Arty 21: spring/summer 2006

The Dark before the title of Arty 21 does not mean that this issue is merely a homage to a hammy horror style darkness. Of course that kind of glorious over the top gothicness is a worthy subject but our darkness is more about a quietly creeping sadness. The darkness of domestic terrors, secrets and unspoken truths.

Two pages into C.S Lewis’s essay “The Weight of Glory” a sudden shift of tone occurs. Lewis addresses the reader directly: “I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you - the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence... the secret we can not hide and cannot tell though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something which has never actually appeared in our experience”
He was speaking of something he elsewhere called Sehnsucht, a sense of... well how do you put it? It’s sometimes conveyed through music, or a landscape, or a book, or a person, and it both consoles and tantalises. Is it God, or gods or nature, or wonder, or awe, or love? Enough to say that it leaves you aching with longing for something you know but can’t place. Should you go back to that tune, or landscape, or person or book, you will only find a memory - for these things were Accidents as Catholics would say, or Portals, as mystics might say.

Through the Wardrobe and turn left at the lamp-post, Murrough O’Brien (The Independent on Sunday 4.12.05)

There is a fascination to the small, quiet sadnesses of others which becomes mingled with our own memories and fears to become something moving and personal. When we encounter things that have this sense of the dark something happens to us, something akin to Lewis’s Sehnsucht.
Darkness has more depth, meaning and Sehnsucht than a hundred happy things.

I want excitement and I want it bad

Teenage Kicks, The Undertones

And so Arty delves into the allure of the dark.


Dark Arty Contributors
Rachel Cattle
Annabel Dover
Sian Emmison
Cathy Lomax
Alex Michon

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Rachel Cattle



Sian Emmison