Happy Halloween!

…to those north of the equator. It’s come and gone in my country. I would’ve written something to commemorate the occasion yesterday, but I was neckdeep writing one of the most extensive, ambitious articles I’ve ever published. But more on that later. In the meantime, here’s some treats.

My First Website Interview

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Me in front of my vampire library. (Vamped)

Ok, so the interview was published on my own website, Vamped. And sure, I was interviewed by my “work” colleague, Erin Chapman. But I didn’t tell her to. All her idea. Still counts! As mentioned, this is my first website interview. Hope I passed the audition! Judge for yourself by reading Erin’s “Interview with the Vampirologist” (Aug. 17, 2014).

The Reason Why I Wasn’t Able to Post Anything Yesterday

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“Vampire Hunting Kit in Coffin Box” (Lot 337), listed as a “19th Century European Vampire hunting kit,” and sold through Sterling Associates, Inc., Closter, N.J. (Sterling Associates, Inc./Live Auctioneers)

Speaking of my website, it’s been taking up a lot of my attention lately. In fact, the reason I didn’t post anything here yesterday was because I was working on a just-in-time-for-Halloween behemoth called “6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy an ‘Antique’ Vampire Killing Kit” (Oct. 31, 2014). I published it with literally minutes to midnight.

It took me about two and a half days to formulate, research and write—and will only take you minutes to read. It was an almighty struggle getting it published in time for the spookiest night of the year, but I got there. Many readers may be familiar with my writings on “19th century” vampire killing kits. Well, my Vamped article is my most ambitious attempt yet.

In fact, I gleaned so much information, I got a few idea for  think it’ll lead to further spin-off articles down the track. I even uncovered sources that pre-dated my own assumptions about the kits—but not far enough to change my mind about them. You’ll see what I mean.

Either way, I didn’t wanna leave my website readers hanging without a Halloween-specific post, I commissioned my colleague to do a special write-up for Vamped, just in time for my northern hemisphere brethren, for which Halloween is still underway. So, check out Erin’s “Happy Halloween!” (Nov. 1, 2014) post, too!

Something I just wanted to add to it, though: Erin’s post mentioned the British Library’s exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, currently underway. As it transpires, they’ve also published a book to go with it, edited by Dale Townshend, which is available for £25.

Let’s Get Critical!

I discussed the upcoming critical edition of Montague Summers’ 1929 book, The Vampire in Europe, edited by John Edgar Browning in my “Summers Gets Critical Treatment Again” post (Sept. 17, 2014). Here’s a snippet:

I asked him [Browning] when it would be available. He said, “We’re probably looking at about a month, but I’ll keep ya informed”, then added “Tomorrow [today] I’ll try to put together a few excerpts for ya.” Sweet.

True to his word, Browning did send me some excerpts the following day—and it’s looking great! The thing that intrigues me most is Gerard P. O’Sullivan’s prologue, “Montague Summers and the Vampire Casebook.” Can’t wait to read that in its entirely. For a bit of background on O’Sullivan, read his Esoteric Book Conference 2014 profile.

Be sure to check out Laura Diamond’s Georgia Tech profile on John Edgar Browning, too: “Sinking His Teeth into Dracula: Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow Is a Vampire, Horror Scholar” (Oct. 21, 2014). The article mentions, The Vampire in Europe: A Critical Edition “comes out this month.” That date’s clearly in accurate, or I’d be sharing the link. Nonetheless, we can expect it very, very soon.

Local Attitudes Toward Halloween

In last year’s Halloween post, “Happy Halloween!” (Oct. 31, 2013), I discussed the conflicted attitude toward Halloween in Australia. There’s no doubt it’s catching on, as Esther Han’s Sydney Morning Herald article, “Halloween Popularity Booming as Gen Y Australians Add Their Own Twists” (Oct. 30, 2014) reveals.

But you’ll still get the naysayers bemoaning it as an “American holiday,” like Van Badham’s Guardian whinge, “Halloween in Australia? What a Terrible and Spooky Sight” (Oct. 31, 2013). However, it’s only “American” by an interesting historical quirk which Max Fisher discusses in his Washington Post article, “How British Colonialism Determined Whether Your Country Celebrates Halloween” (Oct. 31, 2013).

I admittedly didn’t do much for it this year (see: “The Reason Why I Wasn’t Able to Post Anything Yesterday”), except hand out some lollies (or “candy” as you guys up north call it) to a few trick-or-treaters and watch a Halloween-themed episode of The Living Room in the midst of writing my article. I did, however, attend a Halloween dinner on Tuesday with my family. So I got it outta the way early! Also, I can tell you that there were plenty of shops selling lollies for Halloween, costumes and setting up decorations all over the place. Not to mention the glut of events on offer. Though I suspect it caught on this year because it fell on a Friday.

You see, in my home state—Victoria—our biggest event around this time of year is actually a horse race: the Melbourne Cup, which falls on the first Tuesday of November. How important is that event? It’s a public holiday. I’m not sure what that says about us, but the lead-up probably puts a damper on Halloween festivities. But this time, a Friday. We get to unwind, the weekend kicks in, businesses have finally woken up and realised that events-based days generate more sales (“We can sell heaps more lollies!”), not to mention its increasing popularity in this county, a perfect conflagration.

Musical Interlude

Last, but not least, a little night music. Erin and I planned a “13 days of Halloween” series for Vamped—which didn’t eventuate due to life distractions and many other things. One of the posts was going to be a playlist of vampire-themed tracks. If you asked me what my favourite vampire-themed track was, I’d respond with this little ditty:

That’s “Stake in the Heart” by Demented are Go, from their 1999 album, Hellucifernation. “I thought it was love / You should’ve seen her / A gothic bitch with schizophrenia.” Classic. You may recall its appearance on my Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist blog post, “Hallowe’en Mixtape” (Oct. 31, 2009). Who knows? It may surface again…

In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and Happy Halloween—and to my southern hemisphere brethren, hope you had a great one!

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2 thoughts on “Happy Halloween!

  1. Happy Halloween too Anthony! And for the record yes interviewing you was my idea. It sat on my list of priorities for a while and it gave me the excuse to read through a ton of your posts 😛 The last 3 days you have completed a writing marathon! Props to you and the vampire killing kits article was fangtastic!

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