Pomona Books

I set up Pomona (www.pomonauk.co.uk) because I was often asked by other writers for advice on publishing or to edit their work. Increasingly I saw that great ideas and great books were not being taken up. Inevitably, I penned a manifesto of sorts: Statement
Andrew Collins summed it  up well in a piece published in Word magazine: Pomona 
Good article here, too: The Guardian.
And by Ian McMillan in The Times.

 

Synopses, reviews and background of the 25 books Pomona has published to date:

Footnote*
Boff Whalley

Published: 12 June, 2003    ISBN: 1-904590-00-4

footnote, front cover

Footnote* is clever, funny and irreverent—a story about a boy from the redbrick clichés of smalltown England reconciling Mormonism and punk rock, industrial courtesy and political insurrection.

He finds a guitar, anarchism and art terrorism and, after years (and years and years) of earnest, determined, honest-to-goodness slogging, his pop group† makes it big; that’s BIG with a megaphone actually. They write a song that has the whole world singing and, funnily enough, it’s an admirable summary of a life well lived—about getting knocked down and getting back up again.

Meanwhile, there’s a whole world still happening: authentic lives carefully drawn, emotional but not sentimental and always with a writer’s eye for detail. Footnote is not another plodding rock memoir but a compassionate, critical and sometimes cynical account of a life steeped in pop culture, lower division football and putting the world to rights.

* See page 293.
†Boff Whalley is a member of Chumbawamba.

Talk Punk

Footnote, early cover
www.boffwhalley.com/

Rule of Night

Trevor Hoyle

Published: 12 June 2003   ISBN 1-904590-01-2

Rule of Night

Trevor Hoyle has, since the mid-1970s, published a wide range of fiction from mainstream novels to speculative fiction on environmental themes and science-fiction.

He wrote the classic Q science-fiction trilogy and other novels have encompassed modern mythology, political satire and psychological thriller. The Guardian, reviewing his post nuclear holocaust fable Vail (John Calder), said “Hoyle has a sharp ear for the shifty idioms of menace and has mastered the knack of being both horrifying and funny.”

In 2003 Trevor Hoyle’s novel Rule of Night, originally published in 1975, was reissued by Pomona to critical acclaim. It was named as Time Out’s Book of the Week, received a five-star rating in The Big Issue, and reviews in The Guardian and City Life.

Rule of Night, original cover

Swine

Manchester Evening News

Italian edition cover

Down the Figure 7

Trevor Hoyle

Published: April 2010 ISBN 978-1904590255

DTF7 cover

Trevor Hoyle’s fictional memoir reinforces the saying that the past is another country, with its own strange customs and mysterious rituals. None stranger and more mysterious than the secret world of childhood. Take a time trip back to the black-and-white 1950s, to a northern cotton town struggling to emerge from a decade of shortages and rationing, of make-do-and-mend.

But the war and its aftermath cast a long shadow. Gangs of feral youth, inflamed by the exploits of Hollywood tough guys, fed on Movietone News and the tales of dads and uncles who served in the Forces, are still fighting the Nazzies and the Nips – and each other – in the bits of wasteland between the streets and houses. It all seems very innocent (even the fumbling exploration of sex behind the garages) and indeed it is. Until Terry Webb’s uncle turns up, ex-Desert Rats, and brings a piece of the war home with him.

In addition to his novels, Trevor Hoyle has also written a number of successful radio and television plays, winning the Radio Times Drama Award with his first play GIGO.

Word

Trevor Hoyle, pic 1
Trevor Hoyle, pic 2 (recent)
In-depth interview:  Trevor Hoyle

Trevor Hoyle website

The Fan

Hunter Davies

Published: November 2003    ISBN 1-904590-02-0

thefan

The Fan is a collection of very personal, unusual pieces about his life as a supporter. He observes football in its sovereignty of the late 1900s and early 2000s and tackles the big topics of the day: Beckham’s haircuts, high finance, the price of pies, the size of match day programmes, the enormous wages, the influence of Sky TV, England’s numerous managers.

Along the way, he also lets us into his home life, in London and the Lake District, his family, his work, his tortoise, his poorly knee (caused by too much Sunday football).

Originally published in the New Statesman magazine, The Fan catches Davies at his very best and most amusing. It will appeal to supporters of any age, sex and loyalties. The ultimate bedside football book.

The Second Half

Hunter Davies

Published: October 2006    ISBN 1-904590-14-4

thesecondhalf

Sing it loud:there’s only one Hunter Davies, one Hunter Davies. And he’s still, in all fairness Brian, bang on top form, doing well, the lad.

The Second Half is another collection of his personal pieces from the New Statesman covering the past three domestic seasons: the Euro Championship of 2004 and the 2006 World Cup when he unexpectedly became Wayne Rooney’s top buddy.

“When a player gets sent off shouldn’t we fans get some of our money back?” ponders Davies in one piece. “I just wish he’d shave his stupid face,” he berates Jose Mourhino in another. And goooaaal!, Hunter rumbles Sven early doors:”He’s a spare swede at a veggie gathering. What is the point of him?” he writes two years before England’s World Cup debacle.

As ever, his outlook is fierecely that of the fan – disgruntled, bewildered and passionate – wondering what the players do with all that money, all those girls, and why match programmes are “full of adverts or arselicks for sponsors.”

He comically portrays his on-off relationship with young Rooney, from cheerily declaring that he “likes his ugliness” to becoming his official biographer after coming first in a beauty contest (just like in Monopoly).

Mean With Money

Hunter Davies

Published: November 2005    ISBN 1-904590-13-6

meanwithmoney

At last, a book about money that tells it straight: put it under the bed. All of it. Sure, it makes for easy access to burglars but better them than the felons passing themselves off as financial advisors or acting as foot-soldiers for organisations with words like union, mutual, trust, alliance, equitable or assurance in their name.
Mean With Money, inspired by Hunter Davies’ well-loved column in The Sunday Times, is wilfully short on practical advice but offers instead good humour and much-needed empathy as we face the corporate horror of high-handed and indifferent financial institutions
Davies, one of Britain’s most celebrated writers, also looks at ingenious ways to save money (cut your own hair, for starters) and what to do with it when it arrives. Along the way, he reveals details of his regular visits to McDonald’s (it’s free to use their toilets), the eccentric old ladies who staff his local Oxfam shop and the swim that cost him £333.
Famous for seminal works on The Beatles, football, and subjects as diverse as lottery winners and walking disused railway tracks, Davies is, once more, on top form. Go get em, Hunt.
The Sunday Times, review, The Fan
Daily Express, The Fan.
Hunter Davies, photo.

HD - footy card.v1 - 300dpi

Love Songs

Crass

Pub: 14 February 2004    ISBN 1-904590-03-9

lovesongs

“Our love of life is total,
everything we do is an expression of that,
everything that we write is a love song.”
- Yes Sir, I Will.

Crass: a rural-based anarchist collective formed in 1977 of a diverse and eclectic group of individuals who operated for several years using art, literature, film and music as vehicles to share information and ideas. They also wanted to change the world.

This is a collection of words spanning those seven short years; a book of shock slogans and mindless token tantrums. An anthology of passionate love songs that sought to inspire a generation… and succeeded.

This project is being done with the full co-operation of Crass members.

Love Songs was published on Valentine’s Day – the perfect gift for those who love life.

Crass photo

I contributed a lengthy foreword to Love Songs:

Crass, foreword

The formal information used by reps to sell the book into shops read:

A passionate anthology of lyrics that (subversively) inspired millions.
Love Songs collects the lyrics and poems of anarchist band Crass; a band which, though largely bypassed by the mainstream music business, sold over a million records from its own staunchly independent label, and inspired a massive underground following from 1977 – 1984.
Crass began as a rural collective of diverse and eclectic individuals based in Essex in 1977, who used art, literature and film, as well as music, to share information and ideas. At the centre of their philosophy were themes of free thought, enthusiasm, creativity, ingenuity, peace, and yes, love – a radical standpoint for a band set within the generally nihilistic context of punk rock.
Their stance created a massive underground and autonomous movement, which has sustained itself since its hey-day, especially in the United States where they are considered the godfathers of politico rock. Bizarrely, celebrities such as David Beckham and Angelina Jolie have recently been seen sporting Crass logos on their shirts. Vinyl re-issues of their albums, re-mastered at Abbey Road, have recently been released and are very much in demand.
Love Songs, published in March 2004, is the definitive and official anthology of Crass, collecting the lyrics of every song they ever wrote (all 82), plus further shock slogans and mindless token tantrums of the collective. It includes a lengthy preface by band member Penny Rimbaud (author of Shibboleth and the Diamond Signature) who reflects on the effects of the collective’s works.

crass 9

Southern Records, who have for many years handled Crass’ output, republished Love Songs in 2012 as a  handsome hardback edition with 304 pages, 12.7 x 19.5 cm. Designed again by Christian, it was litho printed, embossed heavy card cover bound with litho printed spine tape and came in a limited run of 500 copies. Pomona’s version sold out long ago but Southern’s is available from:

http://shop.southern.com/crass-love-songs-book/

crasslove

Lots of information about the activities of ex-Crass members is available here:

http://www.exitstencilpress.com

Sum Total
Ray Gosling

Pub: 2 August 2004    ISBN 1-90459005-5

sumtotal

Ray Gosling wrote the lyrical piece, Sum Total in 1962 when he was just 22-years-old. It captures the nation in that moment in time – a society fixed in class, religion and chimney stacks of the manufacturing industry. Society seemed set, fixed, yet himself and the other boys on the bottom rung felt a revolutionary fervour – they were going to rock and roll the world in favour of new life.

Aside from his writing, Ray has more than 100 television documentaries and over 1,000 radio programmes to his name, and is known to millions. His documentary career began with series with titles such as Who Owns Britain?, The Heavy Side of Town and Battle for the Slums. He travelled widely, to New Zealand, Turkey, Bangladesh, France, United States, and ‘everywhere but everywhere in Pakistan’.

But England was and still is his first love, and some of his best work is the wonderful portraits he made of ‘the English’. From the builder with a helicopter, to a young Julie Burchill, to interviews with Enoch Powell, back to the gardener in Kingsbridge, and the bailiffs in Marylebone.

He returned to television recently with his touchingly honest documentary for the BBC about his own financial plight, Bankrupt.

* Unlike most people, I came to Ray Gosling through his writing rather than his broadcasting. I was smitten with the meandering, first-person prose. I met Ray a few times and putting together the deal to republish Sum Total was straight-forward.  I later presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary about him; it was a privilege to have an association with such a charismatic and curious man. He died on 19 November, 2013.

ray ind review sept 2004

express review - ray

The Arms of the Infinite
Christopher Barker

Published: July 3, 2006    ISBN 1-904590-04-7

arms of the

A beautifully related memoir of a Bohemian up-bringing offering an intriguing insight into one of the century’s most important literary couples. Christopher Barker is the son of the cult writer Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept) and the poet George Barker.

“The Arms of the Infinite” takes the reader inside the minds of both parents and, from their first fateful meeting and subsequent elopement, Barker reveals the obsessive, passionate and volatile love affair behind his unconventional upbringing with his siblings in a ramshackle home in Norfolk.

Interesting and charismatic figures from the literary and art worlds were regular visitors and the book is full of fascinating anecdotes. Although he is primarily a photographer, Christopher is himself a gifted writer and an early draft of his memoir formed a recent cover story for the literary magazine, “Granta”.

Christopher wrote about his parents in The Observer:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/aug/20/poetry.features

London Review of Books (Andrew O’Hagan review)

The Not Dead
Simon Armitage

Published: October 27, 2008    ISBN 978-1-904-59018-7

not dead

Simon Armitage is regarded as Britain’s most famous and respected poet.

He is featured on the current English Language/Literature GCSE syllabus and is known to every teenager in the UK.

He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, one of the first Forward Prizes and a Lannan Award.

His anthology, Kid, has sold in excess of 90,000 copies.

Simon Armitage has written for over a dozen television films, and with director Brian Hill pioneered the docu-musical format, which has led to such cult films as Drinking for England and Song Birds.

He has served as a judge for the Forward Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whitbread Prize, the Griffin Prize, and in 2006 was a judge for the Man Booker Prize.

The Independent

The Guardian

Black Roses
Simon Armitage

Published: May 2012    ISBN 978-1-904590-29-3

black_roses

I interviewed Simon for The Times and afterwards he mentioned his short collection of poems, The Not Dead, written to accompany the Channel 4 documentary film of the same name, shown in the winter of 2007. He kindly offered them for publication on Pomona.

The poems are featured alongside an introduction from Simon and press reviews of the film, which was shown at the South Bank, London, in November 2008. The poems focus on the testimonies of veterans of the Gulf, Bosnia and Malayan wars—ex-soldiers who had seldom been
heard before.

We did a limited run of signed and numbered copies. The Not Dead film can be viewed on:  YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvA3K-tC6t8

The most venerable Joan Bakewell said of the work: ‘The Not Dead is uniquely impressive. In transmuting the stories of particular soldiers into the lyrical music of Simon Armitage’s poems, something exceptional is achieved: the painful truth of lives damaged beyond help is made meaningful for the rest of us. We can only catch our breath and read them again and again’

Reviews:

The Independent

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/dec/20/simon-armitage-the-not-dead

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/cultural-capital/2012/01/simon-armitage-poetry-arthur

Black Roses is a poetic sequence written in the voice of Sophie Lancaster. Twenty-year-old Sophie was attacked in a Lancashire park in 2007 and died several days later. The ferocity of the assault caused distress and outrage when reported by the international media and led to the creation of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity opposed to all forms of hate crime and victimisation.

The radio broadcast of Black Roses won the BBC Radio Best Speech Programme of 2011 and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry.

One-third of all profits from the sale of this book were donated to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Extract from The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/04/simon-armitage-black-roses-killing-sophie-lancaster

The book was later made into a play of the same name:

http://louderthanwar.com/black-roses-the-killing-of-sophie-lancaster-review-of-stunning-emotional-play/

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/news/sophies-story-simon-armitage-stage-play-is-latest-elegy-to-murdered-goth-8152911.html

Simon’s website: http://www.simonarmitage.com/

The Richard Matthewman Stories
Ian McMillan and Martyn Wiley

Published: 16 March, 2009    ISBN 978-1-904590-21-7

ian mcmd 16 M

For a Yorkshireman who has spent half a lifetime in his native pit village, moving south is a mixed blessing and it is where Richard Matthewman’s memories begin as he looks back with affection, humour, and no small measure of exasperation at 42 summers – and bitter winters.

From boyhood through adolescence to marriage and a family, his stories are filled with a rich gallery of characters – the relations, friends and village notables of a vital community filled with life and incident but as brittle and unmistakably northern as the coal seams on which it was built.

Ian McMillan website

The Celestial Cafe
Stuart Murdoch

Published: 2011 ISBN: 978-1904590248

celestial

The Celestial Café is a collection of the diaries and thoughts of Stuart Murdoch, singer in the band Belle And Sebastian. They stem from the particularly un-rock and roll years of 2002-2006, and are subsequently very light on the subjects of drug taking, orgies and general debauchery.

Mr Murdoch would like you to know that right off the bat. He doesn’t even want you to lift the book if that’s the kind of thing you’re after. Don’t even look at it! It’s a poncy sort of book. Let’s get that straight from the start.

The Skinny

Drowned in Sound

Pitchfork

The Scotsman

Believe in the Sign
Mark Hodkinson

Pub: December 2006  ISBN 1-904-59017–9

believe

Believe in the Sign is about a damp corner of England where nothing much but everything happens. It is a ‘sort of a memoir’ of a normal, average boy who would have grown up happily average and normal but for a dark and perverse passion: the seductive lure of masochistic devotion to a no-hope, near-derelict football club.

But it isn’t all joyously uplifting. Swimming through the murk is a swarm of snapshots that bring growing up in the 1970s and 1980s into startling focus. Mad kids and sad kids and good kids from broken homes; teenage wrecking parties; pub brawls; long existential marches along the motorway banking; the baiting of Elton John and a club chairman caught playing ‘away from home.’

Then Death bumps into Life. A girl is abducted and the town becomes a cave, the light sucked out. Meanwhile in the sunny shine outside, the future is afoot: cotton mills close down and supermarkets invade; school-leavers evolve into YOP-fodder and everyone’s mum is holding Tupperware parties to get the down-payment on a colour telly.

Variously serious and funny, steely-eyed and tender, Hodkinson plumbs the depths but isn’t afraid of the shallows. Dip a toe.

The Last Mad Surge of Youth

Mark Hodkinson

Pub: 6 July 2009  ISBN 978-1904590200

last mad 2

Set in both the present day and the early 1980s, when Maggie Thatcher ruled the world (or thought she did) and new wave kids were dreaming up insurrection, The Last Mad Surge of Youth is a novel about bands, growing up, moving away and getting famous, suicide, staying at home and getting bored, fanzines, the bomb, love, alcoholism, egotism and self-doubt.

The narrative begins with the D-I-Y ethos of punk, steering through major label hype, to tired aftermath. While the protagonist, John Barrett, holds centre stage, his boyhood pal, Dave Carey, who opted out of the band for fear of playing live, is left at home, to brood. The pair meet up years later in controversial circumstances and ponder how now became then, and what they do next.

Spotland: The Sun Also Rises (and other football stories)

Mark Hodkinson

Pub: July 2010 ISBN 978-1-904590-28-6

spotland

At last, it’s up the Dale. After a record 36 years in the basement division of the Football League, Rochdale AFC finally won promotion in the 2009/10

season. The underdog of English football had their day in the sun and with them at every kick was lifelong fan and acclaimed writer, Mark Hodkinson.

Devotees endured years of defeats and jibes and misery until the management team of Keith Hill and David Flitcroft built their promotion-winning squad. Hodkinson brings wry and penetrating insights into a momentous season, while pondering on family ties and loyalty, the passion and philosophy of football support.

Other matters football – from Hodkinson’s pieces first published in The Times – include interviews with Paul Gascoigne; Colin Bell and Mike Doyle of Manchester City; the irrepressible Stuart Hall; Barry Hines of Kes fame, plus a range of topics from cortisone use to racism in football, from sport finance to the perils of being a football reporter. And, of course, Subbuteo.

 

My Improper Mother and Me

Esther Fairfax

Published 30 May, 2010  ISBN: 978-1-904590-26-2

Esther Fairfax: My Improper Mother and Me

Lotte Berk was one of the most extraordinary women of our times. She became world famous as the devisor of the Lotte Berk Technique, a revolutionary fitness programme that led her to great fame and wealth during the 1960s and 1970s.

Among her students were a swathe of movers and shakers – Britt Ekland, Maureen Lipman, Geraldine McEwan, Zoe Wanamaker, Shirley Conran, Edna O’Brien, Prue Leith and Sian Phillips.

This is a compelling portrait of the outrageous German émigré by her daughter, Esther Fairfax. It reveals the inner workings of a Bohemian life lived to the extreme. Cajoled to dance naked in Paris at the age of 16, Fairfax’s remarkable story embraces drug addiction, sexual liberation, poverty, isolation, fame, and finally, hope.

The Times, supplement, front cover

The Times, interview

Daily Telegraph – front cover mention

Daily Telegraph – interview

Daily Express 1

Daily Express 2

Weirdo. Mosher. Freak.
The murder of Sophie Lancaster

Catherine Smyth

Published 26 July, 2010 ISBN: 978-1-904590-27-9

 Catherine Smyth: Weirdo Mosher Freak - The murder of Sophie Lancaster

Twenty-year-old Sophie Lancaster was kicked to death by a pack of ‘feral’ youths at her local park in Bacup, Lancashire. Her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, was also set upon and received life-threatening injuries.

Their only ‘crime’ was to dress differently, as ‘goths’ or ‘moshers’ in the easy shorthand of the media, which cited the killing as another example of Broken Britain.

Catherine Smyth was the first reporter on the scene and remained at the heart of the story throughout. A mother herself, she writes evocatively of the impact it had on both the Lancaster family and Bacup itself.

She has unearthed several anomalies: the police admitted initially attending the wrong park and the ambulance took 14 minutes to travel a distance of a mile in reaching the scene of the attack.

While relating the horrific nature of the attack, Smyth also focuses on the good to rise from evil – a town rallying in support of a stricken family, a mother showing incredibly dignity and, most important of all, a campaign launched to inform the world of the grave dangers of intolerance. As one banner carried at a parade in memory of Sophie proclaimed: ‘Hate is easy – love takes courage’.

Catherine’s website

3: AM

842-9-Smyth-U1

(cover of German edition.)

 

Looks and Smiles

Barry Hines

Pub: May 2005  ISBN 1-904590-09-8

Barry Hines - Looks and Smiles

Looks and Smiles was first published in the bad old days of the early 1980s when the nefarious Margaret Thatcher ruled Britain. High fashion was a L.E.D digital watch the size of a phone box and £23 a week on a Y.O.P Scheme (ask your dad!) was considered more than adequate, young man.

Mick Walsh, the book’s central character, is a good kid who happens to be born at the wrong time in the wrong place. He wants to learn how to be a motorcycle mechanic, but bad luck, inexperience, and tough economic times prevent him from getting a job. At a disco one evening, he meets and dances with Karen Lodge whose future is similarly bleak. She works in the local shoe shop and the pair hang out with Mick’s buddy, Alan who joins the army and ends up policing Northern Ireland.

As ever, Hines avoids sentimentality and tells it like it is, without ever relinquishing hope and sympathy for his characters. Looks and Smiles is a classic piece of work, a gritty and poignant bulletin from a forgotten period of British history.

Barry Hines

The Price of Coal

Pub: May 2005  ISBN 1-904590-08-X

Barry Hines - Price of Coal

Cast your mind back to the 1970s when Britain still had a coal industry and Margaret Thatcher had yet to do her worst. The Price of Coal by Barry Hines brings the Yorkshire miners’ existence vividly to life in a novel by turns tough, humorous and chilling.

Centred around the daily grind at Milton colliery, a visit by the Prince of Wales provides the opportunity for well-aimed swipes at middle-management as they grass over the slag heaps, whitewash the blackened walls and put soft soap in the toilets. But when disaster strikes, Hines brings the reader face-to-face with the horror.
On its original publication, The Price of Coal was rightly lauded by New Statesman as “a rare novel that stands out” and it has lost none of its stark power. Adapted for television as two linked plays, directed by Ken Loach as part of the much-missed Play For Today strand, the novel ranks alongside Hines’ uncompromising classic A Kestrel for a Knave.

Barry Hines

This Artistic Life

Pub: May 2009   ISBN 978-1-904590-22-4

 

Barry Hines - This Artistic Life

This Artistic Life is a new anthology by Barry Hines, the author of Kes (A Kestral for a Knave).

These short stories, many previously unpublished, cover sport and reflections on his home village of Hoyland Common in Barnsley, its landscape and the colourful characters that people it. Most of the pieces were written at the same time as his seminal novel which has been a staple of English literature for 40 years.

Also included is a series of poems, both whimsical and profound, and reflections on Hines’ work by younger writers, Richard Benson and Mark Hodkinson.

Yorkshire Post

Early cover 1

Early cover 2

 

Fred Eyre

Kicked Into Touch

Pub: April 2005   ISBN 1-904590-12-8

Fred Eyre - Kicked Into Touch

Fred Eyre’s sporting life began full of promise when he became Manchester City’s first ever apprentice. He never made their first team. In fact, he seldom made anyone’s first team. Injuries played a part but limited talent was the greater curse. As he plummeted down the leagues he had something few footballers possess: a stud-sharp memory and an ability to write humorously about the sport he loves.

Originally published in 1981, Kicked Into Touch has become an enigma – selling more than a million copies yet still retaining cult status within the sport and among fans. This new version has been completely revised, extended and updated with a new cover and set of photographs included.

It is set to reach a new generation of football fans looking for an antidote to the glib reportage of a sport lost to show business.

 

Clancy Sigal

Zone of the Interior

Pub: November 2005   ISBN 1-904590-10-1

Zone of the Interior - Clancy Sigal

‘The book they dared not print’, Zone of the Interior is a lost classic of zonked-out, high-as-a-kite Sixties literature. It tells the story of Sid Bell, an American political fugitive in London, who falls under the spell of Dr. Willie Last (modelled on the radical ‘anti-psychiatrist’ RD Laing).

This unlikely duo feast on LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and psychobabble, believing that only by self-injecting themselves with schizophrenia will they become true existentialist guerrillas. Their ‘purple haze’ odyssey takes them into the eye of the hurricane – mental hospitals, secure units for the violent, the Harley Street cabal of the ‘Sacred 7′ and semi-derelict churches that come complete with an underground tank for the woman convinced she’s a fish.

Sigal’s approach is richly sardonic and anti-establishment, of both right and left, in a jazz-influenced free-form prose, comic and serious, myth-puncturing and elegiac. Along the way Sigal, now an established Hollywood screenwriter makes the case for a revolutionary period of mental health nursing whose task is as yet undone.

CLANCY PIC

Clancy Sigal.

JD Salinger: A Life Raised High

Kenneth Slawenski

Published 15 March 2010   ISBN 978-1904590231

JD Salinger: A Life Raised High -  Kenneth Slawenski

JD Salinger, A Life Raised High by the American writer Kenneth Slawenski, is the first major biography on Salinger from a UK based publisher.

Slawenski is a world-renowned expert on Salinger – he has run the Dead Caulfields website for more than 10 years, widely thought of as the most authoritative Salinger site. He has devoted the last seven years to researching and writing the book.

Until now, little has been known of Salinger. Slawenski, finally, provides a detailed but highly readable account of the famously reclusive (his last interview was nearly 30 years ago) author. He conducted over 60 interviews and trawled libraries for letters, birth certificates, marriage licences and work records. The result is a definitive biography, 150,000 words long, looking both at Salinger’s work in forensic detail, but also his family background and personal life.

Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has sold more than 65 million copies and, today, still sells 250,000 a year. It will sell many more over the next few months after the author’s death at the age of 91.

Mail on Sunday

Sunday Telegraph

Literary Review 1

Literary Review 2

The Observer

The Sunday Times

JD SALINGER penguin spoof 1

Salinger US cover

The Times

Word

Early Cover 1

Early Cover 2

Bill Nelson

Diary of a Hyperdreamer

Published: 4 Oct 2004, Re-published 22 June 2015  ISBN 1-904590-06-3

Bill Nelson - Diary of a Hyperdreamer

Bill Nelson is one of the most respected creative forces in the UK. He came to prominence in the1970s with his art-rock guitar band Be Bop Deluxe and, later, Red Noise.

He still releases a prolific amount of new music on various labels throughout,the world. This is a day-by-day diary in which he reflects on life, art and the nation. His unique perspective is fed by a lifetime’s work creating and producing music; photography; painting and video.

Written from his home is north Yorkshire where he lives with his Japanese wife Emi, it is a wonderful summation of an illustrious career.

Bill Nelson

Diary of a Hyperdreamer, Vol 2

Published: 20 May 2015   ISBN: 978-1904590316

Bill_Nelson_Vol.2_Book cover aug 14

Bill Nelson is the founder of Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise, and has lived a life steadfastly dedicated to his muse. Now in his sixties and living with his Japanese wife, Emi, in rural Yorkshire, he spends his days making music, dreaming, scheming and fretting.

In these verbatim entries from his diary he also reflects, with great tenderness, on the early death of his younger brother, Ian, a fellow musician. Elsewhere, he ponders.

on human nature:

Why is it that gentleness and sensitivity are in short supply whilst cynical spite and small-mindedness flourishes?

on his life-force:

Song after song after song, still yearning, searching, harvesting every last straw for the thatched roof of my own private cottage museum.

on the joy of life:

I had a ball simply looking and feeling. Wow! And I remembered our youth and those times and that music and I was grateful to be alive and to have lived through those times. Ain’t life grand when you’re in the mood for it to be so?

on the beauty of isolation:

Man, I’d live on a little island in the middle of some warm stream, away from the herd, counting the buttercups in the meadows and listening to the skylarks sing. The rest of the world could get on with its manipulations and acquisitions without inflicting its shit on me.

on the mundane:

Damaged my left hand last week, mainly middle finger, by accidentally hitting the banister on the stairs whilst rolling up my shirt sleeves.

and, of course, on the pineal gland:

Nights have been sticky and interrupted by bouts of insomnia and perversely lusty dreams. Apparently these are a result of the sun shining on the pineal gland on the top of one’s head.

 

Dale Hibbert

Boy, Interrupted: Memoir of a Former Smith

Pub: November 2015  ISBN-13: 978-1904590309

Dale Hibbert - Boy Interrupted

“I have felt alone all my life.” Dale Hibbert’s story reads like a song by The Smiths, which might not be a coincidence.

His mother died when he was eight days old. He was a latch-key kid. He has married four times and has eight children. He has ‘died’ twice. He is a depressive. He has been penniless. But he has also been a musician, producer, sound engineer, a millionaire and the owner of night clubs, cafés and successful businesses. He has lived in a car, and a mansion.

Hibbert was a member of The Smiths during their early days and privy to the dreams and outlandish ideas of young Morrissey and Marr. As the bass player and engineer at their first recording sessions, he helped shape their sound. With Morrissey’s arms around his waist, they rode the streets of Manchester.

Hibbert gives a compelling insight into the rain-swept, working class life that fuelled the creativity of The Smiths. He was also a witness to the Manchester music scene of the late-1970s and early-1980s that spawned, among others, Joy Division, Buzzcocks and The Fall.

All those people, all those lives, as Steven (‘Don’t call me Steve!’) Patrick Morrissey once said.

 Irish Times (review by Johnny Rogan)

Penny Black Music

Lancashire Evening Telegraph

The Afterword

Flick of the Finger

Just Backdated