Monday, 23 December 2013

Hugo/Dead of Night

Meet Hugo from the rather great, must be watched at least once in your life 1945 portmanteau film Dead of Night. This chap bothered me, and still does bother me to this day.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Bedham Church/Schoolroom

On a very wet cold and dark December morning myself and Mrs Seatman set out to find the old ruins of Bedham Church.  Set deep in West Sussex not far from Pulborough and Petworth Bedham Church is not that easy to find. To get to Bedham you have to head West on the A283 out of Pulborough and then look for a small sign on the right for Bedham Lane. The small track/road to Bedham Church (Bedham Lane) is narrow and very bumpy and muddy (it was very wet that day) and if approaching from the south the church is on the right. Lucky its winter and the trees are bare, if it was the summer the trees would totally obscure the church and make the task of finding it even more difficult than what it is. Once we had found the church the next problem was to find a lay by to park the car in. We managed to park about 100 yards or so from the church and then headed back down the road, and down the muddy slope to Bedham Church. Bedham Church was built in 1880 and funded by William Townley Mitford MP for Midhurst as a dual purpose Church and School House. At one time the Church/School had 60 pupils and 3 Teachers. The Church was finally abandoned in 1959. Given the remoteness of Bedham Church there is also lack of litter/rubbish and only a tiny bit of graffiti which can only be good at a lovely old place like this. If you have the time and can get to Bedham, then this old church is worth checking out. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It felt like a Kubrick movie...

To me, it didn't feel futuristic. It felt like a Kubrick movie: an old-fashioned vision of the future. I used to imagine us playing in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

F.C.JUDD Tape Recording for Everyone

I had the very good fortune to find this wonderful book by Electronic Music pioneer F.C.JUDD (1914–1992). at a recent car boot sale. This book really is fantastic with chapters on Musique Concrete and Electronic Music, Tape Splicing and Effects and all sorts of other goodies. The adverts towards the back of the book are superb, so I have included a selection of them as well. It was def worth going out on that soggy stormy and very windy Sunday (despite what others thought)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Voices Record 2

On a recent trip into Lynton/Lynmouth I found this rather wonderful album from 1968. This album is only part 2 of a 6 album anthology of music sound song and speech in association with Penguin publishing. Side one of this album features a version of John Cage's Amores, and Ewen MacColl sings Minorie. The Folkcatalogue blog has full track listings for all six albums. The Schools and children taking part in this project were Children of Archbishop Holgate’s Grammar School, York Children of Heslington Primary School, York Choir of Trinity School, Croydon.
“Briefly, Argo and Penguin Education have collaborated to produce a set of records to complement the latter’s threebook anthology of poetry and pictures entitled Voices. The anthology is edited by Geoffrey Summerfield, of the York University English and Education departments, costs 25s. 6d. for the three books and has been very well received. The books give the visual and literary side; each record deals with a special topic (heroes, winter, jealousy inter alia) and adds further dimensions through natural, musical and ‘prepared’ sounds. Bands of a disc enclose elements of the topic, so the inbuilt variety might give you some Kodaly, a Rumanian wedding dance, Hardy’s poem on a country fair, a folksong and a movement from Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music. On another side, a Balinese choir, sniffing hedgehogs, a John Clare poem and an Enigma variation will find common ground. The Gramophone Jan 1968.

Shameless Self-promoting.

Gosh! The debut album by Dolly Dolly is now available to pre-order HERE

How exciting!

Cumming soon...

America! America! America! 

Yes, folks for the whole month of November Mounds & Circles will devote every post to the land of the free. God Bless America! *Cough Cough*

Consider yourselves warned. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New Music By Lord Gloom!

Grizwald? opens with a simple four note melody over which somebody, perhaps Lord Gloom himself, performs a muttered rendition of Shakin' Stevens's “Merry Christmas Everyone”. What follows is a moody 40 minutes of sludgy orchestration, local history, time travel, growling clowns, corn bins, backward bouzoukis, old Latin rhythms and an inexplicable hate figure called Bob God.

If you're looking for a queasy soundtrack to your hauntological/vaporware themed Halloween party, Lord Gloom might just have the answer.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Prelinger Archive

Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 60,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 5,000 digitized and videotape titles (all originally derived from film) and a large collection of home movies, amateur and industrial films acquired since 2002. Its goal remains to collect, preserve, and facilitate access to films of historic significance that haven't been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many hundreds of important US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions. Getty Images represents the collection for stock footage sale, and over 2,800 key titles (now in the process of increasing to over 5,000) are available here.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Creepy and Spooky Seafield House

Perched on a cliff edge in the North Devon Town of Westward Ho, and known by the locals as Creepy, Spooky and even The Old Haunted House, this is in fact the wonderful old Seafield House. I came across Seafield House back in 1980 when on an out of season holiday at the slightly empty Westward Ho Holiday Centre. Staying at The Top Camp as it was known then, was at times a bit like being in The Shining, with a few people mulling around a very large and dark ballroom, and what was an always empty and dusty snooker room. To get to Westward Ho we had to walk down a very long path which ran down the side of the hill. It was from the top of the hill that I saw Seafield House for the 1st time, and over the coarse of that holiday visited the house, and walked around the outside of it everyday, looking up at it and wondering who lived there??? and what it was like inside??? Seafield House was built around 1885 as a summer residence for the London Banker Brinsley de Courcey Nixon. During the 2nd World War the house was home to British Officers, and the field was home to Italian POWs. In the 1950s the house became a Hotel/B&B. The old house is now very run down, with chunks of masonry and slates missing, some signs of attempts at renovation are there, but the scaffolding just seems to be struggling and straining to hold the house up. With nature slowly engulfing the walls, I do fear that the whole building will one stormy night just slide of the edge and into the sea. There does seem to be a lot of strong local feeling for Seafield House and even a Save Seafield House Facebook page. I should point out that when I was chatting to some of the local dog walkers recently, I was told that an elderly lady does still live in the house, but obviously can not keep up with the place. For a rather lovely view of the house from the beach go here. When standing outside looking at how overgrown the gardens and house are, I still can not help wondering what the house is/was like on the inside. There is a description of the interior of the house when it was up for auction in 1950 here. As for the old Top Camp/Holiday Centre,  that got demolished years ago and is now a rather modern looking housing estate, with road names like Gainsborough Drive and Rudyard Way. So after a 33 year gap, I finally got back to visit the old spooky House. With the smell of cheap doughnuts and chips floating in the early morning air, and with pictures taken and memory jogged, I left Seafield House and headed back to the car.  When passing some lovely Beach Huts I glanced upwards, and wondered if the residents of the new Homes up top were ever kept awake at night by the creepy sound of a ghostly and out of tune dance band or some sweaty chain smoking comedians or maybe a really bad early 80s DJ with his sound to light blocks, trying to get a half empty hall of pensioners drunken parents and bored teenagers to get up and dance like dandy highwaymen.
I took this photo of Seafield House in 1980

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Vapourwave Takeover

Not sure how well this goes down on a hauntology blog. But across the pond, the hypnagogic pop / vapourwave thing is getting pretty damned serious too :

And it seems like Moon Wiring Club are veering dangerously close to the vibe this summer.

More tunes here ...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A churchless graveyard?

Lost in the ancient Norfolk landscape, is something of a modern looking graveyard that services a church which lies on the opposite side of the Wensum Valley in Norfolk.

The graveyard of that St. Mary's church in Great Ryburgh is a very small walled affair that can no longer be used, yet it's serviceable graveyard lies in a remote part of the Norfolk countryside - how can that be?

This was a question that my camera and I had to find the answer to when I first happened across this isolated, but beautiful spot. And a short explore of the ancient terrain soon revealed the truth - a ruined church, possibly 12th or 13th century, lying like a silent sentinel amongst a crop of trees and headstones.

One wonders if it provides shelter and sanctuary for the souls of the departed.

Remnants of a secret past......

I have a real passion for anything derelict, but when it involves such names as the B.B.C., my interest grows expotentially.
And so it was that when I learned of the former B.B.C. receiving station based just outside a small Surrey village called Tatsfield, I had to go.
I did some digging so that I had something of an outline of what it was the station did, and the following is a precis of some amazing information on the most excellent Derelict Miscellany website.
The B.B.C.'s Tatsfield broadcast monitoring station was built in 1929 to monitor domestic radio broadcasts and gather various tech information about those broadcasts, the idea being to ensure that they were made on the right frequency and to the best possible standards. Because of it's location on the North Downs and it's proximity to London, the station started monitoring news bulletins from several European countries as well as Tokyo and New York by the end of the 1930's. Tatsfield also played a major role during World War II, gathering news and information. It's duties were split into two parts: “M” unit for normal monitoring and “Y” unit for enemy propaganda. All the data that was monitored from foreign services was fed into Britain's propaganda channels, including the so-called “black” stations run by the Political Warfare Executive. Because of it's technical capabilities, Tatsfield had the responsibility of locating foreign propaganda transmitters and to report on any jamming of BBC and British Government propaganda stations overseas. Some of Tatsfield's masts were destroyed during the war, however, there were no casualties.
After the war, Tatsfield had it's budget cut, but the onset of the Cold War ensured it's continued service. During the 1950's, the newly constructed experimental aerials started receiving satellite signals - of note is that Tatsfield was the first place in the U.K. to detect signals from the Russian Sputnik satellite on 4 October, 1957. The staff enjoyed good facilities including a large main receiving building, a small office block, thermally-controlled underground bunkers that housed frequency standards apparatus and radio direction finding equipment, tennis courts, a cafeteria, a social club and a small waste water treatment plant. It is thought that Tatsfield was finally closed in 1974 - its work was merged with that of B.B.C. Monitoring's receiving station at Crowsley Park in South Oxfordshire. The masts were removed and the site divided between a local farmer, British Telecom and SEGAS. A BT repeater station was built on the site of the main block while all of the buildings to the rear of the site were presumably demolished when a new gas compound was built down the hill to the west. The remnants of Tatsfield are still spread out over a fair-sized area, much of which has seriously decayed owing to abandonment and vandalism.
I was in a good place to time my exploration of the B.B.C. receiving station: mid-week, on an early morning in the Spring. I prepared by collating as much geographical data as I could. Fortunately, there is a plethora of information on the Internet, not least maps of the site, which I downloaded and printed off. Looking at these in the days ahead of the mission, really fed both my enthusiasm and my imagination.
The journey from the fine city of Norwich to the village of Tatsfield in Surrey, via the A11, M11 and M25 roads took no time at all. It was a perfect morning with good sunshine, an agreeable temperature and relatively clear roads.
I pulled off of the M25 motorway and headed through the glorious Surrey countryside, traversing the North Downs on this beautiful Spring morning which made the journey so much more enjoyable. I was filled with anticipation, fuelled by maps and photos. The country roads got smaller and very soon I found myself on the approach road to the B.B.C. receiving station.
I parked my little car on a wide grassy bank and after a quick bite to eat and a slug of Asda's finest cherryade, I gathered my gear together and set forth into the site.
I was greeted by a concrete trackway that looked to lead to some mobile phone masts behind the receiving station area. I walked a little way along the track and found an entrance to the receiving station site, lost in undergrowth. Being Spring meant that the forbidding vegetation that takes over the countryside was only just beginning to appear, so it wasn't much of a battle to get through it. My first view of this derelict beauty was breathtaking and I spent a few moments taking in the surroundings, familiarising myself with the layout from the maps that I had printed off and old photos I had found on the Derelict Miscellany website.
I wandered from building to building, taking in the various remnants of a once thriving location, it's vested interest being the communications of far-off places. Water tanks, abandoned tape machines and fire-damaged Bakelite telephones captured the gaze of my camera and the tendrils of my imagination before I started to explore the remaining buildings.
The first building I entered was the Office Building. Sadly, this had been destroyed by fire, but I was still able to wander through the four rooms. Nature was slowly but surely reclaiming the Office Building, and in doing so, was creating the most beautiful scenes. Here and there were charred and/or rusted remains of telephones, mains boards, circuit boards and electrical fittings. As I walked from the Office Building to the Bunker, I spotted an old Philips reel-to-reel tape recorder decaying in the undergrowth.
And then I entered the Bunker. Access was a little tricky because metal pipes, old cabling and penetrating roots lined the short stairway down, but this was nothing new to this explorer. I entered into what was once the Checking and Monitoring Room where I found cabinets full of circuitry and old measuring instruments, still with their graph paper within.
This room led through to the Laboratory where a workbench still lay covered in electrical bits and pieces, decades of abandonment leaving a layer of dust and grit.
I then reached the Frequency Standards Room where I found an old table littered with artifacts and on the floor were burned technical documents. Beyond this room was the emergency exit.
After I exited the Bunker, I sat on it's roof to take a much needed drink as the day had become quite warm. I looked around and thought of the Cold War secrets that would have passed through these old and crumbling remains, I wondered of the importance they had made to the war effort in the 1940's and of the moment the first signal was recieved from the Russian Sputnik satellite in the 1950's. I imagined the personnel wandering around the rooms and across the courtyards, going about their daily duties.
The B.B.C. receiving station remains as one of my most favourite explores, whilst little really remains, what is still in existence paints for me a magical picture of technology and information/data processing of long gone era.