Wednesday, 17 December 2014




Amazon U.S.
On sale until December 23rd


A look back. Without the rose-tinted spectacles, but with hindsight and humour, and with poignancy and affection. 

1978. The North.

Phillip sees life in a simplistic if passionate way: up or down, us and them, black, white and nothing in-between. When not doing his ‘thing’ in Wigan’s Casino Club – voted ‘The Greatest Disco in the World’ by Time Magazine – Phillip hates the world. Or at least he thinks he does. He longs for the weekend, or a greater, permanent escape from the daily grind of factory life in an industrial town.

With a little imagination, he might realise things midweek aren’t that bad: there’s the loving family, the secure job amid mass unemployment, a relationship with the perfect young woman… Or maybe he realises too late. And all he’d deemed important was only ever an illusion, his reflected image included.

Coming full circle by way of loss and more loss, you would hope lessons are learned…

The book progresses through myriad dream sequences, interwoven song-themes, a father’s philosophical ramblings, ever blackening wit, leitmotif – or seemingly recurring scenes; is someone laughing at our hero? And Phillip’s own, lyrical, strut-like, black or white manner.

Dancehall adventures via train rides to Heaven, scooter cruising almost coast to coast. Beneath the pier encounters with the opposite sex, et al… set against the birth of Scargill and Thatcher feuding…

Excerpt – Chapter 19:

`Is this the region, this the soil, the clime… this the seat,

That we must change for heav’n, this mournful gloom,

For that celestial light?’

   April hauled ex-Macca’s ex-body, directing our army via the fairground, supposing her beguiling beam would secure that crucial last ride, even if the boys had put the toys away half an hour back. As all but two of us fell for it, it was a sight to behold, evoking flashes of dizzy Disney scenes – that our band of tearaways should sprout tails from trench coat vents for their excesses!

   Jed was taken more by life on our side of the road, his eyes reflecting a medley of promenade hue. ‘Look at this lot,’ he said, nipping my question of where on earth Ilkeston was in the bud. ‘None of ’em have any convicts of their own.’

   ‘Do you mean convictions?’

   He didn’t hear. But asked had I noticed how ‘Mod’ and ‘Ted’ rhymed. He barred my smirk with a hand: ‘Three letters, ending in d…’

   The rhetoric was cut short when someone turned to meet us dead on, pressed us in a North-eastern accent to offer our allegiance, until the glaze of anxiety was snuffed by a frothing beer bottle, a stick-grenade of sorts, impacting against his head, granting Jed a light ale-blood facial. The beggar collapsed into my arms. The bottle crashed onto the kerb.

   Screams of a different nature rippled like a breeze of bitter change, and yet I couldn’t put my finger on its source. Groups silhouetted, an approach, a retreat; a car shunned dug-in feet, the to-ing and fro-ing. And then, in squadron-like re-formation, on a general’s growl, all became as plain as a size ten boot: ‘Skinhead! Skinhead!’

   There was something malevolent in the way they did that.

   Jed yanked my hood as I laid my patient to the ground. He dragged me down a street leading to the park, safest bet, but for a division of our craven copraphagics catching on, screeching forth their personal excreta.

   I took the knee-high wall Red Rum-style, only to recognise that one of us had committed an error of judgement: a step, a day out-stepped, my grand-national winner falling to dust at this last hurdle; a frantic thought on which to cling, this short-straw-of-a-moment million. And so again I placed a glossy sole upon a Jolly Fisherman’s sun-bathed stairway, in past imitation or practice for the future – I had the world at my feet after all...

    Teeth penetrated the footwear in Morph-ish splatter. Courage cared for the spine.

   “You’re going to fall flat on your face,” echoed a warning, before a nervous laugh above…

Chris Rose bio:
Born and bred in the city of steel: Sheffield.

Spent - or misspent, whichever your viewpoint - the majority of his 'young' years on the Northern Soul circuit. It's around this time and place that his novel is set - 'Wood, Talc and Mr. J'

His academic education came much later, from scratch, in a sense.

In time, he fell in love with the idea of languages, French in particular, and went on to get a BA Hons in French Language and Literature with subsidiary Spanish, at The University of Sheffield. He was a 'mature student', though maybe not as mature as he would like to think, looking back...

After which, he moved down south - mid 90s - and eventually further still to the South of France for a few years, where he taught English. He then moved up to northern France to do much the same thing.

But it was here where he also began to write, or experiment with writing.

He came back to England in the mid-00s and lived in North London for five years, teaching and writing again.

And for the last four or five years, he's lived in Norwich, where he's completed a Masters in Literary Translation, at the UEA - he likes to believe he's most definitely mature now!

He's now working his way toward making a living by writing, with a little translation on the side...

He tends to be picky about books, and take his time reading them; he expects each word to count; something he can go back to, read again - and again. Things witty, satirical, poetic... Moving. Favourite writers of late? Maybe Markas Zusak. Anna Funder, her 'All That I Am'. Actually, he's only just discovered Kurt Vonnegut, and read 'The Slaughterhouse Five'.

Soulful writers, and their soulful things. And maybe he tries to emulate them.

Same goes for his taste in films, music... and people.

Amazon Buy Link:>>

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