Because the New Year finds me light-hearted and clearing out a ton of sentimental &/or forgotten crap, to dance laughing round a giant freedom pyre, I thought it’d be nice to share something with you. Going through the accumulated debris, I found this thing written years ago for a compilation album called The Return of Generation Toyracer (TOY004), featuring a track by my then-band Empty Vessels.
And what better way to celebrate the future than by wanking over the past?
The idea was to do a short piece for the inlay booklet, describing my best-loved record. So I made one up:
‘My favourite album is by 80’s combo Joie Extreme. The Sound of Whipped Dogs Miaowing has a literally unbearable atmosphere of foreboding and dread, with great hooks and singalong choruses. This voluptuous fog is testament to the genius of Des Essence and Vyv Feast. Whereas Essence was a protest singer distinctive for high-pitched shouting over primitive piano chords (ultra-rare early single “Dead Hill-Farmers Long Ago”), Feast wasn’t. So each song on their classic LP was recorded twice – once at half-speed, then with frequencies added that Feast claimed caused “spiritual violation”. Drummer Stifford was forced to hold his breath for each take; listen carefully and hear him sobbing on track three.
Recording took place in a haunted factory in front of a crowd of wax dummy children in Victorian clothes, and Feast deprived the band of sleep by flashing a blue light in their eyes (while showing, says bassist Miranda Poe, “a full stem”). The song “Eyeflaps Turgid” – possibly the only ever to feature an acoustic guitar filled with shit – reflects this. It was all downhill from there. The band scattered into obscurity to become music journalists, but their album lives on and I’ve got all the copies.’
…The work of a cocky, sleep-deprived and possibly quite drunk young man, but damn it was fun.
20 tales of terror, the supernatural and the super-real: a richly-varied journey from the horrors of the human mind to the depths of space.
You’ll meet people in these pages whose fearful struggles will grab you hard, and some you’ll wish you’d never met at all… But either way, you won’t forget them.
Evil beings, experiments gone hideously wrong, psychopaths, erotic maniacs in league with the outer gods, sinister corporations and ghosts from the future. If you get nightmares, just remember: it’s THE GIFT OF FEAR.
A lucky 13 days from Xmas, too.
Those lovely people at White Rabbit are holding another evening of storytelling and theatre in London: Are You Sitting Comfortably? on Fri 12th Oct at Toynbee Studios. The theme is FILTHY, and one of my stories will be featured (“Lucky Bleeder”, which appears in forthcoming compilation Gift of Fear).
Here’s the basic info…
Fri 12th October 7:30
Arts Bar & Café, Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
Box office 020 7650 2350 or book online at www.artsadmin.co.uk
according to the reviewers, they’re…
“fantastic alternative fun” Time Out
“storytelling made supremely sexy” Latest 7 ****
“comic.. haunting.. an enchanted night” Total Theatre ****
…Having seen them at the Basement in Brighton, I can vouch for all of that.
There’s this thing I wrote:
Both are due to be published on Kindle in Winter 2012 – Spring 2013.
The short story compilation comprises previously-published tales and several new. The novel Leland Poet was issued in paperback in 2009, in an edition so badly-produced I asked Amazon to withdraw it from sale. Details are hazy, but it was an Arts Council funded publisher that went bust (or whatever) and passed their roster to a vanity press – who plopped out the manuscript with some crappy off-the-peg cover art and zero copy-editing for my numerous typos. I just washed my hands of it in disgust and went out of my way not to publicize it, for instance never mentioning it on here before. But having decided to DIY the short stories, I thought What the hell. Besides, this gave me a chance to substantially edit it.
Again, think of music and the new Just Get On With It ethic: this is all too familiar. But if that sounds gloomy, it needn’t – it’s quite a buzz revisiting this stuff and getting ready to hurl it back out onto the internet. More news soon.
[EDIT: As of 12th Dec 2012, The Gift of Fear is now available on Kindle for a princely sum: less than a 2nd-hand pulp paperback – the kind of thing it’s in the tradition of.]
[EDIT #2: Leland Poet is also now available – June ’13, a little later than planned, to coincide with the BHCR readings]