Happy Sunday! As I sit here at my desk with my Sunday morning coffee here in downtown Beverly, Massachusetts I am enjoying a peaceful weekend that the folks on the other side of the nearby bridge over Beverly Harbor know nothing about... You see, what lies on the other side of that bridge is Salem.
Above is a photo I took last week on a walk I took over the bridge to Salem. It's a shot of The Burying Point, the oldest cemetery in Salem. Among the people buried here are Justice John Hathorne, who was one of the lead judges in the Salem Witch Trials. In 1692 and 1693, 19-people (14 women and five men) were found guilty and executed in a wave of hysteria that swept thru Salem Village (known today as downtown Danvers,) Salem Town (modern day Salem,) Ipswich, and Andover. There is evidence to suggest some of the initial accusations that fueled the eventual hysteria had their origins in bitter disputes between neighbors and distrust of newcomers.
Despite this very dark chapter in American history, Salem over the years has managed to turn these events into a cottage-industry. Known by many around these parts as "The Witch City," it welcomes hordes of tourists who descend upon the downtown area every October to go on tours, take selfies with costumed actors, go on carnival rides, and eat fried dough. Suffice to say, any of us who live nearby know that Salem will be paralyzed with gridlocked traffic for the entire month.
We have a big birthday today in the world of music. Radiohead lead singer, Thom Yorke celebrates his 50th birthday and I have a very fitting song for today's entry on the Halloween playlist: "Burn The Witch."
This song was originally conceived during the recording sessions for the "Kid A" album in 2000 and would be worked-on in sessions for subsequent LP's, but was never quite ready to be released. It finally saw the light of day after an eerie string-section arranged by guitarist Jonny Greenwood and performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra was added to the track. It was released on Radiohead's 2016 album, "A Moon Shaped Pool."
The music video for the song (available on the YouTube version of the 31-Days of Halloween playlist,) features stop-motion animation modeled after a British children's TV show from the 1960's. The story-line is a nod to the 1973 film, "The Wicker Man," which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.
I hope you've been enjoying the 31-Days of Halloween so far. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy listening! - Kristen