Zine review: ‘Weird Walk’ #2

The Beltane issue of ‘Weird Walk’ (reviewed here) went to several print runs and is now unavailable. As I write, this Samhain issue is already on a second run, so this tidy little zine has evidently struck a chord.

What does issue 2 bring us? Well, more content for a start: we now have 48 pages; the design and production values are at the same high level as issue 1 and their Twitter feed promises us an even larger volume for issue 3 (in time for Imbolc perhaps?). This zine is on the up.

This time, the editors have scooped an interview with the excellent Benjamin Myers (whose recent work I looked at last year). An unfailingly honest and candid author, Myers says

“My obsessions with writing, walking and swimming all stem from an underlying sense of anxiety and unease with the world, and my place in it. It is never far away.”

I can relate to that, and wonder if a significant portion of the zine’s readership can too: perhaps this anxiety is at the root of the resurgence of interest in not just nature, but the weird side of our landscapes. Myers calls this resurgence “a seismic shift in our relationship with the land”.

Elsewhere there’s a powerful article by Justin Hopper on ‘Constable Country’: that area of the Suffolk-Essex border where the artist grew up, and specifically on the way in which it is held in stasis, like a snow-globe landscape: a “protection” which serves only to make the countryside eerie. He makes good points about the fallacy of the idea that any part of the British landscape is “natural”.

There’s also an in-depth piece on the Pertwee-era Doctor Who serial ‘The Daemons’ – which I’ve yet to see, but which appears in almost any discussion of small-screen Folk Horror – and what was evidently in the cultural air in 1971. Allied to that is a wry look by Archer Sanderson at the portrayal of Stonehenge in popular music.

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There’s an interview with Boss Morris, an all-female morris-dancer group who are overturning stereotypes about that particularly English (and genereally male) past-time.

Adele Nozedar, author of Hedgerow Handbook offers tips on the art of foraging, and helpfully includes a recipe for elderberry rescue remedy!

This issue’s actual Weird Walk is around Stanton Drew in Somerset. Last issue it was Avebury. We all know the south-west of England is a landscape particularly rich in megaliths and myths, but I hope the editors are able to suggest Weird Walks in other parts of Britain in future issues.

As if to underscore the need for casting the net wider, the reader feedback (‘Readers Vibes’ – yes, very droll) shines a torch into other corners of the country and shows that weirdness can reside anywhere.

I look forward to issue 3 of this thoroughly enjoyable zine.

 

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