“I like American music: it’s familiar and alien in roughly equal measure. Tim Buckley with Lee Underwood. John Frusciante. The mournful wailing from the underbelly of the free world. The first time I heard a Frusciante guitar part I was in a takeaway pizza place at two am and I leaned drunkenly against the huge storefront window to cool my head down and it didn’t work, the glass didn’t hold me. I passed immediately through it and out, up into the night air. And I was gliding along a desert highway just before dawn, the top down or the windows open, a weak pink light on the skyline, and shadows, lots of shadows littering the ground, disturbed and scattered by the headlights of the car I was driving. I was there, I was somebody else, and nothing mattered, nothing but the sinking moon and the smell of a storm across the horizon. The blacktop, the cacti, the expanse of time, nothing else.”
“And then something catches his eye, something stuck in there between White Light/White Heat and Transformer. It makes him laugh triumphantly and he snatches it out.
‘Why do you have this? Nobody has this. It’s shite.’
He’s holding up Metal Machine Music. Matt just shrugs. The truth of it is he has everything by Lou Reed.
‘You can’t tell me you listen to this.’
‘Bollocks.’ He turns it over in his hands and reads the back. ‘It’s the re-mastered one as well. You’re such a dick. They saw you coming.’
‘I like it.’
‘There’s a bit that sounds like circus music, and another bit that sounds like bagpipes.’
‘It’s shit. Everyone knows that.’
‘I like it.’
‘You do not.’ He pauses. ‘You just think you’re so fucking cool.’ And that’s how easy it is. Just like that, he’s said it, and it’s out, and now they both know what’s really going on.”
“I love this song. At about the minute mark a cello kicks in. Here it is. This bit, this bit here. It’s fucking gorgeous. I don’t care what you say, there’s nothing quite like that sound. The deep, resonant vibration; the haunting clarity of each gliding note. There’s something earthy about it, something fundamental that reaches into the core of you and leafs through your past as though it’s laid out across the pages of a book. It’s a race memory: the wind in the trees beneath an October moon; the still waters of a black, fathomless lake.”
“The next song begins with a real tender guitar part, a violin and accordion lightly scaling the edges. The vocal starts almost immediately on this one and it’s a deep, wistful wail of pain. I listen, stunned, as the band move through a verse – if such a thing could be called a verse – and then a small chorus of male voices join in. I forget to breathe for a second. It’s unbelievable. There is something Germanic about the whole thing. A u-boat requiem, a sailor-song of drowned men.”
Well, it only took about five years longer than I intended it to, but it’s finally done, and out on Amazon. E-book only for now, I still need to sort out a few formatting issues on the paperback.
A bit of a softer launch this time, I won’t be hawking it on Amazon forums like I did last time. I’ll probably just let a few people know who looked at my writing previously and then let it do whatever it is (or more likely isn’t) going to do for itself…
Off out for a beer now. So no further publicity shite today. Bibliography updates will have to wait as well.
Now this is just stupid. But I kind of wanted to save it somewhere as well. It started as a Facebook thread, and then it turned into a bit of an obsession: remove one letter from the name of a book and create an entirely new story. By the time everyone else had dropped out, I couldn’t stop. I got to 72 and decided I needed to push on for the full 100. So here are mine. (There were others that friends had come up with, some of them better than the ones below, but I don’t have intellectual property for them…)
Google was not used for any of these.
1. Cath 22 – enjoys reading, long walks on the beach, gsoh, seeks same.
2. The Unbearable Lightness of Bing – a tale of two search engines.
3. Three Men in a Boa – fabulous drag reworking of the old classic.
4. Rime and Punishment – a tale of naked winter swimming competitions.
5. Lord of the Lies – Boris Johnson autobiography.
6. The Big Seep – a noir detective is too busy to get his roof fixed.
7. The Bile – old testament as retold by the daily mail.
8. War of the Wolds – the southern counties turn on each other.
9. Rainspotting – a chronicle of life every single day in Manchester.
10. David Copperfiel – young hero becomes dirty old man and gets himself added to the register.
11. (This is a family blog so I’m going to need you to work this out in your head): The Count of Monte Cristo – suffice to say, he wasn’t a very nice man…
12. Brideshed Revisited – a tale of the most disappointing honeymoon ever.
13. Rendezvous with Ram – niche shepherd sci-fi series.
14. The Tim Machine – a factory that turns out a load of boring, and faintly homophobic Lib Dem leaders.
15. The Price of Tides – a study of coastline erosion.
16. The Lion, the Itch, and the Wardrobe – study of big cats and their house dust allergies.
17. Anne of Green Gales – orphaned girl gets weird stomach bug.
18. The God of Mall Things – history of a deity who presides over coffee shops and designer handbags.
19. The Huger Games – bigger than the last ones.
20. The Life of I – Rastafarian autobiography.
21. The Udda of Suburbia – a cow’s life in Chiswick.
22. The Color Purple – stupid American spelling of The Colour Purple.
23. 2001: A Pace Odyssey – endless social media updates of a bloke’s running times around the park.
24. The Hunt for Ed October – talent search for a suitable model for an Ed Sheeran lookalike calendar.
25. The Naked and the Dad – traumatic coming of age story about broken locks on bathroom doors.
26. Casio Royale – story of an electro-pop secret agent.
27. The Maltese Falco – Mediterranean tribute act who has a surprise hit with his version of Rock Me Amadeus.
28. Middlemach – a fighter pilot can’t quite reach the sound barrier.
29. A Christmas Carl – tedious holiday filled with Jungian psychoanalysis.
30. Mr Bum – Roger Hargreaves tackles negative perceptions of American homelessness.
31. Little Omen – a group of girls in civil war America see a black cat.
32. Rome and Juliette – tedious chick lit travelogue.
33. Fall of the Hose of Usher – how are they gonna water the garden now?
34. How to Win Fiends and Influence People – same book, same horrible people.
35. The Road to Wigan Pie – it’s what it’s really famous for after all.
36. Right Lights, Big City – local council invests in energy saving bulbs for its street lamps.
37. The Moostone – chilling Victorian ghost story about a haunted cowshed.
38. Ven Cowgirls Get the Blues – but only a subset of them are cowgirls, some have the blues, some are quite chirpy.
39. The Woman in Whit – a ghost that’s a bit narky cos she’s had no chocolate during lent.
40. Far from the Madding Crow – just shut that goddamn bird up will you?
41. The Canterbury Ales – bunch of CAMRA aficionados can’t be bothered to leave their hometown.
42. Treasure Islad – Yorkshire version of a pirating classic.
43. The Invisible Ma – tale of an underappreciated mother.
44. The Hose of Mirth – woman wears humourous tights.
45. The Aster and Margarita – a couple just enjoy cocktails on their patio.
46. Portrait of the Artist as a Yong Man – weirdly misspelled Irish/North Korean fusion novel.
47. Lack Beauty – a tale of everyday ugly folk.
48. The Anarchist Cokbook – early political grindr prototype.
49. The Nam of the Rose – a study of PTSD following the flower wars.
50. Infinite Jes – superfan wins a lifetime supply of Jes(s) Glynne music. Gets bored in ten minutes.
51. Anima Farm – Carl Jung’s at it again, psychoanalysing chickens.
52. Of Mice and Me – a musophobiac memoir.
53. Owl – book of ornithologically themed beat poetry.
54. One with the Wind – the tale of a hopeless flatulist.
55. The Secret Gent – football hooligan spends his evenings in disguise opening doors for people and helping women put their coats on.
56. The Dharma Bus – a bit like the vengabus but a bit more jazzy and hip in true Kerouac style.
57. The Horn Birds – same book, no discernable difference whatsoever.
58. Lowers in the Attic – a tale of one removal man and his trusty winch.
59. Jas – a German shark hunter who just can’t say nein.
60. The Tale of Peter Rabbi – a study of riverbank multiculturalism.
61. The Good Solder – not that crappy stuff that doesn’t bond your electrical components properly.
62. Plant of the Apes – scientific study of banana tree deforestation.
63. The Kool-Aid Aid Test – attempt to see if juice makers have been conning us with half measures.
64. Good as God – Joseph Heller develops a bit of a complex.
65. The Itches of Eastwick – story set on flying ant day.
66. A Heartbreaking Wok of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers gets right into Asian cooking.
67. Cod Comfort Farm – tale of a refuge for traumatised fish.
68. The Cartaker – Harold Pinter’s confessions of being a joyrider.
69. Mosquito Coat – Lady Gaga goes a bit far at London fashion week.
70. Inker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – a tale of espionage in the tattoo community.
71. Ianhoe – little known tale about the younger brother of the famous knight.
72. Do Quixote – Tarantinoesque reboot where the old knight has a contract put out on him.
73. Canery Row – depression era factory workers attempt an ambitious, slightly illiterate, budgerigar
74. Eat of Eden – family restaurant saga where apple pie is off the menu.
75. A Brief History of Tim – really boring character study of an astro-physicist.
76. Fie Easy Pieces – what I thought when I read it: ‘easy’ my arse.
77. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Tone – young wizard spends 300 pages worrying about whether someone was once a bit arsey with him.
78. Fatland – two dimensional classic given the ultra 3D makeover.
79. Song of the Silent Sow – Selby Jr. goes all avant-garde down the farm.
80. Das Bot – German epic about automated Twitter accounts.
81. The Tibetan Book of the Dad – father’s day best seller in east Asia for 1000 years running.
82. Song of Sloman – tale of a bloke who comes last in every marathon.
83. Fifty Shades of Rey – young female Jedi spots a career opportunity in Death Star interior decorating.
84. Hostwritten – David Mitchell gets his mate to throw a party and knock out a novel for him while he’s at it.
85. Exing the Cherry – Jeanette Winterson cuts all ties in her relationship with fruit.
86. The Man in the High Caste – tale of upper class Indian privilege.
87. White Fan – Jack London exposé of the KKK.
88. Jud the Obscure – a biography of Jud(d) Nelson’s career post Breakfast Club.
89. Fatherlad – one man’s struggle to become a good dad and wanting to be out on the lash all the time.
90. I Fidelity – reworking of I, Claudius set in a small London record shop.
91. The Stanic Verses – poetry collection from Croatian football legend Mario Stanić.
92. Same – Salman Rushdie gets a bit predictable.
93. Bout Last Night – comedy play about a missed boxing match.
94. The Olden Notebook – some old tat Doris Lessing had lying about.
95. The Otter’s Club – inside a secret water vole society.
96. The Asp Factory – a boy can’t find any insects, so non venonmous snakes will have to do.
97. How Late it Was, Ow Late – bloke gets hit over the head by his wife for rolling in from the pub after 2.
98. Am on Rye – Bukowski goes gluten free.
99. Diary of a Wimpy Id – notes from Freud’s subconscious.
100. Goodnight Miser Tom – yer tight bastard.