32. Suggestions for Halloween

Toronto has a very good Halloween game – porches decked in fake spider webs, lit by spooky pumpkins, the whole bit. Toronto October is gloomy and damp and leafy and wonderful. It inspired me to stay in and write a spooky song on my Novation Circuit.

I’ve always liked the idea that conjuring a demon was a way to kill it; that making it flesh made it more dangerous, but also more vulnerable. Halloween costumes are part of that tradition, I think; of course, children may be frightened of witches and skellingtons, but adults probably aren’t. Well, we would be, if we saw witches and skellingtons wandering around the place – but as things we don’t expect to see in the flesh, they’re not very scary. I thought about the abstract things that we’re scared of as adults – yes, spiders eating up the city, but also turning into our parents or being unable to help and protect the ones we love. The idea of a cult of demon-worshippers getting together and exorcising their fears for Halloween seemed pretty fun. It’s a silly song.

I’ve never really had to come up with character names. I usually just use “I”, even if the “I” of the song isn’t the “I” that is “me”. I was grasping around for names of people I know, and so many of their fears have nothing to do with the person – I don’t think my friend Ahsan is afraid of flying (“…through the air”), for example. However:

  • James (Kneale) is a scholar of H.P. Lovecraft, so if he has any sense, he’s afraid of Nyarlathotep.
  • My friend Dave is someone from who I’ve learned a lot about inclusivity and sensitivity, so the idea that they’d be facing a fear of “the other” is a bit unlikely.
  • Rita the Shiba Inu (who I mentioned in connection with Rusty Horse Bones at the start of the year) did experience a small earthquake with us, and did not seem frightened by it.
  • Mark Higginson – my oldest friend – loves the Alien franchise.
  • Joseph K – and indeed, all of Kafka’s protagonists – have troubled relationships with their fathers.

Next week, we listen to the sounds coming off the streets of New York City. Until then, why not preorder the final volume of Year of The Bird?