Because I’m really getting in to this, here’s a group image. I’m sort of in love with the zombie couple, too wrapped up to notice that their ears are falling off and they’re scattering creepy crawlies in their wake.
We’re having a 1920s Speakeasy party this year, a joint Halloween and birthday party for a flatmate. I’m in the middle of an attempt to make horns like the ones in this drawing right now – fetch the papier mache supplies, Jeeves!
In the meantime I’m overcome with the desire to draw an entire Great Gatsby party of vamps, ghouls and demons…
Hey pickles! It’s nearly Halloween, my favourite time of year! Here’s a pick of some of my most favouritest Halloween tunes – from the classics (Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’) to a few that might be new to you (the excellent Molotov Jukebox, Black Casino & the Ghost), and from rockabilly (Imelda May) to folk (Bellowhead and Kate Rusby). Hope you enjoy – leave a comment below if so, and please do share the Halloweeny goodness!
01. Psycho – Imelda May
02. The Strange Face of Love – Tito & Tarantula
03. Way Down Hadestown – Anais Mitchell
04. Something Beautiful – Clem Snide
05. Face to Face – Siouxsie & The Banshees
06. Lullaby – The Cure
07. Fright Night – J.Geils Band
08. What’s the Life of Man? – Bellowhead
09. Bloodshed – Modernaire
10. Dirty Dancehall – The Zutons
11. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
12. My Angel Put The Devil In Me – Murray Gold and Yamit Mamo
13. Culling Of The Fold – The Decemberists
14. I Put A Spell On You – Creedence Clearwater Revival
And on to number 2….
Since moving to London I’ve finally found the excuse I’d always been looking for that allowed me to go all-out for Halloween: my good friend Rob’s birthday is the 31st of October, and he, lucky for me, fully encourages the fancy-dress. I’ve mentioned before on this blog how much I love to dress up and look stupid, so it’s fun to have friends who throw themselves into it and fully commit to the stupidity of it all!
Last year was a marvellous party above a Soho pub where I was finally able to fulfill my long-held dream of dressing as zombie Marie Antoinette. I spent the night swishing around, pawing at restaurant windows scaring the customers inside, and generally finding it difficult to get through doors in my costume – constructed from customised eBay wig and corset, skirt made from a Primark curtain and two pillows strapped around my waist for the authentic (looking) 18th century silhouette. And of course, lots and lots of fake blood.
Or at least, what I thought was a lot of fake blood – but that was before Collette, and her makeup kit (“I’ve got old, new, clotted and dribbley bloody, which one do you want?”)
This summer I met the wonderful Colette while she was working as the one-woman hair and makeup team on the Cyprus production of Wizard of Oz that I worked on. This girl is a genius. So this year’s birthday-halloween-zombie pub crawl around Soho on the saturday before Halloween was made all the better by the addition of Colette providing amazingly disgusting makeup and prosthetic wounds. I was the first to sit in Colette’s makeup chair and rather unwisely used the words “Do what you want.”….
Twenty minutes later (twenty minutes of watching the horror and disgust – in between fits of giggles -grow on the face of Claire, who was photographing the whole thing) and I looked in the mirror to discover that, with the addition of my cobbled together Edwardian costume (dead Downton Abbey: charity shop blouse, cropped H&M tuxedo jacket, black velvet fabric pinned into a high-waisted skirt, victorian ankle-boots, top-hat and veil) I looked…well, rather as though I’d recently died of syphyllis.
“You won’t pull tonight,” was the reaction of most of the others when they arrived. Along with, “Urgh, you’re rank!” from birthday-boy Rob as he got a close-up view of my putrid face when I squeezed past him in the packed studio. No slutty halloween nurses and sexy witches for us – we were doing this properly. For extra authenticity, every now and then a soft plop on my arm was a fallen scrap of my decomposing face, the odd globule hanging from a stray strand of hair worked loose from my wig. Lovely.
Claire, as a zombie pirate, got a wonderful weeping bullet hole in the gullet, a rather water-logged blue looking face and a fantastic stitched up gash across the nose (Colette pulled a loose thread from her top to glue on as fake stitches -genius). Now would be a good time to mention the Mortician’s Putty that, normally used to cover up gaping wounds on dead bodies, was tonight used to create and blend huge, angry welts and bloody gashes across the faces of ten or so of Rob’s friends. I helped as much as I could, appointed myself Colette’s assistant, but stuck mainly to the colouring and shading as opposed to moulding the tricky putty into shape.
Colette didn’t escape unscathed though – that big wound down her cheek, that was me, that was…
Before the others arrived we had some fun taking pictures on the roof and in the alley-way behind the studio…
Much putty, fake blood and beer later, we trekked out to the first of many Soho pubs – or those that would let a hoard of the undead in.. (when I pointed out the Halloween decorations inside the pub to the bouncer who wouldn’t let us in his empty bar, he told me “Yes, but Halloween was friday…”). It was a great night all round and a fantastic chance to dress up, though the day proved a bit long for Colette on I, who were tucked up in bed by 1 am like good little dead-girls.
All makeup by the brilliant Colette Williams – thanks for letting me be your assistant for the day, lovely! All photos by the wonderful Claire Bilyard of Scarab Pictures, used with permission.
If you pinch any of them we’ll come round your house and eat your brains. Consider yourself warned.
A couple of days ago I stumbled across an album called Hadestown by a singer songwriter named Anais Mitchell. I hadn’t come across her before but was looking for a new album with a story/concept album like The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists, and after a light spot of googling I came across Hadestown and had to buy it immediately.
The album is a soundtrack of sorts to a retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, but set in Depression-era New Orleans. Orpheus is the dreamer musician who thinks he only has to sing to pay the bills, where as his new wife Eurydice is a little more practical. They are poor and she is desperate, and becomes infatuated with the kingpin Hades, who seduces her with his promises of a better life and whiskes her away to Hadestown, where Orpheus must follow to rescue her.
It’s a brilliant re-working of the story and the music, like its New Orleans setting, is a wonderful mix of jazz, blues, bluegrass. And it features accordions and blues-harmonica, so I’m sold! I highly recommend you check it out. It’s not available to listen to on spotify but some tracks are uploaded on youtube (inclucing some great live versions), and it’s available to buy on iTunes.
Whilst listening to it I found myself imagining a band of demons playing the songs (in the vein of The Devil Went Down to Georgia) and it felt so apt as Halloween approaches, that I had to draw something.
This image is based on the song Our Lady of the Underground, where Persephone (Hades’ wife) sympathises with the inhabitants of Hadestown and offers them a glimpse of stars, wind, rain, spring flowers – all at a price, of course. For some reason I imagined her as a sort of sashaying nightclub singer, with her zombie band, and this is the result:
And finally here’s the song it was based on: