Weird, Horror Or Rave Valentine’s Nail Art With Professional DQ

This nail lady is brilliant! Visit her youtube channel here and see what other stuff you can find. In the meantime here are a few Valentine’s Day tutorials from Professional DQ:

Voodoo and hearts? Of course!

Pirates and hearts? Why not!

Skulls and hearts? Hooray!

Black and white striped gothic hearts? Woo hoo!

More gothic hearts? Goodness!

Sparkly pink heart pendant (but still cool, don’t panic)

Codex Seraphinianus: A New Edition of the Strangest Book in the World

The strangest book in the world and I’ve never heard of it? Well, yes, there’s probably quite a lot I haven’t heard of. Never mind, here’s a link to an article on a very odd book in an unknown language with intriguingly bizarre pictures. codex-HORSEY

New book – The Filing Cabinet of Doom and other stories

What’s that? An entire book filled with stuff from my brain? Wow, where can I purchase such a thing?!

Well, worry no more. With just a few clicks of the button you too can be a proud owner of my words (and technically the words of Burning Bulb Publishing). If you’re from the UK you can purchase on the kindle from here, or on paperback via here, or if you’re American you could buy them here or here. If you are from elsewhere, I apologise for not including your Amazon links. I hope we can still be friends. filing-cabinet-of-doom-madeleine-swann

Crucifixion Re-enactment, Girl Whipping and Death Dancing: Odd Easter Customs

Merry almost Easter! Is it me or does the date keep changing? Here we’re used to exchanging eggs and dancing naked whilst weeping (just me?) but other countries have their own ideas of spring tradition.

1. Girl Whipping (and Soaking) in Eastern Europe. Yes, show those Slovak ladies who’s boss! In the Czech Republic you give them a good hiding with a willow stick and then a dousing with freezing water! The water tradition occurs elsewhere in Eastern Europe too. Apparently the voracity of the dousing can vary from “having a teaspoon of warm tap water dribbled over you to a bucket of frigid well water thrown at you.” Likewise the strength of the stick beating can depend on how drunk people are, but it’s not really supposed to hurt. Read more about it here.madeleine-swann-slovak-whipping-easter

2. Semana Santa in Spain and Latin America. An odd spectacle indeed, chosen members of the Christian Order of Penitents wear robes known as capirotes. Read more (and see videos and pictures) here.

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Semana Santa

3. Crucifixion in the Philippines. Flagellation, genuine crucifixion… these people take the grim part of religion very seriously. Be warned, the video below features some very unpleasant business. Have a read about it here.

4. ‘Halloween’ Easter in Finland. In a kind of reverse trick or treat children dress up as witches and bring gifts door to door. Those gifts might be twigs and crepe paper but it’s the thought that counts, and they still manage to extort chocolate so all is right with the universe.

5. Pot smashing in Greece. Greeks just love breaking stuff! If you’re ever annoyed with a person it’s probably best to get down there and smash up a load of china – just be sure they’re not trying to eat off it at the time.

6. The Dance of Death in Spain. If you go to Verges, Costa Brava, you may find yourself surrounded by a procession of skeletons. Apparently to remind people that ‘death can occur at any time,’ everyone dances to drums and carries something ‘death related’ such as a scythe.

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The Death Dance in Verges
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The Death Dance in Verges

The eerie and enchanting world of early cinema

Good afternoon and Merry New Year! Just a quick post to share with you some of my favourite vintage cinema films.

Not only were people excited by the idea that movement could finally be preserved, but their story telling imagination had free reign. Enjoy!

First is the 1897 film The Dancing Skeleton by the Lumiere Brothers:

Here’s the 1903 film Kingdom of Fairies by George Melies (of a Trip to the Moon fame):

Next is the jaunty (and possibly a little creepy) 1933 experimental musical animation The Peanut Vendor by Len Lye. Annoy your friends by singing it constantly!

Next up is dancer Lina Esbrard in a 1902 film by Alice Guy-Blache (yes, lady film makers existed):

And finally I leave you with another ‘spooky’ (but quite cute) offering by Melies, the 1903 film The Monster: