Dec. 9th, 2012

joysilence: (Default)
[personal profile] joysilence
Due to popular demand (one person's request does count as popular by my standards, yes) here is a little account of my day at the Halifax Ghost Story Festival last weekend. As I mentioned before, we arrived on Friday night and spent the night at the Dean Clough Travelodge, part of the Clough's complex of Victorian factories. I like the place a lot and thought it was a great place to talk ghost stories - the factories are set apart from the town and face onto a huge, windy expanse of square, and about a third of the towering soot-blackened stone buildings have evaded the hand of the restorer. The various buildings holding the Clough's museums, restaurants etc. are joined by a network of stone walks and tunnels also suggesting great age, with a canal running through it all. It actually felt a bit like a medieval castle complex. The Travelodge is in a restored part of the site but was surprisingly nice for a £30 a night chain hotel - the rooms seem to follow the original layout of the five-storey factory and the original stone walls and small factory windows remain, giving the rooms more character than is usually found in such places. After our terrible experience with the Imperial Crown hotel in Halifax town centre in 2010 (an appalling place costing twice as much as the Travelodge) we were also relieved to find a high level of cleanliness in the rooms! It was also very quiet at night, but I didn't manage more than an hour of sleep overnight due to issues with my body-clock.

Consequently I was rather knackered by the time we made it to the Crossley Art Gallery (a pleasant, modern space) at 11 the next morning for the panel on M R James and his modern descendants. Ray Rusell, co-owner of Tartarus Press, chaired the panel which consisted of modern Jamesian master Reggie Oliver, Ramsey Campbell (standing in at the last minute for John Probert) and Joel Lane, a talented writer of contemporary urban horror who Ray described as the "sceptic" of the line-up. Ray began with a question that has been much-discussed by supernatural fiction fans: what makes James different from those who came before him, and why is he such a big deal?

More about the talk )

Afternoon and Sunday events )

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