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Edmund Hillary,
New Zealand Mountaineer

Today Edmund Hillary has died, aged 88, and New Zealand and Nepal have been plunged into grief. There is also widespread sadness here in the UK and elsewhere across the globe. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark describes him as having been "a colossus", and this he was for Edmund Hillary climbed to the icy roof of the Earth when people thought it impossible, and when mountaineers had only simple woollens to keep them warm and boots with nails driven through the soles to help them forwards.

Hillary epitomised that brave, bold, pioneering spirit that is bred in new lands, free of the disempowering shackles of history and of habit. He was also the antithesis of self-seeking. Happy with enough to live comfortably by, this one man created (amongst other things) thirty schools & severals hospitals for the Nepalese people and thus put the avarice of multinationals to shame.

A new life, on Offa's Dyke.

O dear, things have become somewhat happily derailed! We've moved! We're now practically bang on the old Welsh-English border and in even more splendid countryside than when in wild West Wales. Add to this the purest of air, and the sweetest symphony of birdsong in a valley of otherwise silent tranquillity . . . and you understand why we're here. There's a lot to be done though. 90% of the interior is to be gutted, & the exterior too will be transformed. So, what I'm really trying to say (to those very sweet people who have been emailing to ask where the next CDs are) is, sorry, but it's going to be a good while yet. But when it happens we'll email all those on the mailing list. (If you change your address, do drop me a line to let us know. See the Contact page for the email address.)

The passion of the Greeks

Just back from an inspiring break on the island of Crete. I have been struck through, yet again, by the extraordinary passion of the Greeks as expressed in in their laiko (popular song) and in its stronger form the rembetika. I have been driven to my collection of songs by Manos Hadjidakis & Mikis Theodorakis and to Greek radio. Somehow this glorious Greek music of today does seem to link back to the wondrous myths of ancient Greece.

All over Crete are images of the minotaur, ancient and modern. The picture above shows a modern depiction that hung in the stairwell of our hotel in Matala.

Comments from 5 November 2006 to 20 April 2007.

20 April 2007:

Thanks for your enquiry, Stewart, and delighted to hear you enjoy "The Unnameable". As for more Lovecraft, I am afraid not. Lovecraft is under copyright and we only have the permission of the Lovecraft Estate for that initial CD now available under the revised title of "The Unnameable". What we have been doing is pushing ahead with two recordings of stories that inspired Lovecraft - and I can assure you that these stories are so powerful and so great that one can IMAGINE Lovecraft having been excited by them, so excited in fact that he wrote all that he did! In other words, what we have lined up are truly great stories and lovers of Lovecraft are almost certain to find them thrilling. There is however a hitch! Everything is now on hold because a big "relocation" is under way! Once we're resettled into the new accommodation though, everything will be getting back into action and the new discs should be out by the end of this year. Thanks again for your message, and best wishes. David.

16 April 2007:
Hi David. Any news on more Lovecraft? (I play your Unnameable repeatedly!)
Stewart Brighouse, Oxford, UK.

18 February 2007:
This is a great site! Thank you for sharing.
"For Ever More", Dover, Delaware, USA.

16 February 2007:
Jason, thanks for your message! Very generous of you to let us know your reaction to "The Tell-Tale Heart". So glad to hear to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for asking about the possibility of us recording "The House of Usher" and "The Conqueror Worm". I seem to remember "The House of Usher" is a little unusual in terms of structure towards the end? I can't quite recall. I need to have another look at it sometime. Anyway, I'm sure we could deal with that. Thanks for both ideas - I've put them both on the growing list of "future possibilities"! Best Wishes, David.

7 February 2007:
Hi, looking forward to receiving "The Tell-Tale Heart"! Enjoyed immensely the recording of "The Masque of the Red Death" etc. Superb atmospheric reading underpinned by exquisite music! Any plans to record Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" and/or the awesome poem, "The Conqueror Worm"?
Jason Dickinson. Carmarthen, Wales. jasond (at)

6 February, 2007.
Just in case people have had this site bookmarked in their browsers, please note it is no longer to be hosted at freeuk but it can now be accessed directly at (The freeuk site will go dead any day now.) David.

5 February, 2007.
Neil, many thanks for the suggestion re. recording Arthur Machen. I would love to. His style is gripping, isn't it. There are two hurdles though, unfortunately. Firstly, most of his best works are very long - so we would be talking about an extremely complicated and costly process which would involve many discs. Secondly, Machen's work is protected and so there would probably be a long and difficult period of negotiation over rights, conditions, and fees, with no guarantee that an acceptable agreement could be reached. This probably explains why there is little Arthur Machen currently out there in any professional form. However, Neil, Machen is still something that we could look into, at least. Thanks very much for the suggestion. David.

4 February, 2007.
David, your news that you are "gearing up to produce featuring stories which inspired Lovecraft..." was indeed very interesting. The first name that comes into my mind is Arthur Machen who deserves to be far better known and who was truly a huge influence on Lovecraft. Best Wishes, Neil
Neil Talbot. Redditch, U.K., cenbe (at)

23 January 2007.
Hi there. I just want to say my girlfriend got me me all three of your discs for Christmas and I've been enjoying them ever since. Soooooo RICH! Great stuff! Looking forward to more!
Peter Kowalski. Maryland, USA.

12 Dec. 2006
Neil, delighted to hear you enjoyed "The Unnameable" and that you'ld like to hear more. It really is very encouraging to receive a message like this as the whole business of recording is extremely demanding. And thanks too for your suggestion of H G Wells, and those two stories, in particular. I will certainly put them on the list AND look into them.
You might be interested to know that we are gearing up to produce a disc featuring stories which inspired Lovecraft and Poe. Having been immersed in the words of both these writers and having enjoyed the similarity between them, it is thrilling now (AND very interesting) to study earlier works which are not only also similar (terrifyingly similar!) but which triggered Lovecraft and Poe to write the masterpieces they did.
Thanks again for writing. And have a very pleasant Christmas! - David.

12 Dec. 2006
After hearing the Lovecraft Audio Book - like most listeners - I am left wanting for more, and do hope the Lovecraft Estate loosens up. However, as an alternative, has it yet been suggested to you that your reading of H G Wells short stories would be an experience to savour? I was thinking perhaps of 'The Door in The Wall' and 'The Cone'.
Neil Talbott, Redditch, Worcs, UK. cenbe (at)

27 Nov. 2006.
Thanks, Ashley, & Doug, but copyright can be a major challenge! Unfortunately we only have the permission of the Estate of H. P. Lovecraft for that one disc, initiated back in 2002. For the time being another company holds exclusive audio rights to Lovecraft. However, fingers are crossed for the future! - David.

26 Nov. 2006.
I'd like to echo Ashley below. Another disc of Lovecraft would be fab! Any chance?
Doug Henderson, Denver, USA.

23 Nov. 2006.
Hi. Just to say I still treasure my copy of The Unnameable & I've just ordered both Poes. Any chance of The Rats in the Walls (Lovecraft) please? Also The Hound?
Ashley Pietroni, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA.

This page was begun on 5 November 2006.

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