Stuff

IN PRAISE OF SHERE HITE

IN PRAISE OF SHERE HITE

An amazing article by Julie Bindel for UnHerd about the brilliant and deeply controversial feminist, Shere Hite. A cultural antagonist armed with a whole arsenal of mindboggling statistics, Shere Hite’s famous 1979 book, The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Sexuality called into question nearly every culturally cherished ‘truth’ about what actually went on in the bedroom. Men, it is safe to say, were not impressed! I’m very much looking forward to watching the documentary, The Disappearance of Shere Hite.
THE MADNESS OF LOVE IS A BLESSED FATE

THE MADNESS OF LOVE IS A BLESSED FATE

In these uncertain times that can feel so desperate and divided, Hadewijch of Antwerp, the 13th Century poet and mystic has some salient words on the matter.  The madness of love is a blessed fate, indeed!
HAVE MERCY ON ME, O GOD

HAVE MERCY ON ME, O GOD

Is Miserere mei, Deus (Have mercy on me, O God) the most beautiful piece of music ever created? Sung with two answering choirs this rendering of Psalm 51 by Italian composer, Gregorio Allegri haunts us to the core with its ethereal majesty. I adore this masterwork.
HE’S GOOD-BAD, BUT HE’S NOT EVIL

HE’S GOOD-BAD, BUT HE’S NOT EVIL

Spent the morning listening to the mighty Shangri-Las, one of the truly great bands of the sixties. I love this beautiful, exuberant song, Give Him a Great Big Kiss. Young love and teen angst and the most brilliantly wicked lyrics. Written by the great Shadow Morton (in the bath, no less!). A wonder to behold!
WIPE AWAY THE TEARS! IT’S THE SHAGGS!

WIPE AWAY THE TEARS! IT’S THE SHAGGS!

Whenever the world seems to weigh you down, or when you feel lonely or you’ve got the early morning blues, when life seems bereft of meaning, or people treat you meanly, well, there is a remedy. Listen to The Shaggs. The Shaggs were a sixties American rock band from New Hampshire. Four sisters Dorothy "Dot" Wiggin (vocals and lead guitar), Betty Wiggin (vocals and rhythm guitar), Helen Wiggin (drums) and, later, Rachel Wiggin (bass guitar). Their music has been described as both among the worst of all time and a work of unintentional brilliance. Unintentional brilliance, indeed!
JOHNNY TOO BAD

JOHNNY TOO BAD

Having a reggae morning, sitting up in bed and watching the magnificent film, The Harder They Come, with my husband! I love this film – raw, tough, colour saturated, with such extraordinary music. Johnny Too Bad, has such a gorgeous vocal and the purest, most wicked lyric by The Slickers with its apocalyptic denouement! ‘You're gonna run to the rock. For rescue, there'll be no rock!’ Indeed!
THE HARDER THEY COME

THE HARDER THEY COME

This has to be one of the truly great live performances put to film. Jimmy Cliff singing 'The Harder They Come' in the movie of the same name. Jimmy Cliff so self-possessed and deep inside this amazing song. Absolutely spine-tingling stuff. The movie 'The Harder They Come' is one of the greatest music movies ever made.
IN PRAISE OF ARA GALLANT

IN PRAISE OF ARA GALLANT

This morning I’ve been looking at the work of one of the most shockingly inventive hairstylists that ever held a can of hairspray. Ara Gallant was best known for perfecting the extraordinary ‘flying hair’ style while working for Vogue in the ‘60s. Ara Gallant was the first hair stylist to be paid to solely style hair by a magazine. He styled twenty-six covers for Vogue. A true artist, he admitted ‘I hated hair styling. But I was good at it!’ His most famous creations were with the photographer, Richard Avedon. I adore this man. Love Susie. x</p>
THE LIGHT-EMITTING INCANDESENCE OF SARA STOCKBRIDGE

THE LIGHT-EMITTING INCANDESCENE OF SARA STOCKBRIDGE

Just came across a series of wonderful photos from the 90’s by my friend, the brilliant Stephane Sednaoui. Great warm waves of nostalgia, as I remember those treasured and uncomplicated days. Here we are, backstage at Vivienne Westwood’s show at the home and salon of Azzedine Alaïa. The whole place teeming with such incandescent beauty and outrageous talent, no more so than one of the great models of her age, the glorious, light-emitting Sara Stockbridge. What an honour to share the room with this true beauty. And here I am, too, young and brimming with life (and a few drinks)!
MY HEAD WAS RESTING ON MY LOVE

MY HEAD WAS RESTING ON MY LOVE

Here is a recording of one of my husband’s favourite poems, The Dark Night of the Soul, by the Spanish Catholic priest, mystic and Carmelite friar, Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) The translation is by the great Roy Campbell. Such a deeply haunting poem of religious conversion. Absolutely sublime. The poem printed below is the David Lewis translation, also a thing of wonder.
JUST BEING A WOMAN IS ENOUGH FOR MY WINGS TO FALL OFF

JUST BEING A WOMAN IS ENOUGH FOR MY WINGS TO FALL OFF

“Just being a woman is enough for my wings to fall off,” wrote one of the great mystic poets, St. Teresa of Ávila, (1515 – 1582). Regardless of the social conventions at the time that clipped the wings of women, Teresa was defiant in her individual nature. A Carmelite nun and religious reformer and great visionary, her poetry is supremely simple, direct and from the heart. I adore her poetry.
WALKABOUT

WALKABOUT

I’ve had a bit of a Nicolas Roeg week, this week. After watching the brilliant Don’t Look Now, I watched the equally strange and disturbing masterpiece Walkabout, one of my husband’s all time favourite films. Starring Jenny Agutter and the great David Gulpilil, Walkabout tells the story of two schoolchildren that are abandoned in the Australian outback and  come across a teenage Aboriginal boy who helps them survive in the wild. A film that is a haunted journey that travels from experience to innocence to dark mystery. A wonderful film.
DON’T LOOK NOW

DON’T LOOK NOW

Stayed up late last night and watched Nicolas Roeg’s amazing film, Don’t Look Now from 1973, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. A powerful, challenging and terrifying exploration of the madness of grief and the effect the death of a child can have on a relationship. It also has one of the most viscerally real sex scenes ever put to the screen. A brave and chilling masterpiece.
BROWN FUR KNICKERS AND A BIG FUR CAP

BROWN FUR KNICKERS AND A BIG FUR CAP

The often wonderful website, Poem-a-day just posted this gorgeous poem by A. A. Milne. “Furry Bear” appears in A. A. Milne’s collection of children’s verse Now We Are Six. I loved the Winnie-the-Pooh books as a child. Such a wonderful poem, mangling the English language with such whimsical beauty!
THESE FLEETING TEMPLES WE MAKE TOGETHER

THESE FLEETING TEMPLES WE MAKE TOGETHER

A letter from Evy from Belgium came to my husband’s glorious Red Hand Files last week. What an uplifting and urgent poem. Thank you Evy for this small kindness. Here is a portrait of Claude Bernieres (1939) from the brilliant Belgian painter, James Ensor in return.
THE WINDS OF WINTER

THE WINDS OF WINTER

Christmas gone and the new year upon us, I’m sitting here gazing out the window at the rough sea crashing against the shore, a fierce storm, here in Brighton. I am reading some poems by Wilfred Owen, who is regarded by many as the greatest poet of the First World War.  I love this chilly poem, Winter Song, of spiritual transformation and I love, too, this beautiful painting of a monastery ruins in the snow (1819) by Caspar David Friedrich.
ON A WINTER’S DAY

ON A WINTER’S DAY

Isn’t California Dreamin’ the most gorgeous antidote to a cold, wet winter day? The brilliant Mamas and Papas and this wonderful song of saudade and spiritual discontent, all buoyed up by the sweetest harmonies. I love this song.
GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS

GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS

My husband and I love this version of Handel’s exquisite ‘How beautiful are the feet’ sung by the boy soprano Aksel Rykkvin with organ by Vegar Sandholt. And we adore this beautiful painting by Stefan Lochner of the Adoration of the Child. And we would like to wish a joyful holiday season to all and for a cessation of the trouble and tears and heartache and weariness and affliction across the world, and for life to be full of true kindness and warmth and forgiveness and the love of others.
SWEEDEEDEE

SWEEDEEDEE

Another favourite song from my son, Early. Michael Hurley with his strange, haunted voice from another time, way beyond, full of heart.  ‘He’s sad but getting on with it,’ says Earl. Such an easy morning listening to these beautiful songs with my boy!
NOBODY WANTS A LONELY HEART

NOBODY WANTS A LONELY HEART

Sitting here with my son, Early, as he plays me some of his much loved songs. This song is by Arthur Russell. Full of a strange joyful melancholia, uplifting music, on the edge of tears! Just beautiful, time with my boy, and some gorgeous music.
BLACK SHADOW

BLACK SHADOW

Another dark gothic wonder-poem this week by Galician poet and novelist Rosalía Rita de Castro, 1837–1885. She was considered one of the most important figures of 19th-century Spanish literature and modern lyricism, and an icon of female empowerment. She is credited with challenging the traditional female writer archetype. 
THE DARK CAVALIER

THE DARK CAVALIER

I love this gloomy poem about the ‘last lover’ that awaits us all! A beautiful, haunting, gothic poem of death, written in 1918 by American poet, author and children’s writer, Margaret Widdemer.
VAN IN THE GARDEN

VAN IN THE GARDEN

This song by the great Van Morrison has bewitched me since I heard it back when I was a teenager. The strangest, most emotional song of spiritual conversion ever written. Profound and haunting and existing within its own kind of real-time spiritual elevation.
ELVIS IN THE GARDEN

ELVIS IN THE GARDEN

It’s Sunday morning and I’m listening to the great Elvis Presley, singing one of the most beautiful hymns of all time. Controversial and audacious, even at the time, Elvis Presley’s religious album How Great Thou Art remains my husband’s and my favourite Elvis album. So full of feeling, so beautifully sung, joyful and sorrowful, both. A complete classic of its time!
YET WILL THIS PASS, AND PASS SHALL I?

YET WILL THIS PASS, AND PASS SHALL I?

‘A Popular Personage at Home’ was one of two poems Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wrote about his beloved dog of 13 years, Wessex, who died in 1926, two years before Hardy himself. However, what makes ‘A Popular Personage at Home’ especially notable is that Hardy wrote the poem from the perspective of the dog, allowing ‘Wessex’ to speak for himself. It also hints at the erosion of nature itself! A beautiful poem about a dog.
I GIVE MY WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE TO ANIMALS

I GIVE MY WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE TO ANIMALS

‘I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.’ I love this quote from the great Brigitte Bardot and I so admire how she dedicated her ‘second life’ to looking after animals. She also said, ‘Animals have the purity humans have definitely lost!’ A great, great woman.
A FROG LEAPS IN

A FROG LEAPS IN

I’ve been reading a beautiful little book of haiku poems I found at a second hand book dealer in Lewes. Such a gorgeous thing by Matsuō Basho, the poet-master of the Haiku. You can see the pond! You can hear the frog! 
WOOD, TOOTH, SINEW, SHELL AND TWINE

WOOD, TOOTH, SINEW, SHELL AND TWINE

Just reading this strange and mysterious poem of longing from Stiff Gins, one of Australia’s best known and loved Indigenous acts.
STOLE THE DRESS I SAW YOU IN

STOLE THE DRESS I SAW YOU IN

Just sitting here listening to this amazing song Like I Used To by two of my favourite singers, the great Sharon Van Etten and amazing Angel Olsen. Feels big, bold and Springsteenish and just the thing to be listening to as I board a plane, heading back to beautiful England. A wild and wonderful song.
YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD

YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD

Wow! This amazing and haunted song House in Nebraska by the truly brilliant Ethel Cain rolls through my head, gaining power as it spins around, circling itself, devouring itself. The world is so rich with such beautiful things.
WHEN YOU BREAK THEM THEY BREAK YOU RIGHT BACK

WHEN YOU BREAK THEM THEY BREAK YOU RIGHT BACK

Dear Florence Welch sent me this beautiful song, Bug Like an Angel by American singer and songwriter, Mitski. This strange, woozy abstraction with bursts of church is as Florence said, so very moving. Much love to you, Florence, and thank you for spreading the beautiful stuff about!
IF YOU SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECTEDLY FEEL JOY

IF YOU SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECTEDLY FEEL JOY

My God, sometimes we need this wonderful poem by the great Mary Oliver as a saving force. So beautiful.
IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE

IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE

American poet and novelist, Elinor Wylie was ‘famous during her life almost as much for her ethereal beauty and personality as for her melodious, sensuous poetry.’ I love this poem, Now Let No Charitable Hope, written in 1922 for its gravely mocking, but darkly playful mood.
SHE PASSED THIS WAY

SHE PASSED THIS WAY

I love the strange Gothic poem, She Passed This Way by the poet and novelist, Djuna Barnes, where a lover literally haunts her dead beloved through a weird, supernatural dreamscape. Djuna Barnes was a highflying and much revered modernist poet in the Paris of the 1920s.  Paris provided her with the raw material for her novels and stories, as she became part of the loosely defined network of lesbian and bisexual women, mostly actresses and artists, who travelled between Hollywood, New York, and Paris and who were known ironically (and affectionately) as the “Sewing Circle”! Djuna Barnes became a recluse for the last forty years of her life. A recluse! I recognise the impulse!
OH THE BLUE BLUE BLOOM

OH THE BLUE BLUE BLOOM

I love the poems of Effie Lee Newsome. They are children’s poems, ostensibly, but with wry little truths tucked within. I adore this gorgeous, sad, relatable little poem.
I WANT TO DIE WHILE YOU LOVE ME

I WANT TO DIE WHILE YOU LOVE ME

Part of the Harlem Renaissance, Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880 –1966) wrote this ebullient honouring of love and life, I Want To Die While You Love Me. Her most celebrated poem was read at her funeral. Wonderful!
DON’T FORGET YOU’RE PRECIOUS

DON’T FORGET YOU’RE PRECIOUS

My husband received a letter from Ruby in Cornwall to listen to the music of Alabaster de Plume. It is beautiful stuff. This song, Don’t Forget You’re Precious is completely gorgeous, the music, sophisticated and emotionally charged, the spoken lyric, simple and deep. Thank you, Ruby, for bringing this musician into our lives here at The Vampire’s Wife.
TXUMA MURUGARREN

TXUMA MURUGARREN

Listen to this beautiful version my husband’s song ‘He Wants You’ by Txuma Murugarren, a Basque rock musician. He has put out the entire Nocturama album in Basque. His record is a beautiful thing! My husband was clearly moved when listening to it! Much love to Txuma from us both!
HOW CAN I BE SURE I WILL SEE AGAIN?

HOW CAN I BE SURE I WILL SEE AGAIN?

I love this little poem by Sara Teasdale, 1884 –1933. A poem that is one hundred years old, stretching across the century to tell us of the precariousness nature of humanity. Yet still we hear her voice.
I WHISPER INTO HIS MOUTH OUR NAMES

I WHISPER INTO HIS MOUTH OUR NAMES

Spending the morning with the great American poet, Lucille Clifton and her deeply radical poems. I love this retelling of the Adam and Eve story – Adam, slow and unformed and Eve, who names creation, awaits her ‘clay two-foot’ to awaken fully into the world. Wonderful!
IT IS A SMALL ONE, FOR I AM NO COOK

IT IS A SMALL ONE, FOR I AM NO COOK

Just listened to this beautiful song, ‘Come In’ from 1993, by The Palace Brothers - which was, of course, the brilliant Will Oldham in disguise. Born in Kentucky, Will has written some of the most  delicate, human and mysterious songs out there. We  adore Will Oldham, here at The Vampire’s Wife.
SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 33

SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 33

My husband received this lovely letter from someone at The Red Hand Files (we’ve lost the person’s name!). Just to say, Bill Callahan is a much loved artist in our home, as he takes our hand and leads us through his dreamscapes. I am assuming the Song of Devastation is ‘One Fine Morning’ from the album, Apocalypse. This song is, of course, Bill’s masterpiece. Thank you for sending it in.
WE COME FROM THE LAND OF THE ICE AND SNOW

WE COME FROM THE LAND OF THE ICE AND SNOW

My husband showed me this piece of footage of a concert by Led Zeppelin from 1972 in Sydney, Australia. He says that he saw this same concert in Melbourne when he was fourteen years old. It was one of the first concerts he ever went to. This video is a mash-up of two performances in Sydney and Long Beach, Los Angeles. What extraordinary energy this band had, and what an amazing song.
YOUR BODY IS AWAY FROM ME

YOUR BODY IS AWAY FROM ME

Who doesn’t love a bit of Rumi on a Sunday morning, one of the most influential poets of all time. A beautiful reflection on what my husband calls the ‘impossible realm’ of grief. The person whom we have lost physically remains as an interior, secret and saving force.
I COME FROM THERE

I COME FROM THERE

I love this poem, Tropical Town, by Salomón de la Selva. The poet was born in 1893, in León, Nicaragua, writing in both Spanish and English. He was active throughout his life in numerous labour and political movements He died on February 5, 1959. I love the line ‘I come from there…’, suggesting that the poet is an immigrant, far from home, dreaming of the repose of the cemetery, ‘where the green trees are.’ So very beautiful.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL LOVE

YOU MIGHT AS WELL LOVE

Someone called Vivienne from Auckland sent this beautiful poem/piece of philosophy from Pádraig Ó Tuama to my husband’s Red Hand Files this week. Such a wondrous thing as it falls to its very most simple and touching conclusion. Thank you, Vivienne, for enriching our little corners!
GRETA BELLAMACINA IN VENICE

GRETA BELLAMACINA IN VENICE

Actress, poet, filmmaker, style icon and dear friend, Greta Bellamacina prepares to take on Venice Film Festival in her bespoke Raspberry Vampire’s Wife Dress and Cape. ‘There's such a magic to the shape of the dress–and the colour. It felt very special. There's also this timelessness to it. A lot of pieces from The Vampire’s Wife transcend the decades,' Greta says of the dresses. We adore Greta here at The Vampire’s Wife. Love Susie. x Black Under Heaven everything lives unnerved tiny cups and scissors hungover lilies in heaven marching in glass on the table our child arranging the sky,...
THE WITCHES SEND SHIVERS

THE WITCHES SEND SHIVERS

On his first trip to Israel, many years ago, my husband appeared as a guest on this version of The Boys Next Door beautiful song, Shivers, recorded by The Witches. The Witches guitarist, lead singer and songwriter, Inbal Perlmuter, went on the become an honest and ferocious voice in Israel, till her death in 1997. We love The Witches here at The Vampire’s Wife.
THE ART OF TALI LENNOX

THE ART OF TALI LENNOX

Today, I’ve been digging around for inspiration and found myself spending the morning with my beautiful friend, the ferociously talented Tali Lennox and her wonderfully confronting paintings.
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

I’ve spent some of the morning looking at the American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s wild, daring, intoxicating paintings of flowers. Indomitable, reclusive and contradictory, Georgia O’Keeffe is a great influence here at The Vampire’s Wife.
BUT THIS IS NOT A POEM

BUT THIS IS NOT A POEM

This weird, visionary poem Short Talk on Pain came from a Poem-a-day, an often wonderful poetry resource. Who else but Anne Carson can write a cosmic poem about green peas! I love her uncanny and inventive words that so often arrive at the unexpected.
THE TALL COP LIT A CIGARETTE

THE TALL COP LIT A CIGARETTE

This morning, I listened to this beautiful, restorative reading by the always glorious Sharon Olds, of her poem Summer Solstice, New York City. A beautiful poem about the sudden unexpected humanity that lays at the heart of things.
WE ALL NEED A FIX AT A TIME LIKE THIS

WE ALL NEED A FIX AT A TIME LIKE THIS

I’m listening to this very beautiful version of the Gene Clark classic, Some Misunderstanding, by country singer Erin Rae. From Nashville (I think) she has that silky, sultry Sunday afternoon voice. ‘We all need a fix at times like this!’
I FLED INTO THE NIGHT SKY

I FLED INTO THE NIGHT SKY

My husband has been playing the piano and singing a lot recently around the house. He is preparing for an oncoming solo tour of the States, and he is relearning a lot of the old songs. But he keeps coming back to a lesser-known song that did not make its way officially onto any Bad Seed album but is very beautiful just the same. It is called Euthanasia. When I hear it, it kind of stops me in my tracks. It has a weird but very beautiful repetitive lyric that builds meaning as it circles around upon itself that is inexplicably moving. And although I don’t make a regular habit of putting my husband’s songs up on The Stuff Page, I hope you’ll excuse me for doing so. There is a lovely piece of accompanying footage from the Idiot Prayer session. It’s a rather lovely thing!
A DELICATE FLAME RUNS BENEATH MY SKIN

A DELICATE FLAME RUNS BENEATH MY SKIN

Just reading the quite literally fragmented poetry of the great Sappho. Loved for her lyric poetry written to be sung while accompanied by music. Sappho has always reminded me of Miriam, the original female prophet of the Bible (who I spoke about on Tuesday). Daring, sensual and greatly admired in her time, she shines ever on to this day.
 WE KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO A HEART

WE KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO A HEART

I read this lovely reimagining of the Miriam story on Richard Rohr’s genuinely enlightening daily meditations. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, is the first female prophet named in the Hebrew Scriptures. Storyteller Kelley Nikondeha offers her imaginative interpretation of the scene near the Red Sea from Exodus 14–15. Such a dark but beautiful story.
HEART OF A WOLF

HEART OF A WOLF

A sweet letter came in from a woman named Karin. It’s a great privilege to receive these letters of generosity, carrying their messages of wonder. A beautiful song! 
SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 32

SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 32

Thank you, Alexandra from Sacramento, for sending this strange, haunted and sad song from Jennie Pearl. It’s certainly a Song of Devastation.
THE DEAD SURROUND THE LIVING

THE DEAD SURROUND THE LIVING

I was reading a piece of visionary writing by the wonderful John Berger. Here are first three of twelve insights into the otherness of things.
A MAZURKA FROM CHOPIN

A MAZURKA FROM CHOPIN

This Sunday morning, reading and listening to Chopin’s, Mazurkas, whilst my soulmate is away!  A Mazurka refers to a traditional Polish dance. Such nimble and breath-taking lightness of touch in this recording of Op.17 No.4, played by the Brazilian pianist, Nelson Freire.
IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW

IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW

Dear Sinéad has passed on. A singer of the greatest emotional maturity and depth and a fiercely charismatic woman who was never afraid to speak her truth. The most defiant of angels, but an angel still, we adore her here at The Vampire’s Wife. Listen to this time-stopping version of Danny Boy. Such immense and untrammelled courage.
AT FIRST I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES

AT FIRST I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES

My husband has disappeared for a couple of weeks to finish his new record, so in order to console myself I have spent Saturday afternoon doing what all Vampire’s Wives do –  I moped around drinking cups of tea and reading excerpts from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dracula is a wild read, by the way, and I am forever haunted by his description of the first sighting of the vampire! Wonderful stuff!
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON

BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON

I love this piece of footage of Boney M. performing ‘Rivers of Babylon’ at the Sopot Festival in 1979. I love the song – such a joyous interpretation of the terrifying Psalm 137. Just pure pleasure.
THAT THIS, TOO, WAS A GIFT

THAT THIS, TOO, WAS A GIFT

A lovely letter from Julie from San Francisco came in to my husband’s Red hand Files. Thank you so much, Julie, for your kind words and this stunning poem. Who doesn’t love a bit of Mary Oliver on a Sunday morning! And so true that one of the deeply mystifying and frightening complexities of grief is that it holds within its darkness the potential for great joy.
THE HEART OF A WOMAN

THE HEART OF A WOMAN

Published in 1918, this sad but lovely poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson speaks of imprisonment and liberation, reminding us that whatever freedoms we may enjoy now were not always so. I adore this poem.
LOST ON THE OTHER SIDE

LOST ON THE OTHER SIDE

I just want to share this beautiful tribute by my husband and Debbie Harry to our dear friend, Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Jeffrey was the singer of the monumental Gun Club and when he died in Utah in 1996, rock music would lose one of its greatest singers and gentlest souls. Keeping your memory alive, Jeffrey. We adore you.
AND WE KISSED AS THE SKY FELL IN

AND WE KISSED AS THE SKY FELL IN

I love this song ‘Pictures Of You’ by the great British band The Cure. Robert Smith’s wonderful plaintive voice just curls around you. I think I’ve had a strange, nostalgic week, but have been designing like crazy, with some beautiful, bold dresses for the next collection. All these wonderful songs and poems weave themselves into my designs. Such a rich, beautiful artful world we live in.
AIN’T NOTHING CHANGED, IT ALL GOES ON

AIN’T NOTHING CHANGED, IT ALL GOES ON

Today, I am playing the song, This Perfect Day by The Saints, and dancing around the room. Who can resist? It is a record full of mad noise and raw defiance. The Saints, my husband’s favourite band, are the great Aussie champions of insubordination and resistance.  But also, amidst all these glorious chordal abrasions, I want to say to you sweet people – a great and beautiful and heartfelt thank you for coming to The Stuff Page, year after year, and supporting The Vampire’s Wife. I love you all very much, more than you will ever know.
EVERY TIME THE SUN COMES UP I’M IN TROUBLE

EVERY TIME THE SUN COMES UP I’M IN TROUBLE

I just love Sharon Van Etten’s powerful, emotionally articulate and unbelievably catchy songs, a wonderful songwriter and a beautiful bold voice. We adore Sharon here at The Vampire’s Wife.
NOT ME, BABY, I’M TOO PRECIOUS

NOT ME, BABY, I’M TOO PRECIOUS

Revisiting my young self, listening to Precious, this sassy, sexy song by The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde has one of the great rock’n’roll voices of all time, pure attitude and great emotional power. We adore her here at The Vampire’s Wife.
SHINY TRINKETS OF GRIEF

SHINY TRINKETS OF GRIEF

The divine and brilliant Florence Welch wears a bespoke Vampire’s Wife lame dress in her concerts this week. Listen to her eerie wonder-song from Dance Fever, Prayer Factory. We adore Florence here at The Vampire’s Wife.
NO, NO, NO

NO, NO, NO

I’ve been on a long car journey, listening to a lot of reggae and I love this strange, haunting tune from Dawn Penn. So minimal and heart worn with its weary repetition.
IT WEARS AWAY MY HEART

IT WEARS AWAY MY HEART

I love this strange little poem by C. P. Cavafy that came in this weekend from the occasionally awesome Poem-a-Day. I love the idea that one’s imprisonment can become a place from which to speak!
I WAS THE INSTRUMENT OF ECSTASY

I WAS THE INSTRUMENT OF ECSTASY

I spent the morning looking at the strange ecstatic paintings of Hilma af Klint. Visions, hallucinations as schematic diagrams, so inspiring for a designer, such as myself. The mystical drawings and paintings taken from esoteric literature, the colours, the shapes, seem to point toward new ways to design. 
LINDA

LINDA

Has anyone heard this low-down, sexy version of the Bob Dylan classic, ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’. Just stumbled on it! What a deliriously gorgeous rendition.
I OUGHTA KNOW

I OUGHTA KNOW

My husband’s off on tour for a week and I’m home from work and sitting around doing nothing and Lucinda Williams has come on the player singing one of the most beautiful songs of sweet-aching forsakenness I ever heard, that winds its self around you like ‘a heavy blanket’. What an amazing song.
WE CAN GO NOWHERE NOW

WE CAN GO NOWHERE NOW

A beautiful track from American duo Beach House recommended by Aaron from Michigan (I think). A wonderful drifting thing and a lovely letter from Aaron. Thank you for your suggestion and your ruminations. It’s what the Stuff Page is all about! Love Susie. x I was listening to Beach House – “Holiday House”. I recommend listening to that, if you haven’t already. I think that the music is a celestial symphony, a convergence, or intersecting of many spiritual and natural forces, and then billowing and resonating from this amazing group of people. I hear the music and I take away...
COME, BREATHE CLOSE WITH ME

COME, BREATHE CLOSE WITH ME

Just reading this beautiful poem by Patrizia Cavalli that finds the sensual beauty in the passing of time. A wonderful poet!
SHE WAS A SHARK SMILE IN A YELLOW VAN

SHE WAS A SHARK SMILE IN A YELLOW VAN

Back in London and listening to this wonderful song by the American indie band, Big Thief that has that languid, Springteeny, story-telling thing going, but typically infectious. We love this band at The Vampire’s Wife.
I KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD

I KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD

I’m in Rome and listening to the extraordinary Mahalia Jackson blaze through the gospel great I Know It Was The Blood, Such unfettered power, as I pack to leave this beautiful, ancient city.
I DWELL IN POSSIBILITY

I DWELL IN POSSIBILITY

This beautiful letter was sent to my husband’s Red Hand Files by Suzanne from New York. He read it to me and I print it here. We are both great lovers of Emily Dickinson. Thank you so much, Suzanne, for thinking of us.
ALL THE TROUBLED HEARTS

ALL THE TROUBLED HEARTS

Georgia from London recommended this beautiful, deeply spiritual song by London-based Iranian ambient artist, Hiatus. Such a gorgeous hypnotic song full of dark yearning. Just beautiful. Thank you Georgia!
THERE’S A LEAF THAT RETURNS IN THE FALL

THERE’S A LEAF THAT RETURNS IN THE FALL

Has anyone heard the wonderful LA band, The Lemon Twigs? Two brothers, Brian and Michael D’Addario making the most beautiful, sophisticated, soul-stirring music. Listen to this beautiful song, ‘When Winter Comes Around’. Love Susie. x https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0pU-V4JioE When Winter Comes Around There’s a leaf that returns in the fall That no one can recall When winter comes around Its shape once so clear in our mind In an instant left behind When the snow touches the ground Where did it go? Well someone must know But no one makes a sound There's a leaf that returns in the fall That no...
DRUG DEALER

DRUG DEALER

I love this deeply cool song by the band, Drug Dealer.  Pictures of You featuring Kate Bollinger has that lovely, weird, sexy, understated melancholy we expect from this amazing band. We adore Drug Dealer here at The Vampire’s Wife.
POEM BY A LITTLE GIRL

POEM BY A LITTLE GIRL

I love this gorgeous little poem, written by Hilda Conkling, most likely between the ages of seven and nine! Poem-a-day put this up recently and said—   Hilda Conkling was born in New York State in 1910. Her poetry, which she composed between the ages of four and fourteen, is collected in Poems by a Little Girl.  
ALL FEMALE BEAUTY

ALL FEMALE BEAUTY

A lovely letter from Nanni from Los Angeles that came in recently, with a Spotify playlist of favourite female artists. Such an amazing list of songs and its on play full-time in The Vampire’s Wife offices! Pure joy! Many thanks Nanni. Anyone who has Karen Dalton and Yoko Ono and Nina Simone on a playlist is a great friend of ours!
TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT

TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT

Here is a beautiful collage of songs recorded on cassette from Heavenly, my husband’s goddaughter, the wonderful Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof. A young woman with a soul as big as the world. We love you, Tiger. Love Susie. x https://heavenly1.bandcamp.com/album/tragic-tigers-sad-meltdown
WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES?

WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES?

My God, I love this solo version of Who Knows Where the Time Goes, Sandy Denny’s beautiful, haunted song of deep yearning made ever more deserted-sounding as she sings the song solo, unmoored from her band Fairport Convention. Such a pure thing.
LIFE REMAINS A BLESSING

LIFE REMAINS A BLESSING

I love this deceptively simple poem ‘As I Walked Out One Evening’ by W. H. Auden that begins with the ecstatic and child-like vision of timeless love but comes to an abrupt turn-a-round when the speaking city clocks remind the reader of the nature of mortality. That it is important to accept our broken natures and realize that love is not perfect. I adore the line, ‘You shall love your crooked neighbour/ With your crooked heart.’ Beautiful and true.
DAKHABRAKHA – DEFIANT, BEAUTIFUL

DAKHABRAKHA – DEFIANT, BEAUTIFUL

Julie from San Francisco sent this letter below to my husband’s Red Hand Files—a recommendation of a wonderful, wigged-out Ukrainian band called DakhaBrakha. I’ve never heard anything like this in my life! Amazing music! Many thanks, Julie, for recommending this and DakhaBrakha for brightening up the world with such mad and beautiful music.
IN PRAISE OF DOLLY PARTON

IN PRAISE OF DOLLY PARTON

I just love this song, Just When I Needed You Most, first performed by Randy Vanwarmer (and featured here on the Stuff Page some months ago). I stumbled on Dolly Parton’s gorgeously forlorn version this morning. Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter, actress, philanthropist, and businesswoman  is one of the true greats, having transcended the extraordinary deprivation of her childhood, growing up one of twelve children, in a single-room shack in Tennessee, to becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. We adore Dolly here at The Vampire’s Wife.
THE BELLS OF SAINT-SULPICE

THE BELLS OF SAINT-SULPICE

I am listening to this beautiful piece of music on this Easter Monday – the opening of Louis Vierne’s wonderful Messe Solennelle, Opus 16, The Bells of Saint-Sulpice – sent to me by my dear friend, the filmmaker, Lian Lunson. Louis Vierne was the organist at Notre-Dame de Paris from 1900 until his death in 1937. The bells of Saint-Sulpice in Paris are so full of yearning, so full of the emerging spirit, held ‘just out of reach’ as Lian wrote. Thank you for sending this to me, Lian. We adore you.
MIRIAM MAKEBA SINGS NGQOTHWANE

MIRIAM MAKEBA SINGS NGQOTHWANE

My husband received this little note and recommendation from Kat from Australia in his Red Hand Files. A lovely, joyous ‘wedding’ song, known as the ‘Click Song’ from the South African singer, songwriter and activist, Miriam Makeba. What a treasure!
A WELL OF GATHERED RAIN WATER

A WELL OF GATHERED RAIN WATER

I’ve been reading Greta Bellamacina’s latest collection of  poetry, A Biography of the Wind. It is intoxicating and beguiling and full of natural beauty, as she herself is! Here is a new poem with an astonishing  and o-so-true opening line. Thank you, Greta, for allowing me to post it. We adore you here at The Vampire’s Wife.
DUGAREDUG AND DUGAREDUG AND REDUG

DUGAREDUG AND DUGAREDUG AND REDUG

Maybe not considered to be Marc Bolan’s greatest song but certainly it is his most joyful, especially while watching this wonderful, ebullient video footage of this great and beautiful man. I love the words to this song. So extremely strange, so full of play and light and humour.
WHEN GRIEF SITS WITH YOU

WHEN GRIEF SITS WITH YOU

Edward from the USA sent in this beautiful but heartbreaking letter and I wanted to share it with you all. It is so painfully true of the fractured state inhabited by those fresh to grief – the sense of shattering. I send you all my love and thoughts, Edward. Be strong. We are all with you. And thank you for Ellen Bass’s wonderful and clear-eyed poem.
PIERRE LAROCHE – A TRUE VISIONARY

PIERRE LAROCHE – A TRUE VISIONARY

I met the makeup artist, Pierre LaRoche, on a photo shoot many years ago. He had just returned from living in New York and had settled opposite me in Edith Grove just off the Kings Road. I was in my early twenties. We became very close friends in the short time that he was alive — a truly beautiful soul. He told me the most wonderful stories about T Rex, and about creating David Bowie’s makeup for Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust. He was the most humble of men. He was in my opinion the greatest, most inventive makeup artist the world had ever seen, but back then these extraordinarily talented people did not receive the same recognition and status as they would today. So let’s remember Pierre LaRoche who was a true visionary genius and the most beautiful friend!
DOES THE SNOW LOVE THE TREES?

DOES THE SNOW LOVE THE TREES?

I’m sitting at the window and watching the sun spill across the courtyard and things seem suddenly full of potential and hope and good cheer. Goodbye Winter, Sweet Spring is here as I remember the beautiful words of Lewis Carroll.
GOD WALKS THESE DARK HILLS

GOD WALKS THESE DARK HILLS

Here is a beautiful, stripped back version of the old Gospel standard God Walks the Dark Hills sung by singer-songwriter Iris DeMent. Both comforting and strangely haunting in its imagery, this song was suggested by Edward from Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. Thank you, Edward and thank you, Iris, for this gorgeous rendition.
SAUDADE FROM CARLOS PAREDES

SAUDADE FROM CARLOS PAREDES

This song came through to us from a man called Ricardo from Coimbra in Portugal. This gorgeous song by Carlos Paredes is full of saudade and longing for home. Carlos Paredes is considered to be the greatest Portuguese guitar player of all time. Such a deep and lovely instrument, such a wonderful song, so beautiful rendered. Thank you, Ricardo for sending this wonderful song.
SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 31

SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 31

The Songs of Devastation are coming thick and fast these days! Someone (I’m sorry I have lost their name) suggested I post this song by my dear friend and Vampire’s Wife advocate, Chan Marshall, better known by her stage name, Cat Power. She is really one of our greatest, most beautiful singers, and this short song, ‘Say’, holds a kind of deep and secret despair, the words circling around an unnamed devastation. A painful and gorgeous thing both, completely and utterly enriching as all these Songs of Devastation are! 
WE SAW A FARMHOUSE BURNING DOWN

WE SAW A FARMHOUSE BURNING DOWN

My husband received this letter into The Red Hand Files from Jay from Toronto, Canada,  I have been obsessed with YouTube footage of Joni Mitchel’s beautiful performance of Coyote with Roger McGuinn & Bob Dylan at Gordon Lightfoot’s house and have often wondered what you’d think.
I CAN’T COME TO QUANTIFY THE FEELING

I CAN’T COME TO QUANTIFY THE FEELING

This extraordinary song by Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill was recommended on The Red Hand Files by a person called Bijan from Sandy in USA. I had no idea this gorgeous song even existed and was swept away by the raw, presence of the vocal and sheer beauty and mystery of the lyric. What a wonderful piece of writing. The child’s understanding voice at the end is a small stroke of genius. So beautiful the whole thing. Thank you so much, Bijan. ‘I can’t come to quantify the feeling’ but I feel like my world has been significantly enlarged. Much love to you.
JOHNNY, OUR SHIP HAD TROUBLE

JOHNNY, OUR SHIP HAD TROUBLE

Here is an amazing letter from Damon from Saint Paul in the USA, comparing the gorgeous song 'Un Bel Di Vedremo' from Giacomo Puccini’s 'Madame Butterfly' with the John Lee Hooker masterpiece ‘The Waterfront’. Both such soul-stirring meditations in longing, in yearning. Thank you so much, Damon. These synchronicities are so beautiful to observe. Love Susie x after my musings about Puccini something struck me. the other day when i was driving my 16 year old to school, i was listening to John Lee Hooker and “The Waterfront” came on. i hadn’t heard it in years. how beautiful that song...
STRANGE AND DEFIANT L OVERS THAT WE WERE

STRANGE AND DEFIANT LOVERS THAT WE WERE

I liked this poem by African American poet, critic, and scholar, Sterling Brown. A weird pastiche on the Shakespearean sonnet, I guess, and on the nature of poetry and human love.
HOW BEAUTIFUL  ARE THE FEET

HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET

I heard this gorgeous song from Handel’s Messiah at a friend’s funeral last week. How Beautiful Are The Feet was sung with such dignity by Maria Ladurner. A solemn, measured, blissful sound that made for a spinechilling and time-suspended moment. I went home and listened to the song many times. The few, circling words so perfectly poignant for the ceremony. I found a lovely version from  a twelve year old boy soprano Aksel Rykkvin. A thing of rare beauty.
KACEY MUSGRAVES IN THE VAMPIRE’S WIFE

KACEY MUSGRAVES IN THE VAMPIRE’S WIFE

The wonderful Kacey Musgraves sings a gorgeous rendition of ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ in a tribute to the great Loretta Lynn at the Grammy’s last week, dressed in a scarlet Vampire’s Wife Ghost Bow and looking absolutely stunning. Just saying. Here is Loretta Lynn singing her classic song.
SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 30

SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 30

This came into my husband’s Red Hand Files from a woman called Hannah from Minneapolis, USA. A lovely letter and yes, Gorecki’s symphony is one of the most moving pieces of music, I have ever heard especially this version sung by the great Dawn Upshaw. Thank you so much, Hannah. I would like to dedicate this beautiful, heart-breaking piece of music to the people of Turkey and Syria. God bless you all.
DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO

DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO

I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately fluctuating between these three versions of the Jimmy Webb’s superb song ‘Do What You Gotta Do.’ Firstly, there is the strange, sad, internalised masterpiece by Roberta Flack, then Nina Simone’s weird, haunted defiant rendition, but also a lesser known duet by Cher and her husband Gregg Allman, generally considered, by the music press, to be ‘embarrassing’. Cher and Allman’s off and on relationship was hugely conflicted and unbelievably chaotic but this seems to adds a perverse drama to this duet which I, personally, find extremely moving. Cher is, in my view, one of the greatest, most under-rated vocalists of all time. So, of course, Roberta Flack and Nina Simone’s versions are typically mind-blowing, but when Cher gets stuck into that beautiful melody, I am left just awed.
MY LITTLE BOAT, TAKE CARE

MY LITTLE BOAT, TAKE CARE

Here is a lovely piece of poetic minimalism as caution and solace by the great Charles Simic, that was sent to me, at just the right moment, from my bestie, Deborah Smith. Deborah, a brilliant photographer, runs the wonderful Cloud Workshop for bereaved children, in that wild upside-down country of New Zealand.
AND I WAS ALIVE

AND I WAS ALIVE

Here is an extraordinary poem written by Osip Mandelstam, a Russian Soviet poet. He was arrested during the repression of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife. Given a reprieve of sorts, they moved to Voroneth in southwestern Russia. In 1938 Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to five years in a corrective-labour camp. He died that year at a transit camp near Vladivostok. This poem, And I was Alive is believed to be the final poem he wrote, days before he died. I am deeply moved by the sort of radiant, rapturous devastation of this poem,...
A SLOW SKIFF FROM LOW COUNTRY WATERS

A SLOW SKIFF FROM LOW COUNTRY WATERS

I thought I’d share these very lovely words from a Stuff Page advocate. It is such a pleasure to find people who enjoy The Stuff Page, this weird, and seemingly endless exercise in gratitude. Thank you so much, Dawn! Your letter means a great deal!
JUST WHEN I NEED YOU MOST

JUST WHEN I NEED YOU MOST

I am posting this song, not as someone suggested (whose name I have misplaced (so sorry)) as a Song of Devastation but rather as a great rush of nostalgia that tugs at somewhere deep inside. Randy Vanwarmer singing Just When I Needed You Most – soft rock at its finest – and the cat-suited  girls in video, so wild, so beautiful. I adore this song.
WINTER REMEMBERED

WINTER REMEMBERED

As the rain pours down and the cold winds blow and the ice freezes the lake,  I adore this bleak, frigid and grieving winter poem by John Crowe Ransom from 1922, that was posted a few weeks ago on Poem-a-day. It chills the bones!
SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 29

SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 29

This bleakly beautiful carol, sung to remember the story of the Holy Innocents was sent to me and my husband by someone who preferred to remain anonymous. What a deeply haunting arrangement by Kenneth Leighton. The soloist sings like an angel. The soloist is an angel!
IN A BROKEN DREAM

IN A BROKEN DREAM

I feel a great need to share this song with you all. Perhaps I already have! This is Rod Stewart’s greatest vocal performance which, for anyone who is a Rod Stewart fan, is saying something. He sang this with a little known band from New Zealand (although Wikipedia says Australia) called Python Lee Jackson, active from 1965 to 1969. The group had recorded In a Broken Dream in 1970 featuring Rod Stewart, as guest vocalist. I have no idea why. The song is so beautiful, so epic, so antipodean. A pure and sublime classic.
TO SIR WITH LOVE

TO SIR WITH LOVE

To Sir With Love, sung by Lulu. I adore this wonderful, coming-of-age song, and I love the movie. My husband told me that his first band, The Boys Next Door, used to do a cover version of this song. That I would’ve liked to see! Love Susie. x https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV1qmmMwc9M To Sir with Love Those schoolgirl days Of telling tales and biting nails are gone But in my mind I know they will still live on and on But how do you thank someone Who has taken you from crayons to perfume? It isn't easy, but I'll try If you wanted...
WATERS OF MARCH

WATERS OF MARCH

I have been listening to this extraordinary and much loved song from Brazil a lot lately. The beautiful, warm performance by Lis Regina and Tom Jobin of Águas de Março or Waters of March moves the heart. It is such a deep, strange happy/sad song about the passing of life, of time, perhaps. It was sent in to my husband’s Red Hand Files but there has been such a volume of mail lately he has lost the sender’s name. We apologise for this but thank whoever sent it very much. Instant happiness.
SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 28

SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 28

Sonia from Wollongong sent this message, with a Song of Devastation recommendation. Sonia is right. This gorgeous song by Suzanne Vega is a lovely old-school ballad, and the words are beautifully, grippingly, gently devastating. “I've swallowed a secret burning thread/ It cuts me inside, and often I've bled” What a couplet! Thank you so much, Sonia. It means a great deal to me that people take the time to make suggestions for The Stuff Page. The whole exercise feels communal and cooperative. Many thanks! Love Susie x Dear Nick (and Susie too) I have a recommendation for a song of...
WE SHAKE WITH JOY

WE SHAKE WITH JOY

A lovely little poem by Mary Oliver sent by my friend Deborah Smith, who runs the formidable Cloud Workshop, a magical space where bereaved children meet and make art. My husband and I are lifelong supporters and in awe of Deborah’s fierce but gentle energy. Many thanks, Debs, for all the work you do, and this beautiful and truthful poem. You’re a star!
THE GHOST OF LOSS GETS INTO YOU

THE GHOST OF LOSS GETS INTO YOU

I would like to present to you, this beautiful poem, composed and spoken by John O’Donohue. It was written for the poet’s mother. How I wish I had a man who could write me beautiful words such as these. O I forgot! I do! Enjoy this blessing, sent to you from me, with all the love in the world.
BRING ME THE DUST FROM HER DOORWAY

BRING ME THE DUST FROM HER DOORWAY

Here is a beautiful, hopelessly love struck poem by the 14th Century Persian lyric poet, Hafez, lovingly translated by our dear Iranian friend, Sadegh Nedamati. Hafiz, the trickster and master alchemist of language, is one of the true greats. Please stay safe, Sadegh.
SIMONE WEIL - PATRON SAINT OF ANOMALOUS PERSONS

SIMONE WEIL - PATRON SAINT OF ANOMALOUS PERSONS

I’ve been reading, yet again, the unorthodox aphoristic writings of the great Simone Weil, philosopher, social activist and probably one of the greatest mystics of all time. T. S. Eliot called her “a woman of genius, of a kind of genius akin to that of the saints”. I adore her terse, radical yet ecstatic musings. Love Susie x 1)Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating. 2)Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling....
CRYING ALWAYS IN MY VOICE

CRYING ALWAYS IN MY VOICE

Here is a song sent by an Iranian friend to my husband. A beautiful sad song by Iranian pop singer, Ebi.
AND THEY WILL FIND ME THERE

AND THEY WILL FIND ME THERE

I love this extended, riddling monologue written around 350 BC and discovered among the Gnostic manuscripts in the upper eastern Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. It sounds to me like a female goddess expounding her paradoxical assertions of virtue, that builds into a terrifying and beautiful vision of womanhood. Hypnotic, wild and completely marvellous.
MORE FROM GREAT MIMI PARKER

MORE FROM GREAT MIMI PARKER

Here is another song from the brilliant band Low, sung by the great Mimi Parker, may God rest her soul. A beautiful cover of the Bee Gees classic, ‘I Started a Joke.’ We adored Mimi here at The Vampire’s Wife.
ALESSANDRO MICHELE — PURE BEAUTY

ALESSANDRO MICHELE — PURE BEAUTY

To our dear friend, Alessandro Michele who has done so much for our family. A man of boundless generosity, through gestures both personal and professional that far extended his position as a designer, helped heal our broken home.  It is no exaggeration to say this. His beauty as a human being extends far beyond the genius of his artistry. We love you very much and wish great things for you in the future. Love Susie, Nick and Earl. x
AND THAT IS WHERE THE JOY CAME IN

AND THAT IS WHERE THE JOY CAME IN

I thought I would share this lovely poem by Christian Wiman, that seems to be about the divine poetry that inhabits the ordinary, perhaps, or the joy that glimmers, even in the darkest times, or the explosion of God in things, I don’t know, but this poem seems to be a joyful glimmering all of its own.
SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 27, The Vampire's Wife, Stuff

SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 27

A man called Samuel from Grand Rapids in USA wrote a very sad, broken-hearted letter to my husband on The Red Hand Files and mentioned in it that Colin Hay’s song I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You was playing ‘non-stop’ in his head. My husband asked me to post the song on the Stuff Page saying, ‘It’s a beautiful song. Everyone should hear it.’ Thank you. Samuel, for giving us this lovely gift and my husband and I wish you the very best. Hang in there. 
THESE PEOPLE, UNAWARE, ARE SAVING THE WORLD, The Vampire's Wife, Stuff

THESE PEOPLE, UNAWARE, ARE SAVING THE WORLD

Here is a wonderful poem by Jorge Luis Borges called The Just about the unconscious rehabilitation of the world through small, ordinary sacred acts. A lovely thing, suggested by Debbie from Milan, Italy.
SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ME COMING, The Vampire's Wife, Stuff

SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ME COMING

I’ve been reading Lucille Clifton again. Her Spartan, ascetic and thoroughly essential poems just blow me away. Absolutely wonderful. Renee Olson wrote that Clifton evoked ‘the struggle, beauty, and passion of one woman’s life with such clarity and power that her vision becomes representative, communal and unforgettable. Such a wonderful poet.
MOTHER, CLOSE THE DOOR, The Vampire's Wife, Stuff

MOTHER, CLOSE THE DOOR

Here is the most gorgeous of songs by the most wonderful of bands, the mighty Low. The band’s statement was so moving. “Friends, it’s hard to put the universe into language and into a short message, but She passed away last night, surrounded by family and love, including yours. Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”   RIP Mimi Parker. The most beautiful soul.
SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 26, The Vampire's wife, Stuff

SONG OF DEVASTATION - NUMBER 26

A little recommendation for a Song of Devastation from Baba from London. This is indeed a dark, bleak and beautiful song. Thank you, Baba.
THEY HUNGER FOR YOUR BLOOD, The Vampire's Wife, Stuff

THEY HUNGER FOR YOUR BLOOD

On Halloween, I subjected my husband to a selection of erotic vampire films, the best of which was Daughters of Darkness starring Delphine Seyrig as the Countess Báthory. A ludicrously sumptuous piece of pop horror. ‘They hunger for your blood!’ Indeed!
CRY BABY THE VAMPIRE'S WIFE STUFF

CRY BABY

Is this the greatest beginning to a pop song ever? Janis Joplin singing Cry baby? It must come very, very close. Shivery stuff!
BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE

BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE

Nana from London sent me and my husband this message. Hi Nick and Susie This is a brilliant piece of music from one of the best films made – ‘Three Colours: Blue’ by Kieslowski. The song is called ‘Song for the Unification by Europe’ by Preisner. There are two versions; I rate Julie’s more highly. I watched the film four times in a week because of the soundtrack. I recommend listening to the song lying together in the dark – I prefer the floor because it makes me feel more grounded. It is superb. Love Nana.
MY HEART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS

MY HEART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS

I keep returning to this extraordinary minimalist masterpiece written by Arvo Pärt and performed by the wonderful Else Torp and Christopher Bowers. Else sang  with my husband on the song ‘Distant Sky’ from his Skeleton Tree album. Such a heartbreakingly gorgeous voice that turns the 18th century Scottish poem ‘My heart's in the Highlands’ by Robert Burns into a thing of haunted and majestic beauty. Just sublime.
TINA ON ANGEL MUSIC

TINA ON ANGEL MUSIC

Listening to UK’s greatest radio station Angel Music pretty much non-stop these days – playing music from the 1920s through to 1960s with a kind of radical defiance. The most joyful and melancholy radio station on earth! We adore it here at The Vampire’s Wife. Just listened to the great Tina Turner, singing River Deep, Mountain High! What a performance! What a song!
MASKS AND BERGAMASKS

MASKS AND BERGAMASKS

Ah, Claire de Lune. I love this beautiful piece of music by Claude Debussy, sad and stirring. The title of the third movement of Suite bergamasque is taken from Verlaine's poem “Clair de lune”, which refers to bergamasks in the opening stanza. Such a beautiful thing.
COSMIC BEAUTY

COSMIC BEAUTY

A friend turned me on to Alma Thomas. She was a school teacher working in Washington DC, discovered later in life, who had dedicated herself to the celebration of the cosmos and the beauty of the astral world. I adore these wonderful, vibrant, joyful paintings. 
WE ALL BLEED THE SAME WAY

WE ALL BLEED THE SAME WAY

I’ve been listening to the phenomenal Weyes Blood. her new song ‘It’s not just me, it’s everybody,’ is a typically stunning elegiac anthem that we have come to expect from her. It’s rich and complex and just so gorgeous. It's good to be back!
ALL THINGS MUST PASS

ALL THINGS MUST PASS

On holiday I sort of got stuck on George Harrison’s beautiful album All Things Must Pass. I love his relaxed, unselfconscious, casual way of presenting his songs, that are mostly deep and full of spiritual wisdom. This song gets me every time.
THE MOON AND STARS RAPIDLY ENTER YOU

THE MOON AND STARS RAPIDLY ENTER YOU

Here is a typically twisty and weirdly beautiful poem from my husband’s favourite poet and all-round troublemaker, the great Frederick Seidel. Elegant and atrocious both, a wonder to behold!
TONIGHT THERE AIN’T NO HELP FOR ME

TONIGHT THERE AIN’T NO HELP FOR ME

I’ve been listening to this absolutely wonderful song by the greatest songwriter on the planet, Jimmy Webb. I love the restless, jumbled tumbling of the words. Such a sad song – love and loss as a madness of empty, relentless activity. Jimmy Webb is the most beautiful of balladeers.
SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 25

SONG OF DEVASTATION – NUMBER 25

I’m on the phone to my husband, He’s in Lithuania. We mention our Songs of Devastation. ‘I think it’s time for another one.’ That’s me. ‘All right. Have we done Billie Holiday?’ That’s him.  ‘Yes. Gloomy Sunday,’ I say. ‘There’s another one, of course.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then, let’s put up ‘Strange Fruit.’ This song is as devastating a song as I’ve ever heard. The lyric is unbelievable. The song was written by Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym, Lewis Allan – a Jewish American teacher, who was also a member of the American Communist Party and taught the author and racial justice advocate James Baldwin. Billie Holiday sings it with such force. It’s completely chilling.’ ‘Not for the faint-hearted.’  ‘No. Not for the faint-hearted at all.’
SIXTEEN DANDELIONS - GOOGOOSH

SIXTEEN DANDELIONS - GOOGOOSH

I’ve been listening to this strange, raw, broken song ‘Sixteen Dandelions’ by Iranian pop star Googoosh. Such an amazing and emotive voice and very beautiful song. Quite extraordinary.
WE ARE MIMETIC CREATURES

WE ARE MIMETIC CREATURES

Sometimes I get asked how much I am influenced by others. This article by David Brooks was sent into my husband’s lovely Red Hand Files and I think it says a great deal in this regard. I have printed a couple of passages. So true.
JE TE VEUX

JE TE VEUX

Here is a lovely song, ‘Je Te Veux’ sung by the French soprano Patricia Petibon, the music written by Erik Satie, a composer I love more than most. It dramatises the morning! Thank you, Rodrigo!
DAVID BOWIE AND AMANDA LEAR

DAVID BOWIE AND AMANDA LEAR

I’m just watching this gorgeous outtake from David Bowie’s 1984 Floor Show. Two extraordinary, transcendent presences singing the McCoy’s hit, ‘Sorrow’.
LOVE WITHOUT WONDER

LOVE WITHOUT WONDER

German actress and chanteuse, Ingrid Caven, married to the great Rainer Fassbinder, movie-maker extraordinaire, performs a bizarre, flamboyant version of ‘Liebe Ohne Wunder’.  Something to see!