fairies.
Of course, I loved it.
There's so much going on that you'll end up reading the book of the same name anyway.

Steeleye Span and I go back a long way. I used to believe they had magic powers; to me, they were shapeshifting seers as well as musicians, who could relieve pain with their music. This was probably to do with the elves and witches in their songs.

Growing up – to cruelly dump them then realise the error of my ways – made me realise this wasn't true, but listening to this reminds me why.

'The Dark Morris Song' along with its Tune – which appear to have nothing to do with each other but are linked – are both so good it's worth buying this album for them alone; they both blow any sub-par tracks out of the water, as well as anything sub-par out of your mind.

“Blood runs through the moor,” does it ?? Steady on! Am I listening to Iron Maiden or Steeleye Span? Iron Span ? Oh!! They're so heavy! Why weren't they ever this heavy before??!! Must be due to who mixed it – Chris Tsangarides, who has mixed a lot of heavier stuff.

Julian Littman is very good at giving the Wintersmith a voice, with his all-consuming obsession with said young witch told in a strange speech pattern. I wouldn't like to meet him on a dark night.

Then there's Prior's lesson in being a good witch – looking after, checking on and having respect for your neighbours --, complete with Pratchett's spoken warning about what happens when this isn't complied with.

I would say this is how a good person behaves, witch or otherwise. It used to be the sort of thing that was done without thinking and I am very sad that it no longer seems to happen. I say it's a lesson because Prior sometimes sounds as if she's telling the listener off for something they might have done wrong.

It's hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm on 'Band Of Teachers'; almost half-spoken. Even her speaking voice sounds good. She sounds as if she's pointing at the travelling teachers of the story, pulling you along so you can see what she sees. The slower chorus sounds as if said teachers are very tired.......or if the band themselves are.

Then said Feegles pop up to help “faster than the light”, but they “like to fight and drink” a lot more.

Here Prior is again, using her softer voice, playing the part of the Hiver – an invisible, desperate creature whose only wish is to be bored and die. I feel as if she – or it – is tucking me in and giving me a nice hot drink. That's enough about my little fantasy.

The Wintersmith is then told in a sad little song that he has all the things that make a man apart from the important things which he'll never know about, basically being a living ice sculpture; strength, time and real love – “enough to break a heart” (this song broke mine).
He doesn't understand, of course, and responds again with a fantastically heavy track, 'Crown Of Ice'. He never gives up, does he ?
(I'd happily live in his ice palace and kiss his blue lips if he wants, as long as he promised to perform this song for me on a regular basis.)

He's refused again on 'First Dance', with her insisting she can't be the one he's been looking for, because she isn't the Summer Lady. It sounds a lot like 'Nothing Compares 2 U'!

The instrumental Tune – which you realise is the one that led into the Dark Morris Song – is suitably dark and sounds tuneless. I don't want it to end, yet I do. Click-click-CLACK! Click-click-CLACK! As it wraps around you, protective yet menacing –- a bit like the band themselves to a little me – you're almost guaranteed to make That Noise.

A song about said Summer Lady, who must “die “ when Summer ends is next; then one about the World Turtle who carries Discworld supported by 4 elephants, on his or her back. That must be painful. It was also the Overture, so the tracks are linked. I don't think they make much sense separately.

As an infirm Spanner and aspiring fantasy writer for this reason, the last track – 'I Shall Wear Midnight' (later changed to “We”, but when I first heard it, it was “I”, so it's staying that way) has me leaning on anything available, dry-heaving & sobbing. There's also the prospect that the band I love so dearly “shall wear midnight” one day – probably soon with Peter Knight's departure.

You'll need a lot of time and energy to listen to this album; you'll need to keep your fluid intake up and have regular breaks too. As with all Steeleye Span albums, you know at some point it must finish but it's a real struggle to acclimatise yourself to this idea. It's also absolutely stunning live. Did I mention it was heavy ?!

This album is a journey, & too much in one go may send you down that dark road to put a deposit on a gingerbread house, wearing a kettle on your head.

CLAIRE MUNCASTER

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Writer's Block: Time after time

Apr. 26th, 2011 | 02:37 pm

If you fall in love with a book or movie, do you tend to watch/read it again and again? If so, what's your upper limit on repeats?


Hiya,

Of course. Same with music. If you aren't going to do that why own them in the 1st place ?

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[fic] Open Letter: Gene Hunt

May. 24th, 2010 | 12:26 pm

TITLE: Open Letter: Gene Hunt
AUTHOR: Claire M

WORD COUNT: 624
STYLE/WARNINGS:.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: this is in the style of one of those Open Letters in women’s magazines
DISCLAIMER: ]Life On Mars & Ashes To Ashes aren’t mine.


Open Letter: Gene Hunt

I do realise this is rather late, but I got a message saying putting it up was fine; if not, please delete. This letter is not to be taken seriously.</i>

Dear Gene,

I can’t remember what I was doing, but I immediately stopped it, so it can't have been that important. 
I saw an imposing-looking man with blonde hair.
”Word in yer shell-like, pal,” he spat.

I jumped out of my skin. The world seemed to switch from black & white to Technicolor. 
Wow! I thought. He's gorgeous! Who is he?
“Gene Hunt, your DCI.....”

I’d been 23 then. I was disabled – I used a wheelchair full-time – and unable to work, so I filled my time with other things. I loved rock and blues music, live concerts -- when I was able to get to them -- making cards, fantasy novels.

As I got to know you, you used one word that I used to be called at school that I thought I’d never have to hear again.
Spastic.

By then it was too late. I was in love. You were much older than me – come on, you wore a vest! -– so I didn’t understand some of the expressions you used -- but I didn’t care. I hung on your every word. My eyes lit up whenever I saw you. I was still startled by your loud voice sometimes but got used to it.

When I was fed up or in pain -- as I often was – or when I wondered what the point of all this was – as I frequently did – your one-liners cheered me up, making the pain and spasms melt away. You made me laugh until my eyes watered.

”If I was as worried as you, I’d never fart for fear of shitting myself!”
 
The respite care places I had to go to -- to give my parents a break from caring for me -- were terrible. One place was particularly bad -- the word "care" in the description was as good as they got.

Worried sick about going there yet again, fear – certainty -- of my future living somewhere like that began to blight my life.
“We can't change this world,” you said. “Only learn how to survive in it.”

When I was there, I’d think of you – driving to the rescue really fast, forcing the door open, livid as you saw the way I was treated……holding me as I cried...

I met loads of people online through you, had your name painted on my nails, even wrote a song about you, Gene Hunt Blues. It was an effort to sing, but I managed.
You’d probably call me a “soppy plonk” if you ever heard me gasp my way through it, so perhaps it's a good thing that you won't! 

Far from being upset that loads of women were also in love with you, I was pleased to find some I had a common ground with at last. I found most women hard to get on with -- they just weren’t interested in the things I liked.

The other members became firm friends and will stay that way for life, even though I only knew their user names.

I don’t want to be a soppy git – I know you’d hate that -- but I feel truly blessed to have you in my life. 

I luv you Gene Genie.

Luv always,
Claire M xx

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Writer's Block: Fan love

May. 8th, 2010 | 07:02 pm

Who is your favorite TV character of all time? Why did s/he make such a big impact on you? Do you collect any memorabilia? Did s/he inspire you creatively in any way?


Gene Hunt.Life On Mars is amazing by itself & it'll always be one of my favourite series, if not my favourite (I'll refrain from explaining the premise -- it sounds ridiculous & you need to see it to appreciate it.)
No other interest has inspired a song. I’ve got quite a lot of memorabilia [all bday/Xmas presents] & have had stuff made for me but not as much as some people. I’ll keep it all even if he’s killed off (NO NO NO) otherwise there’s no point me having it now.

I think you’re either the type of person to be into things massively or you’re not, & unless you are you can't understand.

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