Reading the Classics of Gothic Fiction: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 A few months ago, I decided to read some of the most famous titles in Gothic Fiction. I'm beginning this venture with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Now I read a lot of 19th Century stories, and already love the language and style of the Edwardian and Victorian eras, so I had a pretty good idea that I would love it, I just didn't know how much.

I'm not going to bother rehashing the story, we're all familiar with it. So I thought I would just show several beautiful editions of the book, and perhaps talk about a small point or two...

Something I just have to bring up, is how different nearly every film or TV adaptation is from the book. And I'm talking about major plot points...but I'll get to that later. First, let's get a gander at a few vintage editions I have had in the shops and one or two from my personal collection. Check it:


Frankenstein turned out to be one of the best books I've read in the last year. It will be one I reread several times from now on as well. These kinds of books do not come around very often for me, I'm old and lose interest easily. But this book is one of those rare treasures that grow and change with you, and I can't wait to read it again.




Entering the World of Podcasts: An Ongoing List of Favorites

 Here's a useless fact about me: I am always late to the party. But the upside of this is newly discovering cool things that most people take for granted. It has been this way all of my life, and I suspect, will be for the rest of my life. So keep this in mind...

I have just recently entered the world of podcasts, for the first time. Jeezus there is so much out there it's staggering, And overwhelming. And more than a little frustrating finding a really good one. Am I just too picky? Too old? Why would I want to listen to you and your friends drone on about nothing, and offer nothing in the way of interesting information? This is what I'm coming across more often than not, and no one is more surprised than me to discover how much people make these things just to hear themselves talk.

So the purpose of this post is not to bash the many useless ones I've come across so far, but to talk about the very few I have found enjoyable and informative. This really must be a different world, one you have to seek out and explore to bring into your own world. But enough of my yakkin...


First up is Mick Garris' brand spankin new podcast Post Mortem. Truth be told, this is the first podcast I have ever listened to in its entirety. Maybe that's why I'm having trouble finding any that live up to this one. Granted, there's only been one episode so far, but when the first guest is Rob Zombie, I guess that's kinda hard to beat. Can't wait for the next episode. UPDATE: This is a bi-weekly podcast, and you'll find yourself wishing it were more frequent. And that each episode were longer.


Next is This is Horror Podcast. When the description states that this is a show for readers, writers and creators, you've pretty much got me snared. Add a bloke with an East End London accent and an endearing lisp, now I'm really interested. In just one episode, I learned so much! These guys are writers or creative types, and often interview other published writers for insight into that world. Thanks guys, I'll be listening. UPDATE: I have since been so enjoying the This Is Horror Podcast that I have become a Patreon supporter of the show. For a monthly contribution far less than the cost of a Startbucks coffee, you can show your support and help keep the show on the air. LOVE IT!




Next up is Crypt of the Macabre. Ok, these guys had me at Slimey Limeys. They focus on Hammer and British horror films exclusively. And how could I not love a podcast that celebrates Peter Cushing on a regular basis? Their format is one I find appealing, like something I might like a LaCreeperie podcast to be one day. It's an idea I've been tossing around for a while now. See, I should clarify that I have of course heard of podcasts, I'd just never gotten into listening to them before now.


Next up is The Damn Fine Cast which is a podcast mostly revolving around (horror) soundtrack releases on vinyl and otherwise. Being that the guys are British, I could listen to them talk about geometry and I'd still be fascinated. But lucky for us they keep the pace moving and stick to the facts while playing snippets from the featured soundtracks, and even an occasional film. Look for their off-shoot podcasts too, they are all worthy of your ears. And I swear Tony sounds like Neil Gaiman! Also, he has just introduced me to Dungeon Synth; dark/medieval ambient music which is right up my alley OMG.


Another great one is Beyond the Darkness from Darkness Radio. This one covers all kinds of creepy topics, real and imagined. Always interesting, with great production value. Dave and Tim have frequent guests, spooky stories, horror film reviews and lots of true stories. Top notch!


Lastly, (for now) is the Mysterious Matters podcast. This one took me a little while to warm up to because the host's voice is...unusual. I wasn't sure if it was a computer generated voice at first, but realized nope, that's just how Bob talks. No matter, his guests are enough to get you hooked, with the subject matter covering all things strange and unexplained. But then the guests do a wonderful job explaining things that seem otherwise difficult for our puny brains to accept. I have found myself playing it for hours nonstop.

This post will continue to include new podcasts I come across and want to share. If you guys have a favorite, let me know! And I'll seriously consider adding my own podcast to the masses in the future.

Book Review: Record Collecting For Girls by Courtney E. Smith



The first mistake Courtney E. Smith made with her book Record Collecting For Girls is giving it that particular title. Unless her plan was to trick vinyl lovers into reading it...because I'm here to tell ya it doesn't have anything to do with collecting records....vinyl that is. And while I read the reviews before I purchased it, I guess I had some glimmer of a hope that people were just failing to mention the lack of vinyl part.

The second mistake made by the author is the overwhelming lack of valuable content. This 'book' reads like a personal diary of sorts, and how it even got published is a mystery to me...unless she just called in some big favors from PR, Editing and Publishing friends she had in college or at MTV. It lends itself perfectly to one of my biggest pet peeves; the latest glut of "girls with vinyl" photos that seem to be clogging every social media known to mankind. I'm talking about the ones featuring 'models' who clearly don't have a clue about what a record is, evidenced by how they are placing them over certain parts of their body, or just trying to look sexy while putting their hands all over the record(s) in a very uneducated manner. All fluff, no substance. But I digress...

If you're interested in the long haul, read on, as I cannot help but to respond directly to certain parts of the book...the music fanatic in me just won't allow it to rest until I get some things off my chest. Most of this is directed at the author herself, or in some cases it's just me ranting out in general.


THE REVIEW


Do not ass-u-me all of your readers listen to the force-fed selections on the radio and on television. Saying that you had a hand in what was put out there (She worked at MTV in the early 2000's, when everyone I knew had long since given up on MTV) is fine, but not all of us subjected ourselves to the bulk of such drivel. That being said, I am a fan of Franz Ferdinand et al, but that certainly wasn't shaping what I was listening to at the time. If you're going to ass-u-me anything, be it that your readers will perhaps have more sophisticated musical tastes than even yourself.


On 'Guilty Pleasures'...


While I appreciate that we all have them, and can readily groan at each other's reluctant confessions of them, it's more than a bit of a stretch to proclaim that your admitted love of the Pussycat Dolls (God help us) is "punk as fuck". Do not attempt to throw around that precious four letter word in such a blase` manner. Perhaps it's an age thing, or out of pure respect I have for that momentous movement, but please do not think for a moment that The Pussycat Dolls and Punk belong in the same UNIVERSE. Seriously.


Also, I don't know one person who would put DEVO on a guilty pleasures list. They have earned immunity by being pioneers of a sound that continues to be emulated 30+ years later. Be careful how you lump others into the mix too, such as Sid Vicious, because each of these artists have too loyal a fan base to ever be demoted to a 'Guilty Pleasure'. Oy...


The Smiths Chapter


I'll keep this part short and sweet, which is what you should have done. The Smiths chapter was way too long, even for avid fans of the band, of which I am one. Make your point, or as I like to say, 'state your purpose' and move on. Don't risk alienating or losing your readers who may not be even casual fans. But I'll give you this; you've got coconut sized balls to put in print your thoughts about a 'boy' who listens to too much (what's the definition of too much, anyway??) Smiths, and your warning us to stay away from such 'boys'.


A Vinyl Point...Finally!


The author brings up an excellent point in that digital music is what you listen to while doing five other things on your computer. Playing an actual vinyl record requires (or at least suggests) you to really pay attention to the music, while the physical demand requires you to put the needle on the groove. I believe these are just two of the many reasons why records seem to posses an irresistible pull. Something within the grooves awakens the obsessions within us, and unlocks deep, dark desires while giving our ears a sensory treat. But them's my words, not hers.


Final Note


I'm not even going to go into the whole "Beatles vs. Stones" chapter, as that's a tired argument and not one I'm interested in at all. Yes, both of those bands were my introduction to music and rock-n-roll in general too. They both have my utmost respect. But an entire chapter about your how's and why's of who is better or more relevant is simply just...y-a-w-n.


As I said earlier, this book reads more like a personal journal or diary, and probably should have been kept as such. Certainly, the editor was sleeping on the job by allowing the many glaring grammatical errors and awkward sentences to remain, but kind of proves this was a 'who-you-know' kind of effort, if you catch my drift. All scathing aside, I'm glad I read it for nothing more than as an example of what kind of book I don't want to write. And yes, dear readers, yours truly is writing a book on record collecting. For reals, not just for girls.

Friday Night Videos with LaCreeperie Week 1: Gothy Goodness

To my surprise and delight, several followers of mine have asked for the playlist link to our newly instituted Friday Night Videos weekly venture. I decided to make blog posts of them, in case this becomes a regular thing. Time will tell...

This is by no means a full list of my gothy favorites, just an impromptu gathering of some of the videos I play often while working on your LaCreeperie orders and other businessy stuff.

If this goes over well, I'll make another one next week. If you like, please follow my new channel and we'll see where it takes us.

Enjoy!