Big Big Train announce new album and single ‘Common Ground’

July 30th, 2021 sees the release of ‘Common Ground’, the self-produced new album from Big Big Train on their own label, English Electric Recordings. The new album, recorded during the worldwide pandemic, sees the band continue their tradition of dramatic narratives but also tackles issues much closer to home, such as the Covid lockdowns, the separation of loved ones, the passage of time, deaths of people close to the band and the hope that springs from a new love.

Watch the new video for the title track, created by Christian Rios, here:

“This is unashamedly a love song. It is about finding things that we share and have in common with other people. When my partner and I first came together as a couple, we lived not far from Avebury in Wiltshire, a very Big Big Train kind of place. The chalk hills and standing stones were part of the imagery of our ‘Folklore’ album, and once again I was writing what was literally happening in the location in which we found ourselves. I remember seeing my white chalk dust footprints upon the black of the car mats after we’d been walking around Avebury.  I’m pleased that we both get to have this time with each other and ‘Common Ground’ is about finding out the things that we have in common with each other and deciding what we want to do in life together.” – David Longdon
— Read on mailchi.mp/dc6b181db799/big-big-train-announce-new-album-and-single-common-ground

Ten Imaginative Conservative Questions ~ The Imaginative Conservative

When Winston Elliott and I first started talking about what a proper online conservative journal might look like, way back in the spring and summer of 2010, we decided on a few things. Most importantly, we wanted real diversity of opinion, not the parroting of some ideological drudgeries. As such, we wanted all schools of non-ideological thought to be able to express their views, but we were most taken with the more traditionalist forms of conservatism—especially as represented by Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, T.S. Eliot, Willa Cather, Russell Kirk, and Robert Nisbet. We also desired for there to be real conversation, and, thus, we hoped for longish, thoughtful essays. As The Imaginative Conservative developed, the idea of an imaginative conservatism became, appropriately enough, a school of questions—all of them difficult to answer with any quick summation or hasty thinking. In an attempt, however, to provide something of a catechetical summa, here are the ten most important questions that linger to varying degrees behind every essay published over the last eleven years.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/05/ten-imaginative-conservative-questions-bradley-birzer.html

10 Ancient Books That Influenced Stoicism ~ The Imaginative Conservative

“A book is a word spoken into creation. Its message goes out into the world. It cannot be taken back,” Michael O’Brien warned as well as assured in his magisterial novel, Sophia House. Just as each word is a reflection of The Word (Logos), so each book is a reflection of The Book. While Christians have come to have a sort of monopoly on The Word and its greatest meaning and exemplar, others—such as the Stoics—embraced the Logos as well. And, while Christians have also come to have a sort of monopoly on The Book, others—such as the Stoics—embraced a variety of works. Here are ten books written by non-Stoics that greatly influenced Stoicism.

At the beginning of Stoic philosophy stands the first great work of philosophy itself, Heraclitus’ Fragments. In them, Heraclitus recognized and embraced (or perhaps even truly created) the notion of the Logos, the thing common to all. “For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common,” he lamented. “But although the logos is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding.” Further, he continued, “Those who speak with understanding must rely firmly on what is common to all as a city must rely on law, and much more firmly. For all human laws are nourished by one law, the divine law; for it has as much power as it wishes and is sufficient for all and is still left over.” These ideas form the basis of Stoicism.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/05/10-ancient-books-influenced-stoicism-bradley-birzer.html

robert E. Howard/Conan Sources

I’m thrilled to have my article, “The Dark Virtues of Robert E. Howard,” in the latest issue of MODERN AGE (Spring 2021). A huge thanks to Daniel McCarthy for inviting me to write this, and to Anthony Sacramone for editing it so perfectly. It’s a really excellent issue, despite my contribution!

If you’re interested, here are the sources I used (plus a few excellent articles by John J. Miller):

“Mother, Son to Be Buried.” Abilene (TX) Morning Reporter News, June 14 1936, 7.

“Death Ends Young Texas Writer’s Vigil,” Brownsville (TX) Herald, June 11, 1936, 8.

Busiek, Kurt. Conan the Barbarian. New York: Marvel, 2020.

Cassell, Dewey. “Conan the Syndicated Barbarian.” Backissue 121, no. 1 (September 2020): 40-46.

de Camp, Catherine Crook, and L. Sprague de Camp. Science Fiction Handbook, Revised. Philadelphia, PA: Owlswick, 1975.

de Camp, Catherine Crook, L. Sprague de Camp, and Jane Whittington Griffin. Dark Valley Destiny: The Life of Robert E. Howard, the Creator of Conan. New York: Bluejay Books, 1983.

Derie, Bobby. “Fragments from the Lost Letters of H.P. Lovecraft to Robert E. Howard.” Lovecraft Annual  (2016): 199-204.

Dowd, Christopher. “The Irish-American Identities of Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian.” New Hibernia Review 20, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 15-34.

Ellis, Novalyne Price. Day of the Stranger: Further Memories of Robert E. Howard. Edited by Rusty Burke. West Warick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1989.

———. One Who Walked Alone, Robert E. Howard: The Final Years. Hampton Falls, NH: Donald M. Grant, 1996.

Finn, Mark. Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. Robert E. Howard Foundation Press, 2013.

Gruber, Frank. The Pulp Jungle. Los Angeles, CA: Sherbourne Press, 1967.

Howard, Robert E. The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard. New York: Ballentine, 2008.

———. Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian Barbarian. Corvalis, OR: Pulp-Lit Productions, 2017.

Howard, Robert E., and H.P. Lovecraft. A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, 1930-1932. Edited by S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz and Rusty Burke. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2017.

———. A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, 1933-1936. Edited by S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz and Rusty Burke. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2017.

Joshi, S.T. Sixty Years of Arkham House. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1999.

King, Stephen. Danse Macabre. New York: Gallery Books, 2010.

Lord, Glenn. The Last Celt: A Bio-Bibliography of Robert Ervin Howard. West Kingston, RI: Donald M. Grant, 1976.

Lovecraft, H.P. “Robert Ervin Howard: A Memoriam.” In Skull-Face and Others, edited by August Derleth, xiii-xvi. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1946. Reprint, Jersey, ENG: Neville Spearman, 1974.

———. “Letters to Farnsworth Wright.” Lovecraft Annual, no. 8 (2014): 5-59.

Lovecraft, H.P., and August Derleth. Essential Solitude: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth: 1932-1937. Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2013.

———. Essential Solitude: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth: 1926-1931. Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2013.

Lovecraft, H.P. and Divers Hands. Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1990.

Moskowitz, Sam. Seekers of Tomorrow: Masters of Modern Science Fiction. New York: Ballantine, 1967.

Price, E. Hoffman. “A Memory of R.E. Howard.” In Skull-Face and Others, edited by August Derleth, xvii-xxvi. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1946. Reprint, Jersey, ENG: Neville Spearman, 1974.

Thompson, Steven. “Conan Goes to Adventure Town.” Backissue 121, no. 1 (September 2020): 3-14.

Vick, Todd B. Renegades and Rogues: The Life and Legacy of Robert E. Howard. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2021.

Battling Dragons With Joy And Hope ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Those of us who seek to preserve the Good, the True, and the Beautiful are aware, as the old saying goes, that “there be dragons” in the world who seek to destroy the invaluable inheritance that is Western Civilization.

Perhaps this has never been truer than it is today in our hyper-polarized world, where conservatives are now often branded “haters” and even “traitors” and “insurrectionists” by those who want to throw overboard the Permanent Things and build a progressive utopia.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2021/04/there-be-dragons-support-the-imaginative-conservative.html