Posts tagged ‘gothic’

31/03/2018

Beyond A Gothic Love Story

The gothic is not an epithet that fits neatly on the Yorkshire Dales. There are places that encapsulate the sublime, but for every Barden Tower, Penygent and Gordale Scar there are gentle villages, pastoral scenes and idyllic river valleys. Even the moors in the limestone areas have less of the bleakness of the sour moss expanses of the West Yorkshire and Lancashire fells. It elicits a different form of emersion. not one of a monochrome bleakness, and not one of unremitting gloom.

The Dales are a balance between the wild and the gentle. As such, they lend themselves to a more complex reading. There is no overarching narrative into which they fit. It is in this context that I write my short tales. There is no single story. They move from moor top to valley floor, from waterfall to village hall, to the unknown places beyond.

The tales are also – with a few exceptions – written at the human level. These are not stories of a distant otherness. The ghosts inhabit the same many layered universe as the people, the creatures and the settings. The feelings they evoke and their purpose both in the narrative and in the ‘world’ – are equally difficult to pin down. Some of the hauntings are a release, some a revelation, some an invocation, only on occasions do horror and fear surface: not, you could say, typically “gothic”. At root, in a way, they are – together – a love story.

The third and final sampler pamphlet from the Ghosts and Other Tales introduction series, “The Wedding Invitation” is released on April 13th. It will be available in hard copy and Kindle Editions, along with Parts 1 and 2 (“Abandon Hope” and “Ghosts”).

Images of Leeds Liverpool Canal, Gargrave and two images from St Andrews Church Gargrave.

Copyright Gavin Jones

Advertisements
28/03/2018

Moors, People and Ghosts

The moors and fells of the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas have long inspired tales of horror, fear and the supernatural. The trope on which such tales rely is that of lost souls, wandering the bleak and Romantic misty moors: a sublime and gothic fantasy.

Certainly, when one walks the huge, primarily acidic plateaus of Boulsworth and Haworth moors, the Pendle to Pinhaw ridge, Rylstone and Simon’s Seat over to Nidderdale, it isn’t difficult to figure out where such wilderness literature finds its source. The sense of emptiness, of the inhuman, is palpable. However, even these “wastes” are intrinsically human – managed even – landscapes.

In my short tales (in Abandon Hope, Ghosts and The Wedding Invitation) I have tried to find other locations for my hauntings. These places formed me. I’ve lived in them, and them in me, throughout my life. The moors themselves haunt me, but not in a gothic or macabre sense. Melancholic, definitely, but sublime, no. They are deeply human.

Some of the seeming bleakest moors are in fact post-industrial landscapes, being the sites of lead and coal mines, going back centuries, even millennia. Almost all are farmed, for sheep or grouse shooting (the latter increasingly controversial, as it moves towards something akin to a factory model). These industries – in addition to the wool trade, water management, craft production and, of course, tourism/leisure – have  brought people, and with human beings come stories, tales, myths. And hauntings.

From the rock carvings and stone circles dating back to Mesolithic era, through the subsequent “invaders” who made these areas home and brought their own structures (Roman roads, Celtic field systems, Germanic and Norse villages etc.) to the tarmacked roads, mega-quarries, festivals and visitor centers of today, people have been leaving their physical marks on the moors. They also bring with them their energy, their vitality and their traces.

I find, therefore, the ghosts are to be found in this vital humanity. It is in the very busy-ness of these places, not in their bleakness, that stories emerge. Let the skylarks have their freedom. The spirits seek redemption amongst their fellow humans.

(photographs copyright: Gavin Jones and Garner and Jones)

06/10/2013

Terminus

 

And so it seems this all must end

In blue and gold and shattered glass,

In metal coils around the throats

Of mottled lives between the cracks.

 

What route I took I just don’t know,

It seemed so long and hardly changed:

No matter how, the rains will fall,

The storm will come and I will fall.

 

I have no questions left to ask.

Explosions in the sky can pass,

Explosions take my eyes and pass,

Explosions bring this to its end.

 

The summer lost its heart to me,

But I was cold and told it so.

 

 

This poem was written as a response to the photograph by artist Cheryl Garner. It is part of an on-going collaboration.

The photographs, with poems, can be found at:

www.thecheesewolf.co.uk/category/vicarious-journeys/

the work of Cheryl Garner can be found at:

http://cherylgarner.squarespace.com/

 

11/04/2013

The Halcyon Beasts

 

Above are creatures born of flies

Which stab and spike and reek of blood.

The tales all speak of nests they make

From neatly piled up bones and scales.

 

It’s said their wings are sky made flesh,

And dry as drought their awful skin.

It’s said they scream beyond all sound,

And move so high they breathe the clouds.

 

And if these creatures mark you out

There’s nothing you can do to hide.

No reedbed thick, no lily-pad

Will keep you safe, will save your life.

 

The creatures of the deathly air

Form rainbows from our world’s despair.

 

 

10/04/2013

Revenge of the Spirit Fish

 

They come at night, the spirit fish,

With lanterns through the channel darks,

And ask the shore to give them back

The hooks, disgorgers, floats and line.

 

They make their dolls from wasted casts,

And form the hollow human shapes.

Beneath the overhanging trees

They cough their empty, gaping chants.

 

And somewhere sleeping, dreaming dry,

An angler turns and gasps and chokes.

A mouth drops open, feels the tug

Of barbless bronze and foaming blood.

 

The spirit fish will take their share:

They catch their quota, make things fair.

 

10/02/2013

The Hound of the Baskervilles

 

Around St Petersburg the fog

Is emanating tales of fear.

Its rotten stench has howled for years,

It spreads malignant myths of death.

 

The truth behind the curse is raw,

A void as deep as Russian steppes,

Where generations wait for word

Of riches mired as feudal hordes.

 

Those truths are never glimpsed for long:

They’re flashed as fugitives of code,

They’ll raise their dues and feed the hounds,

They’ll drag all wayward souls beneath.

 

The bleakest marsh has tales to tell:

For all around they’re tales of hell.

 

 

response to the film Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона: Собака Баскервилей (The Hound of the Baskervilles): the version directed by Igor Maslennikov