Philip K Dick Award Finalists

Email has just landed in my inbox listing the finalists for this year’s Philip K Dick Award. That, you may recall, is for science fiction first published in paperback. Here they are:

  • Failed State by Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager)
  • The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey (Orbit)
  • Dance on Saturday by Elwin Cotman (Small Beer Press)
  • Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
  • Road out of Winter by Alison Stine (Mira)
  • The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit)

It is a bit of a sausage-fest, but I’m not going to complain too much as three friends of mine are on the list. It’s great to see Adrian Tchaikovsky getting more attention across the Pond. Al Reynolds absolutely deserves recognition for his Revenger series. And best of all, a book that I had a small part in creating is up there. Well done, Mike. Fingers crossed!

Coronavirus – Day #294

And lo, Britain became a World Beater! There was much rejoicing in Westminster.

Yes folks, the word is that the UK now has more deaths per million of the population than any other country in the world. Bozo must be so proud of himself.

This achievement came courtesy of a couple of days of very high death counts. We are fast closing in on the 2000 a day mark. However, sad though this is, the long-term prognosis should be better as the death curve always lags a week or two behind the infections curve, and the latter has been dropping steadily for several days now.

Unfortunately the local situation is not good. Infections here are continuing to rise. There’s obviously some sort of local outbreak happening, and I’m planning on hunkering down for the duration. Even if that means having to do without a haggis for Burns Night.

Meanwhile, over the Atlantic, President Biden has been sworn in, as has Vice President Harris. Little Donny The Loser has thrown a massive sulk, and we are all waiting for him to finally be brought to justice for the significant number of crimes he appears to have committed. They got Al Capone for tax evasion. I’m sure something similar will work on Loser.

The word is that Biden will reverse many of Loser’s awful policies in his first week in office. Hopefully that means doing something about those poor kids in concentration camps. Both major UK parties have done the traditional thing of sucking up to the new US leader, but Bozo is doubtless distraught that his best buddy is no longer in power. Meanwhile Labour has accused Biden of being “woke”. Given that they are trying to reinvent themselves as the party of bigoted white men, this does not surprise me. We may have finally reached the point where both main UK parties are to the right of the Democrats, which is quite an achievement.

And finally, if anyone out there is a GP, or knows one who might be willing to take an elderly trans woman as a patient, please let me know because apparently I need a new doctor again. I’m willing to move home if necessary, but note that I can’t afford to live in Bristol, let alone London.

Coronavirus – Day #292

A piece of good news for once. I now have a new stock of hormone patches sufficient to last me another 3 months. Hopefully by that time the current surge of infections will have died away.

The not so good news is that I had to walk to Boots because, despite having been to Bath and back on Friday, my car would not start today. A battery should not drain from being fine to having zero charge in just 2.5 days. So there’s probably an electrical fault somewhere. The nice man from the garage is going to pick her up on Thursday and take a look.

The COVID data suggests that Lockdown is definitely biting at last. Trowbridge is still well below the national average, but the infection rate is still rising here so I’m in no hurry to go out unless I have to.

Politics is much of the same. I am looking forward to Andrew Lloyd Webber penning Brexit: The Musical, in which all of the cast are British fish suffering under the tyrannical rule of the evil giant squid, Cthul-EU, but are liberated by Brave Sir Boris and his Merry Men. It will, of course, end with a rousing rendition of Rule Britannia. Sadly the production will become embroiled in a massive lawsuit when it is discovered that all of the songs written for Rees-Smug have been filched from the catalogue of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society.

Farewell, Storm

News broke last night that Storm Constantine has departed this plane of existence for pastures new. Lots of people have been posting about how lovely she was, including many of my collegues at BristolCon where she was a Guest of Honour in 2013. I didn’t see much of her then because that was also the year that Mary Robinette Kowal and Kevin attended, but the day all went very well.

My memories of Storm, however, go back a lot further. Back in 1996 I was in the middle of gender transition and trying to settle into Australian fandom. I went to the NatCon in Perth with some trepidation as Neil Gaiman was the headline Guest of Honour and we’d known each other for a long time; far longer than I had been me, so to speak. Neil had already assured me that he was cool about things by email, but the other writer GoH was Storm. She was a really big name at the time, and also fiercely feminist. I was a bit worried.

I needn’t have been. Storm turned out to be absolutely lovely, and considerably less Goth in real life than in her public persona. She insisted on having her photo taken with as many Aussie fans as she could find so as to have some pleasant souvenirs of the trip.

Despite having a lot of interests in common, we didn’t see each other much. I spent a lot of time in the USA, and Storm had her own group of friends that was somewhat tangential to UK fandom. But I did review more books by Storm in Emerald City than any other author than Kim Newman and Gene Wolfe (they are all tied on 12). She’s written some great books, and I know that the Wraeththu are very much loved by some sections of the trans community.

Storm was a year older than me, which means also a year older than Liz Hand and Ann VanderMeer. I guess that makes her the first of my cohort to wink out. But I’m sure she’s shining brightly in some other universe.

LGBTHM in Bristol

All of the publicity for our LGBT History Months events in Bristol in February is now live. I’ve curated this, along with Karen Garvey from M-Shed. Obviously the events are virtual, but this has allowed us to pull in guests who would not otherwise be able to appear in Bristol. Here’s a quick list. Follow the links to the M-Shed website for more info and booking details. All of the events are free, but you do need to register.

February 4th, 6:00pm — Muslim views on queer relationships over time, with Osman, an outreach volunteer from Hidayah, a support group for LGBT+ Muslims.

February 10th, 3:00pm — Michael Dillon – Trans pioneer, with me, talking about our local trans hero.

February 16th, 7:00pmNicola Griffith in conversation, in which Nicola and I will talk about her book, Hild, and how an author can make decisions about the sexuality of people from the past.

24th February, 11:00am — The history of gender in sport, in which I chair a panel of experts on that issue: Dr Sonja Erikainen, Professor Noah Riseman (joining us from Melbourne), football player Samantha Walker, and rugby player Verity Smith.

I will be doing a number of other public events on behalf of other organisations. I’ll post booking details for this as soon as I have them.

Coronavirus – Day #289

Well this has been a week. As I mentioned on Wednesday, I was expecting to drive to Bristol today to get a new hormone prescription. It turns out that I hadn’t had a blood pressure test in a while, and the doctor wanted to make sure I was OK, even if that meant me risking a long trip in the middle of a pandemic. So yesterday I look the car for a run, so as to give the battery a bit of a boost to make sure it would start this morning. Also I needed fuel. And when I got home the oil and engine service warning lights came on.

Fortunately I have a very good garage. The boys took a look yesterday afternoon and pronouced the car probably OK to drive. I came up with a new plan which was to drive to Bath and get the train from there. That way I would only be 10 minutes each way on a train rather than 45. It worked, and I note that the trains were practically empty. They may be busier in peak hours, but I very nearly had a carriage to myself both ways.

I don’t quite have the hormones yet. Boots didn’t have any in stock, but they put in an order and it went through, so presumably there are supplies in the country.

Meanwhile the FT, which is much more reliable than the government when it comes to COVID data, says that the number of cases in the UK is coming down at last. Where I live is still fairly safe. Our last reported number was 283 cases per 100,000 people, which is a lot less than the national average of 555, but well up from just over 100 at the turn of the year. Many parts of London are over 1,100.

Of course I still have to go out to get the prescription when it arrives, and to drop off the car for a service, but at least I don’t need to go to Tesco again for a couple of weeks at least.

Also in the FT is news that the government plans to rip up all of the UK’s employment protection laws. This, like the move to allow bee-killing pesticides, is definitely in breach of the withdrawl agreement that Bozo signed with the EU just before Christmas. Interesting times, eh?

Meet Pelagius (Twice)

I owe this post to Liz Hand, who posted a NY Times article to her Farcebook feed. It was about Kid Fascist, one of the leaders of the Trumpist faction in the Senate. Like many of his kind, our boy is deeply into justifying his hideous policies through appeal to ancient wisdom. According to the article, he places the blame for all of the problems of the modern world in the lap of a man called Pelagius.

Who? You can be forgiven for not knowing this name, but back in the 4th Century CE he was at the heart of a battle for the soul of the young Christian church. On one side we have Saint Augustine of Hippo, the man who invented the doctrine of Original Sin. (Well maybe not quite invented — he wasn’t the only one with those ideas, but his advocacy made it church doctrine.) Ranged against him was Pelagius who held that humans were born free of sin, and had free will to decide whether to sin or not. The Pelagian philosophy lead to the idea that people are free to chose their own lives, whereas Augustine held that only through submission to divine authority, as represented by the church, could we be saved from sin. You can see why Augustine’s views are attractive to wannabe dictators, can’t you? They appealed to the Pope as well.

Augustine, who should not be confused with Saint Augustine of Cantebury, the man who was sent to Britain to convert Angles into Angels, was also a homophobe. I know this because I am fond of quote this passage of his about an event in his home city of Carthage:

“These effeminates … going through the streets … with anointed hair, whitened faces, relaxed bodies, and feminine gait”

That would be Carthage Pride, otherwise known as the Festival of Tanit, a Phoenician goddess who has a lot in common with the great and glorious Inanna/Ishtar, from whom all queerness flows. So thank you, Augustine for that lovely piece of evidence, but you are an awful person. I much prefer Pelagius. But then I would.

Before I explain why, I did promise you two people called Pelagius. The other one is better known as Saint Pelagia. The person who was sanctified under this name was assigned female at birth, and using the name Margarita, became a successful actress in the city of Antioch. As we know from the life of the Empress Theodora, in those days the job of actress involved a lot of sex work, but Margarita was good at it and apparently very rich. Then came a chance encounter with the local bishop, a man called Nonnus. This led to Margarita giving their wealth to the church and becoming a Christian.

However, the new convert did not behave as expected. Instead of submitting to the rule of Nonnus, they stole away from the city, cut their hair, donned male clothing, and started a new life as a eunuch hermit. This Pelagius became a famous holy man. Sadly the life of a religious aesthetic is not easy, and after a few years Pelagius died of starvation, at which point their past life became known.

We don’t know the dates of the life of this Pelagius, or even if they were a real person, but it is definitely possible that they lived later than the other Pelagius. Their official biography states that their birth name was Pelagia, but then who would want a saint who chose to use the name of an infamous heretic? Given their behaviour, it seems to me entirely likely that Margarita would have taken the name of a holy man who believed that people should live true and authentic lives, and find their own way to God.

By the way, cisgender historians looking at this story will almost always point at Margarita’s successful career as an actress and courtesan, and legendary beauty, as evidence that this could not be a trans person. We trans folk know that adopting extreme gender-stereotypical behaviour is a common tactic that some of us adopt in order to try to cure ourselves of unwelcome and dangerous feelings about our gender.

So we have two people called Pelagius, one of whom might have been trans, and the other whose philosophy can be seen as defending the right to self-actualisation. That’s pretty neat, but I have another reason to be fond of Pelagius I. You see, he was British. That is, he came from the Roman province of Britannia. His name is widely accepted to be a Greek version of his original name in his native language. In Greek his name means “the sea”. Which means that in the language of the native Britons his name would have been something like Morgan.

That Time of Year

Everyone is doing their Award Eligibility posts, so I need to remind you that Salon Futura is a fanzine, and therefore eligible in that Hugo category. That makes me an eligible fan writer.

More importantly the excellent Cora Buhlert, whom you should totally vote for in Fan Writer, has decided to do a series of Fanzine Spolights featuring eligible zines that you might want to nominate. You can find the initial posts here, and they will be added to in the coming weeks.

Also, both The Green Man’s Silence by Juliet E. McKenna, and Unjust Cause by Tate Hallaway, are eligible wherever fine fantasy novels are awarded.

Coronavirus – Day #289

Rejoice, fellow inmates of Plague Island. We are once again World Leaders! Today we achieved a new record for the daily death count due to COVID-19. We are now running at over one death per minute. Our government is so proud of us.

Yes folks, things here are steadily going from bad to worse. We are in Lockdown, but there are so many exemptions, and so little financial support, that loads of people are having to go to work anyway. Which means that they are having to send their kids to school. So Lockdown is kind of not a thing. But never fear. The government has come up wit a brillant idea. They are going to test people entering the country to make sure that they are COVID-free. I’m sure no one ever thought of that before.

(I remember well arriving in Melbourne when the SARS epidemic was just starting. The immigration process was terrifying. Australia knows how to do biosecurity.)

Just in case you were wondering, the Home Secretary says that this is all the fault of people being badly behaved, and that we all need more Discipline!

The nation’s fishermen are up in arms because it turns out the the great deal that Bozo made such a fuss of negotiating on their behalf is complete crap and they are all going bankrupt.

The nation’s musicians and performing artists are up in arms. Apparently the EU offered us a reciprocal deal whereby our people could go and perform over there without needing a work visa, provided that their people could do the same here. Bozo turned them down. Presumably he was worried about ABBA or Mozart doing a comeback tour or something. Surely crippling the British pop music industry is a small sacrifice to pay in return for keeping foreign musos from our shores.

It was Prime Minister’s Question Time today. Bozo, you will remember, did a spectacular u-turn on the issue of free school meals for kiddies during Lockdown. Poor families were going to get £30 a week. Then some smartarse suggested that if you gave money to poor people they would spend it on drugs and porn, and the kiddies would get nothing. So Bozo arranged for some of his mates to take the money, buy food and distribute it. The resulting food packages appear to contain about £5 worth of food. Everyone is wondering what happened to the other £25.

But not Bozo. No sir, he is concerned about the failings of the Leader of the Opposition. It has been pointed out to Bozo that a young footballer from Manchester United has been making our beloved PM look an idiot. Why can’t Mr Starmer do that, eh? Perhaps the Labour Party would be better off making young Marcus Rashford their leader. Then everyone will know what a fool the PM is.

It is, I think, the first time ever that a Prime Minister has attacked the Leader of the Opposition for failing to make clear what an idiot the Prime Minister is.

Closer to home, I braved Tesco today. I think I have enough food for 3 weeks. I’d like to say that I can now stay at home, but I’m almost out of hormones and for reasons I don’t want to bore you with I have to drive to Bristol on Friday to get a repeat prescription because the surgery is unwilling to do a video consultation. And then when I have the prescription I will have to go to Boots twice: once to leave it with them, and once to collect the medication. So much for Lockdown.

Coronavirus – Day #283

Well, yesterday was quite something.

Of course no one should have been surprised. Dear Leader was egging people on to do it for days in advance. The attempted coup was openly planned on Facebook and other right-wing social media. But despite having a lot of inside help, the supposed revolutionaries were extremely inept.

Part of that, I suspect, is because they were too middle class. My Twitter feed had several mentions of a woman called Eizabeth who had complained bitterly that it wasn’t fair that she’d been tear-gassed when all she was doing was starting a revolution. Many of the perps were going around unmasked, and even streaming on their own social media channels. If there is any will to bringing them to justice, it should be very easy.

Therein, however, lies the problem. I gather than one of them, a lawyer, has lost his job. Another has been identified as a Republican state legislator. These are not working class revolutionaries. They are “nice” wealthy white people who could afford a trip to DC by plane to have their little revolution. Will they be prosecuted? Remember that kid who shot a couple of BLM protestors?

As for Dear Leader, I suspect he’ll get away with it too. The 25th Amendment has to be invoked by Pence and the rest of the Cabinet. They might be very angry about nearly getting lynched, but they won’t want to antagonise the Trumpists any further. That leaves Impeachment, and I don’t think there are sufficient votes to get that through the Senate, given that it requies a two-thirds majority. Pelosi should probably do it anyway to force the Trumpists in the Senate to identify themsleves, but it won’t pass.

All of which is bad, because this is not going to go away. Dear Leader has made it clear that he intends to continue the fight. The next outrage will be better planned, and more bloody. And the next one after that will be worse again. Appeasing Fascists never works, but it sometimes takes a long time for people to learn that lesson.

Meanwhile there was a significant drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the UK today. One day does not make a trend, and the 7-day average is continuing to rise, but I hope that’s a sign of Lockdown begining to bite.

Over here we have our own insurrectionists. They are not attacking the government because they have the government they want. Instead they are picketting hospitals and abusing NHS staff, whom they believe to be perpetrating a hoax. Nigel Garbage has founded a new political party with the express intention of opposing all lockdown restrictions. And there’s a new far-right TV news station launching soon. I suspect it won’t be long before NHS staff start getting physically attacked.

Glasgow Fantasy Centre Does D&D

The lovely people at the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow are doing another online event. This one is titled, “D&D and Fantasy Fiction: Giants in the Oerth”. I am definitely looking forward to this. As someone who bought one of the first (white box) sets of D&D in the UK, I can definitely say “I was there!”. And of course my fellow players were all avid fantasy readers. I’ll be fascinated to see what history says about us.

The event will be at 6:00pm GMT on January 28th. Registration is required but free (and they will probably live stream on YouTube if they exceed their Zoom capacity). More details here.

New Salon Futura

The December issue of Salon Futura went live last week. Here’s a list of the things reviewed:

  • Blackthorn Winter by Liz Williams
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E Harrow
  • When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
  • The Doors of Sleep by Tim Pratt
  • Last Stand in Lychford by Paul Cornell
  • Miracles of Our Own Making by Liz Williams
  • Merry Happy Valkyrie by Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Mandalorian – Season #2
  • SMOFcon 37¼

If you are in the UK and like the sound of any of those books, you can buy them through Bookshop.org and help support Wizard’s Tower Press in the process.

Coronavirus – Day #281

Hello, and greetings from Plague Island. 2021, eh? Meet the new year, same as the old year.

Things here have been moving with some rapidity, mostly the number of new COVID-19 cases where the chart is looking steadfastly vertical. But politics, too…

On Sunday morning Bozo went on national television to reassure that nation that he had no doubt that it was safe for our children to go back to school for the new term starting Monday.

Later that day, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she was recalling the Scottish Parliament and having an emergency cabinet meeting about the ongoing pandemic crisis.

By Sunday evening Bozo had achieved the unprecedented result of uniting all of the UK teaching unions against him. Many schools were saying that they were refusing the re-open.

The Scots spent Monday deliberating and planning. In the afternoon Nicola Sturgeon announced new lockdown provisions.

On Monday evening, Bozo went on national television to explain that it was far too dangerous to send children to school and that a new national lockdown was being put in place for at least 6 weeks (i.e. until mid-February).

This morning Wormtongue Gove went on the radio to say that the new lockdown would last at least into March.

Today my Twitter feed has been full of people in England trying to find out what the new lockdown regulations are, who they affect, what government support there will be for affected businesses and so on.

Meanwhile it was leaked that Fake President Loser was planning to flee the US on the 19th and would be hiding out on his golf course in Scotland. Today Nicola Sturgeon announced that he would not be allowed into the country. Perhaps he will go and stay with his friend Bozo instead.

Politics, eh? The only thing anyone is certain of is that we have no idea what Bozo will do next, but whatever he does it is certain to be too late and the implementation will be bungled.

Yesterday I had planned to do a big shop before the virus situation got any worse. But my car wouldn’t start and the jump starter was out of juice so I figured I would go today instead. Then Bozo made his announcement. Tesco is likely to be mad right now, and definitely out of toilet roll. I have enough food to last at least another week, possibly two. So I’m going to hunker down and hope that a bit of sanity returns after a while.

Coronavirus – Day #275

It is a week since Christmas eve, and the effects of the holiday are starting to be felt. For the past two days we have had over 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day. Deaths yesterday were just short of 1000. I suspect it will get worse over the next week. Posts from NHS staff in my twitter feed are starting to sound desperate.

So what is the government doing? It is ramming through a bill to approve Bozo’s Bexit deal, which also happens to be stuffed full of various provisions allowing the government to create new laws without reference to Parliament.

Well someome appears to have taken back control, but it is certainly not us. And what they have taken control of is certainly not the response to the pandemic.

Croatian Earthquake Appeal

There was another earthquake in Croatia today. Thankfully this one had an epicentre some 50 km from Zagreb, so most of my friends just got a book shook up. However, the earthquake was a 6.3 and for the small towns close to the epicentre that was very serious.

My friend Mihaela Perkovic put out an appeal for donations for the relief fund. (It’s her birthday today, so it makes a nice present for her.) The campaign webpage is here (scroll down for English). However, the actual donations page is only in Croatian, so the easy way to give them money is via PayPal. The account is info@solidarna.hr.

New Translation Awards

Earlier this year I was approached by the lovely people at the Future Affairs Administration in China. They were interested in starting up a new set of SF&F translation awards and they wanted me to be part of the jury. Gary Wolfe was also involved, and I still very much believe in having such awards, so I said yes.

I was not expecting to be asked to chair the long-form jury, but once they accepted my suggestion that no one should hold the post for more than two years I said yes to that as well. Basically Gary and I are providing continuity from the previous set of awards. After a couple of years the new awards should be able to fly free.

There’s still a but of talking to do internally about how things will work, but there will be awards, and there is now a website.

Rachel Cordasco does a superb job of keeping track of what gets published in the field, so hopefully we won’t miss anything, but we are very much interested in what other people think of published works, so do let us know.

Brexit and the Bookstore

Now that a Brexit agreement has been provisionally agreed (pending a possible massive rebellion by Tory backbenchers) it seems likely that new trading rules will apply to sales from the UK into Europe from January. Bascially we are back where we were before Juliet & friends did such wonderful work negotiating a Europe-wide VAT registration limit. As I do hope to continue to visit Europe in future years, I need to avoid intentionally breaking EU law and will therefore have to close to international sales as of January. I have been looking at doing UK sales of print books, so there might be a role for the store in future, but as far as ebooks are concerned I’m afraid it is back to Amazon, Kobo and B&N.

For the last fews days, I thought we might as well have a sale. This is mainly for Aleksandar who has been ill (not COVID). Last I heard he was in hospital, and he may have spent Christmas there, so it would be nice for him to get a bit of a present. For the next few days you can pick up As the Distant Bells Toll at a bargain price.

Also, of course, The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Silence are on sale at Amazon UK until the end of the month. I figured I should match that, and in our case the offer is good anywhere in the world.

And finally I thought I should extend the sale to those books that came out recently and whose sales have been impacted by my being unable to get to conventions. So you can get Unjust Cause and Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion II cheaply too.

For convenience, here’s a link to the entire sale.

In the Dark Midwinter

Yesterday morning I did a quick check of my podcast feeds in case there was anything worth listening to while I had breakfast. I was delighted to see that the Backlisted crew had a new episode up focused on Susan Cooper’s fantasy series, The Dark is Rising. The guests on the show were Robert Macfarlane, who writes about landscape in a way that fantasy writers love; and Jackie Morris, who in addition to being a writer and illustrator of books for children of all ages, turns out to have a voice that is always winter and never Christmas.

The discussion was excellent, as I had expected. I was partcularly pleased that it included extracts from Cooper’s Tolkien Lecture. But what got me sat up and taking notice was the music, which was taken from a concept album inspired by the books. The music was created by a chap who calls himself Handspan. He’s originally from the north-east of England, but now lives in Joensuu, a town in the mid-latitudes of Finland but far east towards the Russian border. The extracts I heard from the album were good enough for me to hop onto Bandcamp and by a copy, which I spent much of yesterday playing.

Handspan’s work is electronica, so of course it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I enjoyed it. There are other instruments on it besides synths. Apparently Handspan has taught himself to play the kantele, a traditional Finnish stringed instrument.

Of course I then had to compare Handspan’s work to Bo Hansson’s album based on The Lord of the Rings. Hansson was a synth pioneer, and managed to catch the wave of Tolkien-mania that happened in the 1970s so the album did very well at the time. As far as I’m concerned, Handspan wins easily. Hansson’s work is not bad music, but I can’t see the connection to Tolkien. Handspan, on the other hand, totally gets British fantasy. A review of his album in Fortean Times says, “the album is as crisply keen as the sweeping snowdrifts and slate-grey sky that lend the book such an air of forbidding, suffocating stillness.” I’m guessing that he sees a lot of that sort of weather in Joensuu.

So that was my Christmas Day. Many thanks to the Backlisted crew and to Handspan for giving me a suitably wintry experience. Now I’m wondering if we can get Handspan to come to Finncon to talk about his work. I’m sure we can find a Cooper expert or two to be on a panel with him. And maybe we could have a concert.

All I Want for Solstice…

Yes folks, it is that time of year again. I shall soon be settling in with a glass of wine and a mince pie or two, and watching Santa cruise ever closer. As is traditional, I shall be relaxing to the gentle Innsmouth sounds of Mr Ogham Whaite and his Amphibian Jazz Band. In the meantime, we can all enjoy a few more tunes from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society.

This year has undoubtedly been crazier than most, so what better tune to offer you than that modern classic, “All I Want for Solstice is my Sanity.”