My vlog with S. T. has caused quite a sensation, it seems. I've never had a video on my MrWilum channel get so many views so quickly -- it's now at 300 views in two days of being posted. The video has been posted on various forum sites and links have been provided to it at Hippocampus Press and elsewhere. Yog knows how many have seen it via Twitter, which is a beast I do not yet understand. I think part of what charms people about the video is the wee duet at ye end where we sing Happy Birthday to Bobby Barlow's memory -- and that was such fun, but it has a serious component. Barlow killed himself just months before my birth, and although I don't know the circumstances of that suicide it has been said that it was related to a potential scandal concerning his sexual adventures with young men. This has always really saddened me, that this young man took his life because of being queer. So I've always had a special tender spot in me heart for Bobby, and when my friend at Facebook reminded me that the 18th would have been Barlow's 92nd birthday, I knew I wanted to honour it in some way with S. T. on camera. This is the thing about my YouTube videos -- they have to have a serious foundation of literary content, an expression of love for H. P. Lovecraft and the Weird Tale Circle of writers, news or views about books &c; but they also have to be fun and kinda goofy, with me dressed in all of my freaky splendor.
The real reason, I think, why this video with S. T. has proved so popular is because there is a curiosity about him, and much admiration. He has earned a huge reputation as a world scholar and editor. He has changed forever the world view concerning H. P. Lovecraft and continues to do so with book after book. He is my hero. Of course, heroes have flaws, and S. T. can sometimes be ruthless as a critic. In The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, I feel that he was unduly harsh concerning Michael Shea's early Mythos novel, The Color out of Time, which was reprinted in Shea's fabulous omnibus collection from Centipede Press. I loved that novel when I first read it in paperback and I thoroughly enjoy'd my reading of it in ye Centipede edition. Also, I disagree with S. T.'s assessment of the Mythos fiction of my buddy and publisher (he published my first American collection), Jeffrey Thomas, who has penned some of the Mythos most original fiction. Jeff is furious with S. T.'s critique of his fiction, and deeply hurt, I think. It is S. T.'s right and duty as a critic to be honest, but he has at times been brutal, as with his unkind comments concerning Berglund's Mythos fiction in the infamous Weird Tales article, the publication of which ended Stan Sargent's writing career (he has yet to finish a new story since the publication of that article) and kept Joe Pulver from writing for five years. In Pulver's case, S. T. has now worked with him on two books for Hippocampus and hails Joe as a magnificent weird tale artist.
Anyway, there is a fascination with S. T. out there that he has earned from his never=ending work in the field, and other fields. I hope to have him over for additional videos, but his schedule is so crowded and his work life so crazy that he rarely has time. The reason he came over was because he had to sign the 150 signature sheets for my Centipede Press omnibus, The Tangled Muse. But as we ate dinner, we remembered other things we should have mentioned in the vlog. "We'll mention them next time," he said over his minestrone (which he order'd specifically because it was one of Lovecraft's favourite foods). So, there will be more vlogs with him.