Tales from the Black Meadow Paperback – 20 Apr 2013
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About the Author
Chris Lambert is a novelist, playwright, sound artist and drama teacher. He has had four plays published by Stagescripts including "Ship of Fools", "Ugga" "Loving Chopin" and "The Simple Process of Alchemy". He lives in Reading, Berkshire. This collection of short stories was written in collaboration with Kev Oyston of Soulless Party as part of "Tales from the Black Meadow" a music and spoken word project. Nigel Wilson trained as a graphic artist. He lives and works in Reading and is actively involved in stage and lighting design, acting and illustration.
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Top customer reviews
I wouldn't recommend reading it to or letting it be read by those under 10 as it does have some adult themes and frankly it might just plain weird some kids out! I have attached the link to the album that accompanies the book and suggest you do purchase both together as it offers the full experience and gives to an appreciation of the scale, intelligence and ambition of this project.
It isn't perfect and it has it's stylistic idiosyncrasies (which are part of its charm) but I recommend it to all.
Tales from the Black Meadow
Although a series of poems and short stories that could be dipped in and out of, I read it from cover to cover in an evening. The wonderful illustrations do this book great justice and my personal favourite, Beyond The Moor, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The Fog House and The Rag and Bone Man were fascinating pieces of macabre literary works.
An absolute treat of a book and I, for one, cannot wait to see more from this author.
Chris is an English teacher whom I first met when he was presenting a scene from his stage version of Night of the Living Dead performed by his pupils. Would that I had teachers like that. Who needs Shakespeare when you can have George A. Romero?
Tales of the Black meadow purports to be a collection of folk tales, legends, rhymes and stories from a remote and foreboding area of the North Yorkshire Moors. Folklorist Rodger Mullins of the University of York went missing in 1972 leaving no trace but a collection of work pertaining to The Black Meadow
The Black Meadow seems to be a shunned place bypassed by time. It reminds one of H.P.Lovecraft’s Dunwich or one of the desolate areas of the East coast in which M.R .James set his disturbing stories.
The stories and rhymes contained in the book are notable for both outstanding oddness and the queer ring of ‘truth’ that marks out many a good story. The anecdotes remind one of some of the weirder stories covered within the pages of Fortean Times. One of the best stories The Land Spheres involves black spheres that emerge from the mists one night and simply devour all light. The story put me in mind of an account from WWII when a group of night watchmen saw a black sphere emerge from the night and seemingly toss about some heavy railway sleepers. The story isn’t strictly horror but it is so deeply strange as to be unsettling. It is this kind of story, both on the printed page and in real life that I find by turns the most intriguing and the most disturbing.
There are many more stories of ‘high strangeness’. The Watcher from the Village sees a small community thrown into paranoia by a black thing that simply watches. In The Fog House a lost traveller stops at a house of fog and is guested by a man of fog. He eats food of fog and drinks wine of fog whilst sat in a fog chair at a table. He lays his head in a fog bed and sleeps with a girl of fog. The Long Walk to Scarry Wood is an effective little tale simply told and all the more horrid for it. It is just the story of a man on an errand on a road that goes on forever. Time and space are bent in The Black Meadow.
This is pastoral horror from the same mould as The Wicker Man and Night of the Demon.
The book itself is accompanied by a two CDs. The first consists of eerie music to attend each tale. It is the second CD that is of most interest though. This is a pseudo-documentary about the Black Meadow and the disappearance of Professor Mullins and other researchers. It has interviews with his colleagues and others who have had cause to spend time in the area. In one part we learn of a Yorkshire TV children’s programme Children of the Black Moor (no doubt inspired by the series Children of the Stones) filmed on location. One of the child actors never returns. It’s done in the same vein as Ghostwatch and Alternative 3. I have no doubt that some readers will come away from The Black Meadow thinking it is all real. How long I wonder until some of the motifs from the book find their way into actual folklore via repetition and social osmosis?
For the most part the stories work well but become less disturbing as we read on. The final story did end abruptly, which threw me a little, and I was hoping to learn more about the "missing professor" in the back pages.
But all in all a good read.
The way the book is structured around a collection of ` would be' sinister stories, and extracts from a fanciful array of macabre sources, is a witty pastiche on more established publications. Such is the brevity of each tale, and the clarity of writing, Chris Lambert provides the reader with no refuge from his ceaseless accounts of the grotesque and inexplicable. Lambert's clear skill in `spooky' narration is accentuated by a clear relish for dark humour and the unexpected.
The book is illustrated by some equally haunting and evocative images created by Nigel Wilson.
Whether in the schoolroom or by the fireside on a dark cold night, `Tales from the Black Meadow' is an essential short read.
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