Category Archives: The Fall

Fiery Jack at Spelk Fiction

I’m flashing again at Spelk Fiction. Fiery Jack goes a little like this:

Jack walked across the pub carpark and found Sidney Round’s BMW. His bony hands shook as he took a petrol canister from his backpack. He closed his eyes and counted to ten. Tried to control his breathing. He was dripping with sweat. He emptied the canister’s contents over the car and then took out another petrol can.

Read the rest here.

I’m Back at Pulp Metal Magazine

PULPLOGO (1)With a little yarn called Spectre vs Rector.

‘I’m just a walking cliché,’ growled Rector.

He sat at a table in a dark corner of The Essex Arms. His black clothes melded with the pub’s shadows. His bony hand reached out of the darkness and scratched his unshaven face.

He took a sip of whisky.’

Read the rest here.

Short, Sharp Interview: K A Laity

PDB: Can you pitch CHASTITY FLAME in 25 words or less?

KAL:  Sexy super secret agent has mad flings and chases wild things as a Norwegian mastermind and a Belgian hacker try to crash the European market.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

KAL: I’m reading so many books! I’m deep into Vol 3 of Len Wanner’s Crime Writer Interviews, as well as Off the Record 2 which is just chock full of good stuff, same goes for my colleagues in Tales of the Nun and Dragon and I’m plunging into K. T. Davies’ The Red Knight which has massive battle scenes, quite different stuff. I haven’t been to a film since I got to NY and we don’t have television out here in the country, so we just rewatched all of Arrested Development. Steve Holt!

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

KAL: No. Wait, you wanted more than a monosyllable? I read with different levels of attention, but it doesn’t take much of an error to get me scribbling in the margins or annotating my Kindle. I hate anything that takes me out of the story.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

KAL: I do but I’ve been so busy with prose that everything’s fallen by the wayside. Horrible to be gainfully employed all of the sudden. I’m getting so much less done.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

KAL: It varies: I used CHASTITY FLAME as an excuse to hang around my favourite spots idling: the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge. I did have to research the lounges on the Eurostar because I have no intentions of being suffocated in a tunnel under the British Channel.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

KAL:  My lifeline! I don’t know how I’d manage without it. At any given time I am too far away from some people I love and being back in the States in the midst of a political race is a monumentally depressing thing. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends cheering me. I’m a bit of gypsy, too, so social media is how I make sure I have some place to sleep at night! 🙂

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012?

KAL: My dark fiction collection UNQUIET DREAMS is out on October 4th from Tirgearr; I’m wading through the submissions for WEIRD NOIR that needs to be out in e-book form before NoirCon in November, so I am feeling the whip. I’m also stealing time to work on my next novel WHITE RABBIT which is also a kind of weird noir tale with fake psychics, a murdered trophy wife and a strange drug cult. I hope to have the first draft done before the end of the fall semester. The next CHASTITY FLAME book, LUSH SITUATION comes out in January,so there’s no let up, eh?

WIN A COPY OF CHASTITY FLAME HERE.

Recommended Read: The Fall by Albert Camus

I have no friends, I only have accomplices now. On the other hand, my accomplices are more numerous than my friends: they are the human race.’

Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a former big shot Parisian lawyer, and self-proclaimed ‘judge-penitent’, sits in Mexico City, a smoky, pokey bar in the murky depths of Amsterdam’s red-light district. And he tells a fellow Frenchman about the time when, given the chance to save a young woman’s life, he did nothing. And his subsequent fall from grace.

Camus’ The Fall is a stylishly written series of monologues about the desensitising nature of modern life, guilt, ‘the fundamental duplicity of the human being’, responsibility and more. And it’s a right riveting read, it really is. The intimacy of Clamence’s barfly confession drags you along as we hear how, like a true noir protagonist, his life spirals further down from Parisian high life to Amsterdam’s fog and neon soaked underbelly.

The Fall was Camus last work of fiction, published in 1956, four years before he died. At 146 pages is a short, bitter and hard-hitting espresso that will give more than a few jolts during a sleepless night.

Bang, fucking bang The mighty Fall!

(This post first appeared at Loitering With Intent as part of the Criminal Classics season)

Days Of Futuramas Past

Here comes the sun, which means the rock festival season is already upon us. Young and old alike are turning up at football stadiums or muddy fields for the likes of Coldplay, The Stone Roses and, er, probably loads of people I’ve never heard of. And all in the name of ‘fun’. Apparently. Not me, though. No way. And here’s why…
 
Dexy’s Midnight Runners once sang ‘Lord Have Mercy On Me/ Keep Me Away From Leeds’, in the brilliantly titled Thankfully, Not Living In Yorkshire, It Doesn’t Apply.
 
And, to be honest, many people would probably agree with Dexy’s, since Leeds certainly fits a lot of folk’s idea of the grim, industrial wastelands of the north of England.
 
What could be gloomier, in fact, than, say, Leeds on a cold and rainy weekend in September? Maybe watching Joy Division, too? Ah, well …
 
And so it came to pass … it was 1979, at the age of 17, when I first visited Leeds to attend the Futurama Festival (nothing to do with the cracking telly showat the Queen’s Hall. Organised by local boy John Keenan, the festival was billed as ‘The World’s First Science Fiction Music Festival’ – even though there seemed to be  little sci-fi to the experience, apart from a couple of people dressed as robots.  
 
Mind you, sleeping in a municipal building’s drafty hall, on a grubby and sticky floor, with a bunch of other waifs and strays (who had travelled the country – and further afield – to see some of the hippest, most cutting edge, post- punk bands around) did have a touch of the dystopian future about it, when I come to think of it.
But the sci-fi angle wasn’t important. It was all about music. And what a line-up of ‘hot’ bands it was.
 
Yes, of course, the now legendary Joy Division were among the odds and sods  of bands playing over the Festival’s two days, along with their fellow Factory Records glum chums A Certain Ratio and, electro-pop  superstars in the making, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.
 
But, there was also The Teardrop Explodes (who were beaut and performed a cracking version of Aretha Franklin’s Save Me)Scritti Pollitti, Cabaret Voltaire, The Monochrome Set, Spizz Energy, Echo and The Bunnymen (complete with drum machine, Echo),  The Only Ones, and, er, The Invaders.
 
And there was also one of the first performances of former Sex Pistol John Lydon’s Public Image Limited (I slept through a bit of them but bought a Bowie bootleg from Lydon’s brother Jimmy.)
 
And, of course, The Fall who, for my money, were the best band of the whole two days. I still have fond memories of Mark E Smith hassling the Hawkwind fans about their ‘cosmic crap.’ Hawkwind, along with other sixties psychedelic types, such as Nik Turner, seemed prehistorically out of place but their stoned fans seemed happy enough to wander around and take abuse from the younger punks and long-mac wearers.
 
futurama pass.Joy Division, by the way, were damn fine. At the time, they were on the crest of a creative wave, after Unknown Pleasures and Transmission, and before the synthesizers softened their sound. They were, for most people, the stars of the show. The bees’ knees, the cat’s whiskers, the dog’s bollocks.And any other animal’s anatomy.
 
As was the Futurama Festival.
 
More than a few of those bands went on to make something of a name for themselves and when Keenan organised another Futurama Festival in 1980, I went along, hoping to recapture the magic of the previous year. But as little as a year later, though, it looked to my naively jaded eyes as if the Futurama Festival was already moving towards the mainstream.
 
Acts then, included Siouxsie and The Banshees, who were promoting their mega selling  Kaleidoscope album, The Psychedelic Furs, Altered Images, Soft Cell (who, I remember, did a pretty tasty version of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in front of projections of hard core porn) and, ahem,  Gary Glitter.
 
The Bunnymenwere back, too, complete with a real  drummer, and seemed to be on their way to a bombastic psychedelic form of what became known as stadium rock. Speaking of which, there was also a newish band from Ireland, who were being raved about by Sounds’ Garry Bushell – the ill-fated U2.
 
I actually thought they were alright, on the night, what with their Television-lite pop rock, although I –along with my mate Ronnie Burke – did spend most of their set shouting Nanu Nanu at the singer because of his remarkable resemblance to Mork From Ork.
 
The annual Futurama Festival  apparently carried on for a few more years after that but I didn’t go again or, indeed, go to another music festival.(Apart from Dock Rock in Hartlepool, my home town.) It could never be bettered.
 

Guest Blogger: K A Laity – In The Mind Of The Wolf

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When Mr B asked me if I wanted to contribute to the Drunk on the Moon series, I knew I had to get into the head of the werewolf. How could I write from Roman Dalton’s perspective if I had not lived in his world? I had to know him from the inside out. I immediately set up a plan to immerse myself in the wolf mind. I set my plan in motion leading up to the full moon.

DAY ONE

I listened to the Fall non-stop, The Infotainment Scam. Not only had I chosen the song “It’s a Curse” as my touchstone, but I knew the hypnotic drone of Mark E. Smith’s voice and the grinding pummeling of the music would help me reach the altered state I sought. After twenty-four hours without food or drink, just the steady beat on repeat I was feeling the effects. My hair grew, my nails sharpened. I began to drool. Right on schedule.

DAY TWO

I moved outside; the wolf must be wild. Fortunately I live right above a park. There’s not much land, but there are hedges along the edge that I thought might provide enough cover for me. I crouched in the green border and watched the people. They were my prey. I had to know their weaknesses. They had many. And few defences. But as the sun set, they thinned out. Also, there was too much broken glass and SuperMac wrappers in the hedges. I needed another hunting ground.

DAY THREE

I moved to the cemetery. There was more cover there and since I had ripped off my clothes I needed to stay warm. Winter is harsh on the wolf. I chewed on a bone to sharpen my teeth. Despite my focus, they were not sufficiently lethal yet. The dead were good company. However, there was a shortage of victims. Perhaps a disaster of some kind would provide more fodder for the chase.

DAY FOUR

Memory sketchy. Trees scratchy. Dirt cold. Throat sore from howling. Running so far, so far. There were others. I was not alone. Something squeaked. Older woman made hand signals at me, sketching a five-pointed star. Bite marks on my flesh. I may have grown a tail, not sure.

DAY FIVE: FULL MOON

Blood. Flesh. Teeth. Profiteroles.

DAY SIX: RECOVERY

I returned indoors. Dressed and ate food that I had not killed myself. Got the computer out. Typed madly, in a trance. Remember nothing. Grammar inexcusable. Older woman reappeared; asking for recommendations of internet suppliers. Emailed story to Mr B. Slept for fourteen hours. Filed nails. Applied moisturizer. Brushed teeth. Remembered to use cutlery. Started a new story. Buried bones. Write more.

Bio:  K. A. Laity gets away with writing just about any damn thing she pleases, including the forthcoming OWL STRETCHING (Immanion Press) as well as PELZMANTEL, UNIKIRJA and oodles of other stories, plays and even academic essays. See www.kalaity.com for a complete list or find her onFacebookTwitterGoodreads and Amazon.

Interview: Richard Sanderson -Banned From The Big Breakfast!

Q1 : Tell me about your first and your most recent bands?

 
My first band was called “Solaris”, it was me, my cousin Mark Sanderson and his friend Mark Spybey – we were aged about 13. 
 
Unlike the rather swish rock groups 12 and 13 year olds play in now, no doubt schooled by their rock-literate parents, we were musically inept and had no real instruments. 
 
We just used my Dad’s piano, a tatty acoustic guitar and an ancient Boy’s Brigade drum plus radios, tape recorders and a stylophone. We were basically playing free improv – albeit influenced by Krautrock and Hawkwind
 
The three of us met up again last year and it was rather lovely, and we’re hoping to actually record something this summer! I’ve still got the first cassette, and, astonishingly, a label has expressed an interest in releasing it, so soon the world could delight in our squeaky adolescent voices and ramshackle non-musicianship. 
 
I suppose my most recent band is “64 Bit” which is trio with Kev Hopper on electric bass and Ian R Watson on trumpet, I play melodeon (button accordion) and electronics. We improvise too, which doesn’t suggest a lot of progress over 35 years. 


For good measure I also play in a group called The Mixed Porter Band, a load of squeezeboxers, fiddlers and percussionists doing traditional English tunes – we play in pubs and ceilidhs and that. It’s good fun, and beer is involved.
 
Q2: Julian Cope described you as ‘The Post Punk Peter Hammill.‘ Was that a compliment or an insult?
 
I thought it was very nice of him! He was talking about me as an 18 year old – so I guess he’s referring to the perhaps over-serious and intense young man I was then (come on, you remember!) 
 
Hammill’s never actually been an influence, even though I knew the song “Scorched Earth” from Fluff Freeman’s show in the mid ‘70s. Lately I’ve come to enjoy his music a bit more, but I still find his choirboy to snarling rocker voice a bit, well, daft. But compliment I reckon – came right out of the blue too…I haven’t listen to Julian’s music for decades, but his website is a real goldmine of interesting stuff.
 
Q3: Didn’t a breakfast TV show once invite you to go on and play with toys?
 

Yeah! Back in the Mid 90s when Ticklish were just starting, I used to play a big collection of toys, which I’d amplify and process. It was very John Cage and abstract. 

 
Anyway, some researcher on the Big Breakfast heard about us and booked us to appear with Chris Evans, and he clearly thought that we’d be doing funny tunes with quacking ducks or something. 
 
Almost as an afterthought he asked to hear a recording, and a motorbike courier was sent round to pick up a demo from my house. We never heard another thing! 
I just wish I’d been there to see their faces when they actually played the tape. We used to claim we were “banned from The Big Breakfast” after that- it made good copy.
 

Q4: You played the Berlin Jazz Festival. Did you take lots of heroin? And die?

 
Yes. And I don’t recommend it – the heroin and dying bit anyway, not big or clever. 
 
Actually, this was probably the acme of my avant garde career. It was another toy gig in a trio with Steve Beresford and Anna Homler – I’m not sure it was what the promoters wanted, but the audience seemed to like it. 
 
Most embarrassing bit was just before the gig I was told that Guy Klucevsek (easily the world’s greatest avant garde accordion virtuoso – admittedly a niche area, but still) was coming to watch me play accordion. I’d only been playing for about a year on a klunky little toy one knocking out a few hamfisted chords. Let’s just say he didn’t come backstage to congratulate me – I assume he felt his position was safe….
 
Q5: You’ve played with Simon Fisher -Turner who was famously handcuffed to Robert Mitchum during the making of Micheal Winner’s The Big Sleep. How did you meet him? What’s he like?
 
Simon auditioned me for a group to play backing Blixa Bargeld at a gig at Nick Cave’s Meltdown. He’d heard about the toy stuff (again! Is it any wonder the gigs have dried up now that I’ve dropped playing toys?) and he came to my house in Hither Green to chat to me – we sat in our garden in glorious sunshine for about an hour chatting about all kinds of music – he looked at the gear I used, and I got the gig without playing a note. 
 
Simon is charming and debonair and totally lovely. I didn’t know he was in “The Big Sleep” or that Michael Winner directed that version! You are an education, Braz.
 
Q6: When did you get involved in Morris Dancing? Does it damage the car?
 
Right – Three rules for talking to Morris Dancers-
1. Don’t imagine he hasn’t heard the “I’d try anything once except for incest and morris dancing” quote. (He has, many, many times)
2. Don’t say “it’s just like ‘The Wicker Man’ (it really isn’t – I’ve only met about three morris men out of hundreds who are actual “pagans” and none of those have sacrificed anyone, yet)
3. Don’t make clumsy puns with the car
 
I got involved about 5 years ago. That’s the easy bit, slightly harder is “why?”
 
I guess I’ve always been attracted to music and arts outside the mainstream, but these days “the avant garde” is mainstream – look at The Wire (the magazine…or the TV series come to that), or half the gigs at the Festival Hall. 
 
Meanwhile there are these lovely people playing music and dancing outside pubs- sometimes to blank incomprehension, piss-taking or even hostility – more often charming the birds off the trees. Keeping fit, getting your body to move slightly more gracefully, hanging around with interesting people (my side includes bankers, monastery gardeners, professional west-end musicians and the man who’s responsible for public safety if there’s ever a major nuclear incident) and drinking beer. Obviously I was going to have some of that. 
 
Five years later and 2 and half stone lighter, Its becoming clearer that it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My wife, Ruth, does it now too. The kids are doomed!
A good morris joke –
Q- Why was line-dancing invented
A- To give morris dancers something to take the piss out of
 
Q8: What is Scaledown ? Is it like a Scalextrix?
 
Scaledown is a monthly performance above The King and Queen pub in London (Where Dylan did his first UK performance interestingly) that I started with the musician Mark Braby. Six acts, each playing for 15 minutes, with 15 minute gaps for socialising between, using minimal gear. Free admission, donations to performers. That’s it. 
 
 
Basically I’d been putting on experimental gigs for over 10 years and I was heartily sick of it – having to deal with lousy and grumpy soundmen, people trying to get in for nowt, musicians expecting enormous fees etc etc all eliminated immediately. Of course it still became too much for me and I stopped being involved several years ago (having kids helped force that decision) but Mark’s still hanging in. 
 
Scaledown has scaled up a bit, it actually has two great soundmen and a pretty good PA, and has attracted some big names, Vic Godard even played there! I wouldn’t mind scaling down the concept even more, and actually dispensing with the PA altogether, but until I can find a venue I can walk home from, this is unlikely to happen soon. A scalextric would be nice – I’d probably try to find a way to make music with it.
 
Q9: You’re a Notherner who lives in East London. Do you eat jellied eels and love the Krays?
 
I live in SOUTH-East London actually, Braz, so we have none of that, being on the “wrong” side of the river.
 
I’ve been in London for over 25 years now, which I reckon qualifies me as a Londoner, and I still love the place – even though these days I rarely get out of Lewisham (I’m a “Stay-at-home Dad”) so I don’t get to see the iconic sights of London Town Centre- apart from at the top of Hilly Fields, but I feel at home in this neighbourhood. I think my accent’s slipped a bit mind, when I go up North friends imitate me as some kind of Michael Caine, even though my neighbours think I sound like Chris Rea. I have never eaten jellied eels – as Ogden Nash wrote “I like Eels, excepts meals, and the way they feels”…
 
Q10: Are you more Leslie Crowther, Aleister Crowley or Ice Cream For Crow?
 
Ha!
 
I always thought Leslie Crowther was a bit sinister to be honest, something about the eyebrows. More sinister than that old fraud Crowley, who was most accurately demolished by yourself when you described him as looking like “Benny Hill with a cushion on his head” – I’m a staunch rationalist and like my magic without a “K”. So I guess it’s “Ice Cream For Crow” even though I don’t like the album that much.
 
Can I have Doc Rowe, Teesside Docks and Doc At The Radar Station instead?


Bio:Richard Sanderson was born in 1960. He is originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, but has lived in London for over 25 years. After a background in punk and post-punk groups he shifted into experimental music. Playing electronics, toys and squeezebox, he has recorded and performed with many left-field musicians.


He was a director of London Musicians Collective for 10 years, and ran several clubs promoting experimental and improvised music such as “The Club Room”, “Baggage Reclaim“, “Western Civilisation” and “Scaledown”. In 2005 he joined Blackheath Morris Men as a dancer.


In July 2005, together with Neil Denny, Richard created the ‘rationalist’ radio show Little Atoms.


In 2009 he left the world of paid employment in the music business, and scaled down his other activities to look after his two young children. He has been married to Ruth for donkeys years.


His blog is BAGGAGE RECLAIM.


This is his DISCOGRAPHY

Recommended Read: Ritual In The Dark by Colin Wilson

“Not since Dickens has a British fiction-writer dealt with murder in a book of such size and seriousness” – SUNDAY EXPRESS

Colin Wilson’s Ritual In The Dark is a cracking read and certainly a very British book. I first got ‘into Colin Wilson– as I did with many writers, artists and filmmakers via music. In my later teens, one of my favourite bands was The Fall. The Fall‘s lead singer, okay dictator, was , and remarkably still is, Mark E Smith.

Like me, Mark E Smith was an over-read, working class, Northern lad who had left school at sixteen, blessed and cursed with an over ripe imagination.

The Fall, of course, were named after Alber Camus‘ best book but their previous name was The Outsiders, after another Camus book. But there was another The Outsider, I discovered after reading a MES interview. And one that wasn’t written by some namby-pamby Continental intellectual but by another ‘ over-read, working class, Northern lad who had left school at sixteen, blessed and cursed with an over ripe imagination.’ (Okay, Leicester isn’t really THE NORTH but you get my drift…)

And so I started to immerse myself deeply in the weird and frightening world of Colin Wilson. Of course, I avoided The Outsider for a long time – philosophy, the great waste of the tax payers’ money- but I’d heard that he wrote dark crime stories,  including one, The Killer, which is partly set in my home town of Hartlepool. Hartlepool library, in fact, had lots of his books and you could usually find them in charity shops, which is where I found Ritual In The Dark.

So, ‘Ritual’ is that now over egged pudding, a serial killer story. A ‘modern day’ Jack The Ripper tale which would be called a period piece now. It’s a kind of British Crime and Punishment which takes place in a sexually and socially repressed 1950’s Britain and a vividly drawn Soho. Written in 1949 but published in 1960 it is distinctly pre- The Beatles (pre rebellious youth) and post WW2. It is also a distinctly British exploration of existential extremes featuring a murderer who kills as a creative act, a positive rebellion against the supposed unimportance of his existence.

Ritual In The Dark -Post war angst in a world where ‘we’ve never had it so good’ isn’t good enough.

The Post Punk Peter Hammill – Richard Sanderson

In his introduction to his very good Postpunksampler 2, the legendary Julian Cope says tells this story:

‘In 1979, a smart, cool-looking guy called Richard Sanderson came backstage after a (Teardrop Explodes) Middlesborough show and gave me a bedroom recording of his quartet Drop. In his manner, style and quiet confidence, Richard was the Peter Hammill of Post-Punk; anguished, lean and nobly Norman. I loved every song on the tape and played it to Bill Drummond and Dave Balfe (of Zoo Records) , who rejected it outright for being too much like ‘The Teardrops and the Fall’.

So, who was the ‘Peter Hammill of Post-Punk’?

His bio says this: Richard Sanderson was born in 1960. He is originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, but has lived in London for 24 years.

After a background in punk and post-punk groups he shifted into experimental music. Playing electronics, toys and squeezebox, he has recorded and performed with many left-field musicians. He was a director of London Musicians Collective for 10 years, and ran several clubs promoting experimental and improvised music such as “The Club Room”, “Baggage Reclaim”, “Western Civilisation” and “Scaledown”.

In 2005 he joined Blackheath Morris Men as a dancer. In July 2005, together with Neil Denny, Richard created the ‘rationalist’ radio show Little Atoms.

In 2009 he left the world of paid employment in the music business, and scaled down his other activities to look after his two young children. He has been married to Ruth for 15 years.

And what of Richard’s legendary band Drop?

Richard says: ‘Drop coalesced out of my first punk band, The Silencers, and by the end of 1978, the steady line-up was-

Richard Sanderson – Vocals/Guitar Neil Jones- Keyboards Chris Oberon – Bass Andy Kiss – Drums

Listen to the music that Julian Cope raved about HERE

I’ve know Richard Sanderson for over thirty years. I first met him in a pub in Stockton when he was in DROP and I’ve been a friend and fan since then. I was even in a couple of bands with Richard- Halcyon Days and Oceans 11.

Richard has now also released an MP3 compilation of some of his songs from 1978 -2009. One of the songs is Oceans 11‘s ‘I Guess I’m Sentimental’ which was one of their better tunes. There’s also some other cracking stuff there including Drop’s French Windows which was covered by Julian Cope’s brother’s band. Click HERE for the track listing and download details at Richard’s blog BAGGAGE RECLAIM.

There’s more to The Weird & Not Very Frightening World Of Richard Sanderson than this but it’ll get you started.