Sunday, March 30, 2014

Demonic Books and Arthur P. Adams

... or a Pixie's irrationality.

I’ve read and re-read A. P. Adams’ first book (published in 1882). I’ll read it several more times. This is a profoundly disturbing book. As I read it, I find many points of personal agreement, but there are lapses of reason, plausible statements that are insidious. They’re not simple lapses of logic. I meet those all the time. I create my own. Logic flaws are part of the human condition. We should return to teaching logic in middle school.

            This book is wicked. I feel unclean from the touch. There is just one known original copy. As far as I know, we own the only photocopy of it. … This is a book that deserves obscurity. It deserves to die.

            I’ve met other books that repelled me, sometimes by touch. (I’m ‘sounding’ irrational and superstitious, aren’t I?) I walk away from those books and wipe my hands on my skirt. There are demonic books. This is one.

            Adams’ book is part of the story we tell. I’ll deal with my distaste – my revulsion – and tell as much of the book’s story as I need. But I won’t willingly forward a copy to anyone until I cope with my (irrational) feelings.


            I feel silly. Adams’ second book, his pamphlets and his articles do not engender the sense of having touched the unclean.

A Fontanini Ornament - Milking the Goat

From Harry

My (what Anthony refers to his better half as) wife unit caught the intestinal flu bug from the twins. They were sick Monday and Tuesday. Jayne came home Wednesday with a headache and then proceeded to spend the night running to the bathroom.

That left me to babysit the twins on Thursday and Friday while she bundled up under a pile of blankets in her favorite chair and watched home improvement shows and sipped Gateraide to keep hydrated.

Maggie is such an amazing little girl. Now when I come over she immediately starts shouting “Come on Grandpa” and leads me off to show me her dollhouse or some other treasure of hers. She loves dancing, being chased around the sofa, and bouncing on Grandpa’s chest and watching him make faces as she knocks the breath out of his lungs.

We sat and read a counting book titled “Ten Little Caterpillars” the other day. After going through it a few times, I mixed it up by counting to ten in Spanish. I did it twice. When I finished, Maggie got up and started dancing around the room singing “Uno, dos, tres, quatro…”

My grandson Corbin is stealthy. He can be watching Thomas the Tank Engine one moment and the next… OMG. I was in the kitchen preparing a couple of bottles for their afternoon nap. The twins were playing quietly in the den, or so I thought. All of a sudden I heard crying from upstairs. Corbin had gone right past me up the stairs and into the bathroom there. He climbed into the tub and started the water running. When I got up there he was still screaming as he danced in the water.

He didn’t seem scared. In retrospect I think he was screaming because he wanted to be undressed. I took him downstairs and changed him and put on dry clothes. I was so glad to put them down for their nap, and promptly laid down for one of my own. Thankfully I didn’t have to babysit Saturday. I needed to rest. The twins will turn three in two more months.

The Goat in Paris

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I’m reading stuff. Among the books I’m reading is J. M. Barry’s Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul. I wish I’d read this before we declared A Separate Identity (Vol. 1) ready for publication. It gives one insight into the American (and English) Calvinist psyche. We’ll use a quotation (in the next volume) that helps explain Mr. Russell’s youthful agony over salvation and damnation. Barry’s introductory essay is poorly written. The rest of the book is superior. If you decide to read this book, don’t be put off by his introduction. 

I am discontent today. I’m not certain why. I just am. Kat is home, cleaning her room and putting up new pictures. She prowled through my store of framed artwork, picking out some prints she especially liked and a reproduction bicycle poster. My wild child is mellowing in her “advanced age.”

It’s now settled. I’ll teach seven lower grades classes, mostly history. I will have one 4-6 writing class and one early literature class. I will have one middle school literature class and a high-school level writing class.

I’ve read a number of books in the last two weeks, all history books. Some of them are on the boring side, some good. I’m refreshing my understanding of social issues in the late 19th Century. I watched a documentary about the Haymarket riot. It’s on youtube – where else? It’s socialist propaganda and divorced from the truth. Never fully trust a youtube video.  

I’m back. Didn’t know I’d left, did you? I’ve been cleaning house, using the quiet to get chores done. And now I’m taking a break and adding to this post. It’s a pretty day. I have the front door and several windows open. I’m glad not to have to shut out the cold.

I’m working on pileofpapers 3.0 at the moment. (It’s now 12:46 pm) I’m extremely tired. I think I’m giving it all up for the day and taking a long nap.

Monday, March 24, 2014

In exactly average time

Click to Mix and Solve

Pet Dragons, Stamps, the New Book ...

There’s a discussion of our newly released book on one of the controversialist sites. Interesting comments. One person is attached to his pet theory (He doesn’t say what it is, though I probably know.) He won’t buy the book because it might be critical of what others have said. One of our history blog readers mildly scolded him.

I attended a lecture and open discussion of paraphilias this morning. Strange stuff, but interesting. Next lecture is more specific. I’ll attend it too, doing my mouse in the corner act. One of my coffee-group people talked me into going. (She’s a social worker and counselor.) I feel informed … in some areas more informed …

I can see the top of my desk now. I’m still sorting papers though. I need a secretary. I’ve started on Messofpapers 3.0 

I’m very dizzy today, and I have a headache. 

Some stamps I bought came in the mail, including one that’s usually very expensive. I found it in an online shop for very little money. I’m happy to have it; I’ve looked for one I could afford for ages. I have all but one of that set now. The really expensive one is the low value. It usually sells for about three hundred dollars, but sooner or later (probably when I turn 80.) I’ll find an inexpensive one. Two others were from Bavaria. They’re common. And then there was most of a set from Wurttemberg. I needed almost all of these. The start bid was very low. I was the only bidder. They’re now mine. The few “extras” will find a home in one of my world-wide albums.

One of the New Stamps

When all the orphaned papers are filed, I’ll be ready to work on a partially finished chapter that’ll be in volume two. We still need to locate some ‘lost’ items: A magazine entitled Spirit of the Word, another named The Last Trump, personal letters relevant to the period. Things. Hope is dim. But I never totally abandon hope of finding these things.  

I got a letter from my sister today – an actual letter, not an email. Strange, huh? She plastered it with all sorts of stamps. I’m soaking them off as I write this. I may have mentioned that I like collecting stamps. One of its attractions is the thrill of the hunt. The same thrill is probably why I like research projects too. 

I don’t feel well at all … 

I should be in bed.  

I’m not though. I’m waiting for my pet, shape-sifting dragon, sometimes goat boy, to get home. He’s promised to take me shopping for garden stuff. Maybe we’ll hike down the river trail for a mile or so. It might make me feel better if we do that. Dunno. 

Everyone should have a pet shape shifting dragon. I bet your jealous …

Find your own pet dragon. This one is mine.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Cold toes ...

A post in which I really don't mention cold toes at all ...

I’m still rearranging my stuff. I emptied a box of un-filed papers. It was a big box. It’s now empty and all the little orphan papers have good homes. I’m working on Pileofpapers 2.0.  

Mind you, this is between fixes to an appendix, which are making me see double. So I’m working on that a little, returning to my fix my work space project when my eyes cross. And … my wp changed a footnote again. … Better I think. But it’s his pet footnote so that’s all up to him. 

Next years’ schedule is still in flux. I will have at least eight classes, maybe ten. That means more money, of course. But it’s pushing against my “free” (pretty much a joke) time. 

Last year sometime I found a book page. It’s in Latin. I don’t do well with Latin, but the paper and printing style told me it was old, probably early 1600’s I thought. I finally identified the book. It’s from the 1559 printing of Theologicae Moralis bye Alfonso Maria de Liguori. It has all the fancy red-printed capitals and such. Very nice. I’ll find a new frame for it. 

Well … I started this post yesterday, but more important things distracted me. But I’m back, trying to wake up. A mug of hot, black coffee is near my right hand. The house is quiet. Knobby Knees and Liz and some of KK’s work mates took the boat out. It’s still too cold to be on the river. I declined. Besides, I have more work on the book.  

It seems endless. Fact checking turned up some new information on Jonas Wendell, an Adventist preacher. It resulted in a new sentence and a footnote. Good stuff though. 

My Writing Partner sent me the first few pages of a child’s novel, what is often called a “chapter book.” He’s a stellar writer. The subject matter is a bit surprising, but it reads well. I hope he finishes it.

Pileofpapers 2.0 is now half the size it was. …. This is good. 

I’m about a page from the end of a head-ache inducing series of fixes. We will publish the ebook first. We won’t announce it until we’ve published in both formats. A case-wrapped book is still a possibility. It will be obscenely expensive. But we’ll see.

Lake Champlain. A pixie pet ...

Friday, March 21, 2014

From Harry

My son and his wife were married by the leader of the band, Wagon Wheel, that played frequently at the local Irish pub. The band had its last performance last night and my son posted this on his Facebook page.

SON: Last show. Danielle and I just danced to wagon wheel
FRIEND 1: How sweet! That's the song you danced to at your wedding.
SON: The bands last show
SON: We were joking perhaps the[y will] do a reunion for us if we renew our cows
SON: Vows
FRIEND 2: Cows! Haha!
DAD (me): Cows? How much have you had to drink?
SON: Just had my first round but autocorrect sucks

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maple Syrup!

Gaggle of Children, Assembly of Pixies ....

So … I’m compulsively reorganizing my work room. I do this when the mood strikes. The mood usually strikes when I’m puzzling through material new to me. But this time I’m trying to think through my next-year’s classes I’m putting on my history teacher cloak next year. I’ll still teach writing, but with fewer classes. We’re strengthening our history program because of test results on students who’ve entered our program in the last year. So … one of my classes is meant to introduce K-1 students (Kindergarten and First Grade) to early American history. I’m thinkin’ that this needs to be a hands on class. Maybe we’ll make candles or sail on the Mayflower or things like that ….

My work room (it now spills over into the family room) is the focus of family life. It wasn’t meant to be. It was supposed to be my quiet work space. That lasted maybe a month. So as the girls grew I’ve found them hiding under my desk, sleeping on my bed. (I keep a bed in there for sick days.), reading my books, or sitting in my nice leather chair eating gooey food for which they are soundly scolded. A stray French fry on my desk is a sure sign someone used my computer. (“It wasn’t me. I think Dad did it.”)

There are days when the entire Pixie Family are somewhere in my room. Annie is working her way through my 1930s and ante fiction shelves. She likes some of the juvenile fiction from the era. (So do I. That’s why I have it.) She thinks some of the books from that era are really poorly written. (They are.) She especially liked Carol Norton’s The Phantom Yacht, a young adult story from 1928. I found the book in a Goodwill Store when I was about her age. It’s from a different era, but I liked the book too.

Having a convention of Pixies assemble in my work room makes writing a challenge. But … I’d never stop them.

Oh, Annie says I should tell you about the Nurse Pinkerton stories. Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote those. I read one to Annie and Kat. They share the book because they both like the stories. Annie is almost done. Kat reads three or four books at a time, so she’s a bit behind.

I’m in serious need of two new bookcases. I can’t afford new ones right now, so I continue to look for used ones in good shape. I haven’t found any yet, but I will.

I have some “off limits to little hands” shelves. These are fragile, antiquarian books. Some of them are truly rare. No one touches those but me or my writing partner. NO ONE. There are books on those shelves that were printed in the 1660s.  There are early editions by Isaac Watts, Isaac Newton, first editions by William Whiston, stuff. Nice stuff. I have S. Clarke’s Attributes as a first printing of the Boyle Lectures. As I said, stuff. Don’t touch it stuff.

I keep interesting trinkets on my book shelves. There is no pattern to that. I just have to like it. Some things are family related. There are some framed medals. (eg. Mecklenburg-Schwerin War Merit Cross.) There is an orange and white donkey figurine, a pewter mug from the Great Western Railroad; a 19th century wooden bowl from India; a framed glass slide from Photo Drama of Creation, and other nonsense. One shelf has decorative pottery from all sorts of cultures and eras. I just have to like it. And I change these things out every so often.

And then there is the art. I like what I like. This gets changed out about every two years. Some things stay. I have a print by an Irish artist that I found in a thrift store in Spokane. I paid seven dollars for it, but auction returns suggest it’s worth about two hundred dollars. It stays. So does a print by an English artist. It’s a limited print litho signed by the artist. I have no idea of value. But it is gorgeous. I found this in a garage sale, paying a quarter for it and 125.00 to have it reframed! Pffttt. The oils from the litho transferred to the original glass, leaving a ghost image on it.

If you’ve seen the photo of my library posted elsewhere on this blog, you have an idea what this room is like. It hasn’t changed much, except there are more books and at the moment it’s messy because I’m trying to rearrange two selves and have books piled on the floor.

In the time it’s taken to write this Annie came and went, leaving a cookie on my desk. Kat came in for help with geometry. Liz came in and gave me a hug and took my cookie. Isabella expressed her distaste for her English teacher. (I don’t like him either, but “like” shouldn’t stop learning.) Knobby Knees will be home soon. He hasn’t felt well for the last two days. I think it’s allergies. We all get them this time of year, and his are bad enough that they mimic the flu. I had his prescription filled. The pills are on the kitchen counter waiting for him.

And how was your day?

Unconfusing Blog Readers

An answer to someone interesed in Arthur Prince Adams but who was confused by a post that mentioned "butt pimples."

Because of health issues, I seldom speak on the phone. The archival material is at Boston College. The archivist is reluctant to help. It requires a personal visit. The archivist at Boston college refused to photocopy the material, but one of those interested in our research made the copies for us when in Boston on Business.

You found my private blog. Our history blog is in the email i sent. I started my personal blog when my novel was published. It's about everything and nothing. Serious work shows up on an invitation only blog, now abeyant while we get our next history book to publication, and on the truthhistory blog.

I am not a fan of many of those who show up in our next book. Some of them were less than stellar personalities. Adams was abrasive. When compared to others of his early associates (Jones, Paton, Barbour) one would find him a better personality. Jones was a fornicator and thief. Paton thought he was God's divine messenger, and, though we don't include it in our book because the evidence is faint, he appears to have seduced a 14 year old. Creepy as heck. Barbour, who thought he was God's prophetic voice for the last days, embezzled money from Russell.

We try to be fair to everyone in the text. I express personal opinions on my private blog that don't show up in the history book. Frankly, my writing partner (who is general editor of this series), usually won't allow that sort of thing.

Adams' personality was one of the reasons his "movement," centered in Beverly, MA, declined in significance. He and Paton remained friends - or more accurately - renewed friendship after Adams adopted Universalism. A third player here was T. H. Tabor, publisher of Manford's magazine. He published articles by L. A. Allen (Might not have heard of her), Paton and Adams and shared their Universialist views. It's an interesting magazine, better in quality than Paton's World's Hope or Adams' Spirit of the Word.

One additional observation: Writing a well written defense of a doctrine we hold dear does not mean the author is an "agreeable" personality. As we (Dr. Schulz and I) write this, we look more for what they said and did than for theological content. Dr. Schulz is a Witness; I am not. We try to tell an accurate story. So we document everything, often quoting directly from those involved. But our personal theologies rarely enter the book, and when they do we tell you we’re expressing an opinion.

I would like to see later issues of his Spirit of the Word. We only have the Finley reprint of the first year.

I don't see any reason for you to abandon Adams as an exponent of any shared views. I can't think of any perfect Christians. Can you? But Adams wasn't a 'saint.' He wrote that those who differed from him were “foolish virgins,” out of the light of truth. He refused to help someone once an associate because of doctrinal difference. He intimidated members of the Avenue Methodist Church. He refused to vacate the parsonage, even though stripped of his Methodist credentials. He was a good writer, even if there are logic flaws in some of his articles. He was well educated. He has a master’s degree in theology. He was an articulate speaker.

I'm probably straying off familiar territory, but Adams' theological background took him to the extremes of allegorical interpretation of the sort used by our Separatists and Puritan ancestors. This set him in contrast to C. T. Russell, with whom he associated for a period. Russell was a Literalist in British Millenarian tradition. (The claim that he was an Adventist is wrong.) So they approached the Bible differently, even during the few years they shared some essential doctrines.

Hope some of this helps.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Being Naughty in 1915

From Puck, an American "humor" magazine with Anglophile tendencies.
Puck was seldom funny, at least from today's perspective. Rather than being a humor magazine, it was amateurish political satire.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

To answer Harry's Question. ...

Because they're funny ....

They have athletic talents ....

And they can hold an inteligent discussion

However, they are a bit insane

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Kissing the Goat

While that title may have gotten your attention, this really isn't about goat kissing.

            I’m on the miserable side today. Lots of pain, vision problems, that sort of thing. I’ve been in this place before and will be again, but, though I’m no stranger to this, it’s always frustrating.

            I’ve spent my off moments working on the last chapter. We’ve decided (My WP decided) to reference a letter without details. This is not our usual practice. But we point forward to book three in this series. I’m not unhappy with the decision if it raises our reader’s curiosity level. Footnote readers will have a “what the heck is this!” moment.

            So, as it is now, the footnote reads: “The claim appears to have been first made by Horace Hollister within Russell’s lifetime. See: Cryptology of the Kingdom, St. Paul Enterprise, 1914, page 70. More recently it was made by a Watch Tower writer in God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years has Approached.  Hollister testifies only to what he saw in print or heard. In point of fact, Russell makes the claim in a 1909 letter to E. C. Henninges which was subsequently published.” Note that we don’t say where or by whom it was published.

            In addition to increasing curiosity, we avoid a discussion of events best confined to book three of this series. Can you see me sticking my little pink tongue out?

            The stamps I mentioned in an earlier post arrived yesterday. It’s a hugely better lot of stamps than I expected. In addition to the one rareish stamp, there are other varieties not clearly seen in the auction photo. I also found that I had misidentified about six stamps I already owned. This was a pleasant surprise. I’ll rework the album pages on Monday.

            Knobby Knees is off to Sacramento. This was short notice, and we don’t know how long he will be there. He thinks he’ll be back on Tuesday. So I’m deprived of man-snuggles. Alas.

            My mom in law gave me one of their old family photo albums. There’s a really cute photo of KK as a toddler. I’d have liked a little boy in addition to my flock of girls. But unless we adopt again (won’t happen) or shock of shocks I end up pregnant, that’s not happening.

I should stop buying books for a while. I have a large pile of unread books. I need to catch up before I buy more. I’m out of shelf space too, so I either need a new book case or I need to prune out books I no longer need or want and sell or donate them.

We had a huge behavior problem erupt at our school. Two students are on “contracts.” That’s the next step from loss of privilege and two steps from suspension. Several others had conferences and letters home. This is unusual for our school. This year has seen all sorts of craziness.

I saw my once upon a time roommate from my days at WSU. I like her. We get along. But she’s amoral. (Some of you might call her “immoral,” but there is a clear distinction between the two.) Edgy is a good word here. She doesn’t consistently reason to consequences. By one’s late thirties, one should have acquired that skill, no?

Well, I’m not going into details. This is a mostly PG blog. But she left me feeling as if I’d just seen a train wreck: Fascinated, but repulsed by her most recent life experiences. I gave up trying to reason with her years ago.

Back to books: My current reading has two themes. I’m off into medieval religion and I’m reading books about late 19th and early 20th Century history. The first is to cure an itching curiosity and the last is for context for volume 2 of the book we’re writing.

Okay … I’m off to bed now. If I don’t sleep off the misery, I won’t be able to work tonight.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Sisters


Some east coast university made a list of America’s least literate cities. I think the criteria may be skewed, and you should note that the study was done by a Connecticut university, right in the middle of New England. New England is snobbish and nearly totally culturally illiterate. So this is the pot calling the kettle black. But … there were no surprises on the list. The listed cities were in Texas and California.

“Politically correct” as always, there was no mention of the real reason for this. But if you insert the phrase “illiterate and illegal Mexican immigrants,” you have the reason. They come here with a 13th Century mentality. The children they birth here do not want, nor do they accept, American behavior norms. They’re the Gypsies of N. America, the Travelers of the USA.

Of course, in the current culture, it’s not popular to say any of this. Americans handled immigration issues far better in the 1830-60 period and in the 1920s and 1930s. History books, especially textbooks, mischaracterize American “nativism.” I it had its extremes, but at least issues of impoverished, illiterate, and illegal immigration were forthrightly confronted.

Most American politicians do not wish to be seen as ruthless, so they pretend that we should welcome a flood of illiterate barbarians. This is stupid. America has always been ruthless. It only appears benign. America is the ever-sleeping giant and woe to he who wakes it. It is the dragon in the guise of a lamb. And that is how it should be. Send their sorry butts home and deprive their children of birth-right citizenship. Send them home too.


I’m waiting impatiently for some stamps I purchased on ebay. They were sold as a lot on pages, and most of them are really common things I already have. But there is a single greenish stamp in that lot. If it is properly identified, it’s very expensive (in terms of my hobby budget). If it’s not properly identified, there is no real loss. The lot was very cheap – about three dollars. The difference between this and an identically appearing stamp is in the watermark. The “normal” stamp has a watermark of networked lines. The one I need has a watermark of repeating quatrefoils.

Two stamps were issued with that watermark. I have the more expensive of the two, purchased when I was in my twenties with a junk album of German Stamps. Pre-children, I spent more on my hobby than I do now. Finding this album in a ratty coin store, I talked the manager down to $40.00 for three albums. And there … was this stamp. Nice huh?


I’m working through the last chapter one more time. I hope it’s the last time. One never knows. I re-read the other chapters yesterday and found a whole list of “owies” we missed previously. Some were sentences that lack clarity; some were spelling or grammar problems. In time one becomes blind to their own text. But, after resting from it, I returned and spotted things we missed.  

I hate our local hospitals.

I have an appointment next week with a doctor new to me. I probably wont like her either. Just sayin’ ,,, I’m really “off” doctors at this point. 

Knobby Knees says I need a couple nights in a nice hotel sans children (ours or anyone else’s), a prolonged snuggle and some unabashedly rich food. I told my boss that, and he said I could have any room I wanted for three days and comped me all meals. This is his apology for being rude earlier. I’m thinkin’ sometime next week … I’ll bring my warm, feeted jammies. They come off easily enough. And I’ll bring my swimsuit. This may be a tue currling moment.

My favorite cousin called early this morning. (Most of my relatives have no sense of time differences), and we talked almost two hours. She may come visit in August. That would be fun.

So … how was your day?





Saturday, March 01, 2014

Amy Fans! From O. Reader.

A recent launch

Folk music is a funny old business. How do you define it? Perhaps the best definition, because it is suitably vague – it is music sung and played by “folk.” It encompasses former Heavy Metal Bands doing their stuff in acoustic fashion, to grizzled old men singing about some 18th century agricultural aberration with a finger stuck in one ear. The finger in the ear routine is apparently used by British folksingers to aid with concentration and help sing harmony. Meantime, the audience sits with fingers stuck in both ears, waiting for welcome relief when the bar opens.

Which brings me to a recent concert I attended featuring someone who has written on this blog in the past, Amy Goddard. Amy hails from Wales, but now lives in Hampshire, and I have actually known her mother for some years. Hearing about the show and having had experience of folk clubs and concerts, and also having family in that part of the world, Mr and Mrs Occasional decided to make a visit and see the show. (You see, the pixie blog brings people together). Fortunately we had early tickets, because the show was sold out.

One of the biggest problems in attending a show that is sold out is that it takes you forever to get to the bar. Once you get to the bar it is almost impossible to get away from the bar, without having your drinks all slopped down your sleeve, or over the back of some strange woman’s kaftan. She is not well pleased, and neither is her male companion, a portly gentleman with a bald head and sporting a ponytail as compensation. And folk music (well, 60s folk music) was all supposed to be about peace and love as well...

The show very nearly didn’t happen. There was a massive power cut in the area, wiping out the electricity for miles around. So the lights all went out, leaving only emergency lighting by exits, and no sound, no nothing. I heard tales of people dashing out to buy lanterns to light up the corridors so that people could visit what Americans quaintly call “rest rooms” without injury and falling foul of Health and Safety. The sound engineer dashed off home to collect a generator. According to the musician who went with him, he couldn’t find the key to the padlock to retrieve the equipment, so had to use bolt cutters to get in. Then the sound man slipped over in the mud and wrecked his trousers and cut his hand. It was a bit like a Laurel and Hardy film. Struggling back about half an before curtain up with a generator in tow, suddenly the lights all came back on again. While various ones were doing a headless chicken routine, the star of the show remained remarkably calm, and was all set for a cosy candle-lit acoustic evening if necessary.

The show was to launch Amy’s first solo CD, entitled “Burn and Glow” and released on the Incantus Media label. With various guest singers to open each half, including a local choir, she then did two slots to cover all the songs on the album. After the last song – suitably called “One More Song” there was a huge cry of encore – so the “company” all sang “The Goodnight Song." Any closet folkies here will know of the folk super-group Blue Murder who recorded it a decade or two back. For the rest of you – well, at the end of an evening, suitably mellow and well watered, it’s a sort of folk anthem – we’re wandering off but we’ll meet again further down the road, sort of thing – perhaps with mobile phones doing the “lighters in the sky” routine.  It was a fitting conclusion. Ne’er a dry eye in the house.

The show was very well presented and well sung I have to say. Ms Goddard comes over as a perfectionist, and had organized the event down to the last detail. She reportedly provided the backdrop, rehearsed the acts, hired professional sound people, a local radio DJ as compère, and made them all work!

The audience were a mixture of people from the folk music world, a few who had perhaps heard her on local radio, probably some of her students because in the real world I’m told she is a music teacher, plus some members of a religious group to which she belongs (which is a connection I share), although her material was strictly secular.

No doubt some of this material will end up on YouTube in due course.

She wrote a post on this blog a little while back on what she called lyrical detachment. In song writing you don’t have to write directly about your own feelings and happenings – you can write in a vague way that hints at things, and then the audience may apply the songs however they wish to their own lives. Her CD includes a song about bullying in schools (Susie), a song about Betrayal (Web of Lies), and a song warning about the dangers of the demon drink (Taking the Edge off the Day). I thought I might suggest that, rather than call her CD “Burn and Glow” perhaps “Bullied, Betrayed and Blotto” would fit better. But then I thought better of it.

Two songs stood out for me. “I Will See” combined a mass of imagery to ultimately give the message that, while we might improve in areas, we should all understand ourselves, and learn to be content with ourselves. And the other “Don’t Try” was a serious song written for a mental health charity sponsored by people like Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax – which is all about depression. The message? Don’t be judgmental. And if you are a sufferer, then hang in there, because it will lift and get better. The charity is called The Black Dog Tribe, and adding to the crush at the concert was a table selling Black Dog toys galore – all proceeds to the charity.

Will other people like it? Amy told me she would like others to sing her songs, and one song has already been recorded by another singer. Musical taste is such an individual thing. I liked her stuff because, in spite of the joke in the first paragraph, I have a lifetime of enjoying folk music. Whether blog readers here would like it, all I can suggest is that they have a quick look at her website –  They can hear samples of some of her songs and see her in action and decide for themselves.

Now, for a sequel, perhaps Occasional could organize a concert for HIS singing. And really shock the world...