Here’s a happy New Year and a heads-up for my contribution to the Aqueduct Press blog about favourites of the year. This is an annual Aqueduct tradition, so I’m pleased to be on board with a publisher that encourages an online community among its far-flung writers.
The invitation to contribute took me by (pleasant) surprise, so my spiel is weighted towards my most recent outings – these include Netflix’s ten-episode Teutonic time travelling epic, books by Zadie Smith, Nina Allan and Colson Whitehead, and a film about the Slits.
Naturally, as soon as I posted my copy I started to remember great stuff from earlier in the year. A couple of weeks a friend on Facebook had just got around to seeing Trainspotting 2 and that reminded me how much I enjoyed that film – among other things, I loved the way that Irvine Welsh’s viewpoint character turned out to be Spud rather than Renton. So that was one highlight that I missed.
Another remarkable book I read over the year was Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. It fact it inspired one of the the panel discussions I participated in at the Helsinki World Con last summer – Fantasies of Free Movement, where we talked about borders and the dissolution of borders in fantastic fiction.
Many writers also have a sum-up of their own work over the year. So here it goes for me… I’ve had two stories published – “In Scarlet Town” in Murder Ballads and “All That is Solid” in The Scarlet Soul: Stories for Dorian Gray. The good folks at Aqueduct Press released a US edition of Helen’s Story in the summer and I’ve been putting together my first collection Resonance & Revolt. This will be released at the beginning of 2018 and it’s available for pre-order from Eibonvale Press.
As for resolutions… In the coming year I hope to get back to my novel Heretics. “Bells of Harelle”, which originally appeared in Tales from the Vatican Vaults, was a kind of prequel to Heretics. This story will also be reprinted in Resonance & Revolt.
And to get back to the past year’s pleasurable reading, listening and viewing – I didn’t even begin to explore the listening part. At a recent gig I saw a band called Gutfull, which I’ll definitely want to see again. Kind of riot grrrlish – the singer even looked a little like Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna – but they have their own style and they’re totally of this century. I’ve posted a catchy little number called “Arsehole” below.
I also listened to some older music that I missed the first time around, so I’ll post a song from the Screaming Blue Messiahs (1990s vintage) that I discovered at the beginning of 2017. Dedicate it to Donald Trump and wall-of-shame builders around the world.