Sunday, 9 June 2013


"The British novelist Anthony Powell used to say that self-pity was an essential ingredient in any bestseller and to this extent, the self projected through the pages of Mein Kampf is one with mass appeal."

"The fighting coninues all around us at night, sputters of violence here and there, a mortar round, a curse, a scream. We sleep like babies."


Whilst holidaying in Malaga in June with Raf, turns out the T.O.W.I.E lot were doing a Marbella special: THE ONLY WAY IS MARBS. We stayed in a German run apartment building facing the sea, overlooking the harbour of Fuengirola. I got to know the rules pretty quickly. One thing I realised very early on was how out of their depth the English are in Spain. When my parents picked me up from the airport, Dad told me that "Straight off the bat the Spanish do not tolerate the English. Keep polite. You don't want to get arrested again."
We all laughed at that, even Raf who is not a linguist, and was a school bully in an East London comprehensive. He failed every class almost professionally, and, as such, can only adapt to surroundings that have very clear boundaries. Which Spain deliberately does not. Fuengirola is like any harbour town in a recession. Filled with drugs, alcohol, hustlers, hookers and pimps. England is an island race, driven by a need to conquer. However, with the increasing instability in the Middle East, and the Muslim courage to fight their fear and oppose authority, mental illness is growing exponentially in the United Kingdom. With the rise in social media networking, and the blanket surge in reality TV, opponents of the West are beginning to see the inherent vanities and weaknesses in the white tribes. I don't underestimate the fact that although the 2012 Olympics were a stunning success, only one year earlier, in 2011, the streets of London (and, thereafter, the streets of England) were overrun with warring children. The whole world was watching.
On Friday the 13th of February, three very notable things happened in my world. Firstly, I finished a draft of a novel called "Enfant Terrible" (later changed to "Smoking Is Cool" and self-published in August of the same year), the movie "Bronson" opened nationwide (although, significantly not in Beckenham Odeon, which did show Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ") and there was a shooting in Penge, where I was living in Supported Accomodation on Mental Health benefits. I was in fact walking back from the Post Office opposite the Beckenham Odeon (and lamenting its cowardice in not showing the one movie that year I would have queued to see) and headed back down to the diaspora of Penge, regarded as the arsehole of Kent. If you live in the Bromley/Orpington area (which I have done all of my life except for a protracted stay at the University of Essex and numerous stays in psychiatric acute and secure wards nationwide) you will know that Penge has a bad reputation. Indeed, whilst I was in Fuengirola, there was another shooting in Penge, this time a Muslim man was killed. On Friday the 13th 2009, two crack dealers opened fire on Maple Road, the site of Dan Cooper's recording studio Rodel Sound (where I would later be arrested for common assault on a psychiatrist). The shooting on Friday the 13th 2009 was not reported on the news, although the police did cordon off the entirety of Croydon Road. As I returned from the Post Office, and discovered my road swarming with literally hundreds of policemen, I had no idea what to think. It was as if an alien presence had been there the whole time, and only now, when stresses were fracturing, would it deign to make itself known. (N.B I recieved five rejections for "Enfant Terrible", each hiding their fear and disgust with archly worded put downs.)

I spent the entirety of the 2012 Olympics in The Tarn, a secure psychiatric hospital in Woolwich. In May 2013, Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered by a black sex-abuse victim in the same town. MI5 had tried to employ his services with continued abusive and alternate seductive text messages. Since I have known literally hundreds of sex-abuse victims (including a girl who lived in the same Supported Accomodation as me in Penge and who hung herself shortly after Operation Yewtree sparked off a media horror campaign) I know full well that Richard Dawkins is wrong. I can promise Mr Dawkins that telling a child he will go to hell if he is naughty is far more survivable than sexual assault. What he fails to realise is that Millitant Atheism IS a religious movement based on Empirical Scientific Progress (E.S.P) and for those people whose only experience is of rape and torture, it forces them to live in a place that can only be described as hell.
My mother was born into a family of Irish immigrants in Wallsend, Newcastle, in a house she shared with three sisters and a brother, right next door to a graveyard. Her father died of cancer when she was 15. My father was born into a family of Scottish immigrants in Hackney, East London, with a sister who later died early of cancer. Mum became a German teacher, and, after sustained effort, lost her northern accent. Dad read economics at Edinburgh university. They met at teacher college in London in the seventies, and he later went on to work for Defence Companies selling hardware systems to national governments. I was born in Beckenham, lived in Sydenham, Penge, Beckenham and then later Chislehurst, very close to the house that Michael Jackson was going to live in during his botched UK tour shortly before his death. I attended Catholic primary school (my mother will die a Catholic, and it amuses me greatly to think that you'll convince her otherwise, by all means try), and used to do verbal reasoning exercises for fun. By the time I was ten, I had been writing seriously since the age of 7 after becoming obsessed with the ex-Raf fighter pilot Roald Dahl's ghoulish children's stories. I wrote him a huge letter with detailed questions regarding his craft. I asked him, for example, if he knew that Steven Spielberg stole his idea for the movie "Gremlins". I also remember asking if the cave in "The B.F.G" where the giants collect their dreams was a metaphor (at this age I wasn't quite sure what this word meant) for his own artistic philosophy. Since he recieved thousands of letters a day, his secretary wrote back with a stock response. He did, however, die whilst I was writing my project "THE WORLD OF ROALD DAHL". I got five stickers for it. I was pleased with the response.
I fell immediately in love with the German run apartment block in Fuengirola. Hidden away behind a Gothic fence behind the main strip, our apartment was on the third floor and its view overlooked the Rampa de Varada which stood before the yachts and then opened up into the ocean. Since my current flat is a pokey one bedroom in Orpington (in fact, somebody was murdered directly below my window on Jubilee Monday when I was at a street party in Chislehurst with my family, a murder that remains unsolved) the space of the apartment altered my perception of a world that had become increasingly restrictive and cloistered. Raf (being English) quickly discovered that we had all of the channels on our TV, English, Spanish, American, German, Muslim, and we settled into a routine of careful area exploration and militant observation of world television. Oliver Stone's "Untold History of America" came on Sky Atlantic, and, as I drank San Miguel and took cigarette breaks on the balcony, I suddenly realised that America was engaged in a war of representation. As American novelist Bret Easton Ellis (whose new "American Psycho" musical comes to the West End in December) has expressed, a new form of transparency is needed in the world. He began this theory (Known as Post-Empire) in an essay for Playboy magazine entitled "Charlie Sheen and the End of Empire" which extolled the virtues of telling your own story, warts and all, and becoming a fully rounded human being. I met the dude in July of 2010 at a book signing for his "Less Than Zero" sequel "Imperial Bedrooms" (a novel he has since lost interest in. Who can say why?) and he has since written and produced a movie with Braxton Pope, directed by Paul Schrader, and starring Lindsay Lohan and well endowed pretty boy porn star James Deen. "The Canyons" was funded by fans on the site Kickstarter, and despite it having no corporate release ("Hey, it's good but it's not 'The Godfather', he said in one wry interview) the internet buzz (he now has over 400,000 Twitter followers) will presumably mean it will be a stunning success. The only thing that bemuses me about King Bret of LA is how he still remains tight lipped (publicly) regarding our head to head in London. Let me put it bluntly. He wrote "American Psycho" at the age of 26 (which was as notorious as "Fifty Shades of Grey") and despite it being the most horrifying transgressive novel since Burroughs' "Naked Lunch", I always laugh when I remember our meeting. I scared the hell out of him.
Old Town. A Spanish bar/nightclub in Fuengirola below our German enclavement. A small stage at the front of the open plan floor was a place where beautiful courtisan hookers gyrated to intelligent drum and bass wearing lacy negligee and brittle, painted smiles. People forget that the recession has hit Europe quite drastically, and although the English may take a holiday in the Summer to forget the labyrinth, they sometimes forget that Spain won the World Cup for a reason. One thing I know for empirical fact? The English are terrible listeners. Take this as an example: Italy destroyed England 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Quarter finals. Spain beat Portugal 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Semi-finals. Germany beat Greece (dying right now) 4-0 in the quarter finals. Italy beat Germany 2-1 in the semi-finals (Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the qualifying stages) and Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the final. How come? It could be that linguistics plays possibly the most crucial role in world football. The world has been observing the UK and America in their war on the Middle East (a resource war, BTW) and frankly continental Europe knows how to fight them. The English and Americans need to feel needed. Incidentally, the USA beat Germany 4-3 in a friendly whilst I was in Spain. Jurgen Klinsman now works for America, and is managing their international team. You can judge a football team on how they take their penalties, just like you can judge a man on how he reacts to the Old Town bar in sunny Fuengirola. On our last night in the apartment, a group of English tourists (very much like the T.O.W.I.E bunch) started (and lost) a fight against the Spanish. I was sitting on the balcony staring out to sea. I wasn't even looking down, but I heard it before I saw it. The English make terrible spies.

A.W.M 09/06/2013

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


"In the real world, the right thing never happens in the right place and the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to make it appear that it has"- Mark Twain

"I am trying to be heroic/ in an age
 of modernity/
I am trying to be heroic/ as all around me/
History sinks/"- Bloc Party


After we left Selfridges (Raf had tried on four or five pairs of Prada shoes, each worth more than my TV), I saw a pretty girl watching us as we rode the escalator down to the exit on Bond Street. We made eye contact, I smiled. The escalator reached her level. The pretty girl took one look at my Reebok Classics, groaned and turned away. For some reason I started thinking about Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian prince who was the origin of the Dracula myth. There had been a documentary on Channel 5 the night before.
"What would you prefer," I asked, lighting a cigarette. "Impaling or crucifixion?"
"I think crucifixion," Raf said.
"It has a certain religious dignity," I agreed. "There's something a little too gay about impaling."
Vlad the Impaler pioneered the technique of impaling. There are two kinds. The first involves a stake sharpened at both ends. The victim is placed on top of the stake and is killed within minutes, their body weight forces the sharpened point down through their vitals and although painful, death comes quickly. The second technique is far more brutal. The stake is sharpened only at one point (the point that will be driven into the ground) and the other is left dull and rounded. This end is smeared with grease and forced into the victim's anus. Then the stake is raised, and the victim's body weight very slowly forces its way down the pole. Death can take days. There is a lot of blood.

Journalistic integrity has never been very important to me in the past. Usually I would start with a fairly unscientific thesis, and manipulate the truth to prove said thesis. With my self-published debut novel "Smoking Is Cool" (
I started with the theory that psychiatric incarceration exacerbates mental illness. I used the real names of doctors, locations, patients (known as 'clients') in between entirely fabricated sequences of sadomasochistic torture to belabour the point. The NHS threatened litigation. The case petered out into nothing when it became apparant that no major publications were going to review it. This became my point of reference for the underground scene, be it literary, cinematic or musical. If nobody is aware of your work, it basically doesn't exist. I'm sitting in Pret a Manger in Great Portand Street making some notes on a small jotter, the same jotter I am taking to the EP Launch of "Themes" by The Bedroom Hour at 229 The Venue. As a little experiment, I am going to try and write a historically accurate version of events. I order a filter coffee and make some background notes (mainly about Vlad the Impaler) and when I'm done, I see a young girl smiling at me.
"Are you a journalist?" She asks.
"Sure," I say, getting up to leave. "Why not."
I make it to the Venue in time to see a giant queue snaking its way around the corner. The Bedroom Hour were winning a battle of the bands on Amazing Radio with their song "X Marks The Spot", and apparently have now become ridiculously popular overnight, since I have just been told by some Rasta dude that the event is sold out.
"It's been sold out for weeks, mon," he says.
"Ah shit, really?"
"Of course!" he grins. "Ginger Baker is a fuckin' legend, mon."
After about thirty seconds of superb investigative journalism, turns out that the queue is for Venue 1, not Venue 2, which is where The Bedroom Hour are playing. Venue 1 is an African showcase featuring feared and fearsome drummer Ginger Baker, regarded by many as the greatest rock percussionist of all time. Venue 2 is in the basement. Last time I was here The Darlington's were headlining, a charming four piece who reminded me a little of One Direction facially, but musically had put together a mature and upbeat sound that fused Joy Division with The National. This time round The Bedroom Hour are headlining, supported by Crystal Seagulls and The Broxton Hundred. The Venue 2 is part of the journeyman circuit, populated by bands who have some industry interest, building up support slowly through Soundcloud, YouTube and staggering influential music journalists like me. To play the Venue 2, you have to be able to play. After that, a lot of it comes down to luck. I decide to get professional and make some notes. A few Ginger Baker fans are eyeing me curiously, which fills me with an immense feeling of power. Ginger Baker/ Venue 1/ Sold Out I write, and then: Make some reference to feeling sense of Vlad the Impaler style power over mankind
"Excuse me?"
I look up from my jotter to see an attractive middle aged woman with an expensive looking coat and MILF style glasses on.
"Yes?" I say.
"I am looking for the producer?" She is from the Eastern Bloc, judging from the accent. It would have a nice thematic coherence if she was from Transylvania.
"Who are you here to see?" I ask, pen at the ready.
"I am Ginger Baker's manager?"
Score, I think.
"And your name is?"
"Ina," she says, beginning to realize that I am in no way connected to Venue 1.
"Your surname?" I ask.
"Who are you writing this for?" Ina asks.
"I've heard that Ginger Baker can be difficult to get along with," I say, phrasing my question nicely to offer the answer many avenues that I can later manipulate to my own nefarious ends.
"I have always gotten along with him," she says, and quickly disappears towards Venue 1. I decide to head downstairs into Venue 2 to seek out juicy tabloid information on the bands. After paying my entry fee and getting a stamp, I head to the bar, notepad in hand.
"Two things," I say to the barman. "Firstly, do any members of The Bedroom Hour, The Broxton Hundred or Crystal Seagulls have heroin dependencies or illegitimate children, and secondly, what's your cheapest beer?"
The barman blinks. "Umm," he says. It transpires that he has never heard of any of the bands, or of Ginger Baker. And that Carlsberg is the cheapest. I buy a pint of Carlsberg and see the bassist for The Bedroom Hour, Dan Rider looking nervous by the stage. I unhook my jotter and go in for an exclusive interview.

AM- So, Dan, this is your EP launch.
DR- Uh, yeah.
AM- Tell me about it.
DR- The EP's called "Themes". Available on... iTunes. Uh, I'm kind of in the middle of something right now?
AM- You were recently played on Amazing Radio with your track "X Marks The Spot". How was that for you and the band?
DR- What are you writing this for?
AM- As an experiment into journalistic integrity.
DR- Oh.

After that he disappears backstage. I down my drink, roll a cigarette and decide that I'm getting better copy upstairs. Maybe there'll be groupies that I can tap for a quote, I think. The bouncer is looking tired when I get back upstairs.
"What is this for?" He asks me as I take out my jotter.
"An experiment into journalistic integrity," I reply.
"What?" He says.
There is quite a crowd out here now. The first band, The Broxton Hundred are about to play, but I see that Crystal Seagulls (and their parents) are smoking cigarettes up here and look like they've been drinking. Using techniques I've learnt from Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux (basically wait until your subject is drunk) I introduce myself as a "Famous Underground Novelist" and already I can smell blood.
"Wow, so Crystal Seagulls," I say. "What's your opinion of Ginger Baker?"
"He's a twat," says Jon (Vocals/Bass).
Score, I think, writing this down.
"Who the fuck is Ginger Baker?" Asks Ben (Drums/Percussion).
"Okay," I say, "who are your biggest influences?"
"Ginger Baker and J from 5," says Jim (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar).
"Nice," I say. Then the drummer's mum comes over for an exclusive interview.
"They're the best, the Crystal Seagulls!" she says. She's a little drunk.
"How long did you breastfeed Ben for?" I ask, hoping for an answer I can manipulate into tabloid gold.
"I'm sorry what?"
"Joking," I say. After a few minutes of banter where the drummer's mum explains that she's "the mother to the whole band!"
I decide to get on to the topic of narcotics.
"Let's do a checklist guys," I say. "I'll say a drug and you say yes or no."
Ben (Drums/Percussion) has smelt a rat and disappeared, so I'm directing this to Jon (Vocals/Bass) and Jim (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar).

AM- Cigarettes?
J & J- Yes!
AM- Alcohol?
J & J- Of course.
AM- Cannabis?
J & J- Yes.
AM- Ecstasy?
J & J- Yes.
AM- Speed?
J & J- Yes.
AM- Cocaine?
J & J- Yes.
AM- Heroin?
J & J- Not yet.
AM- Crack Cocaine?
J & J- No.
AM- Crystal Meth?
J & J- Nope!
AM- L.S.D?
J & J- Not yet, want to.
AM- Salvia?
J & J- Yep!

"Can I get a quote on Crystal Seagulls attitude to drugs?" I ask.
Jon (Vocals/Bass) grins and says: "Poppers are wild!"
"Nice," I say, and then: "How gay are you as a band?"
"Dangerously gay!" Jim (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) says.
"What's the most rock and roll thing you've ever done?" I ask.
Jon (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) replies, "Well, my Dad nearly ran over Donnie Osmond."
I have a few other bits of info from them (Beatles NOT the Stones, fave band- Mystery Jets, most popular Soundcloud track- "Yours For As Long As You Keep Me" available as a single on iTunes, they've been played on over 30 different radio stations, headlined 2012 BrisFest, overall winners in Isle of Wight Unsigned Battle of the Bands out of an impressive 3000 acts) but they're starting to get a little nervous.
"Who is your music for?" I ask.
"Anybody who hates Pitbull," Jon (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) says, and then Ben's (Drums/Percussion) Dad (also drunk) shouts over at them, "For heaven's sake don't talk to the fucking press, they're fucking vampires!"
"I think I've got all I need, guys," I say, feeling sated. Downstairs The Broxton Hundred have already started playing. Later that night I will research them and find out that they are a three piece: Richard Lucas (Vocals/Bass), Gary Yari-Gerrard (Guitars/ Backing Vocals), Rich Ormond (Drums/Percussion) who formed in early 2012 and have "a sprinkling of psychedelia, plenty of groove and a knack for a pop tune". Their EP- "Higher Surroundings" is available to buy from their website. Since I'd spent so long feasting on Crystal Seagulls, I basically missed their set. That night (to ensure maximum journalistic integrity) I play all four of their Soundcloud tracks, "Run", "Who Put the Weight of the World On Your Shoulder", "She Brings The Light" and "Higher Surroundings" and imagine that the set I missed was about as inoffensive and middle of the road. I head to the bar with the change in my pocket and scrape together £3.90 for my final beer. There's quite a crowd now as Crystal Seagulls take to the stage.
They look kinda cute.


Earlier that day Raf and I were walking towards Hyde Park, and started talking about the climax of Boogie Nights.
"You know that bit where's he's selling a handjob to that guy in the car, and he can't get it up, and then he gets the shit kicked out of him?"
"Vaguely," I said, "I'd have to check my notes."
"Well, bruv, one thing I don't get."
"Is he gay then?"
I handed over my tobacco to him and he dutifully started to roll me a cigarette. Over the road tourists were taking photos of themselves in front of Buckingham Palace.
"That's pretty gay though." Raf paused, his charcoal skin flushed in concentration.
"He's bisexual."
"Oh. And another thing. At the end, he's about to fuck Julianne Moore, and he's doing that speech in front of the mirror, and he whips it out, and he's saying "I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star"."
I felt an odd sense of urgent unease.
"What about it?" I asked, trying desperately to change the subject from penis size.
"Is it a weird incest thing? A son fucking his mother? Seemed a bit bizarre."
He handed me the roll-up, geometrically almost perfect. I lit it, took a much needed drag.
"Essentially," I said, "Boogie Nights is about dysfunctional, damaged people who find a temporary sense of family, community and identity in pornography. Mark Wahlberg craves a loving, nuturing mother to replace the one who neglected and abused him, and Julianne Moore craves the son she neglected and abused. The climax of the film shows the consumation of these twisted relationships. Although his full frontal in the final shot? Pure Hollywood."
Raf laughed. "I know man, his dick is like thirteen inches long."
Buckingham Palace stands before us, proud and erect and glistening with ornery.
"They just did that to be provocative. Same with all porn," I said, still nervous, and then: "Can I tell you something Rafael?"
Raf looked at me. "Sure."
"You are obviously aware by now that I have had some mood problems in the past."
"Bruv, we met in a mental institution."
"And," I continued, "like all men you are aware that the sensory walls of the vagina are only three inches long."
"Of course, bruv. We learnt that at school. It's on the national curriculem."
"And," I said in furtherence, "You are therefore aware that women tend to seek out men with the smallest possible penises in order to correctly fit the vaginal cavity."
Raf paused. "Yes?"
Tears were welling in my eyes. "I need to get this off my chest, bro."
"It's just that... my dick. It's..."
"Dude," I said, "my penis is over fourteen inches long."
Some girls overhear me, and start to giggle. A smile crosses Raf's face.
"Don't laugh, man, it's not funny."
Raf sighs. "Bruv, look, I'm not laughing at you. That can't be easy. It's funny in the way all men with big dicks are funny. It's... you know at school where everybody always wanted to have the smallest dick, and girls would always say shit like, "I bet your dick is too big to correctly fit my vaginal cavity""...
"Mate, I got that one ALL the time."
The girls were now pointing and making huge dick mannerisms with their hands, cementing my public humiliation.
"Bruv," Raf sighed, "Look. It is how it is. Girls are genetically hardwired to seek out a man who can correctly fit their vaginal cavity, and if you're way, way, way, way too big, I dunno. That can't be easy."
"I mean sometimes I have to tie it around my waist like a belt," I said, crying now, but tears of humiliation mixed with a strange sense of catharsis.
"Well," Raf said, "I don't know what to say. I know you're on benefits, but maybe, you know if one of your books kicks off you can get reductive surgery. Apparently in America they can shorten a good seven or eight inches. I'm even thinking about sizing down."
I smiled, wiping tears from my eyes, sucking on my cigarette.
"I bet you've got a really small one, don't you, you bastard."
The girls had now gotten bored of making huge dick jokes at me and were wandering up towards Hyde Park.
"Yeah, it's pretty small. I mean not perfectly small, so perfect it can exactly fit the vaginal cavity, but, I'm pleased with it. Look," Raf said. "You're very talented. You can write, sing, rap, y'know. Maybe that's your one weakness. Maybe having a really, really, really massive cock is just your Achilles Heel. It must be difficult when it comes to meeting girls, but, I dunno. Try not to think about it so much. Don't preoccupy yourself with your shortcomings. Look on the positive side of things. Maybe you'll meet a girl who won't mind. Some girls just look for status and money."
"Yeah," I said, "my parents are solidly middle class so when they die I'll be able to find a girl who'll want me for my car, house and bank balance and look past my gigantic cock."
"Dare to dream," Raf smiled. "Dare to dream."
"Yeah right," I sigh. "My dick is so big it's like a huge wooden pole with a rounded edge, man."
"I don't know what to tell you bruv," Raf said. "It sounds like it must be very hard."

A.W.M 28/05/2013


Wednesday, 17 April 2013


"I have come to understand that life is composed of a series of coincidences. How we react to these- how we exercise what some refer to as free will- is everything. The choices we make within the boundaries of the twists of fate determine who we are."-
                                                                                                                      JOHN PERKINS

"In the designs of Providence, there are no mere coincidences."
                                                                                                                  POPE JOHN PAUL II


On my way to Pynchon Ward all I will be able to think about is blowing up the hospital. I will have been off medication for a month, and thanks to the withdrawal symptoms from the mood stabilizer Olanzapine, I have only been able to sleep when drunk. The psychiatrist in the Secure Unit last year (I spent a month locked in with rapists, murderers and thieves) told me I had a photographic memory. He told me that people saw mood changes in me when their mood changed, that my mind moved so quickly that I could anticipate reactions in others before they had a chance to react. Within 24 hours I will have had a depot injection into my right buttock that will bleed out over my jeans (at this the nurse will giggle and say, "Oops!") two bottles of wine and half a gram of MDMA. When I will eventually wake up, the news media around the world will be speculating on the motivation for the bombs planted at the finish line of the Boston marathon. This will fall three days short of the anniversary of Waco, where 80 people were massacred by the FBI on 19th April, 1993.

Mum texts an hour before midnight with her adoring birthday message. My two quid mobile (the type favoured by drug dealers and the very poor) is now my sole means of communication with the outside world. Two days ago, whilst drunkenly streaming Barfly (Charles Bukowski's single foray into screenwriting) my screen burnt out.
"Fuck," I said. "Fuck. North Korea has just eaten my computer!"
In one hour I will be thirty. Mum has included thirty X's, which I bother to count. Now retired and living in Spain (it's midnight where she is), she was a German teacher for two decades and I've inherited her proto-rigidity. Spelling and grammatical errors make me uneasy. Tomorrow is Thursday, the 11th of April. Thirty years ago I was battling my way out of my mother's womb with my umbillical cord wrapped around my neck. Apparently I went blue.
Saving the solitary beer in my fridge for my 'official' birthday, I make a coffee and roll a cigarette. Then I sit down and listen to Soldier again, my first cross-atlantic collaboration with American rapper Rody Dailey, A.K.A Big P.R.E.M.E. We met on Twitter some months ago. I don't recall who followed who, or the circumstances of our meeting. Twitter has a strange and mysterious ability to render time (at best) irrelevant. By November of 2012 I had started making simple, one take videos of classic grunge anthems with my producer, Dan Cooper. Dan is a Brit School educated musician who set up his own recording studio in Penge, on the borders of London. Adele was a few years behind him at school. Between 2010 and 2012 I saved money from my benefits to pay for studio time, and completed my album the same day I recorded my interpretation of Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World. Rody dug the videos, and after sampling his Soundcloud, I dug his 90s style, honest lyrics and great vocal talents. It went from there. He emailed us the ptf (Pro Tools File) of his uncompleted track Soldier, and I composed a hook (lyrically inspired by the framed poster of High Noon that I have in my living room- THE STORY OF A MAN WHO WAS TOO PROUD TO RUN). I'd been reading about the mathematics of music, how Beethoven created suspense by suggesting variations of the harmonic pattern. For example, in his String Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, he plays incomplete versions of the chord and saves the complete note (giving the audience its aural catharsis) to the very end. There ends the comparison between me and Beethoven, all I did was save the vibratto high note until the fourth line of the hook and produce a compound vocal harmony (three separate notes sung and placed on top of one another, giving a choir effect) for a recurrant sample. Pretty simple stuff. I listen to Soldier on repeat until I'm thirty, then, sated, open my beer and put on Born Villain by Marilyn Manson, the standout album of 2012.
"You don't have to see," he roars, "to know that murderers are getting prettier every day..."


It's 12.30 and I'm nursing a pint in the Hole in the Wall, a pub opposite Waterloo station, waiting to meet my sister for lunch. Opposite me, two city types are arguing fiercely over the pros and cons of Thatcherism. I zone out and put in my earphones. I've been listening to Masters of War by Bob Dylan on repeat for days. It's the next song I want to record. I'm obsessively studying it, working out tone, emphasis and inflection. On the wall above me is a framed front page of the Daily Mirror, celebrating the lunar moonwalk on July 20th 1969. The date seems oddly familar. I type it into a draft text message, saving it for later. My brother put 51 Bob Dylan albums on my iPod. I'm not sure, but I think that's all of them. My phone vibrates. It's a birthday text from Melanie, my sister, which informs me she'll be half an hour late. I send out a cautiously short reply, careful to conserve the credit that my phone swallows like a porn starlet lucky enough to work with James Deen.
Dan Cooper, my producer, is 27 today. Through some strange twist of providence, we share the same birthday. I call him, leave slightly slurred message pledging my eternal gratitude and unconditional love. Five minutes later he calls back.
"Happy birthday," I grin.
"Happy birthday, mate!"
"What are you going to say to Adele when you next see her?"
"Hmm. Got a cigarette, love?"
"Nice," I say. "Understated."
"By the way, your rapper emailed me. They loved the track."
I feel a huge sense of achievement. "Awesome," I say. "How's the site coming?"
"You'll be live tomorrow," Dan says.
"Amongst his many, many other talents, he also designs websites.
"You're the hardest working man in the business," I say.
"I try my best," he replies.


It's 1.23PM and I'm sitting opposite my sister in Wacaca's overlooking the South Bank. Sipping from a cold Corona, and trying to eat my burrito with as much grace as possible, I'm explaining to my sister the rudimentaries of the occult.
"It's the careful documentation of energy," I say, swallowing, "how energy, both positive and negative is at the core of the human experience. Occultists believe there is a code interweaved into history, that with the right esoteric study will reveal the mysteries of the universe. Essentially," I conclude, "there is no such thing as a coincidence."
Melanie smiles. Next to us, a gay couple with a seat staring over the Thames share a kiss.
"What do you believe?" She asks.
"That there may very well be a way of piecing together the puzzles of the cosmos, but humans will never work it out. The moment we go to study something, we alter its habitat and change it."
"Oh. Oh dear, that's a shame. Do you believe in time?"
I grin, see that she's serious.
"Short answer yes, long"
"I think time is a construct developed to withstand the horrors of eternity," she says.
"So you're a post-modernist, then?" I ask.
"Wow, cool!" She says. "Am I?"


It's half eight. I'm drunk.
"The minimum is nineteen pounds, if you're paying by card," the barman says. I'm with my younger brother Chris in Brazil, a bar opposite the Electric Ballroom in Camden, killing time before the Fratelli's gig. He bought me ticket as a surprise, even though neither of us really know who they are. Chris orders another two Corona's to hit the card limit. A Spanish Blues band is working through a very passable rendition of My Funny Valentine. We take our drinks to a table just as the lights start to dim.
"Romantic," my brother says.
"Definitely," I reply, sipping my drink. "Did I tell you my computer blew up? I'm writing by hand at the moment. It's exhausting."
"What happened?"
"It was either North Korea, a militant militia group, a sexually frustrated computer hacker, or my screen burnt out from overuse."
Chris smiles. "North Korea?"
"Don't joke, man," I say. "Next you'll be telling me J.F.K was shot my a lone nutter. What about the grassy knoll? What about the magic bullet?"
He sips his beer. "I start paediatrics next week."
"Wow," I say. Chris is in his final year of medical school. In little over a year (if he keeps his head down) we'll have another doctor in the family. My sister is a board certified clinical psychologist.
"Just remember though," I whisper. "if you become a psychiatrist I'll have to kill you."
"I finished that Jon Ronson book you gave me," he says.
"I tweeted Jon Ronson," I say. "We had a little banter."
"You already told me."
"So I'm telling you again!"
Jon Ronson is an investigative journalist who interviews people on the fringes of society and sanity, cult leaders, paranoid conspiracy theorists, shamed celebrities. he disguises his razor sharp intelligence with a nerdy, bumbling manner, that he deploys with practiced cunning to illicit information, providing his prey with just enough rope to hang themselves.
"How's the new book going?" Chris asks.
"I'm collecting coincidences," I reply.
"Uh huh, okay... why?"
"I'm an Occult writer. It's what we like to do." The blues singer holds a great note and I catch his eye, smile, give him a thumbs up. He smiles, nods, lost in the song.
"Coincidences. Tell me one."
"On July 20th 1969, man walked on the moon. Allegedly."
"On July 20th 2012," I continue, "James Holmes walked into a screening of The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire into the audience. Oh yeah, and did you know Jimmy Savile was born on Halloween?"
"No way," Chris says.
"Yes way. He was born on 31st October, 1926. The same day escape artist Harry Houdini died in a hospital in Detroit."
"You're making that up," Chris grins.
"You've got an iPhone, man. Google it."
He does. "Coincidence," he says, slightly less confidently. "That's all it is." The band segues into a clever interpretation of Rolling In The Deep. I drain my glass.
Chris takes a long swig of his. We sit for a few moments in silence, then I say:
"Do you want a cigarette?"

A.W.M 17/04/2013

Thursday, 4 April 2013

ROOM 237

The most essential knowledge is certainly that of the heart of man, to be learned by misfortune and travel: one must have seen men of all nations to know them and one must have been their victim to appreciate them; misfortune's hand, in exalting the character of him whom it crushes puts him at the right distance to study men; he sees them there as the traveler sees the furious waves break against the rock on which the storm has thrown him; but in whatever situation nature or chance has placed him let him keep quiet when he is with other men; one doesn't learn by speaking but by listening; which is why chatterers are usually fools-



It's one week until my thirtieth birthday, and for the first time in years I have writer's block.

My new novel (for once I have a publisher's interest) is set in a world where David Icke's theories of Reptilian Overlords and Global Brainwashing is all true. Set during the London Olympics, covering all major news events (including the Savile affair) it climaxes with Sandy Hook, and Obama's new quest to disarm America.
I am getting to the point (ninety pages in) where I have to write about The Dark Knight Rises massacre. I can't seem to bring myself to do it. In my second novel, Fear of a Tabloid Planet, it took literally years for me to write about 9/11. Bret Easton Ellis added the murder sequences in American Psycho after he had written the entirety of the novel by hand. He procrastinated for as long as he could before facing up to what the novel demanded of him. Apparently he was laughing as he wrote those scenes, possibly the most violently misogynistic in the history of transgressive fiction. So I'm currently trawling internet blogs and conspiracy theorists on the web, researching what the paranoid fringes seem to think is a vast web of MK-ULTRA inspired False Flag operations. It's monumentally depressing. I have watched a few Alex Jones videos, the lunatic who went on Piers Morgan and had one of his trademark nervous breakdowns. I would feel sorry for Alex Jones if I wasn't so concerned that he owns a veritable cache of firearms. Lee Harvey Oswald had his nefarious connections to various different murky worlds, but it's a lot scarier to think that he did work alone. As DeLillo once wrote: "Conspiracy offers coherence". Alex Jones is clearly mentally ill. Some people will do anything not to cure their mental illnesses. He's too far gone to seek help now, especially with North Korea kicking off.  


It's snowing when I make it to Pynchon Ward, cold and tired and hungry. I head up the elevator, smiling grimly at the old woman in reception. I bump into the nurse who forced me to eat twelve Lorazepam from a cup with my hands held in stress positions by my side. I smile and she looks both guilty and cowed. The ward door opens and Oye, the nurse who once told me that I could never leave unless he let me, opens the door and I blank him. He says nothing, looks at his feet. A woman with half of her face covered in rusted brown bruises (skin cancer? A terrible accident? A vicious fall?) is wandering around incoherently. I walk down the corridor to the office.
"I'm here for my injection," I sigh. The nurse blinks.
"I'm sorry?"
"My injection," I repeat.
"I'm sorry, who are you?" She asks.
"Andrew Moody. Emm, double oh, dee, why."
"I don't know... why? What?"
This is always the worst part of coming to Pynchon Ward. The nurses are uniformly uneducated and this is not a difficult job to get.
"I have to have an injection every two weeks. Olanzapine," I say slowly.
"Oh. Take a seat."
I sigh, walk towards the smoking pod, bump into Vicki, the gnarled, witchy black Nurse who took great pleasure in telling me I was not legally allowed into America.
"You can't smoke. You're not a patient," she hisses. For years I was obsessed with the idea of writing the ultimate anti-psychiatry novel. I eventually self-published it as Smoking Is Cool, and managed to get a copy to Bret Easton Ellis at a book signing. I knew he was the most well connected writer in Hollywood. Two years have passed, and I have sold less than thirty copies. Holly sees me walking back from the smoking pod.
"Andrew!" she says. "I can be with you in ten minutes."
"Can I have a cigarette first?" I ask.
"Sure," she smiles. Vicki looks annoyed, sees I have a plastic bag with a copy of Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History and a can of Relentless.
"You can't bring energy drinks onto the ward," she says, plucking it from the bag with two fingers.


I wrote to God the other day. God has over 500,000 followers. He even went to the premiere of Tarantino's Django Unchained. Those that conquer Twitter are the new rockstars of our atomized age. He tweeted that the world was run by facile fools (not quoted verbatim, He has since deleted it) and I replied:

You're much funnier when you don't preach, God

Within ten seconds I'd had five retweets. Then God removed his tweet (thereby deleting mine) and sent me a direct message.

You're much more tolerable when you don't talk.


Left or right?" Holly asks, holding the needle between her fingers.
"You choose," I sigh, undoing my belt.
"I'm thinking right," she says. "Sharp scratch!"
The needle enters my buttock, catching a nerve.
"Nearly done," she sighs. This is the depressing truth about psychiatry. It's not particularly glamorous. 
"You can leave in three hours," Holly smiles. I limp out of the medical room and take a seat. After I've been reading about the history of Germany in 1919, and the origins of Nazism, somebody takes a seat next to me. It's a man in his forties, dressed smartly, his eyes calm and slightly dilated.
"I can save you," he whispers. "I can make you happy again..."
Another Jesus, I think. I've met so many here...

A.W.M 04/04/2013

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


"Even horsemeat can be delicious when one is in the right circumstance to appreciate it."- Auguste Escoffier


The pain starts somewhere between Bromley Common and Farnborough Village. I've had five anaesthetic shots into the soft palate of my left cheek, two fillings and an extraction. The dentist was a pretty, Eastern European, who took mercy on me after the drill entered into the root of a decayed tooth.
"Okay, enough suffering. I will recommend sedation. It's not nice."
I adjusted the sunglasses I had been given to protect my eyes from their examination lamp. "What happens now?" 
"I will book you an appointment at King's College Hospital. They will finish what needs to be done. Okay? You will be sedated. It will be easier."
I couldn't feel the left side of my face. That morning, while browsing the music channels and becoming fascinated with a young R & B star called Dappy, a rat like hoody who sings mobile phone related pop songs and whose video consisted of him being endlessly photographed with sobbing teenage girls, I realized my music career was over. The poet writes the history of his own body, as Thoreau once wrote, and I was fast losing the deal breaker for pop acceptance: I am thirty in two weeks and I am running out of teeth. I had asked the dentist how much it would cost to do a James Arthur and do a clean sweep, fix the lot.
"Hmm, I would say, eight to ten thousand?"
This came as an expected but still saddening blow.
"I'll start saving," I sighed, and she smiled at me, I was putting a brave face onto an awkward visage. My care worker called me moments after I'd stumbled out of the rubber and disinfectant torture parlour into the dust and grime and melting fat of Penge high street, reminding me that my depot injection was due today. Huh. Since if I smoke or eat anything cold or hot I am liable to infect the gum from whence my tooth was wrenched, going to get punk'd on Pynchon Ward seemed like the only option I had. The days were usually spent chain smoking and drinking energy drinks whilst writing obsessive and meaningless tweets, and it's probably best for everybody that I don't own a gun.
But the pain has now started. A dull, pulsing pain as the nerves in my cheek slowly regain feeling. The rain slices down onto the windows of the 358, and I hear the bus driver being informed via his radio of a shoplifter's apparel and description, since he's in the Bromley area, about five ten, white, mid twenties, with black Nikes and a Stone Island bomber jacket and if he's seen he is to be apprehended on sight. The driver acknowledges the call and pulls up outside Blue Leaves House, the psychiatric hospital I have been intermittently locked in and out of for the past ten years. Before I get off I press the fresh compress into my jaw to quell the bleeding. I would kill for a cigarette, but know that a cigarette will infect the gum. I choose not to smoke, and stumble down with my iPod playing Rape Me by Nirvana on loop toward the entrance of the psychiatric ward.
Emma Watson has now publicly refused to have anything to do with Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie. Her refusal tweet went viral. Hermione will not be getting bondage fucked on screen. I think of this now as I undo my belt and Holly prepares the injection of Olanzapine.
"Left or right?" she says. 
"Right," I say, thinking I've had two many injections into the left side of my body today that to get injected into the left side of my posterior would render me as helpless as a stroke victim.
"Sharp scratch," she giggles as in the needle goes, catching a nerve as usual sending a shooting pain up into my lower back.
"Okay, so it's eleven twenty now," Holly says. "You can leave at half two."
I limp out of the medical room and onto Pynchon Ward, compress still sticking out of my mouth like a deluged tampon. I unhook the book I am reading out of my jeans, Shoplifting From American Apparel by a new hotshot Brooklyn writer called Tao Lin. It's a short but unbearably boring book. I'm on page twenty or so, and so far what has happened is some guy has emailed some friends, eaten some brown rice, and experienced no strong emotion of any kind. Nothing is the central theme of the book. Nobody feels anything, or does anything, or means anything, or cares about anything. There are few adjectives and no discernible plot or story of any kind. It's a masterpiece of dullness. Tao Lin has 13,000 followers on Twitter. According to critics he's the most interesting prose stylist of his  generation (which includes me, he's a few months younger). Usually I'll bring a Military History magazine or a thick, deliciously meaty novel. Today I'm stuck with the poet laureate of Generation Wuss. It's going to be a long three hours.
Lindsay Lohan turns to me, her nasal cavity is just a gaping hole from the cocaine and her eyes are dull and thick with insomnia.
"I'll blow you for a gram," she murmurs. Dappy is on stage singing to thousands of screaming girls, each of them more hysterical and emotionally troubled than the last. Lindsay is looking desperate.
"Fuckit, handjob, forty dollars," she says, smiling to reveal perfectly damaged, browning teeth. I check my wallet, and see I have fifty dollars and a gram, and I open my mouth to say sure, deal, but I realize that I have no teeth in my mouth. Lindsay takes one look.
"Actually forget it," she says, and stumbles into the crowd, too disillusioned to even ask for a toot of the charlie. Dappy is in his element, he's a pro and he has the audience right where he wants them. A metal staircase leads from above the stage, and as banal, simple dubstep beats announce the arrival of a Very Special Guest, I see Lindsay running back towards me. I smile (lips closed) and hold out the gear. 
"No kissing, though buddy," she sighs, taking my hand, as Emma Watson descends from the staircase polishing the Best Actress Oscar she's just won for playing a nun in a holocaust epic that even the French critics admitted had a lot of heart.
"I'd like to thank all of my fans," she says, her words transcribing into 140 characters or less on a huge screen that some of the baying crowd are retweeting moment to moment, and Lindsay is pulling my arm hard, so hard that I wake up and the compress falls from my gaping jaw onto page 88 of the Tao Lin book. Blood has congealed around a certain passage:

"What are we going to do," said Sam.
"We can follow someone," said Audrey. They followed a small group of people in a band that Sam liked for about ten blocks. 

I look around. Look down at my watch. It is two forty. I have been asleep for over three hours. Holly smiles, hands me a tissue to wipe the blood from my lips.
"You can go now," she says. I throw the Tao Lin book into the bin and leave the hospital and take the bus back to my flat. When I get back I take two Nurofen plus and smoke a cigarette. I have stopped bleeding.

A.W.M 20/03/2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013


"Dating sites were already home to some of the most sustained and intense mendacity in history. In chat rooms, people liked to impart a sense of their own talent and importance, which rarely corresponded to the mundane reality of their lives. The Web fostered this because people were unable to check up on their virtual partners' behavioral traits. Everyone was discovering that on the Web they could lie without fear of exposure or opprobrium."
p.280 Dark Market: How Hackers Became the New Mafia, Misha Glenny 

People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least not while the music lasts- Paul Hindemith 


"We should get a camera," I tell Raf as he hands me a cigarette, "and we should go up to the gates and start asking random people if they work for MI5."
"This is MI5 you idiot," he grins. "And anyway, I've got a camera on my phone."
"Fine," I say. "I'll ask the questions, you film."
We are standing outside MI5 headquarters after a long walk down the Thames from Charing Cross, killing time before a gig I've been invited to by a band I discovered on Soundcloud called The Bedroom Hour. MI5 is even more impressive than it looks from a distance, a giant post-modern fortress opposite Vauxhall Cross, the gay capital of London. Cameras are everywhere, and tough looking rugby boys with serious eyes, dressed in expensive tailored suits enter and exit along with scruffy long haired computer types. A sign on the entrance reads: ANY BIKES LEFT ATTACHED TO THESE GATES WILL BE REMOVED WITHOUT WARNING. 
"I don't think that would be a good idea," Raf says. 
"There's probably about five hundred different ways to break somebody even before you use violence," I muse.
"Possibly more," he replies as I light my cigarette. "There's probably thousands."
The windows are mirrored two way glass, and inside this mysterious building one can only really guess at what goes on. 
"Theatricality and deception, Mr Wayne," I say, putting on a Bane voice. Raf grins. We leave, but not before we pass some sinister looking army types, eyeing us with practiced menace. Hopefully I haven't managed to inadvertently piss off Military Intelligence. But, judging from the new Bond movie "Skyfall", nowadays everybody hides in plain sight, and since I'm not a drug dealer, pimp, hacker, international terrorist or cat burglar, it's highly likely that they are simply too busy to care about the tourists. That's not to say they wouldn't be able to read what I'm currently typing, as I'm typing it, however...


"Are they any good?" Raf asks. We're sitting in a TGI Fridays in Leicester Square, sharing a thin chicken pizza and some barbecue ribs.
"They're not bad," I say. "I listened to them online for a couple of hours."
"Where are they playing?"
"The Venue, Great Portland Street."
"Big gig, then?"
"Seems that way, they've even got a management team."
"Their manager wants me to write their biography."
Raf chews the meat off a rib. "Cool. But that means you'll have to really get to know them. You'll have to spend a lot of time...I mean, what if you don't get on?"
"Then I don't do it," I reply, sipping my Corona. The Russian (?) waitress comes to our table.
"Everything is okay?" 
"Fine," I say, and when she leaves: "They make most of their money from tips."
"And you're giving them the book, I gather."
I have a copy of my 2009 debut "Smoking Is Cool" with me. (A book that has been read by a handful of very notable people, and pretty much nobody else.)
"I'm a shameless self-promoter," I say, waving over the waitress for another beer.


I'm drunk(ish) by the time I get to Great Portland Street after a couple of interlinking tubes. The Venue is a little less dramatic than I was hoping, and there's no big crowd. In fact, there's no one here, just a gate across a stairwell that leads into the (admittedly shabby looking) club. It's dark and cold and I'm running out of cash after London prices have sapped me almost dry. It's going to be about five quid for a beer I'm guessing, it's how the functions make their money from the bands that regularly play here. I wait around for ten minutes or so, until a bouncer turns up, looks at me and says:
"Give me one cigarette."
"What time does this start?" I ask as I hand it over.
"Come back later. Eight," he says, looking at his watch.
"Uh huh," I say, and walk away, marginally pissed off. I find myself in a Cafe Nero ordering the cheapest filter coffee they have, which helps kill forty minutes. When I get back to the Venue it's open, so I head down the stairs hearing some hip indie music thumping from the speakers. I pay the entry fee, get my hand stamped. It's dark and mostly empty. I hunt out the bar, buy a can of Carlsberg for four quid, and then see a group of well dressed kids in their early twenties playing chess on their Apple Mac. I wander over.
"Are you The Darlingtons?" I ask. The Darlingtons are the headliners, I recognize them from their promo photo outside, and I remember I'm already following them on Twitter.
"I'm uh, following you on Twitter," I say.
"Oh," one of them says. There is a moment of silence, and I work out a new segue.
"The Bedroom Hour wants me to write their biography. I'm...a writer."
"Wow," one of them says. "I'm Chris."
I introduce myself around to the foursome, possibly hyping myself up a little too much after I say that Bret Easton Ellis has read both of my novels, and that I'm basically an industry insider. (Not the case).
"Wow," Chris says, and then: "Who's Bret Easton Ellis?"
I explain who he is. And that I've met him. Which results in a few minutes of back and forth compliments, and the plugging of my two almost universally unread books.
"Who's winning?" I ask, to sidestep any more questions about how hip and connected I am.
"We've been playing for an hour. It's deadlocked," Chris says. Putting on my new found music journalist face, I decide to ask some questions. Turns out the line-up of The Darlingtons is:

Chris- Drums
Dan- Guitar
Biz- Bass
Kiwi- Vocals/guitar.

They started playing together five years ago when they were sixteen in Taunton. They've known each other since early childhood, and their big influences include The National and Editors, two bands I have vaguely heard of, but am not young or cool enough to follow. No matter, I'm now feeling like the little kid in "Almost Famous", swanning with the bands and occasionally asking strikingly important questions. In fact I'm pretty much tapped out, since I've been drinking since whenever and all I can really ascertain is that these kids look a lot like One Direction which, in fact, can only be a good thing in commercial terms.
"You look a lot like One Direction," I say. "But, in a good way."
"Oh," Kiwi says. "Umm."
"That's a good thing," I add, feeling a little stupid. To make myself feel less like a spy posing as a genuine music journalist and more like I work for NME, I say: "So, have you got YouTube videos? Also, what's the most rock and roll thing you've done?"
Chris seems to be the most vocal of the bunch.
"Ten thousand views on 'It Hangs'," he says.
"Not bad," I say.
"We've had about six thousand each on the other two, as well," Biz says, possibly giving me more status than I deserve. I deserve no status, I'm basically winging this.
"And uh, what's the most rock and roll thing you've done?"
"In Italy," Chris says, and then I interject:
"Italy, wow, that's impressive, right?"
"In Italy," Chris continues, "We played a gig after being awake for 48 hours."
"Were you coked up?" I ask. They all laugh, thinking I'm joking.
"Nah, but we were pretty drunk," Kiwi says.
"You'll get on the coke when you play Glastonbury, then," I laugh, knowing that if I was playing Glastonbury I would definitely be coked up, although that's not particularly likely to happen.
"What are your songs about," I say, wishing I had a cool little pad to write this down, "who is your target market?"
Chris certainly appears to be the leader. "Small town angst, suburban drift, the idea of breaking free. We all lived in the same little town, it was...I dunno, we all wanted to break out when we started playing together... we all just wanted something...more."
"And your target audience?" I ask.
"People that want to escape," Chris says.
I'm actually quite touched by that, and I'm praying that they don't suck. "Well you're out now, right? I mean, touring Italy, that's cool, huh? What's the biggest audience you've played to?"
"Bestival," Kiwi says, "eight hundred people, give or take."
"Yeah," Chris smiles, "but it's not like they were there to watch us play."
"Still, though," I say. 
"I guess," Chris says. I show him the copy of "Smoking Is Cool" I signed for The Bedroom Hour, and with the torch on his iPhone he starts to randomly read a few pages in the dark of the club.
"What's it about?" Kiwi asks.
"Mental institutions," I say.
"Oh," he replies.
"My second one is about school shootings, it's free, I'll tweet it to you."
"Cool," Kiwi says, possibly a little unsettled at the taboo content of my books.
"Do you swear in your songs?" I ask. Chris looks up, hands me back the novel.
"I don't think swearing in music is useful or interesting," he sighs, "I mean, Nirvana never swore, neither did The Beatles."
"True," I say. Out of the darkness a large, casually dressed lady swans over to the couches where we reside. She starts chatting to Biz, and it turns out this is my contact, Diane Sherwood, the woman who wants me to write the inside scoop on The Bedroom Hour.
"I'm Andrew Moody," I say, offering my hand.
"Oh," Diane coos, "we don't shake hands here!" and hugs me a little too informally and for a little too long than is normal for complete strangers to greet each other. I hand her the book (which has quite a few pages of sexualized torture in it, not to mention the most arrogant character in possibly all of world literature) and she holds it close to her chest. "I'll treasure it forever," she sighs.
"So," I say, trying to steer the conversation into business. "You wanted me to write the book about the band?"
I think she's a little drunk. "Oh, yeah. Yeah. The keyboard player just had kidney stones removed. Today! And the singer's wife is due to have a baby at any point! It would make a really insane story...and..madness, just crazy..." she trails off. It has become apparent now that this is a case of Twitter addiction, and this woman doesn't really have a clue about the machinations of writing, and especially the machinations of writing a book about an unsigned rock band.
"Cool," I say, nonplussed. I decide to "go for a cigarette" and time it so I can miss the first band, of whom I have little interest in. The bouncer is looking bored as I step outside. I give Raf a call and light my second to last Benson Silver. 
"Bro," he says. "What's up?"


Yesterday was Valentine's Day. I went early to Pynchon Ward to get my two weekly depot injection of Olanzapine. I arrived at eight thirty, in time for breakfast, the nurse didn't recognize me through the door and I had to wait until they'd searched my pockets and shoes for contraband. This place is harder to get into than Fabric, I thought, trying to be chipper about the fact that I had a date with a needle and not with a mysterious teenage blonde who loved the romance of struggling writers. I went to the office to tell them I was here. A little confused, they told me Holly (responsible for the jab) wouldn't be in for another hour and I'd have to wait. The smell, cheap bleach and medical rubber brought back memories, all bad. I wandered down to the smoking cage. Inside, a battered looking man in his thirties with a bandage around his right hand stained with dry, browning blood was trying and failing to roll a cigarette. I offered him a Benson out of pity, and lit it for him.
"So why are you in?" he asked.
"I get an injection every two weeks," I said. "And then I leave."
His story is common, after a ten minute manic explanation I ascertained that he spent some time in prison then had a nervous breakdown trying to reintegrate into society after the post-traumatic stress of doing hard time led him to self harm and start fights with people just to lose.
"My dad just doesn't fucking get it," he said, "fucking cunt."
Back on the ward I sat down and read an article about the German philosophers who supported Hitler's rise to power in the history magazine I bought from Sainsbury's. The mental patients were rising, groggily, and the standard day's chaos was about to begin.
After waiting twenty minutes (and being accosted by an old woman who demanded to know who I was, and if I was working for the doctors as a spy) Holly arrived.
"I'm uh, here for my injection," I said.
"Oh," she giggled, "well let me at least get my coat off!"
"I wasn't pressuring you," I said, a little nervously.
"Ooh, I know, babe," she smiled. Ten minutes later and I was undoing my belt in the medical room.
"Welcome to my parlour!" Holly actually said. "Which side, you choose, honey," she giggled, setting up the needle.
"Left, I guess," feeling like I was unwittingly married to a butch dominatrix. I braced myself as the needle entered my buttock, that aching sting that momentarily jarred a nerve.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Andrew," Holly sighed, post-coitally.
The three hours I then waited on Pynchon Ward included a random visit from a sniffer dog searching the rooms for drugs, and a South African murderer played catch with it after calling me a homosexual, and then asked if my depot injection was "Heaven" before his mother turned up. The psychiatrist asked me to fill in a questionnaire rating his standard, and after he attempted to force the vote with some last-minute sucking up, I gave him full marks on everything and left, musing on the LSD trip that was always there, never leaving, never changing, never dying, never making any sense at all. 


The Bedroom Hour have taken the stage. They open with "Shadow Boxer", its long, dreamy intro segues into a euphoric peak and after a mesmerizing few minutes, the almost purely sensual vocals emerge. I'm standing next to Chris, and he's nodding his approval. There's only about thirty people in the club, but Stuart Drummond, the vocalist, is so lost in his performance, a beautiful, desperate longing, a melancholy, romantic sexual act, that the sonic vibes are immense. I nip to the bar, and the barman agrees when I say: "Fucking sexy band, man," and wish I had money for something harder than a can of lager. "Tyrannosaur" is book ended by some banter with the audience, the keyboard player DID just have kidney stones removed, which receives a cheer. That's pretty hardcore. The next track, "Nocturnal", which I remember from their Soundcloud, has the same urgent, tripped out tempo with a soaringly catchy chorus. After "Midnight Game" and "No Key" I'm totally sold on the performance, which leads to the triumphant "Heart Will Haunt" which has such an emotional, epic thrust, that Drummond is now somewhere else with the music, possibly sending his psychic energies to his pregnant wife. This music is designed for the sex act. The classy "X Marks the Spot" and almost transcendental "Slow Motion Cinema" to close inspire me to head to the stage and shake the guy's hand.
"Fucking good effort," I say drunkenly, and I mean it. He's exhausted but buoyant, slightly dazed from the emotion he's just let out. Whatever this guy means with his tunes, he really means it.
I debrief with The Darlingtons outside.
"Doves meets Elbow," I say, "with a little Joy Division." I actually know these bands, and that's the extent of my musical comparisons, I am not a music journalist, so the subtle influences from bands I've never heard of are lost. Still, I'm having fun. 
"Have you seen Control?" I ask the lads.
"God it's horrible isn't it," Chris says, laughing. "But great at the same time."
"Ian Curtis has to be the most influential musician of the eighties," I say, trying to sound knowledgeable. 
"Maybe, maybe," Biz says. "We love Joy Division. It's that small town thing."
The bouncer asks me for another cigarette, which I think is hardly professional, but whatever.
"So guys," I ask, after Stuart Drummond pops up and very graciously thanks me for my support, which makes me feel ultra-hip and savvy, "what's your battle plan? You can't make a living out of journeyman gigs like this."
"It's like boxing," another drunk guy says, wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt and smoking a roll-up, "you do these to get experience before-"
"-the title shot, yeah," Chris says. "We know." 


And then they transform. The shy, polite and well groomed foursome that look as sweet as pop bad boys One Direction (face it, they're cool as fuck) , put on their game faces and start. What strikes me immediately is just how talented they are as musicians. The sound: upbeat yet complex guitar riffs, tight and ambitious drum patterns, charmingly scruffy vocals and soaringly catchy choruses is really quite impressive and their togetherness and comradarie is infectious. The defiant and classy "Bats" (N.B They shot a really interesting video to this that I didn't quite understand) does actually speak to a Facebook generation that is a little bit lost in the morass of post-digital culture. Kiwi is a shy front man, preferring not to take the focus away from the band, which possibly needs to change in the future. The little girls have come to worship, but the older women will want to eat them. "Ship at Sea" and "Don't Give Me Hope" do promote the maturity of their sound, and the extremely interesting "Everything" is a small masterpiece of complex guitar patterns mixed with the pitch perfect simplicity of the chorus. They end with "Watch Yourself", and what comes across most is the technical abilities of the lads, and their consummate professionalism. Again I head to the stage to congratulate a job well done, and they're sweaty and energized and happy and defiant. I make my exit then, ready to write my first gonzo piece on the underground music scene. At Charing Cross I'm bemoaning the smoking ban and shudder a little as I see two drunken girls dressed like nurses, obviously heading out to destroy a few male egos and get a few more vodka tonics bought for them with the promise of kinky sex. Speaking of which, The Bedroom Hour (aptly named) would provide a nice soundtrack to the action.

A.W.M 21/02/2013

Twitter- @thedarlingtons, @thebedroomhour

Monday, 4 February 2013


Don't say I never warned you from the start- Marilyn Manson

Self pity won't save you- Bloc Party


"Somebody doesn't like me," I say.
"White or black?" my therapist says.
"What... do you mean?"

"Milk? No milk?"
"Oh. White. One sugar. This is new."
"You didn't usually offer me coffee."
My therapist smiles. If I wasn't so paranoid right now, I'd be fantasizing about her stripping for me, breaking out the love cuffs. The therapist sex fantasy is one of extremities, either sub or dom, but nothing in between. Otherwise, what's the point?
She hands me a lukewarm plastic cup.
"Thanks," I sigh.
"I haven't seen you in a while. How was Spain?"
"Somebody doesn't like me," I say, sipping my coffee.
"Oh. Your mum and dad?"
My therapist looks mildly concerned, and, like most of her patients, I sometimes live for those maternal glances.
"Who then?"
I swallow another mouthful.
"That's what I've been trying to work out."


It was shortly after my suicide attempt that I first attempted to cover a Nine Inch Nails song that had already been made world famous by Johnny Cash, possibly the finest cover version of all time. It was only a matter of weeks from the time I washed down a packet of Clonazepam with a bottle of Jack Daniels. I woke up after three days with the hangover from hell and muscle cramps throughout most of my body.
"Try Hurt," Phil said. He was my care-worker. I'd known Phil for about two years. My self-perception was never the same as my public-perception. It's only recently that I can see why people walked away from me. I never realized how my self-destructive tendencies had alienated so very many people. And I always thought I was more talented than I am. Phil has a nervous tic whereby he will crack the stupidest, dumbest jokes and then pop a drum roll with his fingers. At first I thought it was something he did to make people more comfortable around him, a trust thing. The fact is, he can't help himself. It's common among failed performers. The kind of shit Keith Harris does when Orville is still in the suitcase. Phil came to London from Belfast about twenty years ago, got work as a Mental Health Nurse as a way to make quick cash and meet girls. He set up a music outreach clinic in 2005, a place where psychiatric patients could meet and play together, a safe haven for those who never felt safe. It's funny that I always thought it was my final shot, that I could still make it as a singer in the brutal world of popular music. But that's manic depression for you. Only very recently, and even with an album now recorded, I can see just how insane I once was. 


"A dislike?"
"Yep," I say.
"I'm not good with this kind of thing. What does it mean?"
"It means that somebody has seen my video and thinks that I'm a fool."
"Hmm. How many likes have you got?"
"Five." dislike?"
"Soooo..." my therapist says. "Technically that's... five sixths of the vote."
"Yeah, I guess."
"Then what's the problem?"


The idea of "seizing the culture" was always important to me. When I was holed up in my proverbial cell in supported accommodation, living on eighty pounds a week, drifting into heroin addiction, my perception of success was both delusional and everything to me. I spent twelve hour stints at my (internet-free) laptop, writing furiously the novel that I knew would make my name. Every Tuesday I would make the trek to Antenna Studios in Crystal Palace and sing for three hours with people who could barely hold a note, composing songs and struggling to vocally train myself to almost pure discordancy. It wasn't a matter of success or fail. It was just that I was single and didn't have any friends, money or purpose. I quite simply had nothing better to do with myself. Phil and I would practice Hurt obsessively, my one big number. It was a song that meant everything to me. I connected with it. I was in all sorts of pain.


"One dislike? I'm interested as to...why is that a problem?"
I adjust my glasses. It's been a wet, cold Monday, and, like always, I'm mobbed up in the height of hoody chic. I don't really have the money to spend on clothes, and, judging from my musical output, it's going to be staying that way for a while.
"Have you released anything on YouTube?" I ask.
"Not to my knowledge," she smiles.
"Well, when you do, you'll know what it feels like."
"I don't actually have any plans to, Andrew."
"You're sure?"
"Pretty sure. But let's stick with this. What did it make you feel?"
"Like an idiot. I put... I put a lot into that one. Have you seen it yet?"
She giggles, shakes her head.


In August of 2011, mere weeks after the UK Riots, I was arrested in Rodel Sound Studios midway through recording "Middle Class White Boy", a song I had written in ten minutes when I was seventeen. My care worker Tony Tang (whose claim to fame was a small role in Guy Ritchie's "Revolver") had contacted a psychiatrist after I had been refusing my medication for three weeks, a psychiatrist I wound up shoving into a wall after he told me he wasn't frightened of me. Twenty minutes later three huge policemen forced their way into the studio. The biggest one grabbed me firmly by the wrist.
"Andrew Moody, I'm arresting you for Common Assault."
"Are you...I don't...I don't believe this."
"You have to come with us to the station, I'm afraid!"
"But I didn't do anything."
"Come on Andrew, you don't have a choice."
"Can I have a cigarette first?"
The other two PCs had nailed off all the exits.
"Okay," he said, smiling warmly at me.
I lit a cigarette, and before I was taken, I turned to my producer. "What do you think?" I said sadly.
"I'm speechless," he replied.


"So you included text with this one? A story?" my therapist says, for some reason grinning broadly.
"Yeah," I sigh. "Kinda tells the tale of how I felt when I was arrested and strip searched."
"Hmm. How did you feel?"
"Horrified," I reply. "I was coked up. My uh... my..."
"I was coked up. Cocaine has a tendency to...shrink things."
"So your YouTube video is about how it feels to..." I can see she's about to start giggling again.
"I'm proportional," I reply, still feeling slightly used.
"Taught you a lesson though," she says, smiling, on the verge of laughter.
"Definitely. The next time I get arrested I'm going in sober."
"Is there going to be a next time, Andrew?"
"I didn't know there was going to be a first time."
She looks at her watch. "Hmm, time's up, I'm afraid. Shall we book for next week?"
I sigh. "If you like."


"Seizing the culture" was always important to me, and I know now that it was never about seizing the world, but turning it back to a time when I had a position within it, a time when I was a useful person, when I had some measure of control. But if you read any criminologist of note all you find is that you can't turn back the clock and you can't recapture the scene. That one dislike made me realize that even if you have survived suicide, drug addiction, false arrest and psychiatric imprisonment, some people are still going to think you're a fool.

A.W.M 05/02/2013