"I'm not entirely convinced scientists have their latest developments under control. You know genetic engineering, nuclear weaponry and computers. Whatever trouble we fall into you can be sure of one thing: it'll be of our own making..." Terry Nation quoted in the Radio Times in 1977. We can all feel grateful it is so different now and scientists are definitely not developing technologies that may grow out of control!
The late Terry Nation was a Welsh television writer and novelist, working on many of the most popular British TV series of the 1960s and 1970s. He made a significant contribution to Doctor Who from its outset, creating the villainous Daleks, and was also the creator of two series for the BBC: Survivors and the cult Blake's 7.
And "yes" we all wore those strange scarf/cravat things in the early 1970s.
Those of us of a certain age who still follow the Old Ways or are Northern (in my case both) will know that tonight 4th November – not Halloween nor Bonfire Night – is the most important night in the mid-autumn folklore season.
Why? Because tonight in Mischief Night, aka Miggy Night or Punkie Night.
It was like Halloween trick-or-treating but without any treats and with tricks verging on minor acts of vandalism and anti-social behaviour as we school kids peddled forth on our bicycles to inflict a reign of terror on the Good Citizens of my home town of Scarborough. You know... dropping lighted fireworks through letterboxes, ringing doorbells and running away before they were opened (known as Knock, Knock Ginger), lifting garden gates off their hinges, and ordering taxis to call at the homes of hated schoolteachers.
And, it wasn’t just in Scarborough, as Mischief Night was celebrated across all the Northern counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and as far south as Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. One suggestion is the 4th of November was the night Guy Fawkes got up to his mischief in the undercroft beneath the parliament building in Westminster. But, given the strong Viking heritage of these counties – all part of Danelaw from the mid 8th to mid 10th centuries – is there also a connection with Loki, the Norse trickster god, at work here?
The 4th November was also the night we lit our lanterns. Called Punkie lanterns, they were carved out of turnips or swedes rather than pumpkins and lighting them was accompanied by reciting the rhyme:
Give me a candle
Give me a light
If you don’t
You’ll get a fright
And yes the local hospitals A&E department was full of boys who'd cut, stabbed or sliced themselves with carving knives and potato peelers trying to carve out rock hard turnips.
Mischief Night was already in decline by the 1970s – about the same time as local authorities started gentrifying Bonfire Night by encouraging organised, communal fireworks displays, rather than allowing everyone to do their own thing (explosives, petrol, and fire – what could possibly go wrong) – and was subsequently swept away by the retail shopping festival that is Halloween.
A reminder of my mis-spent youth... saw John Mayall and his band – the current lineup is Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drums (but they no longer use the Bluesbreakers tag) – play the Theatre Royal in Norwich last night (25 October) as part of their 35-date Livin' & Lovin' the Blues 2017 UK tour. They call Mayall "the Godfather of British Blues" and he still is... Fast approaching his 84th birthday, he knows how to boogie and can still deliver a 90-minute action packed show. The show's finale is Congo Square from his 1980 album A Sense of Place. I last saw him at Leeds Uni in about 1970 and before that at a club in Scarborough. Where did the years go?
As we slip into the long weekend in the UK, here's a video of some psychedelic pop by Nirvana. That's the original 1960s Brit band (here seen in a later 1970s manifestation) not the later Kurt Cobain band.
The White Castle by Yuri Shwedoff, a Russian artist with a knack for combining fantasy and science fiction in paintings to show a sense of loss: the greatest civilizations all become relics. https://yurishwedoff.deviantart.com/gallery/
The image brings to mind these lines from the poet Shelley writing 200 years previously...
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Weird Tales Radio Show
Episode 18 of the Weird Tales Radio Show is our “Down with the codfish aristocracy” edition… We look at the mystical side of Japanese martial arts + get the inside skinny on Goth culture from alternative fashion, culture and travel superstar blogger La Carmina (pictured above) + we report on the builder who sold his soul to the Devil and is now trapped for all eternity in a churchyard porch + in a true WTF?!? moment, we learn about a deadly riot in New York that was sparked off by a dispute over who was the best Shakespearean actor treading the boards.
Follow this link to access all episodes of the Weird Tales Radio Show podcasts. The page also contains links to all our platforms. Click the player button below to hear latest show.
New on the Grievous Angel
Three fantastic new poems for you now. What more can I say except they are SO Grievous Angel! You can read them HERE
This is Urban Fantasist
Curated by former barrister and Reuters correspondent turned writer, award-winning tech journalist, best-selling non-fiction author, sometime werewolf hunter, and internet radio host Charles Christian – Urban Fantasist is here to inform and entertain you with news and comment on weird tales, geek stuff, tech, urban myths, and folklore.
Also includes the Grievous Angel webzine for free-to-read, science fiction and fantasy poetry and flash fiction.
And the Weird Tales Radio Show podcast archive. Click on any of the buttons below to access the shows.
Plus links to Charles Christian's books including fiction, nonfiction, and all the latest reviews.
"Charles Christian defiantly makes my world a brighter, funnier place."
"The legendary Charles Christian at his eclectic best... his insight and humour alone make this a must-read blog."
"Charles Christian is my inner spirit animal, thank you for making me laugh."
"the funny, wonderful and slightly cantankerous Charles Christian"
"His tech journalism is always witty. He has a talent for pricking the overblown claims of suppliers."
"Charles Christian does awesome!"
The Urban Fantasist website is now averaging over 4750 page views daily and 140,000 page views a month plus over 5500 unique visitors each week.
Over 198 weeks in Amazon's writing reference books bestsellers Top 20.
Can I copy content from this site?
Yes... providing you properly credit it. Here's the technical bit: Urban Fantasist content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License which means it may be shared, remixed or used commercially as long as Urban Fantasist or Grievous Angel is cited as the source. If you have any questions, please email or use our contact form.
Green Tea Pot
Please drop a few PayPal coins into our Tip Jar to help us meet some of our running costs. Chocolate, green tea, flasks of wine, books of verse, the usual.
Copyright © Charles Christian
& WordsandVision Limited 2018
Grievous Angel ISSN 2059-6057
This site is fuelled entirely by green tea, dark chocolate and sarcasm.
Contact Address: Oak Lodge, Darrow Green Road, Denton, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 0AY, United Kingdom