Soup Of The Day: With Meredith Debonnaire — Blake And Wight . com

I had a lot of fun being the Soup of the Day (spoiler – I was not actually soup).

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot […]

via Soup Of The Day: With Meredith Debonnaire — Blake And Wight . com




Tales From Tantamount: The Beginning of the End, Year of the Sad Plastic Bag

Tantamount approaches the end of another year with grace, finesse, style, elan, and possibly death. The notes we receive from the town have become strange(r). We hope you remember that moving there would be a silly plan.

Headlines from Tantamount, perhaps the first of TBOE, Year of the Sad Plastic Bag

The Daily Rage
The Tantribune
History storms devour large parts of Tantamount, regurgitate them elsewhere. p7
Big cat spotted on Dumpsy Tump, eating chips and reciting limericks, p2
Birwatcher’s Journal
We have been told we are not allowed to mention the magpies, so we are not mentioning them for, lo, we have been firmly informed that this is not something we may do. More on p2

The shipbuilding yards require sacrifice. Please do not enter the shipbuilding yards unless you are willing to give something up. The prices cannot be known in advance, and may range from your favourite childhood memory to your smallest toe to half a pound of tupenny rice…

Weather Report
Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rian rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rian rain rain rain rain rain rain run rain rain rian rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rian rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rian rain rain rain rain rain

Tantamount Grapevine (Official)
The Woman in the Well has been seen, walking at night surrounded by pieces of broken stonemasonry with water flowing from her feet and hair and hands. Trevern Sent water services tried to blame the flooding on upset naiads, but Gillian and Samir say they have seen the Woman in the Well and, moreover, had seen people wearing illuminated jackets with Trevern Sent Water embroidered on them annoying the naiads in question late at night. In other gossip, Aelfred is dead (again) and Aethel has said she is quitting the past lives industry in favour of teaching croquet to kindergarteners.
The magpies continue.

The battlegrounds should be avoided. Do not speak of the battlegrounds. Carry umbrellas and charms and hope and ivy. Do not look up. Do not pick up the Carrion feathers. Everything will probably be fine for most people who are not dead or Dislocated or Eaten or Carrioned or thrown to the wights…
Tantamount Shadow Council

The approaching Festival of Being Very Cold requires that you donate all your clothes to destitute ducks.

A poem by Grace Szcepura, Ballonwreck Primary School
She is living in
a chicken-legged house
with fluffy fluffy dinosaur feet,
like my favourite socks.
She is living in
a chicken-legged house
which roosts in the trees in the park.
When the water comes
Maybe the house will fly away
Chicken-legged chicken-winged grandma’s house.
When I am big
My house will have chicken legs
and roost in a big big tree
And all my friends will visit for cake and spells.

Do not talk to the Rusalki unless you are a lesbian, or a small child. Everyone else is at risk. We know the Rusalki are here in the wrong season, but frankly, we are not about to tell them this. Not even the lesbianest of us. Treat them with kindness if you must speak to them: their history is long, confused, and sometimes painful.
Tantamount Shadow Council.

Hello! So, I am probably going to stop doing Tantamount next year. This makes this the penultimate episode (there is another one coming on about the 15th December). I have had a lot of fun, and I hope you have enjoyed it too.

I have been playing with the idea of collecting Tantamount into a small booklet, writing some exclusive content for it, and selling it. Do let me know if you think you’d like to be able to own a paper copy in exchange for money! Obviously, all of the free content will remain up on my website.

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Poem: Launderette Blues by Meredith Debonnaire

I wrote this poem last year, when I was pretty damn skint. I can now report happily that I am less skint, and therefore feel able to air this poem in public. I read this out at the Piranha Poetry event last night, so following tradition (hah) it now gets to go on my blog.


I am tired
I am hungry
The launderette is warm and full of sanctuary
Full of homeless dragons
The launderette is, somehow, a sign of the times it is a refuge
There is no advertising
I am counting money
every week, ten pounds on the electricity,
fifteen in the winter and nothing to do if I go over
Twenty pounds for food, fifteen in the winter
(That extra five on the leccy has to come from somewhere)
Look for bargains, the yellow stickers of goodness.
Rent four hundred and ninety five a month –
I could have a mortgage for that if I looked good on paper.
(my clothes are spinning, like my thoughts)
Water eight pounds a month if I never have baths
Council Tax eighty six ouch ouch ouch
Phone bill eighteen pounds per month
internet twenty one pounds per month
Luxuries, apparently, but I need them for work.
No TV licence.
I have reusable sanitary towels, but if I’m caught out that’s another three to five quid.
Laundry five pounds a week, and two hours of my time if everything is working…
Therapy, cost of an easy mind, I can’t afford.
My family and friends pay, and it hurts that I can’t
that I can’t
that I have to ask.
The launderette is still warm.
My bad knee aches from the cold. Lists lists lists
Costs of living
pros and cons
I left the heating on all night last night and woke up without an achy back
all my joints felt better
but four pounds down on the leccy I can’t afford that.
There is damp around the windows there is damp around my heart
Mini dehumidifier – thirty eight pounds but breathing mould costs my health
Sometimes when I try to sleep my ribs ache and catch at the mattress
As if they are pushing away from me,
holding onto the bedsprings.
I fear I will disappear.
Multivitamins help with my immune system and keep the aches in jaw and ear away
twenty-one pounds for three months’ worth – worth it?
Exhaustion – can’t do much about that.
The laundry needs to go to the dryers now.
Protein is expensive, and it is essential for the biological process of happiness.
I eat a lot of peanutbutter, standing barefoot in the kitchen at midnight with all the lights off and spooning it straight from the jar trying to think of nothing.
I try to write.
There is a deadline
And it is hard to think of stories when my mind is full of lists:

  • tax return I haven’t filed yet
  • Food I have to afford
  • Electricity money

It is hard to write when my hands are cold – I have a lot of hot water bottles and I wear blankets
I want to do more exercise
I tramp through the short-lived snow,
build a snowwoman with breasts and a pregnant belly
Have fun, but wellies break and I cannot buy new ones
New list

  • Must polish boots so they last
  • Feet are cold and wet
  • Is the tumble dryer working?
  • Must towel toes back into warmth from numb, wear five pairs of socks and pair of slippers

Price of creativity – so many ideas so little time.
Hands are cold, cannot think clearly when I am hungry and worried.
The days grow dark
How will I buy Winter Doom Festival presents for my family
whom I love
Who I want to give gifts to?
My rucksack has broken
New rucksack  seventeen pounds
The list
I lug the laundry home.

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Tales From Tantamount: November of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag

This month, Tantamount was temporarily eaten by brain-worms. We have had to wait for it to be spat out before resuming our correspondence, which continues to be a good object lesson in why the place you live is just fine, actually…


Headlines in Tantamount, perhaps the 1st of November, Year of the Sad Plastic Bag
The Ingenuk Gentlepersons Exploratory Journal
Eldred the Daring eaten by Carnivorous Boots, the Uncertain Territories at the edge of Tantamount are thankfully preserved from Discovery of any kind. p2
The Tantamount Herald
Spate of badger thefts shock town centre, p4
Yearly sacrifice of annoying children to the Thing That Lives in the Deep Pit near Worrisome Way has worked again, as the Thing has once again not eaten the town. p3
All squash mysteriously vanish overnight – was it BIG CATS?! p1

Magpie Statement
We have been asked to make a statement about the magpies. This is a statement. There are magpies. There are more than usual numbers of them, cavorting, playing, fighting, and attempting to sing. We do not believe the magpies have any malicious intent, and as such will be leaving them alone. We are very busy dealing with the pesky time fluctuations being caused by Morris dancers, and also testing each brand of biscuits in town to see which is best.
Tantamount Police

Weather Report
The weather today was a mistake. Regret pools in your stomach like a puddle of cold and scummy tea.

Alastair, Alastair,
Alastair upon the stairs
Drew an awful lot of stares
Did Alastair upon the stairs.
Alastair, Alastair,
Alastair upon the stairs
Eating everybody’s cares;
Alastair upon the stairs.
Alastair, Alastair,
Alastair upon the stairs
Turned into a mighty hare
Did Alastair upon the stairs.
Traditional children’s rhyme found written on the wall in Tantamount College toilets, followed by other, less traditional verses with rhymes such as “pears”, “wheelchairs”, and “grandiose affairs”.

This road will be closed next week for the Bluddening Ritual, in which we sacrifice a lot of blood to the road in order to trick it into thinking there have already been fatal accidents and therefore there don’t need to be any more. Persons who are expecting to be menstruating next week, please contact us if you want to take part. You will be paid for your services, and there will be biscuits.
Highway Services

Please be kind to the gnomes.

Bus Timetable
This stop is Shady Trees
Catch the number 67 for the following route:
Shady Trees>>>Pinfarthings>>>Lesser Pinfarthings>>>The Swamp>>>Market Memorial>>>Chthonic Drive>>>DumpsyTump(?)>>>Big Old Oak>>>Synagogue Lane>>>Oddbrain Quarry
Catch the number 32 for the following route:
ValevalleyinclineditchPark>>>Dogsthorpe>>>Dogscoombe>>>Catscoombe>>>Cowscoombe>>>Mammothscoombe>>>Shady Trees>>>Pinfarthings>>>Greater Pinfarthings>>>East Anglerfish>>>Amity>>>High Street>>>Carrion Corner>>>Dusk>>>Railway Station>>>Town Centre(usually) >>>Kindeath
Payment accepted in barterage.

The Daughter returns to us! We have read the signs in the sky, the portents written across it in fiery hand at dusk! The gleaming lights that speak to us in ethereal voices soft and wondrous! We have smelt the briny scent of change on the wind that frisks the Severn, we have heard her voice in among the sussurus of autumn leaves and the secret gossip of the dryad and naiads. Her return is mirrored to us in a thousand tiny ways.
The Daughter Returns
The Daughter Returns
The Daughter Returns!!!!
leaflets found scattered across the town square, floating around the Larksbjorn Memorial as it whistled a melancholy air.

The Radical Streetband are recruiting!
Are you a musician?
Do you want to Fight the Power?
Have you an experience with Offensive or Defensive Musical Theory?
Join the Radical Streetband!
We stand for:

  • Food for all!
  • Housing for all!
  • Art for all!
  • Playing incessant music at your enemies until the give up and go home!
  • Especially playing music whenever Old White Men of middle or upper class try to talk about anything.
  • An end to Carrion!
  • Better irrigation systems in the town!
  • Boiled eggs!

Join today!

Proverb of the day: Every cloud has a silver lining. Found written in chalk across the pavement of Withershins Walk.
Most clouds don’t have linings, because most clouds are neither clothes nor pillows. HOWEVER we understand that this is a metaphor for bad situations and finding the good in them. For example, you may be falling off a cliff, but the view is probably lovely. This attitude puzzles us. We think it is unfair to expect a sentient being who finds themself in an unfortunate situation to try to see the good in it. This is surely adding insult to injury. If the world seems dark and full of teeth, it probably is and you should at the very least be allowed to talk about that, and perhaps find anti-teeth protective gear.
We don’t expect you to lie about how you feel: in Tantamount, we will allow you to be miserable.
Tantamount Shadow Council

We are not having bonfires this year. Instead we are all going to sit in the dark and think about what we’ve done, and perhaps light a candle or two.
There may also be plans to torch the house of the self-declared Grand High Rich Overseer of all, but we’re keeping those quiet.
(there will be toffee apples for the children and pitchforks for the adults. The Spirit of Winter is giving a speech, and Laura Lovelace is bringing the Blessed Coffee Machine, and the Ascendant Community Choir will be there to sing songs)
Tantamount Shadow Council

Lost: teacup, delicate, painted blue and yellow in geometric patterns and containing the last wishes of a seacaptain who died marooned in a desert.  Call Declan xxxxx 821822
Lost: Small squirrel, name of Godfrey, in possession of the location of the tree of buried bones. Andi xxxxx724210
Found: Carrion feathers, scattered across the square. Free to anyone who wants them! Will drive/boat/fly to drop them off! Please take them! Lucy xxxx 445368
For Sale:  Handmade all terrain bicycle with built in lifeboat, compass, spiritual compass, flares, mini charms, prayers attached to the wheels and parachute. Joyce xxxxx622178

Deep water. Beasts below. Do not swim here.

…think I understand what happened, but I have to say I still really miss you. It’s not that I’m not alright without you, it’s just that I miss the cafe. I got a new job at the Subscription Rooms and I’ve been reorganising the Complaints File (it was being used as a nest for a fire demon called An). The historians all keep talking about some kind of Cataclysm, and Saltlick Bookcavern ate seven people yesterday, which is a smaller than usual number. I have moved into the Well, which is surprisingly cosy. Mila-of-the-Well says the magpies are important. I wish I knew what was going on Take care, okay?
Letter fragment found pinned to the door of Pinprick Cafe

Be ready for the snow, for it knows where you live and has long prepared for this.
Tantamount Shadow Council

Those of you following me will have noticed I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve had a lot going on, and not enough time or energy to really do as much blogging as I’d like. I’m also having to think about finding a new home for The Life and Times of Angel Evans, as the Booksmugglers are sadly not continuing in their capacity as a publisher, and I haven’t had the space to do the things! I’m hoping to be around more often soon,  but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this dose of silliness….

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Tales From Tantamount: Witch Season of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag, part two

Inevitably delayed by air-squid, who devoured our carrier pigeons, this is the latest correspondence from the odd town of Tantamount.


Celebrate the Pumpkin
We invite you to join us to celebrate this mighty vegetable. It’s orange roundness fills us with ecstatic glee, its tender green leaves invoke in us a sense of loving wonder,  and we especially enjoy the way that one can summon demons with its guts. We invite you to contemplate its round and globular beauty, it’s near-callipygian form, and it’s poetical seasonal relevance. Bring your own pumpkin, and we will journey together through the spiritual lifetime of the pumpkin.
Event held at the Subscription rooms in the Amelie Ng room.
The pumpkin appreciation society.

Weather report
The weather today was the sound of a wet finger run around the edge of a glass, remixed with dubstep made by sheep. The hippos were disturbed.

Tantamount Grapevine, official
Janice and the Eldritch Terror are both about fit to burst, the poor dears, and the Serendipitous Squid has kindly allowed them to live in its lake while they are expecting. What, exactly, they are expecting remains a mystery, but Niks who lives down the road from them says probably eldritch krakens. We think this seems too logical. Pinprick Cafe has gone into hibernation, and Nohar informs us that that lovely chef woman has been seen standing outside looking sad, often in the company of the Woman in the Well. The UnderMarket has arrived again, and currently there are very good deals on charms, wisps, ephemera, wishes, fruit, blessed root vegetables and shoes smaller than an inch. And the magpies are massing in the trees of all the parks, like a chirking Tiding of change.

Police Notice
We have located the Ancient and Venerable Oaken Cabinet. We thank you all for your co-operation in this matter, even though we had to encourage it by staking people out for the Carrion.

A Philosophy of Jellyfish? by Jamie’s Mansur’s Laptop Demon found printed out in the Library
What is? A question of Jellyfish. In order to understand, you must make to swim through the moistened sky, waving your tentacles. Sometimes there is stinging. Sometimes there is floating waving up through darkness. A philosophy of jellyfish, they are making the shadows unhinge their jaws to swallow up the nighttime. This is our first essay, and we are writing it without any fingers.
The question is, do jellyfish dream of electric feet? And if they do, are they feet made of electricity or feet powered by electrical means, or some other form of feet entirely?  Does a philosophy of jellyfish conceive of “feet” in the first place? These are the questions with which we are entangling ourselves today, closely or not so closely, with the aim of better understanding our sea-jellie brethen and also those jellyfish who have taken to floating above Tantamount while gleaming most distractingly and causing all sorts of trouble by eating fireworks, getting caught in flying broom-bristles, and occasionally falling from the sky tosplatter and sting on the ground below.

Lost: Mind, socks, coathooks, toenails, bag of squids, small lamp with a demon, several hundred books about bees, sentient houseplant, railway toys belonging to my third grandmother, loaf of bread imbued with a terrible sense of humour, and my car. Jakub xxxxx 665345
Lost: ALL
Found: A collection of coins from the year 1559 bearing the face of the Queen Who Ate The Sun. Found near the cross of Codswallop Lane and Dogsthorpe. They whisper sometimes. Martin xxxx 43778
For Sale: One garage, detached from house. Moves about on lots of small legs, very smooth “caterpillar” motion. Protected from storms, weathers, fire, and pixies for the next year (warranty available to view). Will happily care for any car or vehicle other than Skodas. Contact Jane xxxx432222

Do not disturb the earth-dragon. It is Autumn, and she is meant to be sleeping. Those of you who have been poking her with a stick should know that the community service that we have handed down to you is MUCH preferable to what would happen if she were to wake up. So get your wellies on, get into those sewers, and deal with the crap-goblin infestation.
Tantamount Shadow Council


Phew! Finally here! Enjoy this latest ridiculousness 🙂
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Book Review: The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

The Gloaming Kirsty Logan image shows two stylised mermaids framing the title

That last Summer, the sea gave us jellyfish.

I really enjoyed this book. And at the same time, I was a bit disappointed. I think this is mostly due to where I am myself, rather than anything wrong with the book or the author. You see, The Gloaming is a gorgeous book. It is a strange world of small and casual magics, and I loved the reality that Kirsty Logan built. I love the language that Kirsty Logan uses – it’s something that I have really noticed in previous work by her; her ability to use language to weave something simultaneously fragile and resilient.

Personally, I would say that The Gloaming is about grief. And maybe that’s why I found it difficult. Because the grief in The Gloaming was a grief of metaphors and unreliable narrators (although I thought it was less that they were unreliable, and more that different people’s realities are never going to line up completely) and people turning slowly into stone. It was Mara and Islay, two sisters, unable to work through pain together and their parents struggling. It was a portrait of a family falling apart, edged with fantasy, and I… I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I would still recommend this book, as it is lovely. And I was excited by the language and by the reality of the island. I like the way Kirsty Logan juxtaposes the fantastical and the ordinary. I like how she delves into people, slowly unwinding these characters in front of us and letting us look at them from all sorts of angles. I enjoy the different narrative voices that she employed, and I will probably read this book again at some point. It is simply that I am tired of beautiful, metaphorical representations of grief, and I think this is because I am working on my own grief at the moment which is enormous and messy and, if it were to have fairytale edgings, would mainly be teeth.

Rating: read this book, sink into the water.

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In defense of happy endings – a rambly thing

So, this is not a book review. I promise, I have some of them on the way. I have been busy and ill, and although I have a lot of things half-done I keep not quite being able to finish them. BUT I have some thoughts about stories and storytelling that I want to share, specifically about happy endings. I can’t figure out what in particular has set off this thought train either, and it’s not exactly a finished train of thought so yanno, feel free to comment and talk.

There seems to be a trend in fiction, especially in anything literary, to have stories about being miserable. This is fine: conflict makes for good stories, and well written conflict is interesting and enlightening. And stories about terrible circumstances can be very compelling, and there are definitely stories that need to be told (Mother of the Sea by Zetta Elliott being an example of this, and a book that I loved). There is nothing wrong with that. BUT I am tired, very tired, of stories where people, specifically women or non-white characters or queer characters, get to be beautifully miserable. There is a nuance here: I think we need more honest stories about characters with mental health issues, for example, but I also think that these are only any good if they are honest, and not just framed as “sad person is sad, sits sadly by window with rain dripping down it, sighs sadly, dies tragically, beautiful prose, oh no how sad”.

I guess what I am trying to say is, there is value in letting your characters be happy. The happy ending does not have to be traditional – there does not have to be a wedding or a birth. In fact, I am really interested in happy endings that wander away from what happy endings are “meant”to be. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER I loved the ending of The Bridge, in which Saga got an ending where she did not have to have a boyfriend, or learn how to be a normal person, but did get to finish an emotional arc which looked like it was leaving her in a better place END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER. But for certain characters, especially for queer characters and non-white characters and other marginalised persons, and really especially in fantasy settings where the whole point is that anything you can imagine can happen, I am frustrated when these people don’t get to be happy. Maybe it’s just a personal thing that I have going on at the moment, or I am missing something, but what I want, really really want, at the moment, are people getting to surmount the odds and be loved and be happy. I want queer fantasy people getting to ride off into the sunset on a dragon having fucking won, and without having to sacrifice everything. I want people to be allowed to rebuild their lives. I want stories where we let characters be themselves and don’t shit on them for it, especially in fantasy. One of the things that frustrates me most in fantasy is the inability to move away from social constructs that exist here. I am like: but there are dragons! And witches! And magical swords and, oh yes, patriarchy and everyone is straight and monogamous and white okay fine why are we doing this again?

Anyway, this is a rambly ramble but I think what I am trying to say is: there are a whole lot of people who do not get to see themselves in books very often if at all. And this is getting better all the time, but I dunno, I want happy endings. I wanna see awesome bi characters (as one example) who get to be happy. And I don’t think it’s fair to say that happy endings are old or outdated or overdone until everyone gets to see themselves reflected in fiction as having one.

And that’s my ramble.

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