“Mr. Slick” by Richard F. Yates

—Richard F. Yates

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“Orange Bat” by Richard F. Yates

—Richard F. Yates

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“Read a Damn Book – 113: The Vampyre; A Tale”

the vampyre (1819) - (peg)

John William Polidori – The Vampyre; A Tale (1819)

Nearly 80 years before Bram Stoker published Dracula, John William Polidori gave us Lord Ruthven, a sallow, unpleasant aristocrat who fascinated the ladies and led nearly anyone who had anything to do with him to ruin. Polidori was Lord Byron’s personal physician and traveling companion—and the vampiric antagonist in this story was probably based, to some extent, on Byron himself, although there is an introductory section AND a concluding chapter to this book that both discuss Lord Byron, and they go to some length to explain how kind and pious he was, despite his tendency towards solitude.

This story, for those who haven’t read it, follows a well-to-do orphan, Aubrey, who meets Lord Ruthven at one of the many social gatherings that rich kids used to attend back in the old days. (Think about the grand ball in Cinderella—that kind of thing.) Deciding that it’s time for his entry into the adult world, meaning a trip to the continent to “complete” his education, Aubrey asks Lord Ruthven to accompany him on his travels, hoping to learn more about this mysterious figure. On the journey, however, Aubrey discovers that his companion is something closer to a demonic force than a gentleman, encouraging the people they meet to indulge in every vice and corrupting any young women they encounter. Aubrey is disgusted, and eventually breaks with Lord Ruthven, only to meet up with him later under some very unpleasant circumstances!

Unlike the more modern, Salem’s Lot-style vampires, Lord Ruthven seems just as happy for his victims to end up swinging from the gallows as he does inviting them to “dinner.” He also seems to be able to appear in daylight, although he does seem to become more bloodthirsty after dark. Another interesting wrinkle in the standard vampire lore can be seen in one incident where Ruthven is shot by some bandits, and he later dies from his wound. Instead of being buried, however, he asks before expiring that his body be laid on a hillside under the light of the moon. Later in the story, of course, he returns from the dead—which surprises Aubrey, but probably won’t take modern readers by too much of a surprise.

He doesn’t sleep in a coffin (that we know of.) Neither garlic nor silver are mentioned in the story. He isn’t bothered by sunlight. What he IS is an awful engine of corruption, a demonic fiend (who drinks blood and likes seeing innocent people come to ruin.) He does seem to have some “glamour” powers, however, and can control seem people’s minds to a certain degree. He isn’t exactly like a modern vampire, but the character is still compelling and nasty, and well worth the effort to get to know.

The tale is short—even with the introduction and the conclusion, which aren’t part of the story itself, the whole book is fewer than a hundred pages. Maybe closer to 70 or 80. (I read a digital version, so I’m not exactly sure how long the book is in print form.) Being as old as it is, the book is naturally public domain, meaning you should be able to find a copy for cheap or free, wherever public domain books can be found, and I definitely recommend reading it, if you’re a fan of vampire tales or gothic storytelling. It’s a critical tale in the development of vampire fiction, possibly one of the first to make a CHARACTER out of a bloodsucker, instead of just a folklore beast, AND it’s also an interesting tale. I’ve read it at least five times over the last few years, and I still find it entertaining.

It’s probably not going to SCARE modern readers, but there are some decent creepy and suspenseful moments to be found in these pages. The language isn’t too difficult to read, either, especially considering the age of the story. (It’s almost 200 years old, you know.) It’s probably not as thrilling as something like Carmilla, but it could also be argued that Carmilla wouldn’t have even been written if Polidori’s Lord Ruthven hadn’t been so popular. Regardless, this is a fun, creepy story, with a deep history, that most folks can probably read in one or two sittings. I enjoy the heck out of it and think most people who like older, eerie stories will probably have a lot of fun with it, too!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)

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“Goin’ Up Hill (Even When There Ain’t No Hill)” by Richard F. Yates

—Richard F. Yates

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“Blue Puffball (Happy as a Green Puffball!)” by Richard F. Yates

blue puffball (happy as a green puffball(excl) (13 aug. 2018) by rfy - (peg)

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)

SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!

https://primitiveentertainment.com/
https://primitiveentertainment.com/read-a-damn-book-list/
https://primitiveentertainment.com/support/
https://ko-fi.com/primitiveentertainment

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“Angie’s Shindig @ Neeta & James’s House, Longview, WA, USA”

After DJing for seven hours the day before (and having a great time), Mariah and I packed up our gear (my little, mobile DJ set-up), hit a coffee shop drive-thru, and got to our friends’, Neeta and James, house at about noon on Sunday, Aug. 12th, 2018… With some help packing junk (my back is SHOT), we made a makeshift DJ booth on the covered back porch on a “table” made out of an old door (I LOVE it!) Once the speakers were plugged in, we set about making some noise.

angies shindig

The occasion was ALMOST like a wedding reception for Angie, who is Neeta’s niece. Angie used to live in Longview, but has since moved to Seattle, where she met an ex-skater punk and, eventually, the two got married. (Like the jerk that I am, I never asked the “groom” his name, but we chatted for quite a while, and he seemed like a very nice fellow…) Because much of Angie’s family still lives in Longview, this SHINDIG was a kind of DELAYED RECEPTION, so that the older folks could come and give their congratulations. (You may notice a few cuts in the playlist below that were aimed at appeasing a slightly more gray-haired crowd. Gotta keep the customers entertained!)

The tone was very “PARTY!” with lots a food and drinks for all, people visiting and having a good time, a few hunter/gatherer parties going out into the wilds to collect blackberries, and a handful of folks who returned multiple times to the DJ booth to talk music. (That was pretty cool. I always love an opportunity to talk music…) I think it’s fair to say that a great time was had by all—possibly DESPITE my musical contributions! I was given free-reign by the “bride” to play pretty-much whatever I wanted, and I flexed my playlist privileges just a bit… Unlike the day before, however, I had plenty of requests at this event, and only had ONE that I couldn’t accommodate. (I don’t have the theme to Friends—because I hated that show, and the song makes me feel sick.) So, with all that said, let’s get to the playlist…

(Click the “continue” button to keep reading, if you don’t see a bunch of songs listed just below this sentence!)

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“Soggy Company Picnic, 11 Aug. ’18 @ Tam O’Shanter Park, Kelso, WA, USA” by Richard F. Yates

Saturday the 11th of August, Mariah and I braved the weather, which was inhospitable, to attend the opening ceremony of the Relay for Life of Cowlitz County at the Coweeman Middle School track in Kelso, WA. As we trudged from the car to the field, the drizzle turned to showers, although it was still pretty warm. (Low 70s F, I believe.) One of our friends, a “survivor,” gave a touching and humorous address, which was pretty good to hear (even though I’m phobic about medical stuff and felt distinctly uncomfortable the entire time I was there. I try to be supportive, despite my neuroses…) After our friend’s speech, we hit a coffee shop, then Mariah dropped me off at Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso, WA, USA, so that I could DJ my seventh J.H. Kelly company picnic.

It was…soggy…when I arrived (a few minutes before 11:00 A.M.)

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Luckily (or “thanks to strategic planning” by the folks who set my booth up), I was under a little tent, which was also under a large tree—so most of the day, the DJ booth stayed dry. MOST of the time. During the periods of HEAVY rain (and there were several) I caught some splatter from the winds pushing rain in under the tent, and I had to cover things up. At one point, I noticed that a steady stream of water was sliding off the roof of the tent onto a stack of amplifiers! Thankfully, I found the cover for a plastic storage tub, which was just the right size to cover the top of the amps, and I set it on top of the stack, angling it so that the water flowed away from the electronics. Electrocution averted!

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During the heaviest rain episodes, folks clambered for cover under any available structure (including my booth, where one guys says, “Wow! You’re still using CDs!” I still think of CDs as the NEW technology, compared to records—but WHATEVER!), and despite the less than cooperative weather, the picnic was well attended. The company spends a lot of money on this event every year, so I’m glad folks didn’t decide to skip it just because of a little deluge! (We’re from the Northwest—a bit of rain doesn’t really bother us much.)

Anyway, I played music from 11:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., drawing my tunes from an “old” crate of CDs. In seven hours, I didn’t have ONE request or a single complaint (which is kind of weird.) The folks seemed to have a good time, although that might have had more to do with the free food and drinks (including beer) than it did with my music choices, although I did see some people head-bobbing along to the tunes from time to time. Personally, I sit at home and play music all day long for myself, so I always enjoy the opportunity to play some cuts for other folks (especially if I getting’ paid to do it!) It was fun though, and I’m sure I’ll be up for doing it again next year!

(For those wondering what I played for seven hours, I’m including the entire playlist below. Just click the “continue” button (or whatever it is) to see what I spunnn!)

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