11th April 2018
It was about by the time that I was raving-it-out (?) in a club with a sweaty young man who looked like he’d climbed out of the corner of a Jimmy Somerville promotional video that I thought, this evening is a bit different from normal. For a start, I’d normally be in bed with my wife. But anyway, I yelled to the perspirated (?) youth that my name was Cecil and preceded to dance like I’d forgotten I wasn’t alone in my study. I believe the correct colloquial term for the situation might have been Super Bangin’ Hardcore, but that might come across as a bit much. I can remember that throughout, I didn’t want to drop or spill anything from my tin of Brew Dog, which I wasn’t letting go of. They were four quid at the bar. Or four quid fifty, depending.
So where were we? Dancing, yes. You are paying attention. I wasn’t so much at the time, or at least sporadically I was jumping into that little corner of a writers fevered mind, wondering who everyone else might be, how I’d imagine them later on if I was going to write the scene in words, or just in passing like this. I was never so nosey before I took writing seriously, but these days I do beg your pardon. I didn’t properly hear my dancing partners name, but I think that it might have been Skat, although I am prepared to believe that I am remembering that incorrectly. The sound levels were something to behold.
The next day there was a lovely roast lunch for the family round at Grandmas. By the evening I was back in my study and enjoying the sudden turns that are going down in my next novel, a Saxonesque fantasy piece, stuffed inside some make believe Victoriana, which if I light the fuse correctly, should also go off like a proverbial firework display inside a laudanum warehouse. But I’m not putting pressure on myself, I’m just enjoying where it takes me and all the live hedgehog eating that goes on. It is proving a constant delight in Victorian research; damn, people and things had style back then. You couldn’t just get away with slapping some lead fascia around a glass house in 1881; you had to break out a little flourish or two at the edges. Superb.
Beauty is oxygen for the eyes. Don’t go breathing in lead shavings though, in fact don’t even go near the fella who’s working with lead but without a mask to warn him it’s dangerous. Just stand well away until the glass house it is complete and enjoy its form and precision. That’s history for you I guess, but it’s got its uses. Anyway, here’s a small segment from the manuscript of Border Vaudeville, from just a few minutes after Clyde Barrbough has feasted through some hedgehog. Apparently hog Manna is fast acting.
‘Clyde took off his jacket. He was beginning to heat up, those early beads of hog sweat clawing out from his sinews. Thoughtfulness came over him then; his face wearing the creases of such moments before.’
So there’s that going on for the next year or so, and below is a taster from way further into The Brine in Me than I’ve displayed before, by which time Derek Gainsborough has found himself somehow beyond middle age. Only a little bite, though.
‘I went into the 1990’s under a cloud. I guess it could have been regret, but I didn’t think of it that way. I was bored.’
That should prove some sort of busyness on my part, should the need arise. I’m just about to embark on a last read through of The Brine in Me, having survived editorialing (?). After that, what’s left passes through many a fine eye on its route through proofing and formatting. I know the novel very well now, all those creases added to the general tone that I was going for. I could give you a tour, but I’ll leave it to Derek to show you around. Make yourself comfortable, he shan’t be long and he loves an audience.
Go on then …! I’ll leave you with a little more from Derek’s life, liberties and apologies, from about the time that he takes his friend Mole Man on an overnight jolly to Southend. It’s about 1960, something like that. I can’t remember each and every detail without going to check, which I’m not going to do. You’re welcome. I best just quickly set the scene though; Derek and Moles are down a back street pub called The Husk, and Saturday night is shanty night.
‘We’d timed it just right; we were after the early hours, but before it all went pumpkin, which it surely would given the look of the faces packed in around us. My eyes roved for girls, but faster than that, they found me a space at the bar, which I took without hesitation and got our first orders in. For the next couple of hours, we shouted chit-chat to each other and watched the band. Musicians left the long table they were playing at and others joined in rough measure. We stayed at the bar, and when my attention was drawn to an aged wiry man shuffling through the crowd, I missed sight of a potential group of lovelies who had walked in. They went to a small corner table out of my sight, but I would catch their attention soon enough. Right now, the wiry man was too busy with mine. And it appeared he had everyone’s focus, as a faint hush descended, warm sounds of hollow instruments settled, and the tiny old man took a seat that another had prepared for him. A greater hush swelled into the bar then, and I looked deeply into this man, at how ordinary he appeared. From his side, someone appeared with a glass half filled with ale and a bottle of Manns, which the old chap mixed steadily together in a practice that he was clearly long familiar with. After a sip, he sat the glass down, rubbed at the rough creases of his face, and sang out loud with his eyes held low.’
Castaway under pale skies…
JW Bowe xx
If you enjoyed this blog, and you’re impatient for something else to read, feel free to bunch up close to a free sample chapter from JW Bowe’s debut novel, The Meifod Claw, which is available now at Amazon, iTunes and on various other international eReaders.
You can also double up your sampling by following this link to the forthcoming fictional autobiography of The Meifod Claw’s wheelchair-in-chief, Derek Gainsborough. His life and apologies will be released this year under the sail of The Brine in Me.
JW Bowe can also be unearthed on YouTube and in various other ways through the Serious Biscuits homepage. Scroll down for further links, action and disclaimers.
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