December 08, 2007

A memory that isn't yours


    There’s a few ghost stories, the one that fucked me up when I was little. 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come To You My Lad'. Something can betray how sinister it is even at a distance. Something weird happens with M R James, because they’re short - and I don’t read much – and even though it’s in writing, there’ll be a moment, when the person meets the ghost, where you can’t quite believe what you’ve read, you go cold, just for those few lines when you glimpse the ghost for a second, or he describes the ghost face. It's like you’re not reading any more. In that moment it burns a memory into you that isn't yours. He says something like, ‘there’s nothing worse for a human being than to see a face where it doesn’t belong’. But if you’re little, and you’ve got an imagination which is always messing you up and darking you out, things like that are almost comforting to read. Also, there is nothing worse than not recognizing someone you know, someone close, family, seeing a look in them that just isn't them. I was once in a lock-in in a pub and the regulars there and some mates started telling these fucked up ghost stories from real life, maybe that had happened to them, and I swear if you heard them. One girl told me the scariest thing I ever heard. Some of these stories would stop a few words earlier than seemed right, they don't play out like a film, they're too simple, too everyday, slight, those stories ring true and I never forgot them. Sometimes maybe you see ghosts on the underground with an empty Costcutters plastic bag, nowhere to go. They are smaller, about 70% smaller than a normal person, smaller than they were in life.

From the unedited transcript of my interview with Burial, now up on The Wire site.

Posted by mark at December 8, 2007 10:14 AM | TrackBack