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20 JAN 02

John Giddings of 2002 Isle of Wight Festival
organisers the Solo Agency:

“I don’t want any dance music. I don’t
want any of that crap. We want real songs played by real people. Anyone
with a cassette machine can go away.”

Poe’s birthday celebrated with cognac
and roses

BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) — A small crowd
gathered at the old church where Edgar


Allan Poe lies buried, waiting, as they
do every year, for the arrival of a

stranger.

    A black-clad man arrived
just before 3 a.m. Saturday, marking the poet’s


birthday with the traditional graveside
tribute: three red roses and a half


bottle of cognac. Only this and nothing
more.


    It is a rite that has
been carried out by a mysterious stranger every January 19


since 1949, a century after Poe drank
himself to death in Baltimore at age 40.


    This year’s birthday
tribute was normal and subdued compared with last year,

when the stranger left a note that enraged
Baltimore Ravens fans.


    Borrowing from Poe’s
“The Masque of the Red Death,” the note read: “The New York


Giants. Darkness and decay and the big
blue hold dominion over all.”


    Red and blue are the
Giants’ colors and “the big blue” is a team nickname. The


Ravens, who take their name from Poe’s
most famous poem, were to meet the Giants


later that month in Super Bowl XXXV. The
Baltimore team ended up winning the


game handily.

    “My own theory is that
after the near riot that occurred last year when he

insulted the Ravens, this guy thought,
‘I’ll just stick to the tradition and not


cause the trouble,’ ” said Jeff Jerome,
curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House and


Museum. Jerome and 15 invited guests watched
from inside the church.


    Jerome said the man,
wearing the traditional black hat and coat, with a white


scarf concealing his face, appeared to
be different from last year’s so-called


Poe Toaster.

    “He appeared to be
a younger man,” said Jerome, who has witnessed the ritual for


20 years. “He stood erect and walked quickly.”

    The man made no gestures,
other than the secret signal he sends Jerome to show


he is the genuine Poe Toaster, as he laid
the tribute.


    The three roses represent
Poe, his wife and his Aunt Maria Clemm, who are buried


beneath the newer monument. The cognac
is a mystery, Jerome has said, because


there are no prominent references to it
in Poe’s works.


    Poe was born in Boston
and raised in Richmond, Virginia. But Baltimore, where he


lived for several years during the 1830s,
has adopted him as one of its own.

    A prolific poet and
critic, Poe wrote comedies, detective stories and tales of


the macabre, including “The Fall of the
House of Usher,” “The Pit and the


Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Categories: Uncategorized

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock