by David Southwell
“You ask whether I take Mr. Collins tawdry, self-publicising remarks about the murder being UFO related seriously. The answer is no, I bloody well don’t. I’ll tell you why. The memorial to Stanley the lion is the only thing actually sleeping in Ashcourt necropolis if Mr. Collins is to be believed. Let us not forget he is the one that made up all that vampire nonsense.
“It is always ghosts, woodroses and bumps in the night with him. When it isn’t any of those, Mr. Collins always says it’s UFOs or as he calls them ‘unidentified fairy objects’. Whenever he opens his mouth I always suspect Mr. Collins of being in the possession of things he shouldn’t be according to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.”
-DCI Callaghan speaking at a press Conference on the ‘Sea Mine UFO Murder’, 1979
About Hookland: Hookland is in part a response to the weird, the paranormal content in culture when I was growing up in 1970s. In many ways I look at Hookland as an act of re-enchantment, a putting back all the weirdness edited out by the modern world. I grew up caught between space-age dreams and the last gasp of hippy culture where the main BBC news moved from reports of IRA bombs to reports of UFOs or poltergeists. Where documentaries about ancient aliens or witchcraft were shown on prime-time without sneering. The 70s were a high-water mark for weirdness. A strange, febrile time to be a child exposed to the psychic chaff of the mass media.
Hookland is also creating a haunted space that anyone could play in. As authors, we often create spaces where we want others to feel they have lived, but then deny them permission to stay. Permission to build and explore in their own way. It is an open, shared universe to explore those connections between place and our sometimes forgotten myth-circuits.
Ghostwoods Books plans to publish at least one of the Hookland books currently in the works.
About the author:
David Southwell is an Essex boy, word spiv and landscape punk. He works as photographer, folklorist and curator for the Hookland Museum of Curiosities. A reformed author of bad books, he now follows the advice given to him by J.G. Ballard to: ‘Concentrate on place, nothing without a sense of it is ever any good.’ You can often find him talking about Albionic ghost soil at literary festivals and art galleries.