Tuesday, 2 November 2010

"Pop Fiction" - Stories Inspired By Songs

This is the wonderful cover for a new fiction anthology "Pop Fiction" which will be published just before Christmas. It's based on the original cover art photography for the Clash's album "London Calling". We are very grateful that Pennie Smith's whose wonderful work (which won "Q Magazine's" 'Greatest Rock'n'roll Photograph Of All Time award) the original was, has endorsed our project and allowed us to use her image.

The royalties for the anthology are being donated to the Blue Lamp Foundation, a charity that provides financial assistance to members of the emergency services in britain who are injured in the line of duty. For more information on this worthy cause click here.

18 stories inspired by songs; 9 by personal choices of the author and 9 by the collectively agreed upon choice of David Bowie's "Heroes".

The other selections are "Tainted Love", "Disney's Dream Debased", "White Man In Hammersmith Palais", "Where's Captain Kirk" and just so you don't think it's all post-punk, "A Day in The Life", "Physical", "Diamonds And Rust" and "I Shot The Sheriff".

My offering, of which I offer an opening sample below, was inspired by possibly the most obscure song of those selected, that by 23 Skidoo called "IY". Here's a video of it which ain't that great quality, but hopefully whets your appetite to track down a decent version.

The story was inspired by the experiences of the Beirut hostages John McCarthy and Brian Keenan, but one which I take off in a whole new direction I hope. Can i recommend anyone who hasn't read Brain Keenan's book on his time as a hostage "An Evil Cradling" to do so, as it's a fantastic read and a real insight into a consciousness forced to rely on itself while handcuffed and blindfolded.

Okay, here's the opening sample to my contribution to the anthology, from a story called "Hotel C.N.S."

Ow! Unyielding. World already in total darkness, now shrunk to two foot at the end of a chain. Ha, the length of a cubit more like. Tight against ... like ... a radiator. It’s do damn hot here, who’d ever need a radiator for godssakes! Ow! Cuffs cutting into me. My flesh interposed between metal on metal. The weak link. Have to stay perched at the correct angle. An involuntary movement and immediate barbaric retribution! No, I came here to teach these people to repair themselves. And this is how they treat me? Tethered like an animal. At least the painted metal’s cooling I suppose. Let’s see if I’ve any movement at all here. Yes, if I just slide along this pipe, got my very own exercise yard. Have to keep remembering to give myself permission to move. Private Hell reporting for duty in someone else’s war Sir!

Clearly I have been afforded a window. The region of sight. Mocking me. Least it means I’m no longer in a cellar. Still in the pockmarked ruins of the city even? If I can just ... Sun’s definition, without luminescence, so only heat and fatigue to guide me. Got it. Full on now. Bob my face minutely across the arc of its gaze ... How clean the air feels ... Up in the mountains, or down in the desert? Who can tell? Cannot see, yet I am not blind. Have to keep telling myself that. Blindfold merely gnomon on the sundial of my skin. Time marked by coruscation, serves as my flare of distress. And listen out for sounds to narrate my story for me. All one need’s contained in the distant artillery. Meeting as intended, or just recoiling? Then nothing but evaporated silence. Are my gaolers even in with me? Tied to my anchor in here, beneath the unfailing scrutiny of such a powerful daytime flashlight out there, they have no need of perpetual watchfulness.

Jesus, this damned heat! It’s like a wall of steam. Can’t even divine the sun directly on me anymore. Jiggle my head this way and that... Just so till it breaks the surface tension and the droplet leaps to freedom ... or oblivion. And still the water trapped
in the radiator watches on in impassive silence. Deus otiose. While my body performs its whirling dervish dance within the confines of a few inches. Scuse me, some mistake here, my bandana’s slipped down over my eyes! It’s not performing its function. Nowhere for the refugee beads of perspiration to go. I don’t actually believe I have any captors. Can’t see them, can’t hear them and despite living in close proximity inside a Turkish bath, I can’t even smell them. They simply don’t exist. But I know how to make them jump! Just remove my blindfold. Or look as though I might. Mop my brow and get pistol whipped to death for my pains. Technological update of a stoning. I was wrong about these people and their primitive methods. They’ve had coaching, from our side. End it all here and now. It would be quicker than drowning. And all for a bead of sweat, truly about a pound of my dissolved flesh.


Carrie said...

This project is just awesome Marc. Your excerpt is ace!

Sulci Collective said...

Thanks Carrie, it's been a lot of fun. Music is so crucial to many artists working in other media.

Dan Holloway said...


Sulci Collective said...

Thanks Dan. The full piece is what I'll be reading in Oxford on 17th December. Anyone got some handcuffs they can lend me?

Anonymous said...

Great intensity and sense of confinement and really good voice. I think this is one of the best things I've read of yours. Like the way it works with the music and reading it while listening. And An Evil Cradling was an amazing book. Brian Keenan was one of the contributors at the launch of the Hope book that I attended recently. So many years later hard not to associate him just with that time.

Real Virtuality said...

"Then nothing but evaporated silence."

Choice phrase.

Linda said...

Very cool. Your excerpt is wonderul -- what RV above me says.

Will you be able to ship stateside? Or is this a digital venture? Peace...