I can still go out on a beautiful Autumn afternoon just after Halloween and try not to think of that classic horror film The Exorcist but usually I fail. It isn’t the revolving head or the flashing crucifixes as much as those wonderful early scenes with Autumn leaves and the music, the much, maybe too often, played “Tubular Bells” that will now always be associated with the sinister sense of calm and impending danger that the film conjured up so brilliantly. I won’t play it for you now because I am still trying to get it out of my head and it would be just too mean to do the same thing to you. Halloween celebrations are growing each year here in Britain even if they are no way like the giant fuss made in the USA. Lewes was full of ghouls, demons and witches over the weekend and pumpkins were on display all over town.
Yesterday, the day after Halloween is the traditional Christian feast of All Hallows or All Saints and that has never caught on in quite the same way as the night before when evil spirits are said to walk the Earth. Regardless of religion or lack of religion, I think we can all relate to the symbolism at play here. I have always liked the atmosphere of calm that follows Halloween, even if I can’t really imagine that the saints really do come marching in. A little of me too enjoyed seeing that crushed pumpkin on the lane yesterday morning. Maybe an over-enthusiastic saint in sturdy walking boots trod on it when the sun rose on All Hallows Day. Whatever else though, no matter what spirits were unleashed by all the festivities, yesterday Lewes, here in Southern England, saw Autumn in all its glory and, I like to think there was more than a touch of post-exorcist tranquillity in the air. Underneath the beauty, as in so many things there is always a hint of the sinister at this time of year – I like it all the more for that and celebrate that whichever side of the road you walk you are always skirting the dark side. I took some photographs so that you could share the experience with me. Take the walk yourselves and I hope you will see what I mean. I am very lucky that all these shots are just a few steps from my front door.
I was listening to music on my much loved iPod whilst I enjoyed that mild, gloriously sunlight afternoon in my home town. I was not playing Tubular Bells, I promise, no, something much more in keeping with All Hallows, one of the Bruckner motets, pieces that are a new discovery for me. Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) wrote all those mighty, magnificent and very long symphonies but these little ecclesiastical pieces should be better known too. Here is one of the most popular, his languidly beautiful setting of the Ave Maria – perfect music for the day after Halloween whatever you believe or don’t believe.
Oh yes, I forgot. The Lewes estate agent, Oakleys still haven’t taken down that For Sale sign (see last week’s blog) even though they promised to five weeks ago now after putting it up there over two years ago – right in front of my living room window. Come on Oakleys, get someone to take it down and keep your promise. It isn’t a good advert showing everyone that your didn’t sell the place.