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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

autumn harvest

Autumn shifts stealthily up a gear, leaves turning yellow, orange and red and conkers thumping on the ground, like these above, on the edge of the Heath at Highgate. A Bad Witch's Blog rounded up events around Mabon (autumn equinox, this Friday). It's the season of harvest and balance, when the hours of dark and light are equal, but it's also the start of the autumn cultural season and less than six weeks 'til Halloween, so maybe that's why it always feels like we're heading towards the start of the year rather than the end. 

Here in London, Conor McPherson's new play, The Veil, which opens at the National Theatre on 27 September, looks like a good opening gambit, with a Chekhovian tale of time's otherworldly properties based around an arranged marriage, a seance and a haunted house. The Wellcome Collection's pair of exhibitions from 6 October, Infinite Gracias and Felicity Powell: Charmed Life, between them cover Mexican votive paintings by local Mexican artists and 400 amulets from the museum's collection, talismens collected by an obsessive folklorist who bought them from mudlarks and sold them on to Wellcome. 

While catching up with films like Bryan Forbes' 1964 parapsychology melodrama, Seance On A Wet Afternoon (when I should, by rights, be going to see TrollHunter), reading-wise it's Chuck Palahniuk's Damned, a John Hughes 80s high school bunch of stereotypes on an aptly devilishly twisted Scooby-Doo adventure in Hell, that's providing a literary antidote to Deborah Harkness's A Discovery Of Witches, the alchemy, action and time-travelling bits of which were good, but the bodice-ripping (sorry, I mean Mills & Boon he-clutched-me-to-his-manly-chest ...) and nonsensical timeline of which were annoying. 

Damned also fills in time until I get AS Byatt's reworking of Norse myths, Ragnarok, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, which features parallel realities and murders, but possibly no talking cats, and Curse Of The Wolf Girl, the follow up to Martin Millar's amazing Lonely Werewolf Girl, a book which, though probably aimed at teens, was, there's no other way of putting it, a far more believable adventure romp than Harkness's tale. The nights are drawing in; time to hibernate. Just a little.

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