Friday, 22 March 2013

Against Nature has arrived!

Back from the printers, and here's what the first physical copies look like on Stuart's kitchen table - Stuart being the editor and publisher of Obverse Books. Obviously this is unfeasibly exciting for me, just to see the photographic evidence of this thing existing. I can't be bothered to look it up right now, but I'm pretty sure I started writing Against Nature (or at least a very different version with the working title The Other Side of the World) in 2003, so it's been a decade in the making, and at least some of that time was spent wallowing in the absolute certainty that it would remain unwritten and unpublished.

The first thing that came to mind as I saw the photograph was a scene from The Sopranos, Tony here discussing the cathartic aspect of his therapy with Doctor Melfi:

'Sometimes what happens in here is like taking a shit,' Tony says.
'I prefer to think of it as childbirth,' Melfi suggests.
'Trust me,' Tony responds darkly. 'It's like taking a shit.'

And in many respects it really been, but Lordy it feels good right now; so I guess I'd better get stuck into the next one - Twilight with Frankensteins. It'll be massive. Trust me.

Meanwhile, please feel free to order your copy directly from Obverse Books by following this link:  or don't if it doesn't sound like your sort of thing.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Eggs, Beans & Mayonnaise CD

In September 1980, as I was about to turn fifteen, I formed a band with three of my friends - Pete Avery, Graham Pierce and Eggy Webb. I could play one string tunes on the acoustic guitar Santa had brought the previous Christmas, notably a slightly lob-sided version of the intro to 'Babylon's Burning' by The Ruts. Graham was a little better and could form bar chords on his brother's acoustic guitar providing you gave him time to get his fingers into the right shape. Pete and Eggy couldn't really play anything, but Pete had quite a good voice and was probably funnier than the rest of us, and Eggy just seemed to have the right attitude. We amplified the guitars with an Action Man radio to give them a distorted punky sound, used cardboard boxes for drums, and recorded cover versions alongside our own puerile "compositions" (if that isn't too generous a term) on cassette whenever somebody's mum pissed off to the shops and we could get away with making an unholy racket.

Calling ourselves the Pre-War Busconductors, we spent the next two years churning out cassette after cassette of shambolic children's TV themes with unsavoury lyrics, sarcastic tributes to Garry Bushell, and numerous fairly predictable songs with titles like 'We're Going to the Bog'. We improved musically, but not really by much because whatever the point may have been, that wasn't it. Our band was either a work of fractured and poorly executed genius, or a complete waste of time depending on personal preference and probably whether one was actually a member. By now you should probably be able to tell whether this sounds like something you need in your life. If you read Mojo magazine and have opinions on Rod Stewart's back catalogue, then the Pre-War Busconductors probably aren't for you.

For some reason, Pumf Records collected the best of the Pre-War Busconductors a few years ago, putting these tracks out as a reasonably priced (four quid in the UK) CDR; so it's nothing new, but this is the first time it's occurred to me to advertise. With a novel soon to be published, I will almost certainly be extremely famous by this time next year, so this is your chance to get in on the ground floor, if you see what I mean.

Eggs, Beans & Mayonnaise is available here (the catalogue number is PUMF427 - it's about half way down the page) in the event of anyone being stupid enough to want a copy; and whilst we're all here, Pumf Records is one of the longest running survivors of the 1980s punky DIY cassette scene and is as such almost certainly deserving your support, so you might like to have a look around their extensive catalogue of cranky yet wonderful stuff. Of what I've heard, I'd actually recommend most of it, but some of the Ceramic Hobs and Howl in the Typewriter releases are particularly good, and I'd go so far as to describe the Ceramic Hobs' Straight Outta Rampton as a masterpiece.

We now return you to your regular programme.