The future is not evenly distributed. I’m no longer surprised that when Gary Wolfe and I try to talk to people for the podcast they simply don’t have the internet connectivity to record as we usually do.
Landline recording is always a bit fiddly, and just became fiddlier because the Skype add-on (Call Recorder) I used for many years to record the podcast is not compatible with Macs using Apple silicon. Which means it’s lucky I haven’t re-homed the old MacBook yet, but this next episode (to a distant Welsh valley, I believe) will likely be one of the last to a landline.
Garth Nix’s 2021 novel The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was a delight in a challenging year, a compelling tale of mythic Britain filled with terrible danger and the intriguing magic of the eponymous booksellers. Although it was far more than that, it felt like comfort food right when you needed it most.
This coming May Susan Arkshaw, Merlin, and the booksellers return in The Sinister Booksellers of Bath, this time for an adventure set in Bath that sees Susan (again) in great peril faced by mysterious machinations of the Ancient Sovereigns, and the growing pull of her own heritage. There’s magic, intrigue, lemon drizzle cake, and, just perhaps, hints of the next big change in Susan’s life.
I don’t know if there’ll be a next book in the series, but I hope so.
I am ridiculously sentimental and have a real weakness for silly and romantic things. Christmas has always been a favourite time of the year, even though it only seems to become more stressful and complicated with time. One thing I really love is a good Christmas song, and so I thought that since this is my blog and these are days of self-indulgence, I would repeat my list of my Top 5 Christmas Songs, which is unchanged since I first posted it back in 2009.
Because I’m older many of these are a little melancholy, but they’re all ones I’ve come to love.
1. Fairy Tale of New York, The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
This one’s the gold standard in indy Christmas songs. MacColl and McGowan are perfect, even if the story they tell is a sad one.
2. How to Make Gravy, Paul Kelly
Another sad Christmas song. A man calling from prison to make contact with his family. Probably my favourite Australian Christmas song ever.
3. White Wine in the Sun, Tim Minchin
Though this one is a close runner-up. The image of the family drinking white wine in the sun is one that resonates when you live in a place where Christmas Day itself is often blisteringly hot.
4. Happy Xmas (War is Over), John Lennon and Yoko Ono
One of the first great rock/pop Xmas songs, and a Lennon song I like better than “Imagine” these days.
5. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Bruce Springsteen and the (mighty mighty) E Street Band
But most great Xmas songs aren’t sad. Every now and then you have to turn to the hard-rockin’ E Street Band to kick out the jams and party at year’s end.
There’s Christmas and then there’s Krampus. Here at Coode Street, there’s nothing quite like a little bit more, and as a very special holiday bonus Gary sat down with the wonderful M. Rickert to talk about what she’d been reading, what she’d recommend, and her fabulous Krampus tale, Lucky Girl, one of our favourites and perfect for a cold, winter’s night.
As always, our thanks to Mary and hope you enjoy the episode.