My new book, a music biography based on the strange life and curious times of notorious UK band, Fat White Family, will be published in February 2022. I have co-written it with Lias Saoudi – the band’s lead singer – and have spent the past 18 months of lockdown interviewing, researching, writing, and stitching together the band’s extraordinary story.
Pre-orders for the hardback edition of Ten Thousand Apologies are now available via my Bookshop.Org page, at Rough Trade, Foyles, Waterstones, or your local independent bookshop. An audiobook (read by Emily Spowage and Lias) is also available on Audible.
Festive greetings from the snowy moortops. Seeing as I have spent most of the year either a) locked away writing b) moving house c) living out of a suitcase – I thought it was worth sharing some of the bits & pieces I have published this year if you are curious to know more…
I have set up a new shop page on Bookshop.org that contains links to all of my titles that are currently in print and available, plus a few books lists to whet the appetite such as Books of the Year and New Reads for 2022. Bookshop.Org is an online store for independent booksellers and authors in the UK that allows readers to order direct, thus letting us keep a healthy percentage of the sale instead of the dastardly Amazon!
‘Luxury Complex: New Faces in Hell’ is an essay on past-life regression, satanic panic and a hauntological group art show in Excavate!: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. It’s quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written but had to reach the twisted depths of Mark E. Smith, H.P Lovecraft and the psychic realm to do the subject justice. It reads like a Fall LP sounds. Congratulations to editors Bob Stanley & Tessa Norton – Excavate! was Louder Than War’s #1Book of the Year and was a Rough Trade, Times, MOJO, and Uncut Book of the Year.
Stay Alive Till ’75 is an exclusive pocket-sized edition featuring ‘The Humber Star’ poem, and two memoir pieces (or perhaps auto-fiction) set on the fringes of a religious cult in a fading East Yorkshire seaside town. It has been designed & published by Cally Callomon and is available at Ration Books, alongside new writing by Bill Drummond and Benjamin Myers. Visit their website for further info.
Flashback: Parties for The People by The People is a fold-out publication from this year’s British Textile Biennial that tells the story of the infamous Blackburn Acid House parties. It contains a series of pamphlets including reportage, fiction, poetry and oral history by Alex Zawadzki, Anna Wood, Balraj Singh, Dorothy, Fergal Kinney & Jamie Holman. It also includes my anti-love story, ‘A Place Called Bliss’, a tale that revolves around the smalltown life of two friends and their doomed attempt to escape their daily drudge via the ecstatic promise of Blackburn’s legendary parties… in an Austin Allegro. You can order direct from Rough Trade Books.
‘The Beautiful Game’ is a short story of football and shameful secrets that appeared in the debut edition of Ambit Pop (243) edited by Lias Saoudi. Copies are available via Ambit’s website
Sheffield’s Eccentronic Research Council have released a limited edition album soundtracking the recalled dreams (and nightmares) of friends, artists, actors, scientists, poets and filmmakers and a whole array of eccentrics and people with actual proper jobs. I was delighted to be asked to contribute a lockdown dream to this collection, it’s called ‘Adelle’s Dream’ (of course!)
If you subscribe to the Yorkshire Post, you can read some of my articles from the past year. If not, for just £1 you can purchase an Axate day pass (linked on the articles) and peruse everything in the YP’s online archive. Even the tightest Yorkshireman has to admit it’s a bargain!
I will be hosting an evening of Derek Jarman’s films at HOME on March 10th. Glitterbug and The Queen is Dead will screen from 35mm prints. The event is part of Jarman at HOME: a retrospective of one of the most influential figures in contemporary British culture.
Described by Rolling Stone as a “jaw-dropping rollercoaster”, Ten Thousand Apologies is a wild tragi-comic account of the life & times of Fat White Family. I have co-written it with Lias Saoudi – the band’s lead singer – and have spent the past 18 months of lockdown interviewing, researching, writing, and stitching together the band’s extraordinary story. Visit White Rabbit to pre-order a hardback.
Some of you might have heard about The Gallows Pole, which is currently being adapted by Shane Meadows for BBC One. It has been a crazy few months up here in the hills, with a large cast sporting mullets, clogs and mucky faces. It is mindblowing to see how this local story of the Cragg Vale Coiners, dreamt up by Ben in our old Mytholmroyd attic, is being transformed for the screen. Following an open casting call involving 6,500 self-submitted videos, the show will also feature an ensemble of first-time actors from the area. It’s true, summat wicked this way comes…
Flashback: Parties For The People By The People is a new fold-out publication from Rough Trade Books that tells the story of the infamous Blackburn Acid House ‘parties’, the vital part this moment of counter-cultural history has played in the social, economic and cultural lives of the area itself, and more broadly, of the country as a whole. The collection contains a series of pamphlets of reportage, fiction, poetry and oral history by contributors including Alex Zawadzki, Anna Wood, Balraj Singh, Dorothy, Fergal Kinney & Jamie Holman.
This fold-out set includes my recent short story, ‘A Place Called Bliss’—an anti-love story that revolves around the smalltown life of two friends and their doomed attempt to escape their daily drudge via the ecstatic promise of Blackburn’s legendary parties in the neighbouring county. It is a shadow story of those lost weekends—a tale of frustrated desire and frustrated aspiration, where the small miracles of love and hedonistic transcendence appear all but impossible.
I will be hosting an online Arvon non-fiction masterclass on September 9th 2021 on creative biographical writing. It is open to writers of all abilities. We’ll be looking at texts including Janet Malcolm, Michael Ondaatje, David Peace and Gordon Burn, plus a few exercises in research and writing across the two hour session.
As part of Arvon’s wider effort to increase participation in the arts, concessionary places are available for this course.
The Beautiful Game is a short story of football, dark secrets and masculinity that has appeared in the debut edition of Ambit Pop (243). This new strand of Ambit invites maverick artists to guest edit the magazine under their tradition of Poems, Stories, and Art.
The Ambit quarterly was (anti) established in 1959 by Dr Martin Bax to expand on the times. Editors including JG Ballard, Carol Ann Duffy and Eduardo Paolozzi published early work of many admired names, including David Hockney, William S Burroughs, Stevie Smith and Linton Kwesi Johnson.
An exclusive collection in miniature, Stay Alive Till ’75, is published today at Ration Books. The pocket-sized edition features ‘The Humber Star’, a poem commissioned by John Grant for Hull City of Culture 2017, a memoir in make-up called ‘4 Ombres Dior’, and an extended essay of creative non-fiction set on the fringes of a religious cult in a fading East Yorkshire seaside town.
The book is available to buy direct from Ration Books, alongside new writing by Bill Drummond and Benjamin Myers.
Sheffield’s Eccentronic Research Council have released their own super-limited edition cassette soundtracking the recalled dreams (and nightmares) of friends, artists, actors, musicians, scientists, poets and filmmakers. The release was called The Dreamcatcher Tapes Volume 1. Five years on, Volume 2 of The Dreamcatcher Tapes was born!
Across the two volumes there’s film maker Carol Morley, Andy Votel, John Doran, Benjamin Myers, Evangeline Ling from Audiobooks, Lias Saoudi, Sidonie Orielle, Wyndham Wallace and Daniel Dylan Wray amongst a whole array of musician friends, eccentrics and people with actual proper jobs.
I was delighted to be asked to contribute a lockdown dream to this collection, it’s called Adelle’s Dream (of course!)
I have written a feature on the literary culture of Hebden Bridge in this weekend’s Yorkshire Post: ‘Aside from the proliferation of alternative lifestyles, its hordes of tourists, flooding incidents, or the title of ‘UK’s lesbian capital’, the small market town of Hebden Bridge has become renowned as an unlikely centre for literary culture in the North of England…’
It’s time for the annual end-of-year musings at Caught by the River, known as Shadows and Reflections. Since so many of our lives have been lived in thematic overlap this year, they’ve asked their contributors and friends to focus on the small, strange and specific as they look back over the last 12 months. Today it’s my turn to discuss a thwarted Algerian trip and this beautiful country’s extraordinary musical heritage…