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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, November 21, 2003
    3rd Stone - the last, best
    Back in April I flagged up the coming sad demise of 3rd Stone magazine. An email fron Neil Mortimer today confirms it: "Hooray! At very long last 3rd Stone 47 is going to the printer tomorrow. As you know this is our last ever issue, and it's the biggest and best yet."

    So there's more than the usual mix of treasures on archaeology and folklore, including Stormy Weather: Treasure Hunters and the Devil; Fra/gmen/te/d me/gali/th/s; Geomagnetism: From dream incubation to dowsing; Science and Sorcery a millennium before Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett; Daddy Long-Legs: The shape-shifting Wilmington Giant; and Contending with Monsters: Satan, the Primitive and the Power of Place in 19th Century Cornish Folklore.

    A heady mix, coming at a time when our TV screens are loaded with archaelogical programmes which barely scratch the surface - I saw one the other night with an excitable bloke in a helicopter shouting in his co-pilot's ear about the Highland Clearances. Hovering noisily above wrecked Sutherland shielings he didn't seem to quite engage with the reality of those horrors.

    The difference between Time Team and 3rd Stone is that the latter manages to combine scholarly seriousness with the enthusiasts' eye for the absurd and the downright funny [download The Cerne Giant: A Long Standing Mystery for a fine example]. The TV stuff seems staid while 3rd Stone represents a vibrant, current community. After all, these are the folks who organised last year's Megalithomania! gig, a coming-together of archaeologists, smoochers, psychogeographers, Coil and other musicians-of-the-edge, antiquarians and a clergyman with a black cat: very impressive.

    I'll miss 3rd Stone when it's gone. But not before enjoying the last, best issue in the meantime. [Buy it from megalithic.co.uk].