Thursday, 28 July 2011

Rock 'n' roll writing

I read an article earlier entitled 'Turning Writers into Motherfucking Rock Stars'. Great fun, but - really - what are the odds? A bunch of folk who spend inordinate amounts of time inside their own heads, whose main companion is a keyboard (or a crayon ...)? Not that I wouldn't like to see it happen. Sheila Quigley going apeshit in WHS, pelting the Katie Price fans with copies of Katie's latest book (that she didn't write). Nick Quantrill mumbling incoherently and staggering around with a bottle of Jack Daniel's at a reading, having turned up an hour late and told the crowd they were fucking lucky he was there at all. PDB on the rampage in the UK, doing his damnedest to drink Cambridge dry (oh ... hang on, though ... just wait a minute ...). ;p

Coincidentally, my WIP is all about motherfucking rock stars, even though it has the improbable title of 'Heartbreaker'. (Yeah, that's right, I've started writing romance - I've gone over to the pink side.) Anyway, here's a bit of rock 'n' roll writing, and an attempt at explaining that title. I'll just count it in (raps sticks together) one two three four!


April 1973
Tom was building a joint, layering Rizlas on the Faces flexi-disc that had come free with the previous issue of the New Musical Express. ‘What about …’ he squinted at the track listing. ‘What about The Borstal Boys? Then we’ll have Rod Stewart singing about us every time the Faces play a gig.’ He took out a pouch of tobacco.

‘Don’t be fucking daft, man.’ Paul Scott was less than impressed. ‘If we’re going to use somebody else’s song titles, we should use something by Free.’

‘Like what? Go on, smart arse, give it your best shot.’ Tom tore a strip from the flap on the Rizla packet and rolled it up.

‘How about Hunter?’

‘Lame.’ Tom flicked his Zippo into life and lit the paper twist, then drew smoke into his lungs and held it there.

Paul took the joint from his fingers. ‘The Brother Jakes. Soldier Boys.’ He took a drag.

‘Why not Catfish?’ suggested Colin. ‘You know, Rory Gallagher, Taste.’

‘I know,’ said Tom, through a haze of smoke. ‘I’ve got the perfect name for us.’ The joint continued its rounds as everyone turned to look at him. ‘Rivendell,’ he said, with a theatrical flourish of his arm.

‘Fuck off,’ said Colin.

‘No way, I’m not being in a band called that,’ said Paul.

‘You and your fucking elves!’ exclaimed Andy. ‘You’ll be wanting us to change our names next.’

‘You are Legolas,’ laughed Tom. ‘You can’t fight it, you are what you are.’

‘Yeah? Well that makes you the fucking Balrog.’ Andy took the joint from Colin.

Tom laughed again. ‘And Col’s Bilbo Baggins.’ He smirked at Colin, aware that he was sensitive about being the least tall member of the band. ‘The adventurous little hobbit.’

‘I’ll Bilbo fucking Baggins you, you cocky cunt.’ Colin launched himself at Tom and they rolled on the floor, Tom laughing and Colin punching.

Andy shifted to one side to make room for them. ‘How about The Brown Bombers?’ he suggested, referencing Led Zeppelin’s second album.

‘How about sticking with Free?’ said Paul. ‘We all like them, what’s the problem?’

‘We all like Zep,’ said Andy. ‘What’s the problem?’

‘No problem at all,’ said Johnny. ‘Heartbreaker. They’ve both got songs called Heartbreaker.’

‘Actually, that’s not a bad name for a band,’ said Andy.

Paul pulled Colin off Tom. ‘Listen up,’ he said. ‘We’re called Heartbreaker, alright? Now let’s go for a fucking pint.’


So, there you have it. Drugs, fighting and drink. RnFR, baby!


  1. I like that. There's four people there but by the end I knew exactly who was who.

    I was listening to Led Zep II the other week, haven't played it for years and forgot how good it was. Except for the drum solo of course.

  2. Cheers, Charlie - always a risk when you post a random section of a longer story that you'll just leave people baffled!

    And yes, Zep II is a cracker. (Whereas drum solos - in fact, pretty much any solos - are the devil's work. I remember reading that Jon Lord did a 10 minute keyboard solo at some festival or other, all on one note. He was off his face and hadn't a clue where he was, couldn't move never mind play. And people cheered...)

  3. I like the way you have captured the camaraderie of friends all sitting about, getting high. Speaking about something that could effect their life's for a long time but an over riding sense of ease and comfort with each other. Despite telling one another to fuck off.

  4. Cheers, Pete.

    They fight all the time - and get high - but they're all great mates. Until it all goes pear-shaped, natch. :)

  5. Good stuff. As an ex bass player I usually like to keep an eye on how bass players are depicted...speaking of drunken, best not. I'll stick it in a story!

  6. Ha ha - I look forward to reading that one! :D