Monday, 26 July 2010

Vampires, Castles and Cocktail Parties.

I recently finished reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Loved the first half, where not a great deal happened but it was creepy and there was a sense of impending doom. Wasn’t too fussed about the 3rd quarter where nothing really happened and the doom seems to stop impending. And then really didn’t think much of the last quarter, when everyone spends the whole time congratulating each other on their bravery, their manners, their fastidiousness, and proclaiming their love for one another. And then they find and kill the Count literally in the final 2 pages. I can’t help but feel that Stoker ran out of story at about page 200 but had promised himself it would be 400 pages long.

One of the places thought to have inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, and certainly an evocative location in its own right is Slains Castle, a few miles north of my home town of Aberdeen. Stoker spent time here as a guest before starting the novel, and few places have made such an immediate and lasting impression on me – The bleakness of the setting, the precipitous cliffs and the hollow sadness of the building itself. Even though it dates back to the 16th Century the more recent work left it looking like a late 19th early 20th Century stately home, and the ruination always seemed to carry echoes of week-long cocktail parties and late-night music – The chatter of guests dancing into the darkness of the First World War and everything that would mean for their way of life (the owners had to leave and remove the roof to avoid taxes by the mid-1920s). The ruins themselves won’t carry this sense of melancholy for long though, as the site is braced for redevelopment, the nature of which I dread to imagine. I love the place.

Slains castle in its heyday:

...and today:


  1. Now this is when you could do with a picture ;)

  2. Slains. Shiver. Nowhere amazes and scares me as much in equal measure, and the tombstone for the poor wee lad who careered off the cliff.

    I still want to camp there, ahhh, I'm too afraid.

    Oh God and the seagulls!!!!