Greetings Sinister Gardeners,
Originally for these break times, I had intended to write up short, if not silly little adverts for things like fictional places that could be found in my books or, if I could collaborate with them, things that would draw you to things in other’s fictional worlds. In time, I guess I will get around to that but I decided that instead of fictional advertising this time around, I wanted to do something a bit better.
By now, I should hope that most, if not all, people are aware of the seriousness of the pandemic going on around us. I want to note here that what is most important for all of us is that we be getting up to date information on this virus by trusted experts such as the World Health Organization, specifically on how we can be part of the slow or stopping the spread of Covid 19. Trust them and your local health authorities on the matter and if you are feeling under the weather, even if you don’t think it is that serious, please take into consideration the health and well being of those around you, such as the elderly, people who are recovering from major health issues like chemo or surgery, or people with chronic illnesses and conditions that will make them high risk for this virus. If you are worried, there are resources for you! If you are worried financially, contact your local government offices that deal with employment insurance and see what options there are out there to help. Don’t suffer in silence and don’t panic.
And in the spirit of not panicking, if you are stuck at home right now, you might be getting worried with nothing to occupy your mind or you might be just getting bored as fuck as you go through a 14+ day quarantine. If that is the case, I am here to help you with this. In an effort to help people who are feeling overwhelmed by this, I am converting most of my TWITTER feed into resources that you have available to you that will help you fill your time and give you things to distract yourself. Occasionally this is from artists who are putting on free shows or doing things online to help you but there is also the option to donate. I know times are tight but if there are any people out there in the position to assist these content creators who are willing to give their talents and time to help you through quarantine, this will mean a lot to them! If you aren’t, that’s okay too. Spread the word and let’s help other people too. Below is a list of things that you can enjoy and partake of if you are at home or if you are in need of a break from the panic to clear your head. Some of them are tongue in cheek and if that sounds like something that is going to bother you, find another thing on the list. Again, check out my twitter feed if you want more options because I’ve been updating that daily with anything I can find to help people find comforting things at this time, whether it’s mocking zombie movies or baking cakes or taking virtual tours. Let’s do what we can to help each other, even if it’s in small ways! With that, here’s your list:
Rose Sinister: Vampires
Rose is a tour guide in New Orleans and she really knows her stuff when it comes to the creatures of the night. I really give her props for doing the deep dives on everyone’s favorite vampire stories and she has a lot of really great episodes for you to check out. If you love all things vampire, you need to check her out.
372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back
Think MST3K or Riff Trax for really bad books, which isn’t inaccurate at all seeing as the guys behind this podcast are the same guys behind those properties. (Mike Nelson was on MST3K and both he and his co-host Connor are involved with Riff Trax.) They started with Ready Player One and have gone on to more than a few wild rides in some pretty bad books. It’s funny as hell and very recommended.
It’s Midnight Somewhere
The new podcast by Mistress Laura McCutchan, this lovely green haired DJ living in Toronto has a lot of great insight into the experience of both the Canadian and American goth scenes. She has great taste in music, naturally, and for anyone who is looking for a great podcast that highlights the world of goth, I highly recommend it.
Bone and Sickle
This is a great podcast for those of you out there who are interested in different topics on folklore, myth and legends and how they intersect in the world of pop culture and horror, this is a great one for that. It’s got a cute running storyline that goes on throughout each episode but mostly, you’ll get some great topics like Walpurgisnacht and Krampus and Baba Yaga. Great if you’re wanting to explore these topics.
This one is another one on folklore but unlike Bone and Sickle, it’s got more of a straight forward intro to certain myths, urban legends and folklore tales. It’s actually a great companion for Bone and Sickle if you are interested in any of the given topics.
From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
Downtown or The Thanatos Files (both by me, the first one’s a big sucker so I suggest ebook that one!)
The Sinister Reader – More variety to come, if I am stuck at home, there will be more updates to this section than the once a month that it currently is at.
Children of the Night by Jillian Venters (The Cupcake Goth)
It’s full of really great bombastic songs and some pretty fun tunes, all of which have a little bit of a vampiric flavor to them.
Swirly Goth by Zander Buelle
Great relaxation tunes and if you like this one, check out more of Zander posts because he’s been making a lot of playlists lately.
Goth/Darkwave/Post-Punk VS Corvid-19 Coronavirus Quarantine by Ash Code
Ash Code is an Italian band who actually put out a great livestream gig where they collected over a thousand dollars in donations for their local hospital to help with the crisis. They have some great playlists on their Spotify and you should absolutely check out all of them.
Halloween: TV and Movie Themes by Mr and Mrs Halloween
You’ll not meet two kinder people in the world than this couple for whom Halloween is every day. They have a great mix of horror themes and this is great if you’re craving some Great Pumpkin comfort and would like to dream of autumnal days instead.
This British gent does quite a lot on his channel but the thing he’s most known for is his Lost in Adaptation show, wherein he compares books and their film adaptations to see how they fared. He researches everything quite well and it’s really fun to watch the sketches he does. Very much recommended and you may find some new books to read!
Vicky is a great Youtuber who absolutely loves her some horror. She’s got a lot of reviews on her channel but there’s so much more to choose from if you aren’t into that. Some of my favorites are her cooking attempts and her awesome book reviews. She has a creepy bookclub through Goodreads as well if you’re so inclined, you can find a wealth of great books there too.
This is such a great idea for a show and Kaci is an excellent baker. She gives you simple recipes based on different horror films. What I love most about these is that they are so easy to follow. She does also have a website where you can get written instructions too, if needed.
Adrienne is an amazing opera singer who has a great passion for all things goth, 19th century and absinthe. She has some great videos ranging from DIY projects (like making vegan absinthe ice cream) to music reviews to book reviews to clips of her singing. There’s a lot to choose from and it would be easy to get lost in her content so I highly recommend it.
If you love history or classic literature or talking about tropes, this is a great channel to check out. Red and Blue, the two animated avatars of the people behind OSP do very well researched deep dives on things like the history of the Byzantine era or the legend of King Arthur or the trope of the Antihero in fiction, this is a very fun and very informative channel you need to check out.
Linkara is your go to guy for all things comics, specifically superhero comics. That said, he has a great segment called Longbox of the Damned that he does every year for Halloween wherein a ghoulish character (that totally isn’t him…) does short reviews of horror comics. He’s got some other great content too and it’s a lot of fun to watch him rip on the bad comics. That said, he’s a fair reviewer and will give credit where it’s due as well. Great guy and fun to watch.
The world is pretty familiar with these four gents but if you aren’t, Zach, Keith, Eugene and Ned are four former Buzzfeed video producers who went out on their own, made their own company and they try all manner of things from Korean beauty routines to rollercoasters to baking without a recipe. It’s silly fun and they get into some weird and sometimes informative antics on the channel. If you’re getting overwhelmed with anything, this is a great channel to turn off to. A lot of it is more kid friendly but still use your discretion.
Miranda is the sunniest, sweetest soul in the world and she loves her some Halloween goodness. She’s got a blog completely dedicated to the best holiday on the calendar and she’s got some great DIY projects and fun stuff that goes up all year round. No time like the present to get prepared for spooky season and she’s go so very many ideas to share.
If you are feeling the cabin fever setting in, this is a great way to see something besides the four walls around you. This tour is of the infamous Winchester Mansion, continuously built by Sarah Winchester until her death in 1922. It’s a beautiful tour and it gives you glimpses into a very strange house with a long history.
If the mansion is not for you or you have already done that tour, take a trip underground. You won’t find David Bowie (sadly) but you will get to see the infamous catacombs of Paris, filled with the skulls of those who were once buried in one of the city’s largest cemeteries.
According to playbill, there’s about fifteen different Broadway plays and musicals available online. There is a range of them available, some of them very much kid friendly and others perhaps not so much. If you need to be entertained by something a bit different and you’ve binged everything on Netflix, you’ve got at least fifteen options to choose from here.
If musicals and plays are a little bit not your thing or you’re looking for something completely different and with a lot more punch to the stories, the Met Opera House is offering nightly streams of different shows that you can access for up to 20 hours. If you want to escape a bit and movies are getting to be a bit much for you, this is a great way to shake things up.
The Seattle Symphony is offering all kinds of goodies online as well. This company has a wealth of stuff available on its Youtube channel, including when the symphony performed with Sir Mix-A-Lot and why yes, they did do a rendition of the only song you know from him. You should definitely check it out because the musicians look like they’re having a blast!
Sometimes engaging the mind is the best way to get it off of panic or despair. Thankfully there is a whole world of things for you to learn out there. If you’re finding that you’re too distracted to read and you’ve seen every movie you care to see at this point, there are free online courses that you can take through Ivy League colleges. If you’re not working and stuck at home, this might be a great way to really shove aside the world for a while and give yourself something new to focus on.
This was one of those hidden gems that I didn’t even known existed prior to this whole horrible outbreak but I’m happier now that I do know about it. Most of us know about Google maps and if you’re suffering from a world of cabin fever and longing to get outside, it can help relieve you to use the maps feature where you drop the little man in an area you want to see and vicariously roam around. The thing is that this might be uncomfortable for you if you are looking at places you know. So why not go to a place you’ve never seen before, like Versailles? The Google camera has captured a lot of places that allow you to explore virtually while you’re at home. I very highly recommend getting lost in these other countries to help alleviate the stress of being at home, especially if you’re feeling anxious.
And that, my friends, is a decent sized list for you to explore and enjoy for a while. Again, my twitter feed is basically going to be nothing but things like this so if you want to follow me, you can expect this kind of content and little tips and tricks along the way. I have been aiming to update it at least once a day. I am only doing this to make sure that there is a space that people can go to where they don’t have to feel overwhelmed. The world is in a weird place right now and sometimes turning off is the only way to cope with that. Don’t turn off completely because it’s important to know what’s happening. That said, don’t let it consume you either. If you need a break, there’s four pages worth of distractions up there and so much more out there. Please take care of yourselves and each other and let’s ride this out together with as many of us still here as possible.