Saturday, April 29, 2006

No Steve today but Tina will be back soon.

The 2005 Bookmaze - this is not a great shot but it conveys the idea.

We are rather busy at the moment here in Wigtown with our annual Spring fair in the Booktown. The primary school converted into a venue for bookdealers from around the country, all the stalls having been set out last night. As my contribution to the used and second-hand book commerce festivities, I was involved in the construction of the bookmaze. Back breaking work it was too and the result is quite the bizarrest bookshop you could ever wish to visit. Piles of unwanted books - of which about 90% are ex academic library stock - have been aranged in a maze (albeit with many entrances) in the central square of Wigtown, Scotland's National booktown. A wooden receptacle labelled, "charity box" has been left by the sundial and the contents will be donated to the children's ward of Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary. If this blog is eclectic, then the contents of the bookmaze the range of titles on offer eg. are even more so!

Another component of a book fair like eg. The Edinburgh book festival or the Hay-on-Wye book festival is speakers. So today at 12. noon we have a talk by folklore scholar Dr. Lizanne Henderson on "The Witches of S.W. Scotland." I note from the blurb for the event that Dumfries and Galloway was one of the last areas to give up the belief in witches. A dangerous belief too considering how many were persecuted. Moving swiftly on.

The results of the 2005 Wigtown poetry competition are to be announced, this is Scotland's largest poetry competition. I see also that the popular Radio 4. invention Desert Island discs - premiss a famous personality gets to choose their 10 essential tracks - has been transplanted to Wigtown. Here the focus is not on music but on books. Ingrid Pitt who starred in Dr. Zhivago and quite a few British hammer films will be the castaway. She will lead us through the books that shaped her life. She of course also starred in that British cult classic and horror film, "the Wicker man." Which leads me on to the next part of my little resume of the Wigtown Spring Festival.

"Avellenau, bountiful Goddess of our orchards, accept our sacrifice and make our blossoms fruit."

CwA would like to say that true pagans and wiccans DO NOT practise human sacrifice.

Partly filmed in Galloway and Ayrshire at Culzean Castle (pronounced Kull ane Castle) and bedevilled of a curse, the Wicker man starred Britt Ekland and Count Dracula himself, Christopher Lee. Though the nude scenes - arse news basically if I recall - were of an Ekland double . This film was heavily cut for a US. audience so I understand when yesssss, good old EMI. got hold of it. Ow! But worse to come. Hollywood are at it again - this time remaking this film, setting it in the US. and adding a swarm of killer bees and Nicholas Cage and calling it "Wicker man". Well we will see but the central theme of this film is British Folklore as far as I can work out and not whatever the Hollywood dream factory cooks up.

So back to the festival. We will be treated to interviews with the cast and crew on the original shoot. There will be a follow-up talk on why the film has become such a cult. It's nearly April 30th and all good people in tune with nature on this side of the pond surely know now that it is that time again! Time for a fire festival.

So there will be a screening of the film down at the distillery. If that wasn't enough we will be re-enacting the pivotal event of it with our own burning of the Wickerman. In previous years we have had a massive bonfire here at the Byre but this year we will be down at Bladnoch. 1 mile away. Whence we will all celebrate Beltane. I will no doubt preserve my ravishing good looks hah! by washing my face in the May morning dew at This is a tradition that I do not miss. Next bibliophile Festival news will be in September when we hold our 10 day Book Town Festival. This time the laser spotlight of this blog will be upon new books. But us lowly booksellers will still be selling the ole second-hand ones.

This has been the festive view from chriswasanon.



My song is done, I must be gone
I can no longer stay.
God bless us all both great and small
and wish us a gladsome May.

nb. for "God" insert any deity you wish here.



Anonymous said...

"CwA would like to say that true pagans and wiccans DO NOT practise human sacrifice."

Awww, come on. Just even alittle? I wouldn't mind alittle bit of flesh burning.

Okay, okay, Silly Sausage will behave herself for once. Shocking I know!!! Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

Geez, Chris. Sounds like you will have your hands full. Have lots of fun, Love. Enjoy the bonfire.

Talk to you and Ms Tina soon,
Silly Sausage

Chris was Anon said...

Ah well the Romans accused the druids of making human sacrifices and of course the Germans sacrificed to their Gods in the wake of the Varus disaster in the Teutoburg wood - if my classics serves me right but the Romans not so far distant to the Roman historian Tacitus had practiced human sacrifice themselves. Case of calling the kettle black?

Well now, once you get put in that Wickerman, Silly there is no gentle singe or toasting and then pop out out again - its all or nothing. Cernunnos and Bel must be appeased!

Thanks for the comment with all your good wishes and can I extend a happy Beltane blessing from a rather grey Galloway to you and yours.