The title Crap Ghosts amuses no end. In a way the complete output of the Living Channel could fit the description Crap Ghosts, as could the majority of recent ghost stories, when stripped of their humour and other contemporary padding. There is a philosophical difference between a crap ghost and a proper ghost, and it is all in the telling. A crap ghost is not a crap ghost story; it’s just that in our spiritless times, all ghosts are to an extent crap, unfashionable as they are. Crap Ghosts is first and foremost the title of a Gavin Inglis book that I bought a long time ago, and have just pullled out to read again. I'm glad I did.
Really; nobody believes in old fashioned ghosts these days, although so many people round these here parts believe in the life enhancing powers of crystals and follow 9/11 conspiracy. Ghosts on the other hand are just not in vogue.
I was surprised then that the stories in Gavin Inglis’ Crap Ghosts were built on much more traditional foundations and demonstrate a real love of the ghost story form, while performing an essential modern update. If you've read MR James recently, you'll have noticed how slow and lingering the style is as compared to modern prose; but in terms of form, aside from the odd story that is really just a build up to a punchline, Crap Ghosts by Gavin Inglis is traditional and follows many of the basic paths to fright (fright-paths you could call them).
I heard that Gavin Inglis’ publisher didn’t like the title ‘Crap Ghosts’ perhaps feeling that it would be apt for a more flippant, foolish collection, such as may not take the art of ghost-storytelling seriously, a kind of deconstructed laugh at the general paucity of these spectral subjects in light of public scepticism and the dramatic enlargement of the spirit world on the big screen.
But it’s not like that. These are good short stories, they are funny, spooky and as I’ve suggested above, they are in a thematic and stylistic minority.