"... as the rambling voice scraped and whispered on I shivered again and again..."
December 24, 2009 6:11 AM   Subscribe

“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut...” — In the true spirit of the holiday season, Mark E. Smith presents: a reading of that classic old Christmas tale, Howard Phillips Lovecraft's The Colour Out Of Space.

[This is actually two years old, but amazingly it's apparently never seen the front page of Mefi before...]

Mark E. Smith is the iconic frontman for the thirty-year-old punk band / literary institution The Fall. His cracked Manchester drawl, at turns muddled then crisp, can be riveting; and if you're like me, you could listen to him talk for hours on end. I encourage you to give it a go and close your eyes, settling into the rhythm and cadence - you'll likely soon find that you understand what he's saying. Here are some details about this reading.

However, if you're not like me, you may prefer to listen to the Atlanta Radio Theater Company's excellent radio dramatization - which I discovered via Pope Guilty's Lovecraft audio post from two years ago.

Or if you don't want audio at all - you just want to read the story - you may read it at Project Gutenberg here.

Happy X-mas to you and yours!
posted by koeselitz (30 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Can't wait to get home and watch this. Colour Out of Space is one of my favo(u)rites.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:23 AM on December 24, 2009

oh yes how could i forget. many was a merry eve on snowy solstice when i would curl up at my nanna's feet while she recited to me that deathless prose: Fleen the illimbing togerarry and nǒsh sp͋̉afe irr golllda̩̦͋ÿ̫̣̉̈̎̄̌ͅ farthhiṇ͊g̉̅ ho̹͍̅o͌llistreraṯ̪̬̙̻̟̥hh͆h!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:43 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Think I'll save this for tonight... along with Junky's Christmas and Fairytale of New York
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:43 AM on December 24, 2009

Let's share our favorite lovecraft quotes! "wherever the Wandering Jew wanders, he will have to content himself with his own society till he disappears or is killed off in some sudden outburst of physical loathing on our part."
posted by Betty_effn_White at 6:52 AM on December 24, 2009

Betty_effn: there was a good discussion about Lovecraft's xenophobia on Mefi a few weeks ago (here).

For myself, who is in actuality a pale fishman from the swamps of Southeast New England, I am not offended by what he says about my people.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:14 AM on December 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

http://www.librivox.org has more Lovecraft audio and other fun horror stories to listen to.
posted by thylacine at 7:16 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

This has made my Christmas Eve. Sensational stuff. I love Mark. And I love Lovecraft.

As fearfulsymmetry (a very appropriate name btw) says, I'll be saving it for later.. and oooh yeah gosh The Junky's Christmas!

posted by Monkeymoo at 7:21 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Monkeymoo: “I'll be saving it for later...”

That video's really great. There're even X-mas decorations and a warm, inviting fire.
posted by koeselitz at 7:34 AM on December 24, 2009

Hot damn what a cool find.
posted by everichon at 8:25 AM on December 24, 2009

Great stuff! I like a little horror to balance out my Christmas cheer.
posted by OrangeSoda at 8:30 AM on December 24, 2009

Mark E. Smith also has a Guide to Writing Guide.
posted by klapaucius at 9:11 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Get that man a better mic! It sounds as if he's speaking from the charnel depths of the sepulchre. (Yeah, that's more Poe than Lovecraft, but you catch my drift.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:47 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bizarrely, Lovecraft actually did write a number of Christmas poems, and the guys over at the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast have been reading one a day for the month of December.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:28 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

" Great holes are secretly digged where Earth's pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl."
posted by pentagoet at 10:54 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Aparently the resovioir was bombed during WWII, for "training". I smell Delta Green op.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on December 24, 2009

Mark E. Smith is the iconic frontman for the thirty-year-old punk band / literary institution The Fall.

A bloody international treasure for most of that time, too. Time to have a Fall listening party:

Cruiser's Creek

The Man WHose Head Expanded

I Feel Voxish
posted by Skygazer at 11:54 AM on December 24, 2009

Skygazer: "the man whose head expanded?" Aw, c'mon - it's catchy and all, but I happen to like Marc Riley.

Anyhow, thanks to nasreddin for reminding me that The Fall actually do have a christmas song (or at least an x-mas song) - but I should say that my favorite version of that tune (aside, of course, from the brilliant Fall In A Hole rendition) is the live one from Totale's Turns - the one where Smith gets all pissed off at Marc Riley for trying to make those two chords slightly more interesting and turns around to shout: "FUCKING GET IT TOGETHER INSTEAD OF SHOWING OFF!" - and then just walks offstage and refuses to come back and sing for a good three minutes, during which time the band just has to keep playing that infernal riff.

Ha ha. Crazy old Mark E Smith.

posted by koeselitz at 12:09 PM on December 24, 2009

[the best fall song ever]

posted by koeselitz at 12:13 PM on December 24, 2009

Hey there fuckface, hey there fuckface, I see your-ah Backdrop-ah (best fall song ever-ah) and raise you The Classical.

and ask you to

Pay Your Rates

and take

Two Steps Back
posted by Skygazer at 12:36 PM on December 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Let's not forget Fit and Working Again. Or Paint Work. Or Couldn't Get Ahead. Or Jerusalem. Or Smile. Or Frightened. Or Hey! Luciani. Or Stepping Out. Or Tempo House. Or No Bulbs. Or the awesome covers of Victoria and, of course, Mr. Pharmacist.
posted by nasreddin at 1:44 PM on December 24, 2009

Man, MES really needs a huge FPP like the ones for Shane MacGowan and Nick Cave...
posted by Bigfoot Mandala at 3:05 PM on December 24, 2009

Bigfoot: don't worry. That one's in the pipe - I promise...
posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Am listening to the great man read this as I wait for ASBO Santa to arrive. What a wonderful Christmas gift, thank you koeselitz and may none of your presents be gibbous.
posted by fallingbadgers at 3:36 PM on December 24, 2009

never felt better in my life.
posted by Hammond Rye at 3:39 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Amateurs. Psycho Mafia. I win.
posted by i_cola at 3:56 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

But if you want Christmas songs, Hark the Herald Angels Sing is as Christmassy as they get...
posted by i_cola at 4:04 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Now that I think about it, "Backdrop" is indeed the best ever Fall track ("Rowche Rumble" and "The Man Whose Head Expanded" are tied for second). It was once hard to find, too; before Fall In A Hole got reissued and the Backdrop boot CD of the late 1990s featured it, aspiring fuckfaces everywhere had to settle for nth-generation dubs of this killer Fall jam.

"Who put the yellow pills/in the Gordon's gin?"
posted by porn in the woods at 4:06 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

"Marquis Cha-Cha" deserves more love than it gets. Catchiest pro-Falklands-war tune I know of.
posted by koeselitz at 4:25 PM on December 24, 2009

Listenin' to The Fall right now.

"What's the lay of the laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand my son?"

Great post!
posted by bardic at 10:26 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

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