M. R. James

GNC

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Agreed, although I still think that the readings by Sir Michael Hordern are the very best. :)

Unfortunately Sir Michael didn't make them into TV shows, though he was in the classic version of O Whistle of course.

Robert Powell did a nice series of James readings as a TV show in the... 80s? I think?
 

Hogarth999

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Unfortunately Sir Michael didn't make them into TV shows, though he was in the classic version of O Whistle of course.

True enough, but I don't need video to appreciate superb readings of superb stories. :) Just broadcast them with a still image of the artwork on the Argo audio tapes, that should be enough. :)

Robert Powell did a nice series of James readings as a TV show in the... 80s? I think?

Not sure, I don't recall seeing them.
 

escargot

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I'm happy with the Peter Yearsley readings. Not a fan of the exaggeratedly posh Horderne style. A lot of the more interesting characters aren't posh.
 

Hogarth999

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I'm happy with the Peter Yearsley readings. Not a fan of the exaggeratedly posh Horderne style. A lot of the more interesting characters aren't posh.

I recall you mentioning this before:

http://forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/m-r-james.24612/page-4#post-1641259

Fair enough, each to his/her own. But I'll just repeat the reply that I gave then which still applies:

"I also wouldn't describe Sir Michael Hordern's voice as posh - it's clear with excellent enunciation and he has a superb way of putting light little twists and touches on specific words and sentences as required. His accents are also very good. In short, he has a superb voice."
 

ramonmercado

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Yeah. Learn everything in advance and always know exactly where to put things -even if you’ve never heard of them before - on a site with the worst search function on the planet.

Err, he's been around for a while and the MR James thread isn't exactly unknown. lordmongrove has a habit of starting new threads rather than posting on existing ones.

Yith recently asked that people refrain from starting new threads unnecessarily. I suppose we should just ignore that.
 

Acheron101

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Recently I've been researching the military career of my great grandfather who died near Cambrai during WWI. While we don't have any of his medals or the 'dead man's penny' memorial plaque we do have the commemorative scroll which was issued to the nearest and dearest of the deceased. The scroll features the royal crest with the words-

“He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who,
at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them
endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty
and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.
Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.”

So I was looking into the history of these scrolls and it turns out that the words were written by non other than M.R. James - albeit with a few alterations - George V wanted to be included in the wording and the last line was originally 'The remembrance of them shall long be honoured in the land which they loved and died to save.'

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/memorials/memorial-plaque.htm#scroll
 

Spookdaddy

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Just now noticed the The Wilsthorpe Incident thread un Ufology - and thought, well now, that's a coincidence.

Wilsthorpe (at least, a Wilsthorpe*) is the setting for the M R James ghost story, Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance.

And of course, as any fule kno, one of his most well-known stories, A Warning to the Curious, takes place at Rendlesham.

Was Monty walking point for the alien invasion?

*As far as I can see there are two Wilsthorpes in the UK, and although Lincolnshire and the East Riding both might fit the 'Eastern England' definition mentioned in Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance, both strike me as further north than Monty's usual stamping ground. There is one other location mentioned in the story which might help fix it - 'near here, at Bentley'. But the Bentleys I can find don't seem close enough to the Wilsthorpes to be classed as 'near here.' So, I suspect one of M R James' fictional locations.
 
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Roger Nowell

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For what it's worth the train line doesn't go through the East Riding's Wilsthorpe but via Carnaby. I doubt the line has altered since the 19th century. The rolling stock hasn't..

Christmas soon, time to dig out the M R James stories. I've got a friend an anthology for his Christmas present; about time he was initiated.
 

Ogdred Weary

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I'm a big M.R. James, though I've managed to still not read a few of the stories and there are perhaps ten or so that I've only read once and don't recall well. I tend to revisit the ones I love over and over, I prefer hearing them read aloud to reading, which is understandable given that that is precisely what they were written for. I love the Lee readings from 2000, I always hoped he'd do more of those, even when he was very old, as they simply involved him sitting and speaking.

Not a huge fan of the BBC adaptations in general, the only one I like without qualification is Gatiss' Tractate, which is unusual as I've disliked a lot of other things he's done. I'm not much of a fan of Miller's Whistle, it is way too long and slow. Slow and atmospheric is what I generally love but that goes too far for me, it's fine but not amazing, I also think Whistle is one of the hardest to adapt in a visual format, it is very difficult to make a sheet scary. I like the more recent version with John Hurt but making the ghost the soul/mind of his senile wife makes the story sadder and more groundedly horrific but robs it of the sense of "otherness" and "threat from outside" that imbues the original with so much power. I feel similalry about The Babadook film. I hated the version of Number 13 from 10 or so years ago, it ruined one of my favourites. Not seen any of the old 70s ones, the clips I have seen make them look dated enough to diminish the effect.

I'm a big fan of Robert Lloyd Parry's live versions, have now seen him several times and try to see him every time he's in London. I saw Don't Go Into the Cellar Theatre Co doing some James stories a few years ago, they tried to use "jump scares" - sudden noises and blackouts, which destroyed the creepy atmosphere they had been building.
 

Yithian

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I often listen to the Librivox readings at bedtime.

As I may have mentioned, the bit in Casting the Runes where the loathsome creatures crawl among the horrified children goes well with drifting off and having a cat nuzzle your face... :eek:

I listened to a very good reading of Stalky & Co. from Librivox. It was really well done--clearly rehearsed--but after about a half an hour the penny finally dropped: the narrator sounded very similar to Nigel Farage!
 

escargot

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I saw Don't Go Into the Cellar Theatre Co doing some James stories a few years ago, they tried to use "jump scares" - sudden noises and blackouts, which destroyed the creepy atmosphere they had been building.

Oh I'd go BALLISTIC if I'd paid good money for that!
 

escargot

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I'm a big M.R. James, though I've managed to still not read a few of the stories and there are perhaps ten or so that I've only read once and don't recall well. I tend to revisit the ones I love over and over, I prefer hearing them read aloud to reading, which is understandable given that that is precisely what they were written for. I love the Lee readings from 2000, I always hoped he'd do more of those, even when he was very old, as they simply involved him sitting and speaking.

Try the Librivox versions. The bloke who does most of them, Peter Yearsley, doesn't come across as posh and I personally prefer that. He does the working-class characters like gardeners and omnibus drivers especially well with a humorous touch.
 

Timble2

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:bdown:

Rob Lloyd Parry is unmissable, so don't:

http://www.nunkie.co.uk/schedule

I cannot recommend his live retellings of M. R. James's stories highly enough. I would almost - but not quite - offer a money back guarantee to anyone who isn't delighted.

maximus otter

It's how ghost stories should be told.
I've seem two of this shows, but keep missing the ones at Hemingford Manor, which is the one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in England (so obviously it's haunted) and is the original of Green Knowe, from Lucy Boston's The Children of Green Knowe series of novels.
 

sherbetbizarre

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GNC

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And they're showing two 1970s Ghost Stories for Christmas after it, Lost Hearts and The Ash Tree, both James I think. Don't believe I've seen The Ash Tree, but I'm not sure.
 

Bigphoot2

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And they're showing two 1970s Ghost Stories for Christmas after it, Lost Hearts and The Ash Tree, both James I think. Don't believe I've seen The Ash Tree, but I'm not sure.
Haven't seen the Ash Tree but have read the story...not a good idea for an arachnophobic :spider:
 
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