Friday, 17 December 2010

The Forbidden Forest

Keith Rondinelli created this delightful short: "The Forbidden Forest is a short animated film I created as a personal project. Loosely inspired by Arthur Machen's short story "The White People", I animated, edited and scored the film."

It was shown as part of the Weird Wales event in Swansea.

The Forbidden Forest from Woodhouse on Vimeo.

There is an interview with Keith here at Cartoon Brew:

Friday, 26 November 2010

Weird Wales - Rhys Hughes, Arthur Machen and Welsh Forteana

In this FREE event discover the Weird Tales of authors Rhys Hughes and Arthur Machen, and hear True Tales of Weird Wales.

11 December · 12:00 - 15:30
Discovery Room, First floor,
Swansea Central Library, Civic Centre,
Oystermouth Road,
Swansea, Cymru, SA1 3SN

Rhys Hughes - The Postmodern Mariner
Master storyteller Rhys Hughes will reveal the Welsh roots of his amazing surreal imagination by discussing the strange sea stories of his book The Postmodern Mariner (Screaming Dreams). You can take a glance at the work of this hugely prolific Swansea based author at his website:

And the Postmodern Mariner blog:

Arthur Machen - Master of the Weird Tale
Gwilym Games, Swansea Local Studies Librarian and Editor of Machenalia, the newsletter of the Friends of Arthur Machen, will be discussing Arthur Machen, the famed Welsh fantasy and horror writer, admired by Oscar Wilde, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Alan Moore amongst others. His weird tales horrified Victorian audiences and created the incredible fable of The Angels of Mons in the First World War. Machen has now been republished in the prestigious Library of Wales series in two beautiful volumes.

The Forbidden Forest
We will also be presenting the Welsh première of Keith Rondinelli's animated short film The Forbidden Forest which was inspired by Machen's "The White People".

True Tales of Weird Wales
And in the talk True Tales of Weird Wales discover the dark truths behind reports of Welsh sea monsters including the Gower Sea Wyrm, mystery airships, Spring Heeled Jack in Gower and other bizarre fortean events.

Mark Howard Jones, a Cardiff based writer of weird tales and author of the recent anthology Songs From Spider Street (Screaming Dreams) will also be reading one of his strange stories.

Facebook event here:

Weird Winter Tales - A day festival in honour of H. P. Lovecraft

I suppose one should start in the cold December of 1880, when the ground froze and the cemetery delvers found they could dig no more graves till spring.

In The Vault by H. P. Lovecraft

It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten.
The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft

That child, a boy, came in December; but was still-born. Nor was any child to be born alive in that house for a century and a half.
The Shunned House by H. P. Lovecraft

Weird Winter Tales - Saturday December 4th, 12-6pm

A seasonal celebration of the works of cult author H.P. Lovecraft at the end of the year which marks the 120th anniversary of his birth on August 20th, 1890. With readings, sound installations, and talks from authors and experts reflecting upon Lovecraft's inspirations, work and influence on popular culture. There will also be a special screening of The Call of Cthulhu (H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, 2005) the film adaptation of one of Lovecraft's most famous short stories.

Location : Reading Central Library, Abbey Square RG1 3BQ.

The library is in central Reading. It is built on the remains of Reading Abbey which is haunted by the tortured ghost of its last abbot Hugh Farringdon. It is 5 minutes away from Reading Gaol where Oscar Wilde spent more than a year imprisoned.

Tickets available from Reading Central Library or e-mail

£3, Library Members £2

Google Maps to Reading Central Library

Facebook event

Our mysterious cast of curious scholars and doom laden writers include:

Dr David Evans – author of The History of British Magic After Crowley, will be examining the sanity-blasting mysteries of magus Kenneth Grant, who, in his relentless pursuit of the secrets of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones, could almost be one of Lovecraft’s characters come to life.

Cardinal Cox - Poet Laureate of Peterborough in 2003 and author of numerous poetry pamphlets, will be reading extracts from the recently discovered Codex Dagon, a special selection of poetry and prose, produced exclusively for those attending Weird Winter Tales.

John Llewellyn Probert, horror film connoisseur and author of the terrifying collections Wicked Delights and The Faculty of Terror, will be reading from his work and discussing Lovecraftian cinema.

Gwilym Games, Editor of Machenalia, the newsletter of the Friends of Arthur Machen, will be presenting a talk "The Shadow Haunted Library" - a discussion of the role of libraries and Librarians in Lovecraft's work, leading onto a panel on the mysterious Necronomicon.

He will also report on the Samuels-Games Devonian 2010 expedition. He is one of the few relatively sane survivors of this expedition which made terrifying discoveries when exploring the origins of Lovecraft’s paternal ancestry in Devon.

Chris Lambert, sound artist, has devised specially created soundscapes of some of the most terrifying of Lovecraft’s stories for Weird Winter Tales.

The horror podcast, Cast Macabre, has recorded a Lovecraftian episode especially for Weird Winter Tales.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Machen’s Melbourne: The Australian connection

by Gwilym Games

The Editor of Machenalia, for The Friends of Arthur Machen

There is a long history of Machen admiration in Australia the most prominent example being the famous actor and performer, Barry Humphries who first read Machen’s work as a teenager in Melbourne. On arriving in London in 1959 he was excited to walk some of the locations Machen mentioned in his work such as the London streets described so mysteriously in The Great God Pan. It is thus rather appropriate that this production is being held in Humphries’ home town of Melbourne. Humphries was later President of the Arthur Machen society, the forerunner to the present society The Friends of Arthur Machen of which he is still a member, one of a number of members from Australia.

Machen’s fantastic work has had a strange direct impact on Australian life. In the First World War Machen was a journalist and one of Machen’s fictional stories in a newspaper “The Bowmen” published in September 1914 portrayed the ghosts of Agincourt bowmen and St George arriving to save British soldiers in battle against the Germans. This resulted in one of the strangest rumours of the war as six months later in April 1915, just as Anzac troops were landing in Gallipoli, tales spread in Britain that the story was true and that supernatural beings fought for the British at Mons, only now they were reported as being Angels. Machen argued that the tales were not true, and despite a wide ranging search no solid evidence confirming the Angel’s existence was found at the time, nevertheless patriotic popular pamphlets and reports disseminated the story of the Angels widely. Morale boosting sermons and news reports on the Angels of Mons spread throughout the British Empire and Dominions and Australia was no exception. The Australia War Memorial has a page on the Angels of Mons here including a response written to an enquiry regarding the Angels in 1951.

Machen remained embarrassed by his role in the Angels story for the rest of his life.

You can hear an adaptation of Machen's story The Bowmen by Charley Sherman online via this link.

Brian Lewis (1906-1991), later Professor of Architecture at the University of Melbourne, mentions the Angels in his book Our War which relates stories of his Melbourne childhood during the war. He says regarding the Battle of Mons with obvious irony: "It had been a near-run thing and they only got away with divine assistance. It is a pity that we only heard about it a year later; it would have been very heartening at the time [...] it would have given us an early assurance that we were fighting on the side of God and right".

Lewis mentions too seeing a striking colour newspaper picture of the Angels at Mons one of the many artistic illustrations of the story available during the war. The most popular spiritualist journal in Australia Harbinger of Light, founded in 1870, was published in Melbourne and it published tales of the Angels prominently during the war.

Another interesting connection is that Machen later in the war interviewed the Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes, on a visit to Britain, for his London newspaper The Evening News, making play of their shared Welsh roots.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Great God Pan on stage in Australia

A new version of the Charley Sherman stage adaptation of The Great God Pan is part of the Melbourne fringe festival. It is produced by the The Pit and The Pendulum Theatre at the Junk in the Box Warehouse, 167-171 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East.

The Creative Producer is Das Patterson and it is directed by Suzy Markovsky, running from September 28th – October 9th. This adaptation was originally staged in Chicago see Machenalia Summer 2008 for a long review but I blogged about it here:

It is rather appropriate I think that this production is being held in Melbourne home town of Machen admirer Barry Humphries. For more details see:

Monday, 2 August 2010

Machen published in The Library of Wales

The prestigious Library of Wales, a series backed by the Welsh Assembly, published through Parthian Press two paperbacks of Machen’s work in Summer 2010. These are the first paperbacks dedicated to Machen’s work to be published in Britain since the nineteen-nineties.

The Library of Wales series republishes deserving classic books by Welsh writers in English from the last hundred years and the series is widely available in bookshops and libraries across Wales and beyond. The Great God Pan volume, which also contains the stories “The White People” and “The Shining Pyramid”, has an introduction from distinguished bestselling author and master of horror, Ramsey Campbell. They have stunning covers!

The Hill of Dreams volume has an introduction from Newport based Catherine Fisher, award winning poet and fantasy writer for teenagers. Both have notes from Tomos Owen and the books also contain full details on the Friends of Arthur Machen and how to join the society. Machen as an author has been somewhat neglected in Wales over the years and this more than redresses the balance. Having Machen in paperback in Britain once again will hopefully vastly increase Machen's readership in his homeland.

Full details of the books are available on the Library of Wales website:

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Italian Radio Documentary on Machen

Italian speakers will be interested to learn that there was a fifty minute radio documentary on Italian National Radio in November 2009 called "Arthur Machen" in the regular Italian radio documentary series La Storia in Giallo, on Rai Radio 3, which examines mysterious figures in literature and history, You can listen to the programme online here:

There has been a surge in new editions of Machen in Italian in the last few years.

Faunus 21

The latest editions of the Friends of Arthur Machen publications went out to members earlier this year. Faunus volume 21 a highly collectable hard bound journal contains Machen’s intriguing review of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol from 1898. An excellent essay by Ken Faig Jnr discusses Machen’s mysterious first wife Amelia Hogg and her family background in India and other aspects of her life. Amy Hogg was Machen’s wife in the 1890s and he wrote most of his most famous works while living with her and it was her death in 1899 which marked a key moment in Machen’s life.

Machen has long been recognised as an important influence on modern horror, and also on fantastic writing in general. Now unlikely as it may seem at first glance Faunus reveals that a key creator of the modern thriller genre, John Buchan, was in his youth a Machen enthusiast and at least two of his earliest stories were heavily influenced by Machen. In a well written piece Peter Bell carefully draws out the interconnections between these two men and their work. Another interesting article written by Machen shows his acquaintance with contemporary American Literature and gives some interesting judgements on writers as varied as Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman.

Machenalia is dedicated to Machen’s fellow master of Supernatural Horror Algernon Blackwood and contains Machen’s glowing review of one of Blackwood’s most famous tales ‘The Wendigo’ plus other Blackwood rarities. Besides this it examines the curious case of The White Comrade, another story which like The Bowmen swept through the trenches of WW1 as a supposedly true tale. It also covers the surge in Machen translations in Portugal and some new radio documentaries on Machen. There is also a long feature on Dennis Wheatley and the terrifying mystery of the White Pumpkin.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Machen events this summer

The following is free but is already booked out sorry I was only told about it after it was already fully booked.

Arthur Machen and the Great God Pan
Hay on Wye Literary Festival

Catherine Fisher, Dai Smith, Gwilym Games, Tomos Owen

Event 289 • Friday 4 June 2010, 11.30am • Venue: Hay Library

Find out why everyone from Mick Jagger to Rowan Williams to Stephen King to Barry Humphries has a good word to say about Arthur Machen, the gothic writer from Caerleon who became the literary sensation of Victorian London with the publication of his first novel.

If you are in London the day after you won’t want to miss another event


“N.” at Stoke Newington Literary Festival - Saturday 5 June 4pm

This year is the 75th anniversary of "N" by Arthur Machen. To celebrate this Stoke Newington resident Stewart Lee (recently promoted from 41st to 12th best stand-up of all time) drops the comedy to bring us a unique event in which he reads from 'N', a short story set in Stoke Newington by novelist, mystic and pioneering psychogeographer Arthur Machen, who wrote what Stephen King calls "maybe the best horror stories ever written." In conjunction with the Literary Festival and the Friends of Arthur Machen, Tartarus Press is publishing a short run paperback of "N" with illustrations by Stephen J. Clark.

You can book for the event online here:

Held at Stoke Newington International Airport

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Machen on Resonance FM

Dr Adrian Eckersley, the Friends' webmaster did Machen and the Friends very well in an delightful 28 minute broadcast on Machen on Resonance FM on Thursday January 14th, 2010. It was an excellent introduction to Machen and his work and will hopefully encourage many more people into reading Machen and to joining the society.

Adrian was interviewed by Malcolm Hopkins, who was obviously a genuine admirer of Machen's work and who asked some excellent questions. [Though he did mispronounce Machen's name]. Lost Steps is focused on London matters so naturally Machen's connection to the great city was a significant part of the focus of the programme but this led naturally onto many other aspects of Machen's work. Topics covered include psychogeography, Poe, Stoke Newington, Gray's Inn Road, the Golden Dawn, decadence, The Great God Pan, The Hill of Dreams, A Fragment of Life and The Inmost Light, The Bowman and the Angels of Mons. There was also a fine plug for FoAM and our notorious "booze-ups".
Listening to Adrian expand on his great knowledge of Machen and his work on radio is a very enjoyable half an hour and is highly recommended.

You can listen to the programme Lost Steps online here:

Monday, 25 January 2010

The Great Swarm: Tessa Farmer's Fairies in action

The mysterious world of the strange creatures attached to Tessa Farmer, Arthur Machen's great granddaughter, has alarmed many in the art world in recent years.You can see her website here. Tessa is a loyal member of the Friends and it is interesting to see some of the videos of her special companions available online.

The following footage is but a short extract from a longer piece which shows the fairies engaged in a life and death struggle. "There is also a stop-motion portrayal of day-to-day life of these vicious beings. Animated by Tessa Farmer and Sean Daniels, with actual field recordings by Mark Pilkington, the film is based on a posthumous account by the only known naturalist to have witnessed the faeries’ behaviour in the wild." :

This interview with Tessa features her recent work in the Natural History Museum:

The faries also recently wrecked havoc in New York: