by The Lilac Time
In the early Noughties I bought an album on the strength of the cover art. Black and red, the blurred outline of a face, a hand reaching up or out (to protect, to caress?) and ‘The Lilac Time’ in white text, off-center. Simple. Powerful. Who was this, their music nestled deep in a busy CD rack in HMV, surrounded, with some artistic licence, by Leonard Cohen and Linda Ronstadt?
for the people who make me want to write
I’m a big fan of the Yew, and, if you’ve read this far, you*. Associated with churchyards – theories are many and varied – and renowned for their longevity, all but their red berries are toxic to humans. Steam and hide a few leaves under the spinach and boom! you have a Yew-related short story waiting to happen. It amuses me that the male tree rates highest on the plant allergy scale yet the female is considered allergy-fighting and produces no allergenic material. Is it mocking the Homo Sapiens male, do you think?
I remember, vividly unfortunately, the signals my lower gut communicated to my mouth and brain that time I overdid it on quality whisky. Standing in a warm public house but to all intents and purposes dropping down the spine of a sudden wave, feeling the pitch and roll of a large vessel beneath me, the Skipper’s knuckles bone white against the wheel as he held to his course and prayed his ship would make the climb up the other side, all internal and external liquids at odds. Hints of woodsmoke, salt and molasses, sulphur and brine. I was sick as a dog.
by Xan Brooks
Dark mornings. Limited hours of daylight, all-too-soon sunsets and ever-present shadows. The end of the year may be the best time to read Xan Brook’s ‘The Clocks In This House All Tell Different Times’.