The art and science of ghosts

15 Oct

The wonderful folks at Boing Boing asked me to explain to our friends overseas what all our ‘hauntology’ business is about – apparently it’s ‘catching on’ in the USA.

Rather than a comprehensive guide, which would fill an encyclopedia, I prepared a very partial ghost train ride of connected themes, artifacts and people ranging from MR James to Are You Being Served?

I think it works quite well, the more so for having something of a timeless feel itself: bar one or two references it could have been written any time in the past six years!

As an aside, in discussing the material with American friends, it becomes clear that they didn’t really have a comparable vein of culture, i.e. one that was designed to scare the crap out of kids. More generally of course the nostalgia industry is booming on both sides of the pond via the endless stream of Hollywood remakes and clones, the ‘hypnagogic pop’ movement, retro gaming etc, but really I think that’s just a perpetuation of a state of affairs that’s been with us for decades. Hauntology is… something else.

Anyway, here’s the piece: Hauntologists mine the past for music’s future

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