Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Excerpt: The Lure of the Labrador Wild: The classic story of Leonidas Hubbard by Dillon Wallace, setting: late January 1904

The following excerpt is from Dillon Wallace's classic story of the fateful canoe trip which Wallace, Leonidas Hubbard and George Elson made into the interior of Labrador in 1903 (The Lure of the Labrador Wild originally published in 1905 by Fleming H. Revell, New York) . In 2005 Rattling Books released an unabridged audio edition of The Lure of the Labrador Wild narrated by Jody Richardson.

During January and February the cold was terrific. The spirit thermometer at the camp was scaled down to 64 degrees below zero, and on several days the spirit disappeared below the scale mark before 8 o'clock in the evening. For a week the temperature never, even at midday, rose above 40 below. The old natives of the bay said there never had been such a winter before. Not a man in the camp escaped without a frozen nose and the cheeks and chins of all of them were black from being nipped by the frost. Bently declared that he froze his nose in bed, and Mrs. Bently bore witness to the truth of the statement. But Bently's nose was frosted on an average of once a day.

Nearly all of this time I lay at the lumber camp worrying about Hubbard's body. One day late in January, when I had been hoping that the body had been safely brought out , Mackenzie and George arrived from Northwest River with the news that the storms had been so continuous it had not been deemed wise to attempt the journey inland. I wished to be removed at once to the post, thinking that my presence there might hasten matters, but Dr. Hardy said there would be no use of having two dead men, and I was forced to be content with promises that the expedition would get under way as soon as possible.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Excerpt: Melody, a story from Open by Lisa Moore



50 Words from the story Melody by Lisa Moore

"I felt logy and grateful. Also sophisticated. I'd had an orgasm, though I didn't know it at the time. I didn't know that's what that was. I could count on one hand the number of times I'd said the word out loud, though I'd read about it. I believed myself ..."

Listen to a clip of Holly Hogan reading from Open.

The unabridged audio edition of Open by Lisa Moore, narrated by Lisa Moore, Holly Hogan and Mary Lewis is available from rattlingbooks.com.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Attention Print Publishers & Literary Agents: Tonight's Author on CBC Radio's Between the Covers has never been Between the Covers


Reminder

Tonight on CBC Radio's Between the Covers, hear Newfoundland writer/actor/director Janis Spence finish off Bar Beatty in her work of short fiction, The Painted Ladies.

The Painted Ladies is the first story in a collection of six interconnected short stories available in Audio only (no print edition) in the Earphones Award winning collection on the beach in spanish room (Rattling Books).

An Author as good as Spence should not only be Heard but Read. Some print crowd out there should publish this stuff. In the meantime, if you want to hear more from Spence's collection of short fiction check out the full set of six stories (four hours of listening) on MP3 CD or as a Digital Download from rattlingbooks.com.

Read & Listen Excerpt: Kite, from Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey


Kite

I was crooked as a rainbow when I was a boy, I'll admit it. Stabbed Hollis with a pocket knife down on the Labrador. Swung at him with a berry can and split his head open. He'd have beat the snot out of me on more than one occasion if I wasn't the faster runner.

He read something about Marconi's kites one summer and made one for himself out of brown paper and scrap wood; it had a tail ten feet long with bits of coloured rag tied every foot. He worked on it for a week in the old shed, and I chased him out into the meadow garden when he finished it. A perfect day for a kite, a brisk easterly and mostly clear. Helped him get it up and stood beside him as he let out yard after yard of string, the kite pulling taut like an anchored boat in a tide, the narrow wake of the tail snaking behind it. And I'm tugging at Hollis' sleeve, wanting to hold it myself; he's leaning back to keep it high in the wind and telling me no, no way, fuck off, it's my kite, no.

Crooked as a rainbow, like I said. I stomped off toward the house, wishing him dead. When I reached the edge of the garden the kite caught a downdraft, arcing to the ground like a hawk afer a rabbit, as if my contrariness had sucked the very wind out of the sky behind me. It landed nose first ten feet in front of where I stood. Hollis was running in my direction, yelling something I couldn't hear over the sound of the wind and I wouldn't have listened anyway. So angry by then I wanted to do something unforgivable. Put both my feet through the kite where it lay and then I ran like hell.

Now he's gone I wish he'd caught up to me that day. Maybe he would have given me something to remember him by, the mark of his hand on my body somewhere. The thin line of a scar I could hold him with a while longer, before the sky carried him off for good.

Now Listen to Ron Hynes narrating Kite

Hard Light by Michael Crummey is published by Brick Books.

Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey, narrated by Michael Crummey, Ron Hynes and Diedre Gillard-Rowlings is published by Rattling Books.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Next Big Thing: Poetry? - oscar nomination for The Danish Poet

We're not sure about the exact order of what the NEXT BIG THING is going to be, whether Colouring will come first or Poetry. The way for Poetry is still being laid but there's an early warning sign in the Oscar nomination for Canadian animation The Danish Poet by Torill Kove.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Janis Spence story on CBC Radio's Between the Covers January 25-26


Tune in this Thursday and Friday night to CBC Radio's Between the Covers Program for The Painted Ladies, a short story by Newfoundland writer/actor Janis Spence.

The Painted Ladies, the first story in Janis Spence's collection of short fiction on the beach in spanish room (Rattling Books) will broadcast on the National CBC Radio program Between the Covers, January 25 - 26, 2007

on the beach in spanish room by Janis Spence

What an unassuming but brilliant little gem this recording is. Set in Newfoundland, all six stories stand proudly on their own, but together they have the sweep of a novel. The reason is Janis Spence's marvellous characters, "who wore their lives as casually as big sweaters." ... Spence gives a masterful performance of all the roles she's created - and it doesn't hurt that she's got that incomparable Newfoundland accent."
- AudioFile Magazine, Earphones award winner

Poetry in the Library (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Poetry in the Library presents new work from four St. John's poets, Susan Ingersoll, Wade Kearley, Agnes Walsh and Shoshanna Wingate, as well as poetry from Memorial's outgoing Writer-in-Residence, Don McKay.
Readers will find poems posted throughout the Queen Elizabeth II Library and online at
http://www.library.mun.ca/qeii/pil/index.php
If you would like to comment on this project or make suggestions, please contact Pat Warner at pwarner@mun.ca.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Excerpt: The Lure of the Labrador Wild: The classic story of Leonidas Hubbard by Dillon Wallace, setting: mid January 1904


The following excerpt is from Dillon Wallace's classic story of the fateful canoe trip which Wallace, Leonidas Hubbard and George Elson made into the interior of Labrador in 1903 (The Lure of the Labrador Wild originally published in 1905 by Fleming H. Revell, New York) . In 2005 Rattling Books released an unabridged audio edition of The Lure of the Labrador Wild narrated by Jody Richardson.

The Photo above is of Dillon Wallace lunching while still on the trail with Hubbard and Elson. The image is from the original glass slide collection housed by the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, University of Newfoundland.

As we pick up the story the tragic canoe trip is behind Wallace and his struggle now is to survive to retrieve his beloved Hubbard's body from the interior and return with it to the US.

...The chill he had received during the trip from Northwest River so affected Dr. Hardy that he was unable to proceed to Muddy Lake. Two days after our arrival he had a severe haemorrhage, and the following day another. They forced him to take to his bed, and thereafter he rose only occasionally for half an hour's rest in a chair. He was a deeply religious nature, and, realising that he was doomed, he awaited the slow approach of death with calm resignation.

And my feet steadily grew worse. Three days after our arrival at Kenemish I could not touch them to the floor. The doctor and I lay on couches side by side. I could not even bear the weight of the bedclothes on my feet, and Dunbar built a rack from the hoops of an old flour barrel to protect them. Under the doctor's direction, Mrs. Dunbar every day removed the bandages from my feet, cleansed them with carbolic acid water and rebandaged them. Dunbar and the other men carried me in their arms when it was necessary for me to be taken from my couch. My temperature ran up until it reached 103 1/2. The doctor then said there was only one way to save my life - to cut off my legs.

"And, " he said, "I'm the only one here that knows how to do it, and I'm too weak to undertake it. So we're both going to die, Wallace. There's nothing to fear in that though, if you trust in God."

The doctor was an accomplished player of the violin, but he had left his own instrument at Muddy Lake, and the only one he could obtain at Kenemish was a miserable affair that gave him little satisfaction. So while he lay dying by the side of his patient who he thought was also dying, he, for the most part, gratified his love of music and sought to comfort us both by softly singing in his sympathetic tenor voice the grand old hymns of the church. "Lead Kindly Light" and "Nearer My God to Thee" were his favourites, and every syllable was enunciated clearly and distinctly.

But he was mistaken in thinking that I, too, was to die. Soon there was an improvement noticeable in the condition of both of my feet, and gradually they grew better.

"It's truly a miracle that the Lord is working," said the doctor. "You were beyond human aid. I've prayed from the bottom of my heart that you'd get well. I've prayed a dozen times a day, and now the prayer is answered. It's the only one of my prayers," he added sadly, "that has been answered since I have been in Labrador."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Colouring Sheet: Letters from Uncle Val - #1


Ever wonder what the next "knitting" will be?

What the coolest people will haul out of their bags in the bars of 2007 and go at with the fervent reverence previously reserved for homespun?

Here at Rattling Books we believe the next Big Thing - BIGGER EVEN THAN POETRY - that's right, BIGGER EVEN THAN POETRY IS GOING TO BE RIGHT AFTER THIS NEXT BIG THING - we believe THE NEXT BIG THING is colouring. Not for kids though. We don't reccomend it for kids. Colouring is an adult activity.

So haul out the crayons and print out your Uncle Val Colouring Sheet.

Colour.
Be Calm.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Read & Listen Excerpt: Winter Coal, a poem from Merrybegot by Mary Dalton


WINTER COAL

They trotted right up to the foot of the lane,
Cart piled with coal for the light-keeper's shack.
But the cousins said no, no crossing their land
So they turned round the horse and headed on back
For the boat, loaded her up for the Point.
Jam-packed to the gunnels, she rode low in the water.
A stiff wind from the west and over she went -
Over she toppled, tossed them out in dark water.
One of them got fast to the boat,
Held six hours to the side of her,
His fingernails tore off of him;
His brother's luck broke -
She flipped him in first
And the coal down on top of him.

Now try LISTENING to Winter Coal

The unabridged audio edition of Merrybegot by Mary Dalton published by Rattling Books in 2005 is performed by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn. For more information or to buy it visit rattlingbooks.com.

Congratulations to Brick Books on 31 years of publishing great Canadian Poetry

Rattling Books loves Brick Books. I just wanted to get that out of the way well in advance of Valentine's Day. Brick Books is 31 and Rattling Books is only 3 so it's not what you're thinking. They've been more than kind to us and we just want to thank them for being like that. Especially after 31 years!

In 2006 Brick Books published the following seven poetry titles:

When Earth Leaps Up Anne Szumigalski Edited by Mark Abley; Preface by Hilary Clark; Afterword by Mark Abley

I, Nadja and Other Poems Susan Elmslie

Kingdom, Phylum Adam Dickinson

Ink Monkey Diana Hartog

Jaguar Rain: the Margaret Mee Poems Jan Conn Preface by Sir Peter Crane, Director of the Royal Botanic (Kew) Gardens, London, England

Ghost Country Steve Noyes

Anatomy of Keys Steven Price

From Brick Books' email update (which you can sign up for on their website) comes the following summary of some other highlights for Brick Books in 2006.

...Barry Dempster won the 2006 Jack Chalmers Poetry Award [Canadian Authors Association] following his nomination for the 2005 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for his book The Burning Alphabet; this book was also longlisted for the Re-Lit Award. On November 22, 2006 Susan Elmslie won the 2006 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry and was shortlisted for the McAuslan First Book Prize for her first book I, Nadja and Other Poems [Quebec Writers’ Federation]. Anatomy of Keys by Steven Price is a Globe 100 title for 2006.

An Oak Hunch by Phil Hall was nominated for the 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize. Karen Solie’s second book Modern and Normal was nominated in 2006 for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. David Seymour was shortlisted for a Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for his first book Inter Alia. Lunar Drift by Marlene Cookshaw, Modern and Normal by Karen Solie and Souwesto Home by James Reaney were all longlisted for a Re-Lit Award...

For more information on any of these titles, visit Brick Books website.

There are two Brick Books that have or will appear as audio editions with Rattling Books:

Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey, narrated by Ron Hynes and Diedre Gillard-Rowlings (2003)

The Grey Islands by John Steffler, narrated by John Steffler with Frank Holden, Janis Spence, Diedre Gillard-Rowlings and Daryl Hopkins (coming in March 2007)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Kathleen Petty interview with Parliamentary Poet Laureate John Steffler, CBC Radio's The House, January 6

Canada's new Poet Laureate, John Steffler is planning to develop an audio archive of Canadian Poets reading their poetry. He outlined his plans in an interview with Kathleen Petty on The House, CBC Radio, January 6, 2007

To listen to Kathleen's conversation with John Steffler go to The House website and look for the January 6, 2007 Archived Broadcast for that date. Scroll through the broadcast to find John's interview between 37:38 and 44:00 minutes.

John Steffler has an audio recording of his own forthcoming with Rattling Books. The unabridged audio recording of The Grey Islands by John Steffler will be released March, 2007.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New online Review of Merrybegot by Mary Dalton, audio edition


"...Best has a lovely smooth reading voice, and does a little bit of singing on “The Water Man” (mp3 1.38 MB). After first reading the poem, she then sings it beautifully as a soft lullaby. Patrick Boyle fills the space between readings with improvised bits of what I can only describe as a combination of traditional east coast music and jazz. He really caught my attention on “Burn” (mp3 256 KB), the three-part story of a salter interspersed with Boyle’s mournful sea longing trumpet. The music is an inventive blend of styles that works well with the collection..."

To read the rest of this review by Melanie Maddix of Mary Dalton's Merrybegot (performed by Anita Best and Patrick Boyle) visit PoetryReviews.ca

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Excerpt: The Last Voyage of the Karluk by Captain Robert Bartlett (Captain Bob), setting: January 10, 1914


The following excerpt is from The Last Voyage of the Karluk An Epic of Death and Survival in the Arctic, 1913-1916 as related by her captain, Robert A. Bartlett and here set down by Ralph T. Hale (published in 1916 by Small, Maynard and Company, Inc.; unabridged audio edition narrated by Frank Holden published by Rattling Books).

...At five o'clock on the morning of the tenth I was awakended by a loud report like a rifle-shot. Then there came a tremor all through the ship. I was soon on deck. The watchman, who for that night was Brady, had already been overboard on the ice and I met him coming up the ice gangway to tell me what he had found. There was a small crack right at the stem of the ship, he said. I went there with him at once and found that the crack ran irregularly but in general northwesterly for about two hundred yards. At first it was very slight, although it was a clean and unmistakable break; in the course of half an hour, however, it grew to a foot in width and as the day wore on widened still more until it was two feet wide on an average.

By 10 A.M. there was a narrow lane of water off both bow and stern. The ship was now entirely free on the starboard side but still frozen fast in her ice-cradle on the port side ... The ship felt no pressure, only slight shocks, and her hull was still untouched, for the open ends of the pocket fended off the moving ice especially at the stern. It was clear to me, however, that as soon as the moving ice should grind or break off the points of these natural fenders there was a strong probability that the moving ice-sheet would draw nearer to the starboard side of the ship and, not unlike the jaws of a nut-cracker, squeeze her against the sheet in which she was frozen on the port side, particularly as the wind was attaining a velocity of forty-five miles an hour.

Everything indicated, therefore, that the time was near at hand when we should have to leave the ship. We must have things ready. I gave orders to get the snow off the deck and the skylights and the other walls of the cabin to lighten her. ...

At about half past seven in the evening I chanced to be standing near the engine-room door. The lamps were lighted. The labors of the day were over and now, after dinner, the men were playing cards or reading or sewing, as usual. All at once I heard a splitting, crashing sound below. I went down into the engine-room and found the chief engineer there. We could hear water rushing into the hold and by lantern-light could see it puring in at different places for a distance of ten feet along the port side....

I went on deck again and gave the order, "All hands abandon ship."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Excerpt: The Lure of the Labrador Wild: The classic story of Leonidas Hubbard by Dillon Wallace, setting: early January 1904


The following excerpt is from Dillon Wallace's classic story of the fateful canoe trip which Wallace, Leonidas Hubbard and George Elson made into the interior of Labrador in 1903 (The Lure of the Labrador Wild originally published in 1905 by Fleming H. Revell, New York) . In 2005 Rattling Books released an unabridged audio edition of The Lure of the Labrador Wild narrated by Jody Richardson.

As we pick up the story, Leonidas Hubbard lays dead in his tent in the Labrador wilderness and Wallace, slowly recovering from their ordeal, is planning to retrieve Hubbard's body and return with it to the US.

...Immediately upon my return to Northwest River, my feet began to trouble me again. Word was sent to Dr. Hardy, who, regarding it as a call of duty, arrived on December 31st. I very much regret to say, that in responding to the call, Dr. Hardy received a chill that hastened, if it did not cause, his death. After examining my feet upon his arrival, he advised me to return with him to Muddy Lake. So it was arranged that George, with Mackenzie's dogs and komatik, should drive Dr. Hardy and me to the Kenemish lumber camp twelve miles across Groswater Bay, where there was a patient that required attention, and that from there Hardy and I should go on to Muddy Lake with other dogs. Alas! the doctor never saw Muddy Lake again.

Before starting, I learned from Allen Goudie and Duncan MacLean, who came from the interior to spend New Year's Day that Grand Lake was frozen hard and an attempt might be made to bring out Hubbard's body. Accordingly, I engaged Duncan Maclean and Tom Blake, also a breed, to undertake the task with George, and to recover, so far as possible, the photographic films and other articles we had abandoned at Goose Camp and Lake Elson. Blake was the father of Mackenzie's housekeeper, and lived at the rapid at the eastern end of Grand Lake. As he had, at the request of friends, frequently prepared bodies for burial, it was arranged that he should head the expedition, while George acted as guide, and the agreement was that, weather permitting, the party should start inland on January 6th. A coffin, made by the carpenter at Kenemish, was all ready to receive the body when it should arrive at the post.

George was to have driven Dr. Hardy and me to Kenemish on January 3rd, but as there was a stiff wind blowing and the thermometer registered 40 degrees below zero, we postponed our departure untill the following day. The morning was clear, and the temperature was 34 below. The dogs, with a great howling and jumping, had hardly settled down to the slow trot which with only fair travelling is their habital gait, when we observed that the sky was clouding, and in an incredibly short time the first snowflakes of the gathering storm began to fall. Soon the snow was so thick that it shut us in as with a curtain, and eventually even old Aillik, our leader, was lost to view.

"Bear well t' th' east'ard, an' keep free o' th' bad ice; the's sure t' be bad ice handy t' th' Kenemish," had been Mark Blake's parting injunction. So George kept well to the eastward as, hour after hour, we forged our way on through the blinding, drifting snow. At length we came upon land, but what land we did not know. The storm had abated by this time, and a fresh komatik track was visible, which we proceeded to follow. On all sides of us ice was piled in heaps as high as a house. We had been travelling altogether about six hours, and the storm had ceased, when we came upon a tilt on the shore of a deep bay, and, close by it, a man making passes with a stick at a large wolf, which, apparently emboldened by hunger, was jumping and snarling about waiting for a chance to spring in upon him.

The noise of our approaching komatik caused the wolf to slink off, and then the man hurried to the tilt, reappeared with a rifle and shot the beast as it still prowled among the ice hills. He proved to be Uriah White, a trapper. Not at all excited by his adventure, he welcomed us to his tilt. In throwing off his mittens to fire his rifle at the wolf, he had exposed his naked hands to the bitter cold, and they had been frost bitten. While thawing out his hands at a safe distance from the stove, he informed us that he had been 'handy 'nuf to he (meaning the wolf) to see that he were a she."

... to be continued.

You can hear an excerpt of Jody Richardson's narration of Lure of the Labrador Wild here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Janis Spence short story will broadcast on CBC Radio's Between the Covers January 25-26, 2007


The Painted Ladies, the first story in Janis Spence's collection of short fiction on the beach in spanish room (Rattling Books) will broadcast on the National CBC Radio program Between the Covers, January 25 - 26, 2007

on the beach in spanish room by Janis Spence

Six otherwise unpublished inter-connected short stories follow the lives of a group of friends from early childhood through a rebellious and sometimes catastrophic young adulthood and on into an unsettled middle age. Written and performed by veteran actor, playwright and stage director Janis Spence, this collection garnered Rattling Books an Earphones Award from the US magazine AudioFile.

"What an unassuming but brilliant little gem this recording is. Set in Newfoundland, all six stories stand proudly on their own, but together they have the sweep of a novel. The reason is Janis Spence's marvellous characters, "who wore their lives as casually as big sweaters." ... Spence gives a masterful performance of all the roles she's created - and it doesn't hurt that she's got that incomparable Newfoundland accent."
- AudioFile Magazine, Earphones award winner

"Oh, it’s black. And sometimes bleak, yet amazing in its ability to lift the characters above it through irony, humour and the character’s own sense of the absurd. "
- The Current

"...without sounding the least bit over-the-top, she shifts from hearty priest to ancient crone to drugged-out con artist in the blink of an eye. And she is funny! "
- Northeast Avalon Times

Listening Clip 1:
Listening Clip 2:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Excerpt: The Last Voyage of the Karluk by Captain Robert Bartlett (Captain Bob), setting: January 7-8, 1914


"...On the seventh and eighth the variable weather continued with occasional twilight of considerable intensity; the low barometer and high thermometer still prevailed. Our observations on the seventh, the last we were to take on shipboard, gave us our position as Lat. 72.11 N., Long. 174.36 W. ...."
(To be continued.)

This excerpt is from The Last Voyage of the Karluk An Epic of Death and Survival in the Arctic, 1913-1916 as related by her captain, Robert A. Bartlett and here set down by Ralph T. Hale (published in 1916 by Small, Maynard and Company, Inc.; unabridged audio edition narrated by Frank Holden published by Rattling Books).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Rattling Books Razorbill for Old Christmas Day


Rattling Books would like to thankMike Mouland for designing the fabulous Razorbills you see on the Rattling Books website. To your left is one of the Christmas set, perhaps my favorite.

Hope these twelve days of Christmas have been good to you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Excerpt: Janneying, a Christmas poem by Mary Dalton from Merrybegot


Janneying

Every winter it was the same racket.
A hint of the janneying, our mother'd
Have copper kittens, but after a bit
She'd give in to us, say yes we could go.
We'd rig ourselves up in any old fit-out,
Pillows and nets, cotton drawers on our heads.
The boys let out squeaks, the girls spoke all gruff -
One fellow missing a finger made up a
False one so he couldn't be guessed.
Once we'd get in, we'd kick up the mats,
Fire up the accordion, dance the whole night -
The floor-boards'd shiver, the funnel turn red.
First light of the sun, off we'd head home,
Bellies rumbling and we ready
To eat the leg off the Lamb of God.

Merrybegot, a collection of poems by Mary Dalton was originally published in 2003 by VĂ©hicule Press. It is available as an unabridged audio recording from Rattling Books. The audio edition of Merrybegot is performed by Anita Best and Patrick Boyle.

Listen to a clip of Anita Best narrating Merrybegot with Patrick Boyle on trumpet.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English: janny and janny-talk

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

janny n, usu pl also janney, jenny, johnny [phonetics unavailable]. Cp OED johnny 1 'a fellow, chap'; EDD john 2 (6 a) 'the mummers used to be called John Jacks' (1875-) W; O Sup2 janney Nfld (1896-).
1 Elaborately costumed person who participates in various group activities at Christmas; FOOL, MUMMER n.
1896 J A Folklore ix, 36 Old teaks and jannies, boys and men who turn out in various disguises and carry on various pranks during the Christmas holidays, which last from 25th December to Old Christmas day, 6th January. [c1900] 1978 RLS 8, p. 27 ~ a mummer. 1925 Dial Notes v, 335 Johnnies—Christmas mummers. Also jennies. 1928 Nfld Qtly Dec, p. 15 The merry party of 'Jannies,' or 'Mummers' made the welkin ring with their weird shouts and cries and their 'false faces' sent many [a] frightened child in haste to its mother's knee. 1937 DEVINE 29 ~ ies. Mummers; persons dressed in disguise at Christmas for visiting. 1957 Atlantic Advocate xlviii, 23 ... extra large kitchens that served as the stage for the 'Fools' or 'Mummers' or 'Janneys,' to give them their peculiar local names. T 45-64 You had no rhyme or nothing goin' out in these janneys. We usen't. Only get in [a house] and try and talk way they wouldn't understand you or get out and waltz or dance. T 172/3-65 Same thing, janney. Since that, we're not known as mummers today, they're janneys today. T 181-65 They have those johnnies, they calls 'em now. So many boys and girls around, but they got no recitations, see, nothing to say. 1969 Christmas Mumming in Nfld 65-6 There are 'big janneys,' adults, and 'little janneys,' children... Some are able to 'talk like a janney'—ingressive utterances at a high pitch. 1973 PINSENT 55 Apparently this janny had been making the rounds for years and not once had anyone guessed him—till this night. 1973 WIDDOWSON 424 'Now they big Janneys is comin' in! They'll take you tonight if yous don't be good!'
2 Phr go out in the jannies: to dress in the disguise and costume of a Christmas mummer; cp FOOL 2. T 45-64 Oh yes, we went out in the janneys several times down home before we left. 3 Comb janny-night: any night during Christmas season on which jannies go around visiting at people's houses. C 67-2 On janny-night they used to get dressed up and go from house to house. Would dance and get something to eat. Usually had a harmonica or a jews harp... Would go out most nights from Christmas Eve to New Year.

janny-talk: distorted or ingressive speech of a mummer used as a means of disguising one's identity. 1969 Christmas Mumming in Nfld 211 When the janneys come to a house they wish to visit, they open, without knocking, the storm-door, stick their heads inside the 'porch' and 'sing out': 'Any janneys in tonight?' in the high-pitched, squeaky voice that janneys always use—'janney-talk.' T 257-66 Oh yes, 'twas queer talk—janney talk. Some people can't talk and some of 'em can, you know. Some of them make a queer talk, draw in their voice, and make a queer sound.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Bird for the Tenth Night of Christmas


Mike Mouland designed Rattling Books four Christmas Razorbills and so for each of the last three nights of Christmas we will flaunt one here. The Razorbill is also the bird in our logo.

Fifth Installment from the Christmas Card Collection of Jack Higgins: Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives



As we approach the tenth night of Christmas, a New Year's Greeting from Rattling Books.

This is the fourth installment in a series of Christmas card postings from the Higgins' collection (John G. "Jack" Higgins (1891-1963)). The collection may be viewed at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archive

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Excerpt: The Last Voyage of the Karluk by Captain Bob Bartlett, setting: January 2, 1914



...During the night of New Year's Day we could hear, when we were below, a rumbling noise not unlike that which one often hears singing along the telegraph wires on a country road. The sound was inaudible from the deck. It was clear that there was tremendous pressure somewhere, though there were no visible indications of it in the vicinity of the ship. We were practically stationary. Apparently the great field of ice in which we had been zigzagging for so many months had finally brought up on the shore of Wrangell Island and was comparatively at rest, while the running ice outside this great field was still in active motion and tended to force the ice constantly in the direction of the island.

On Saturday, with a fresh north wind, in spite of which ship and ice still remained stationary, the rumbling noise could again be heard in the interior of the ship...."

(To be continued.)

This excerpt is from The Last Voyage of the Karluk An Epic of Death and Survival in the Arctic, 1913-1916 as related by her captain, Robert A. Bartlett and here set down by Ralph T. Hale (published in 1916 by Small, Maynard and Company, Inc.; unabridged audio edition narrated by Frank Holden published by Rattling Books).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Excerpt: The Last Voyage of the Karluk by Captain Bob Bartlett, setting: January 1, 1914


...We had our own New Year's celebration, though it was only a coincidence that it came on this particular day, for we had planned a football game on the ice when the weather should be good and the wind fairly light; New Year's Day happened to be the first good day for it.

The ball was made of seal-gut, cut into sections and sewed up, with surgeon's plaster over the seams. We blew it up with a pipe stem and plugged up the hole. To protect the ball we had a sealskin casing made to fit it; the result was a fairly good ball, constructed on the same principle as any college football.

It was Scotland vs. All-Nations; the game was association football, played on a field of regulation size laid out on young ice about a foot and half in thickness. At each end of the field were goal posts with the usual cross-bar.

Fireman Breddy was captain of All-Nations and Mr. Munro of Scotland. The Eskimo, though not well-versed in the game, played well. Keruk, clad as usual in dress and bloomers, was goal tender for All-Nations. Some of the players wore skin boots, other ordinary American shoes. I had forgotten a good deal about the association game but I refreshed my memory from the encyclopedia in the ship's library and armed with a mouth-organ in lieu of a whistle took my place as referee, umpire and time-keeper. I soon found, however, that the cold would make it too dangerous for me to use the 'whistle", for it would freeze to my lips and take the skin off, so I had to give my signals for play by word of mouth....
(To be continued.)

This excerpt is from The Last Voyage of the Karluk An Epic of Death and Survival in the Arctic, 1913-1916 as related by her captain, Robert A. Bartlett and here set down by Ralph T. Hale (published in 1916 by Small, Maynard and Company, Inc.; unabridged audio edition narrated by Frank Holden published by Rattling Books).

Hats off to a New Year


Rattling Books would like to thank everyone who helped us get through 2006. Looking forward to 2007 and wishing you and yours a safe and healthy year.

May Happiness Betide You.