Well, I said I’d post it as a main review, so here you are! I’ll make no comment at the moment except to say its considerably shortened my Blog for today and has gone up completely unedited. I will answer a couple of points tomorrow though. But for the moment, its over to you Barbara! . . .
March 29th, 2009 at 7:55 pm eHere it is! Is your dob 1945 David–or is it 46?
Hope its okay, its taken me a while and maybe I will think of other stuff later, but I think these are the main thoughts:
In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire by David Farrant.
A Review by Barbara Green.
First, the title. Shadow ? Vampire ? Have I missed the point or is this a deliberate pun? Vampires don’t cast shadows , but it could be said, with much truth , that the shadow the “Highgate Vampire” cast over David and others , has certainly been long and dark over the years .Who and what the “vampire” was is discussed at the end of the book, so you will have to read the rest first to understand the situation.(Even then, you will have to wait for Volume 2 to complete the tale.)
In Volume One, David describes his life from 1945, the year of his birth, until 1974 when he ended up mouldering in a gloomy dungeon at Brixton Prison. The narrative is straightforward, well written and a truthful account of his life and loves up until his incarceration.Its main theme is his education, or lack of it , his Wiccan involvement, his romantic entanglements, his paranormal research and his fateful confrontation with the “Highgate Vampire.” If you didn’t know David to start with then this book will have you hooked and wondering what the dickens ……;and if, like me, you already know him and have read his work before, it is still a compelling read.
There is a lot of candid details going right back to the swinging sixties, but the reason for this is not entirely due to David’s memories but the fact that these accounts were written, in diary form, at, or near, the time in which they happened. David tells me he hasn’t edited the stories but left them as written, although naturally they have been collated into a readable narrative. Many of us might have been tempted to “tone down” our youthful follies but David has not. At the end of the day there is nothing too shocking within these pages, though I am curious as to why David was so against education ; clearly he derived an education somewhere or he would not have been able to produce the volumes of work he has in the past, including this, his latest book ! As for his romances, well, it was the swinging sixties and I was also in my prime in those wonderful days of the 1960s , with, I hasten to add, less of the peace and love and more of make war not love!
Now for my critique! Well, I was somewhat mystified over the Alison affair but can understand that David wanted to keep this private. But maybe he could have explained things a bit more clearly while keeping his precious personal memories in his heart. I would have rather liked some commentary of the times, you know, a bit of background and maybe some quotes from the famous bands and suchlike, to go along with the text. I am left feeling that David lived –and still does—entirely in his own world, if not universe, and remained somewhat oblivious to what was happening “out there”! Or it may just be the way he writes, so it isn’t really a criticism.
Well we will have to wait for Shadow Volume Two, which I presume will cover the years from 1974 until the present time. Maybe the clear dazzling light of David’s books, including the fully fledged Volume Two, will eventually send the “vampire” packing in true vampire busting style, so that there will be no more shadows cast over the lives of those who have , like David,been victims of the moonshine and melodrama of the Highgate Vampire saga .