Prince Kano, Classic Gothic Horror Poem

Today’s video is very short so tomorrow I’ll add a podcast and mini documentary I found on one of the oddest Hollywood true crime stories I’ve ever heard of.

For now, here’s classic gothic horror poem Prince Kano by Edward Lowbury. Merry almost Halloween!

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Massive Gothic Nonfiction Book Pile For Halloween

Hello all! Merry day once more!

All year I’ve been on and off reading a big pile of gothic nonfiction books. A couple you might recognise but the majority will be new.

The video is prerecorded and my hair actually looks like this now: 

Such is the magic of the digital era.

Books mentioned:

Caitlin Doughty: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Colin Dickey: Ghostland

Charlotte Gordon: Romantic Outlaws (Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft)

Malcolm Gaskill: Witchfinders

Stacey Schiff: The Witches

Phyllis Grosskurth: Byron

Ossian Brown: Haunted Air

Michael Lesy: Wisconsin Death Trip

DIY Spiderweb Cake GONE WRONG! (Sort of)

Welcome to my Halloween video bonanza for October. First up is a perfect example of what happens when I do a DIY – it progressively becomes a failure.

Bill and I had a go at a spooky cobweb cake which is meant to look something like this:

 

But I think we can all agree our final result is… a bit different. However, it tasted amazing and was probably the nicest cake I’ve ever made, and I have made a few despite appearances.

See you next week!

When Burlesque, The Gothic And Jazz Age Collide In An Autumnal Extravaganza

Sorry about the title, I’m probably a bit sleep deprived. I’m at my friend’s working on a new book while he does art stuff.

From next week I’ll be posting a spooky themed video made by myself each Tuesday of October, but I thought I’d start Halloween early by sharing other people’s videos of burlesque performances. I like any kind of burlesque but if it has a Gothic twist, or twenties, or circus sideshow it’s even better.

I’ll start with Missy Macabre, partly because I once interviewed her for Bizarre magazine and partly because she manages to combine the twenties, Gothic and sideshow all in one human:

Next is Obskyura, who is basically a modern Josephine Baker in this act:

Tesla Tease is a Gothic mermaid.

Mam’zelle Plum’ti does the Charleston with a bunch of balloons:

Enjoy, I’m off to do more words out my hands, toodle pip!

Bizarre Book Club: Caitlin Doughty From Ask A Mortician

I read this book in a single day, which should tell you something. No, the book wasn’t two pages long.

I chanced upon a YouTube channel called Ask A Mortician and found her not only informative on all things death related, but also funny and charming. Caitlin Doughty seemed like someone I’d want to hang around with.

This in turn led me to her book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (And Other Lessons From The Crematory). I expected and enjoyed the anecdotes of working with corpses and the awkwardness of experiencing another culture’s grieving rituals for the first time (the segment on the Chinese family is fascinating).

The horror from outsiders, too, wasn’t a surprise, such as a hospital security guard’s distaste at her picking up ex-babies, that “it didn’t matter how many times I smiled at her, expressed my new-on-the-job status with bumbling Hugh Grant– esque apologies. This woman had decided that I was dirty and deviant. Handmaiden to the underworld.”

I also anticipated moments that made me laugh out loud, such as when “the family had placed a Häagen-Dazs coffee-and-almond ice-cream bar between her hands like a Viking warrior’s weapon. Those are my favourite. So I yelled, involuntarily, “Those are my favourite!””

What I didn’t expect were the many literary quotes and philosophical thoughts. Not that I didn’t think mortuary workers were capable of them, but I didn’t expect to be thinking about them so much afterwards. Caitlin believes the West’s relationship with death has gone astray, that “death might appear to destroy the meaning in our lives, but in fact it is the very source of our creativity. As Kafka said , “The meaning of life is that it ends.” Death is the engine that keeps us running, giving us the motivation to achieve, learn, love, and create.”

She feels that hiding death away and pretending it doesn’t happen is creating greater fear of the  inevitable end. She advocates for a more natural, eco-friendly approach, and for not allowing funeral homes to dictate to the family how the final proceedings should go. I’ll let her explain it in this Ted Talk:

She also believes (more in America, not so much here) that embalming is often sold to people as the only way and is expensive and often unnecessary:

At first I thought, well, is it really so important to be more involved with a body before a funeral? How much can that really change things? Then I thought hard on her point that we also hide old age, stashing the elderly and infirm in sometimes substandard homes, while other cultures move ageing relatives in with them to deal with the consequences of the years together. I wonder if maybe she’s right. What do all of you think?

Caitlin also began The Order of the Good Death, where “funeral industry professionals, academics, and artists explor(e) ways to prepare a death phobic culture for their inevitable mortality.” I’d like to go to one of their talks one day. I’ve also pre-ordered her book From Here To Eternity, in which she travelled far and wide gathering information on the death practices of various civilisations.

As an added bonus, here are a few fun videos from her Ask A Mortician series:

Crematory Scandal That Changed The Death Industry

Victorian STANDING Corpse Photography?

The Punished Suicide

The Self Mummified Monks

Medieval Zombies?!

La Pascualita: Mannequin or Corpse Bride?

Lead Based Make Up Tutorial For Spring

Following A Curious Guide To London (And A Reading At The Big Green Book Shop)

Bonjour! Here are a couple of videos I worked my little socks off for. The first is an expedition to find the places in A Curious Guide To London by Simon Leyland, including the possible real life inspiration for Miss Havisham.

The next is a reading of my bizarro fiction novella at the Big Green Book Shop with Chris Meekings hosted by award winning author Laura Lee Bahr. It was amazing and I hope you like it too.

Aleister Crowley Free Online

Hello my little pumpernickles! On Tuesday I read my latest novella in a London bookshop along with Laura Lee Bahr and fellow 2015 New Bizarro Author Chris Meekings. I’ll share the videos next week as my friend and I spent the morning following a book called A Curious Guide to London.

In the meantime I’ve found a place to read a few of Aleister Crowley’s books for free online, unfortunately not the drug diary. You can read directly from the site here or there are PDFs to download here.

I’ve also included a BBC documentary about him. I’d prefer to find one less sensational that sticks to reality but it’s still quite interesting. Enjoy!