Discussion in 'Fortean Times Magazine' started by XEPER_, May 19, 2017.
The weekend is sorted! Had a quick look through FT, the Les Dawson piece should be good.
Oh and the news about Rennes Le Chateau is horrible. These lunatics are a disgrace.
Such a brilliant looking cover! Makes me want to say in a sing song voice "They're Here!"
I don't think it has anything to do with Poltergeist - from the quick shufty I had it seems to be about general 70's TV having an air of weirdness about it.
Mine arrived early for a change! Yay! Just read a few pages, liked the letter about the phantom lorry. The hauntology article is a real bumper one for FT from the looks of it.
I know, but that's what it made me think of first - even though my copy has yet to arrive...
I've just read the main articles, this is shaping up to be one of the best issues. Maybe I'm the right age for it, but the hauntology article was superlative, well worth the extra pages given over to it. Maybe a guide to what to look out for would have added to it, but that's only a minor quibble, there was so much food for thought there about our perception of the weird, then and now. Also liked the parish records article a lot. Now I notice the Les Dawson forum piece - he wrote science fiction?!
354 has finally got this far North and was in WH Smugs in Stockport.
The "haunted 1970's childhood" article.. the author quoted somebody who heard an evocative piece of music from childhood quite a long time on. This involved the use of indistinct childrens' voices in a spaced-out recurring loop, and the spirit of evocation it raised in him was powerful.
I can relate to that.
I came accross this Bonzo Dog Band track from the late 1960's and the lazy, relaxed summery feel - and the children's voices and seascape right at the start - made me go "Oh dear Gods",and brought back strong sensations of childhood holidays on the Rhyl coast. Real nostalgia. And the children recorded for this track are in all probability grandparents now... a sense of haunting, wistful, loss of something you cannot go back to. Ghosts.
I get it from this track too. This and "Julia Dream".
I thought they were called The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band? Where did I get that from?
They were originally called The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (a pun on the surrealist movement dada), but shortened their name later, I think because it was easier to say.
Their original name was 'The Bonzo Dog Dada Band', with the 'Dada' mutating into 'Doo-Dah' by the time they recorded their first album (Gorilla). The 'Doo-Dah' disappeared by the time of their second album.
It's never been clear to me when these changes / deletions occurred or what motivated them.
Hello, it's Bob here... I'm the writer of the 'Haunted Generation' article. Thanks for the kind words, it was an utter labour of love, and I'm thrilled with how it looks in the magazine.
This is the piece of music that sparked off my interest in the whole thing... it's called Roygbiv, and it's by Boards of Canada. It's actually from 1998, which is when I heard it for the first time, but it's clearly designed to be evocative of those mid-1970s BBC Programmes for Schools and Colleges, and it marked my first inkling that there was an emerging school of musicians and artists mining their fuzzy, slightly unsettling childhood memories to make new music and art. I still feel a bit woozy when I hear it now...
The name 'Roygbiv' was derived from this:
Yes, it was an excellent article! Very thought provoking, and I too am a fan of TBoC, I think Roygbiv was the first thing I heard of theirs as well (maybe on the same radio show as your experience?). The parameters set between Sgt Pepper (happy birthday) and Threads are a perfect summation of the whole, what do you call it, genre? It contains so many variations, but you know it when you see/hear it.
Thanks GNC! I was actually really excited by the things that Jim Jupp from Ghost Box said in the article... that younger artists were finding that material from the 1980s and 1990s gave them similarly 'haunted' feelings about their childhoods. Threads feels like a good cut-off point for me too, but maybe that's just because it marked my passage from chilldhood to young adult... I was 12 in 1984.
And oddly enough, I heard Roygbiv for the first time on a free compilation CD given away with a music magazine! I think it might have been the fairly short-lived Vox magazine, but I'm not sure. Can you remember who played it on the radio? I can only guess at John Peel...
Funnily enough I think it was Stuart Maconie, I heard it and thought, I must investigate, this is great. If I heard it on Peel I wasn't paying attention at the time.
Oh yeah, I could imagine it being right up Maconie's street! Or Mark Radcliffe... neither thought of them.
Incidentally, I was discussing your article with a friend last night, and he suggested the ultimate example of supposedly innocuous but actually disturbing hauntology was the opening titles for BBC geography education programme Near and Far. There's a terrible quality version of them on YouTube if you want a (vague) idea of what he means.
Absolutely loved the Haunted Generation article, I always thought TV and even some of the lesson material we had in school in the 70's was weird and surreal and frightening, and even seemingly normal things would sometimes terrify me too. The absolute height of terror for me was the telly series Escape Into Night. We did probably have more than a normal fair share of weirdness going on at home at that time though, we certainly had lots of Fortean books and magazines. I have checked out some of the music mentioned in the article and it does bring back that feeling.
I saved this month's ish for my long weekend away on my dad's boat, so I've only just finished it. FT 354 is perhaps the most enjoyable I've read for a long time. Bob Fischer's 'Haunted Generation' article feels like vindication for feeling the media of my childhood was always off-kilter, sort of subtly spooky. It's nice to learn that that sense has been noticed by others, and can be recreated, because it's something I miss. I was born in 1974, so really only experienced the tail end of this oddness, yet have often thought back to it. My sister is five years older than I, and is no stranger to the eccentric and weird, yet doesn't have the same sense of those times. It really seems to be something that you had to be tuned to, and I now feel privileged to be so. Excellent article!
I don't think there was a duff piece in this issue.
Totally agree, Pete, the Les Dawson horror novel article was one to treasure in particular. Sounds like a real mishmash of a book, but the thought of Les envisaging himself as the next James Herbert is something to consider.
Managed to find some tracks from Jon Brooks' 'Shapwick' on line (can't buy it unfortunately) and love them, in part because as a child in the 70's I was living in a village just 1 mile from Shapwick!
Haven't read everything yet, but I agree Bob's article is fantastic, great to see it unpack so many aspects of the "strange, melancholy, disquiet". Glad to see Scarfolk prominent, and I liked Jim Jupp's point about VHS having a similar (but different) haunted quality.
I also loved George White's piece on the Les Dawson novel, great topic for the magazine. Amused to see the cover design of Dawson's novel is basically a Len Deighton clone, and I wonder how many people picked up the Dawson expecting Deighton, and what they must have thought if they read it.
The Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC 6 Music namechecked the FT and the hauntology article this afternoon, and it set off a programme-long discussion of scary stuff in vintage TV. This article has legs!
I missed the first two hours of the show, but when after 3pm they were discussing scary stuff I was really hoping it had been sparked by the article - delighted to hear that it was!
Oh blimey, this one...?
One thing I wanted to discuss in the article (but just ran out of space - something had to give!) was how much of this stuff was actually intentionally unsettling? Those Near and Far titles looks like the beginning of a horror film, but was that accidental? Did the producers just think they were showing a playground scene, with a quirky version of a childrens' tune? And if not, and it was intended to be disquieting, then... why? Like you say, it's just an educational geography programme.
Blimey, I had no idea... thankyou, I'll check that out!
Thanks Marion... that means so much. I was chatting on Twitter today about an important factor in 1970s unsettlement that I'd never previously thought about, that of childhood illness. Escape Into Night captures it perfectly, I think... that feeling of semi-hallucinatory drowsiness, during which so many of us were exposed to the daytime Schools & Colleges programmes and Public Information Films that formed a big part of the 'haunted' feeling. I remember watching schools programmes when I had mumps, and that feverish drowsiness formed the perfect context for the weirdness.
Thrilled you've checked out some of the music as well! Shapwick is an utterly lovely piece of work.
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