5 thoughts on “‘as blank as the days yet to be’ by Mark Valentine

  1. An aesthetic pamphlet with over ten densely texted pages, plus a title page and five full page photographs in addition to the outside cover. My copy is numbered 14/100

    —————-
    From start at “In the summer of that year” to “I have never forgotten him.”

    “Part of my purpose in going to Whirlwell was to gather folklore about folklore.”

    The narrator’s enthralling quest – in person, by dint of ‘spoor’ and from research – for the cockatrice, at first in this byway of Hampshire where he dares talk to only one person (hoping he is not the village idiot?) while he is there. And that is as far as I have got.
    This, so far, is engaging, rurally urbane, Valentine-vintage textwork.

  2. From “I suppose it ought to have been one of those summer days…” to “…I had a feeling that I must remember the moment. There was a quality about it I could not quite identify.”

    Comfortable narrative of a church’s missing weather-vane depicting a cockatrice, meeting a man with four coloured jam jars and a sign of the cockatrice on the local pub, a magazine about mazes, but nothing about a megazanthus.

  3. From “We came to a narrow house…” to “…of his fantastical model.”

    Sampling this in order, savoured morceau by savoured morceau, “an extraordinary athanor of shades” being part of a deviously tactile description of the cockatrice model belonging to the man the narrator met. A forbidden description, I infer. I am intrigued even more by the man met and all his accoutrements.

  4. From “I subscribed then –” to “…and if he would want to meet again.”

    A tour of arcane periodical journals, some more serious than others. IMG_3059Or more or less professionally printed. Leading to “a world quiet different to the everyday one, a mysterious unfathomable world,…”
    At first I misread, in the small print, ‘unfathomable’ as ‘unfashionable.’ Both are true, and I try to blend a gestalt of traditional and avant garde in my own real-time reviews. The regular embodiment of periodical disprint.
    Laced with found art in photographs, as also in this booklet.

  5. From “The field lay at a slightly lower level…” to the end

    “I knew the patterns of these miz-mazes to be complex, as I had seen diagrams of them, and I did not think his great-aunt’s rough sketch could be more than a rudimentary recollection,…”

    Sharing the maze with this man I’d met, this person who I am or who I may not be as first person narrator, a maze itself, of self, as are the emotions shared when sharing a bottle of water, without his wiping the top after I had drunk from it. This is a megazanthus after all, an anthology of mazes and magazines. And a gazetteer of landmark horses, one possibly a landscape’s dragon abbas, or even, dare I say, a cockatrice. A sleight of gender.

    This is prime Valentine.

    “…I said, ‘I wonder what’s in the middle?’
    ‘We are,’ he replied,…”

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