In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard it’s natural that we’re having conversations about the dangers women face. There’s an outpouring of women’s stories of the violence and harassment they experience and the fears they have for their own safety, especially when out alone at night. These stories upset and anger me – no woman should have to put up with this shit. But at the same time I feel uneasy when it’s assumed that these experiences are universal, that this is the way life is for all women, because my own experience is not like this. I have never experienced harassment beyond an occasional wolf-whistle and I love walking alone at night, in both urban and rural places.
I am someone who needs time alone on a regular basis. I need this for my creative work, but also for my happiness and sanity. Like Virgina Woolf, I need a room of my own in which to think, write and compose without disturbance, but I also need outdoor spaces in which to be alone. I need to lose myself in woods, to wander streets while mulling on ideas, to visit meadows, gardens and cemeteries on moonlit nights and say “hello” to the moon above me. My imagination needs the freedom to run wild in outdoor as well as indoor spaces and I won’t sacrifice that for anything.
I’m not writing this to deny or downplay the experiences of other women, but just to call into question the narrative of universality that’s being told – the idea that all women experience regular harassment or worse and live in fear of violence – and to ask, am I the only one who doesn’t? Are there any other women like me out there?
I’m launching a podcast – Preternatural Investigations – soon. I’ll be covering topics including the magic we experience in certain places, as a result of participating in certain kinds of activity, in response to art, music and literature, and in nature; the relationship between fictional representations of magic and the preternatural magic we can experience in the world, at wonder, imagination and the ability to find new ways of seeing familiar things, the way fictional and other constructed worlds intersect with and are grafted onto the natural world, enabling us to experience the world as a many-layered palimpsest that draws us in, leads us on, and reveals itself to us at the same time as giving us insights into aspects of ourselves.
The first episode of twelve will air on Sunday 23rd August.
I danced with a stranger on my way home
We didn’t draw close but pulled apart, circling each other nervously
Yet we broke into wide smiles and my heart leapt
One human animal connecting with another
As we parted, went on our way
We thanked each other for the honour of the dance
A dance of life chosen in preference to a dance of death
Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers, my album of songs inspired by the Mabinogi, is getting a second pressing from Clay Pipe Music today on frosted vinyl and with an extra track ‘Gwydion‘.
My performance of Martin Arnold’s ‘The Gay Goshawk’ with Martin, Angharad Davies and the Scottish Symphony Orchestra at Tectonics, was aired on Radio 3’s New Music Show last night and you can listen again here.
Chanctonbury Rings can now be pre-ordered from Ghost Box.
Nice new review in from The Sound Projector: ‘Immaculate album and recommended to lovers of Kraus, folk music, or just good songs.’
Stewart Gardiner talks about alchemy and set me some interesting interview questions to answer for Concrete Islands, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite music/film/literature/ideas websites.
Psychedelic Baby Magazine also invited me back for an interview, so two interviews in one day!
The end of last year was a busy time for me and I got behind on news. So, belatedly, here’s a roundup of some reviews and articles that appeared late in 2018.
There were print reviews for Joy’s Reflection in Shindig! – 5 stars, ‘Not only is this probably Sharron Kraus’ best work, it’s one of the best albums you’ll hear this year.’ – RnR – 4 stars, ‘dreamy, haunting music’ – and Prog magazine – ‘a fine showcase for Kraus’.
I was interviewed by Italian music magazine Rockerilla as well as music won’t save you. Ondarock (another Italian website) reviewed the album.
There was a nice review of my Ghost Box single at Concrete Islands – ‘The overall effect is more akin to Alan Garner’s Weirdstone of Brisingamen than Tolkien however. Garner brings one close to the magic without getting rid of the pylons. So too do Sharron Kraus and Ghost Box’ – and MOOF magazine reviewed the Cafe Oto show I played together with Beautify Junkyards. Ned Raggett wrote a kind of retrospective feature on my work for Bandcamp.
Joy’s Reflection was included in a handful of end of year lists: FRUK, Concrete Islands, music won’t save you, and I was asked to contribute to Delusions of Adequacy‘s end of year list by choosing a favourite album of the year. I chose Aby Vulliamy’s Spin Cycle, which I’d been listening to over and over after playing shows with Aby in October.