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A Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 4

What the Dickens? It must be the fourth day of our Sidekick Advent Calendar!

In 2011, we commissioned six splendid poems to print as Christmas cards, starring characters from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Now we’re giving each one away as a download, so you can print them yourself, and have a very moral Christmas (sort of)! Each card will fit a size DL envelope (Hobbycraft does some gorgeous ones).

Today’s star is old Humbug himself, Ebeneezer Scrooge, in a poem written by Ian McLachlan, author of Confronting The Danger of Art. Click here for the printable PDF and get customising your card!

A Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 3

Poems from the Editors #1

What literary advent calendar would be complete without some macabre winter poems to shiver the blood? Those of you who’ve acquired a copy of Kirsty’s Salt collection Never Never Never Come Back  (also available as an audio book) might be familiar with this one, but never before has ‘Straight To You’ been made freely available in video format. Never before, that is, until now! Because now it has been!

WARNING: After watching, you may not want to go ice-skating at night. Alternatively, you may want to go ice-skating at night.

A Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 2

Hold on to your hats, because the Sidekick Advent Calendar is going to have some regular and recurring features, and also hats keep your head warm and it’s getting dramatically cold out! In fact, keep a spare pair of earmuffs handy in case something exciting happens and your hands are otherwise occupied!

The first recurring feature to be unveiled is …

Move over, Krampus!

Krampus is Germanic folklore’s Christmas beast-demon, a counter to St. Nicholas who stuffs naughty children into his sack and spirits them away on cloven hooves. Why, we at Sidekick are forced to ask, aren’t there a sweeter abundance of Christmas monsters with which to terrorise impressionable minds? Might we make a suggestion or two?

First up, one of Japan’s impressive array of mythical changelings: the Aka-shita. describes these fearsome demons as “agents of bad luck and evil … primarily known as punishers in water disputes”.

Here it is as it appeared in our Japanese monster anthology, Obakarama, rendered visually by Michael Stone, and addressed in poetry by Adham Smart.

Traditionally, the Aka-shita is a summer monster, but there’s nothing to say a little winter shift work would go amiss. Hiding in its cloud, the bright-tongued revenger would find house entry via the chimbley easy. It would then proceed to the child’s bedroom and lick its sleeping face to make a moral determination. Evil or ethically-compromised minors would suffer bad luck in the ensuing present-giving, receiving the wrong edition of the latest Pokemon, Bryan Adams instead of Ryan Adams, and so on.

A Sidekick Advent Calendar: Day 1

Well , well, well! Yes, yes, yes! Dr F and Sidekick are counting down to Christmas this year with an array of pleasant and disturbing seasonally-related items to dispense daily from the digital laboratory, via the Sidekick blog, Facebook and Twitter. The ghost-poems (ghoems?) of past, present and future are all accounted for, with previews, revisitations and brand new work all to come. And quizzes too!

On the first day of Christmas (which is technically the 25th December but to this end, it is the 1st), my true love gave to me …

… a partridge in a preview from Birdbook 3. Click here to view in pdf format.

The third and penultimate volume in our ongoing series (full title Birdbook: Farmland. Heathland, Mountain, Moorland)  is currently circling a definitive release date early next year, once the good doctor has finished working through snowy reams of hand-written calculations reaching deep into the catacombs. Here’s an exclusive taster – the plump and chestnutty grey partridge, poem by Philip Cowell, paper-cutting by Lois Cordelia, who is also responsible for the book’s cover art.


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