Category Archives: Cold London Blues

Updates, News Etc

There’s a lot of it about.

First up, the paperback of TOO MANY CROOKS is out now! You can grab it at BARNES&NOBLE, AMAZON, and a few other places, I’m sure,

Also, the paperback of COLD LONDON BLUES is now available from Amazon.com 

A CASE OF NOIR will soon be given a reboot from those classy folk at NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE. It should be out early on in March.

SHOTGUN HONEY will be publishing one of my yarns in early March. It’s called SMALL TOWN CREED.

NICK SWEENEY is over at POLSKI NOIR  at the moment.

My latest BRIT GRIT ALLEY column is up at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE.

And I currently have a guest blog – and eBook giveaway – over at DEBBI MACK’s CRIME CAFE where I talk about flash fiction. Check out KISS.

Some Top Reviews!

cold london bluesOver at Amazon.co.uk, Robert Cowan reviews Cold London Blues and says:

‘Brazill doesn’t disappoint with this latest crime caper written in his signature style, mixing noirish punk menace and Sid James humour. Featuring an array of wonderful characters, both old and new, high end dialogue and killer one liners, only Brazill could carry off a crime story about stolen comics with such panache. Ace’

Meanwhile, Mark Bickley says:

‘Gritty writing, as we have come to expect from Brazill. A juxtaposition of characters that are both comedy and tragedy, played out amidst florid descriptive prose capturing the tedium of London city streets.’

And Pat McDonald has reviewed Kill Me Quick! She says:

kill me quick cover

‘I read this book over New Year needing something to cheer me up! I’ve read a lot of his books now and knew it would be maximum entertainment. Yes gritty with a turn of phrase guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. I love the names of his characters: the likes of Ava Banana and Bryn Laden – excellent. Based in a dilapidated seaside town that has seen better days hilariously depicted as are most of his characters. Mark Hammonds once upon a time something in the music industry until his unfortunate accident to his guitar playing hand, is back in his home town. I love the music references along the way that I can imagine if made into a film would be played during it. They don’t get much funnier than this and even the seedier of his characters has time to stop off for a bit of philosophy or word derivation along the way. His women characters are tough cookies and always fond of wearing red lipstick (or is that the author’s fetish?) Nice one again, keep them coming Mr Brazill!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

braz-calenderHere’s a clip from GUNS OF BRIXTON, which kicks off on New Year’s Day – as does COLD LONDON BLUES:

‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ said Richard Sanderson.

He was soaked in crimson and a sharp, knife-edged pain sliced through the back of his neck. He twisted himself upright, looking around for a horse’s head.

The bottle of red wine that he’d fallen asleep clutching like a Teddy Bear fell to the ground, spilling what remained of its contents across the fluffy white rug. He rubbed the back of his neck and stretched. He was feeling more than a little worse for wear – and kipping on the basement sofa hadn’t exactly helped his New Year’s Day hangover a great deal, either.

He picked up his red Gretsch guitar and put it back in its case, then propped it against a box of old twelve inch singles. Televisions’ ‘Marquee Moon’ – in green vinyl – was out of its sleeve and he slipped it back in and then carefully put it back into the box. Alphabetically.

He couldn’t remember playing the guitar at all. It wasn’t something he did that much, these days, but he could see blisters on his fingertips.

 Moving like an arthritic Robocop, Richard trudged up the stairs from his basement office to the living room. He went to the window and peeled back the blinds. Outside, the tree-lined suburban street was deserted.

After a few minutes, Richard heard the squeak of wheels and saw Batty Betty pushing her shopping trolley full of broken dolls toward the graffiti stained Ford Granada where she lived. In the distance, a constellation of streetlamps and a galaxy of Christmas decorations trailed Chiswick High Road and faded towards Hammersmith. He walked upstairs and into the migraine bright bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as possible.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

happy-new-year

CLIP: Cold London Blues by Paul D. Brazill

CLB---3d-stack_d400Cold London Blues (CLB) is a blackly comic slice of pulp fiction (or Punk Fiction, if you fancy!) published by indie publisher Caffeine Nights Publishing.  CLB is a follow up to my book Guns Of Brixton (GOB) – a violent gangster romp, a sweary Ealing Comedy. With GOB, I used the titles of Clash songs to – loosely!- frame the book.

Whereas GOB was a tad Mockney music hall in its approach, with CLB I wanted something more noir, more torch song, and so I used Vic Godard and Subway Sect songs in the same way. (I’d previously named a couple of characters after Vic. In my story The Last Laugh there’s a hit man known only as Godard and a bent copper called Vic Napper.)

The following scene features the murderous priest Father Tim Cook, who is going through a delayed mid-life crisis.  He and his friend Gregor are on a pub crawl which takes them to a smokey, pokey bar full of sinners known as Noola’s Saloon.

NOBODY’S SCARED

Noola’s Saloon was even more crowded than the pub they’d just left but that certainly didn’t deter Father Tim and Gregor, who had decided they were on a drinking mission. As they shuffled through the door, the Wurlitzer jukebox burst to life and Howling Wolf snarled out ‘I Ain’t Superstitious.’

The pub was dimly lit and smoky, despite the fact that no one was smoking. Gregor found a small table near a disused cigarette machine and Tim went to the bar. A dishevelled and unshaven old soak, who seemed to be dressed like a private eye from some old black and white film, nestled on a bar stool, calmly contemplating the glass of whisky that was in front of him. The ice cubes seemed to shimmer, glimmer and glow in the wan light.

He looked up at Tim.

‘Twilight time,’ he said, his hangdog expression never changing.

‘Isn’t it always,’ said Tim.

The old soak nodded and went back to staring at his drink.

Tim briefly turned his gaze outside. The wet pavement reflected Noola’s Saloon’s flickering neon sign. Headlights cut through the heavy rain. He unsteadily shuffled up and leaned on the bar, plonking the sleeve of his jacket in a puddle of spilt lager.

After a while, he caught the eye of the barman , a grumpy-looking bloke with a pock-marked face and inky black quiff. He slowly put down his copy of National Geographic and Tim made the two finger gesture for two pints, making sure his hand was facing the right way.

The antique Wurlitzer Jukebox was playing Mel Torme’s version of ‘Gloomy Sunday’. Tim had always been a big fan of The Velvet Fog but the cacophonous voice of a fat bald bloke in a corduroy jacket boomed over the lush sounds.

‘Well, I’m certainly not a fan of the popcorn trash that the multiplex inflict upon us but at least Christopher Nolan treats Batman with the gravitas he deserves,’ said the bald, fat man.

A tall, twitchy man who was looming over him, almost spat his half pint of Guinness over his Armani shirt.

‘Gravitas!?  It’s about a bloke who dresses up in a rubber bat suit to fight a baddy who dresses up like a clown. It’s not exactly Marcel bloody Proust, is it?’

‘Well some critics would argue that it’s a metaphor for …’

‘Critics! Jeez! Film critics! Have you ever been to the BFI?’

‘Of course. The recent Alain Resnais retrospective was …’

‘The British Film Institute is a very creepy place indeed, my friend. Creepy people, too. And the shite they spout. Like that crap about Dawn of The Dead being a satire of consumerism because the zombies go to a shopping centre. I mean, that’s one gag in the whole film! There’s also a scene where one of them gets decapitated by a helicopter blade. Is it a satire of air traffic control? Eh? I ask you?’

The bald man shuffled in his seat and wiped cappuccino froth from his top lip.

‘Well …’

Father Tim, picked up two pints of Kronenburg from the bar and resisted the temptation to give both of the blokes a slap.

‘Wankers like that are what put me off going out for a drink in the West End these days,’ he said as he put the drinks on the table.

‘The city is riddled with them these days,’ said Gregor. ‘They’re like the clap. Even worse than northerners.’

‘I was in that poncy over-priced sandwich shop before I came here,’ said Tim, unsteadily sitting down. ‘Away in a Manger or whatever it’s called. Anyway, they were playing Nick Drake. ‘Fruit Tree’ to be precise.’

‘I like Nick Drake,’ said Gregor.

‘Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of Nick myself but there were a couple of media wankers in there talking about his mum’s LP’

‘Whose mum?’

‘Nick Drake’s. Some sad bastard has put out a few songs she record in the olden days.’

‘Any good?’

‘Dunno. Never heard it. Anyway, these twats in the sandwich shop started prattling on about how Drake and his mother’s music was ‘quintessentially English’. I mean what the fuck’s that all about? Quintessentially posh sissy boy with a quintessentially stuck-up mother, I’ll give you that. Quintessentially poncy. It’s all that John Betjeman, cricket on the village green, Downtown Abbey, Latin quoting detective cobblers that they punt to the Septics because, well, Yanks are thick. And it has nothing to do with the life of a hairdresser from Wolverhampton or a bingo caller from Hull or the vast majority of English people. You know what I’m saying?’

‘Poshness. Poshnessabounds,’ slurred Gregor, sinking even lower in his seat. ‘This country is crippled by its class system.’

‘Exactly. Switch on the telly and it’s all Sherlock poncy Holmes or Dr poncy Who. This is the bullshit we have to put up with. Oxbridge twots and Oxbridge wannabees.’

‘We need another class war, that is what we need,’ said Gregor. He spilt a splash of lager on his shirt as he slurped it.

‘I blame America for it … well, I blame America for everything …The United States Of America is a cancer. A poisonous virus that has fatally infected its host,’ said Tim, reclining in the leather chair and waggling his outstretched fingers, trying to get the circulation back in them. He checked his reflection in the mirror. He wasn’t looking so good.

‘It’s like in those horror films, eh?’ he said. ‘They say you shouldn’t make your home on an Indian burial ground but when you think about it, the whole of the United States is a bleedin Indian burial ground. Think about it.’

Grab COLD LONDON BLUES here, if you’re that way inclined.

London Fings

gob‘Once our beer was frothy  but now its frothy coffee…’ – Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be by Lionel Bart

In 1959, the great Lionel Bart turned Frank Norman’s London set play ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be’ into a musical comedy about ‘low-life characters in the 1950s, including spivs, prostitutes, teddy-boys and corrupt policemen’. This was a time of great change in post-war London – what with the ‘birth of the teenager’ and the Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon – and not everyone copes well with change, of course.

London is changing again, too, though not necessarily for the better.  Online, I see a litany of news stories about classic cinemas being converted into apartments for the super-rich and the destruction Tin Pan Alley – the home of British rock n roll. Indeed, the Soho of Bar Italia, Ronnie Scott’s, Norman and Jeff in The Coach and Horses, or Francis Bacon and Derek Raymond in The French House seems long dead or dying.

Ironically, the 50s coffee bars so disparaged in ‘Fings’ are now lamented as they are replaced with over-priced, homogenised sandwich bars and ‘frothy coffee’ seems decidedly risqué.

My books Guns Of Brixton, Cold London Blues, and A Rainy Night In Soho are violently comic tales of London low-life, occasionally rubbing shoulder with the high-life.  All three books focus on the Cook family – ageing London gangsters who aren’t adapting to change too well. All they have left is the shitty weather.

Here’s a clip from COLD LONDON BLUES :

‘Father Tim … looked out across the London skyline. The inky-black night had melted into a grubby-grey January morning. The city was waking now and the windows of the other granite tower blocks outside were starting to light up.

CLB---3d-stack_d400A cold wind, as sharp as a razor blade, sliced through him and Father Tim fastened his leather biker’s jacket as tightly as possible. Dark, malignant clouds crawled ominously across the sky.

‘Pissin’ miserable weather,’ he muttered to himself. ‘Pissin’ miserable country.’

He took a crushed packet of Marlborough cigarettes from the back pocket of his Levis, fished inside with shaking fingers.

On the opposite balcony, a tall man with long black hair took breadcrumbs from a plastic bag and threw them in the air. Black birds darted down from telephone lines where they had been lined up like notes on sheet music. The birds flew towards the tall man, landing on his balcony and sometimes on him. His raucous, joyous laughter brought an unfamiliar smile to Father Tim’s face.

On the street below, he could see a branch of a small general dealer with a bright green logo above the door, as well as an old bicycle factory that had recently been converted into a Wetherspoons pub, and a stretch of hip bars, including Noola’s Saloon, its green neon sign flickering intermittently.

The street bustled with the drunken debris of the previous night’s New Year’s Eve parties. The still-pissed and the newly hungover mingled.  A massive skinhead in a leopard skin coat walked up to Noola’s Saloon and pressed a door bell. The door opened emitting a screech of escaping metallic music as he slipped inside. Iggy and The Stooges’ ‘Search and Destroy.’ A sense of longing enveloped Father Tim. A feeling of time passing like grains of sand through his fingers.

Father Tim felt his rheumatism bite as he inhaled his first cigarette of the day. His chest felt heavy. If ever there was time to get the hell out of London it was probably now. The quack had told him to piss off to Spain, or somewhere as sunny, for a bit, for his health’s sake. It wasn’t a bad idea, either. He could even stay at his sister-in-law’s gaff in Andalucía if he wanted. But he knew he wouldn’t stay away for long. London was in his bones. His blood. His lungs. For better or for worse.’

(This post first appeared at Tess Makovesky’s blog.)

London Fings At Tess Makovesky’s Gaff

CLB poster

Over at Tess Makovesky‘s blog, she has a regular spot where writers talk about their book’s setting.

I’m over there this week talking about London:

‘In 1959, the great Lionel Bart turned Frank Norman’s London set play ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be’ into a musical comedy about ‘low-life characters in the 1950s, including spivs, prostitutes, teddy-boys and corrupt policemen’. This was a time of great change in post-war London – what with the ‘birth of the teenager’ and the Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon – and not everyone copes well with change, of course.’

Read the rest here at WHERE THE HECK WEDNESDAY 

Get Guns Of Brixton and Cold London Blues for less than a FIVER each (with FREE delivery).

CLB---3d-stack_d400Over at the BOOKS etc website, the paperback of COLD LONDON BLUES is currently on sale for £3.89, and the paperback of GUNS OF BRIXTON is on sale for £ 4.38.GOB paperback

So,  you can get the set for less than a tenner.

And it’s FREE delivery, if you live in the UK!

Can’t fall off!

Pat McDonald Reviews Cold London Blues

CLB---3d-stack_d400Over at Amazon.co.uk, author Pat McDonald says:

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books I’ve read for some time, definitely a ‘laugh out loud’ read.

This is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. My initial thought and expectation was to read a dark, gritty look at London’s gang life, until I found myself laughing out loud. And what a refreshing style – at last!! – Here is someone who wants to tell it like they want to. The turn of phrase, the sometimes one liner’s had me in stitches. He describes someone’s aversion to heights: “He got vertigo wearing thick socks”. I did wonder if you had to be a certain age to appreciate all the references, but thought if anyone really needed to know there was always Google (my life line!)
The style of writing is so good you almost forgot what the plot was about whilst reading it. With a body at every turn, even the violent scenes were amusing to imagine. This would make an excellent film of The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels type, maybe Guy Richie should be offered it!
The characters names were brilliant, their descriptions, quirks and foibles excellently wrapped up in the style of this talented writer. Read it and weep with laughter.
Pat McDonald British Crime Author

Mark Hammonds Reviews Cold London Blues.

cold london blues mar hammondsOver at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hammonds says:

‘The latest romp into the dark world of PD Brazill, Satan’s very own PG Wodehouse. It’s the capitol this time (the title is a giveaway) rather than the mean streets of Seatown. But if it’s grim up North, it’s grimmer down South, all arse-end and underside. Father Tim is the black soutaned sheep of the Cook clan, whose devotion to holy orders consists solely in the odd Latin pun as he offs the flock one by one. He’s no maniac: it’s a job of work and he dispenses it with a shrug and a sigh. He’s back adrift in his home town, slouching through a litany of small disasters in the dark places between the first swig and the shakes. There’s a plot somewhere among the choppy set pieces, but what the hell. Just give it up for the characters and the dialogue. Be-Bop DeLuca, Turban Ted, Tarquin Farrago, Baghead Berry, Squeaky Thompson, Toffy’s Offy… and a tool-bag filled to busting with lines you wish you’d come out with. And you will. Treat yourself.’

Detectives Beyond Borders Gets The Cold London Blues

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At his splendid blog, Peter Rozovsky say:

Back in December 2014, I praised Paul Brazill‘s Guns of Brixton for not pretending to be “anything but a comic romp, a kind of high-spirited musical without music, albeit one full of violence, the threat thereof, and all sorts of unpleasant bodily effluvia, whether the result of gun blasts or not.”

I’m not yet finished reading that novel’s follow-up, the brand-new Cold London Blues, but a few snippets suggest that this one will be as much fun as GOB:

“A group of drunken middle-aged men in Manchester United football shirts staggered out of a Thai restaurant shouting racial abuse at an angry looking chef who was chasing them out and wielding a machete.

“‘Ah, Northern scum,’ said Tim. ‘Cultural ambassadors.’


“‘Indeed,’ said Gregor, in the clipped RP English usually only found in 1940s public information films. ‘Unfortunately, at certain times of year, they infest the streets of this great city like lice.’”

and

“Father Tim slammed one of them in the Adam’s apple with his fist and then kicked him in the groin.”

and

“Kamilla grinned and head-butted him.”

Add an occasional jab at Cool Britannia and at noisy cafés, and I feel like I know England even better than I do when I’m there.’

Vic Godard’s ‘Cold London Blues’ Playlist

vic1Over at Vic Godard‘s Soundcloud page, Gertie Grocott has put together a Cold London Blues playlist. She says:

‘This is a playlist I’ve put together to celebrate the publication of Paul D Brazill‘s latest Brit Grit Noir adventure ‘Cold London Blues’. Why for this book you may ask, well you may notice the title and chapter titles are all Vic Godard songs! Except ‘What’s The Matter Boy‘, which is a line from ‘The Devil’s in League With You’.

Check it out here!