Free Kindle copy of The Man Who Sold His Son

The Man Who Sold His Son is Free on kindle from 30th June – 4th July, 2014. You can find Mark and his books (including the Lanarkshire Strays series) at Amazon UK and Amazon US

The following excerpt is from The Man Who Sold His Son by Mark Wilson. Copyright, 2014 Paddy’s Daddy Publishing Ltd

Garth felt an impulse rack his little body, sending another spasm of intense pain through his neurones. He felt the pain travel along his chest and down his spine. Unable to respond to it, the ten-year old merely observed as it travelled to his toes and left as quickly as it had come. He felt a pang of regret as it left him. He experienced so little of anything physically these days; these spikes of intense pain were becoming old and welcome friends. They reminded him he still existed. The only other things that tied him to the world were the voices he heard. People moving around his bed, talking, discussing him. Wondering aloud if he could hear them. He certainly couldn’t respond.

Doctors, nurses, his father; they discussed his future, or lack of it. They argued over treatment, whether to continue or if the time had come to turn off the motors and pumps that kept his lings inflating and his blood circulating. Part of him wished they would. Part of him was ready to go somewhere else. Not yet, though. He had his voice to cling to. His father’s voice.

 

I think it’s time to consider the removal of the viral particles from his spinal fluid.”

“That’s a very risky option at this stage. He’s unlikely to live through the procedure.”

“He’s not living now. This isn’t life. He hasn’t breathed alone in months. There are no detectable traces of brain activity. It’s over; it’s time to switch these machines off… With a sample of the virus, directly from his spinal fluid, we could make huge progress in understanding this virus. Maybe prevent what’s happened to Garth from happening to anyone else.”

“I still think that if we can give him more time, we should.”

“He’s been this way for eighteen months. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but Garth’s condition is unlikely to change. This is a totally unique, totally new virus we’re dealing with. It has properties we’ve never seen before in a pathogen of this type.”

“I know. I just wish there’s more we could do, other than keep him comfortable.”

“This young man’s contribution will change the lives of millions, maybe billions. This is the right thing.”

 

Garth Listened to them, smiling to himself. It’ll be over soon. At least I’ll get to help other kids. Other people. He took his mind elsewhere, to happier times, years before, when Mum was still alive. Before her illness, before dad lost himself in his work and put Garth into a boarding school. Garth watched images of his mother and father flashing across his mind’s-eye. Happy smiles, hot chocolate, racing through long grass in meadows filled with summer flowers and love. His family.

Would mum be waiting for him? Would his dad be alright alone, or would his son’s passing make him even more detached, more fixated on his business. He couldn’t know.

 

He was being moved along a corridor. The lights overhead flashed through his eyelids. Suddenly the gurney stopped and the metallic sounds of surgery began. A mask was pressed to his mouth. He tasted rubber and unfamiliar gasses. Garth focused on the voices again.

 

“How long until he goes under?”

“Seconds. He’s probably under already. If you’ve anything to say, do it now. He won’t hear you, but if you don’t, you’ll regret saying nothing to him before he’s totally gone.”

 

Garth felt a warm fluid flow over him. All pain was gone. He could move again, he could think again. He was free of the dulling effect of the morphine. He was free, period. As he moved into his mother’s arms he heard his father’s voice whispering into the ear of what used to be his body.

 

“You’re going to make me a lot of money. Goodbye, Son.”

 

————————–

 

 

“I’m terribly sorry, Mr Ennis. He’s gone.”

“Right. Get me that sample, Doctor. I’ve got work to do.”

 

The veteran surgeon pushed back his dislike for the man beside him and made the incision into Garth Ennis’ spine. Ten minutes later he watched, sickened, as the businessman’s eyes brightened when he handed him the small vial of spinal fluid.

“He could’ve had another few months, you know.”

Ennis held the vial of his son’s fluid up to the light and stared into it.

“My son’s contributed more to medicine with this sample than you have in your entire little career, Doctor. This…” Ennis held the vial up for him. “This, will change the world.”

The surgeon bored holes into Ennis with his eyes. He’d made allowances for Ennis, these last few months. He’d ignored the man’s clinical manner, his coldness towards the comatose boy. At times it had felt like he’d been protecting the boy from his own father. Since succumbing to the virus, this new virus, and slipping into his vegetative state, Garth had lain in the same bed, in the same room, in his care. Garth’s father visited every day, but said nothing to the boy. He didn’t kiss or hold him. He barely looked at the boy’s face. Gavin Ennis would just sit there for hours, tapping away at his handheld computer; working. Making plans for the genome of the virus that was killing his son.

The surgeon made excuses for Ennis’ demeanour. He knew the family history well. Ennis’ wife had died from meningitis three years back. His small business was in trouble. Having created synthetic gametes that nobody wanted, Ennis Company looked to be going into liquidation. Simply, no-one wanted to have children conceived using synthetic sperm. Ennis had expected single, career women who’d left it too late or couldn’t find a partner to jump at the chance. Or married gay couples, but there just wasn’t the interest. People had chosen to use the DNA of a stranger or relative rather than Ennis’, lab creations.

The man was on his knees. Dead wife so young, his son dying so very young. The surgeon had found plenty of reasons to excuse Ennis’ behaviour, until now. The callousness of Ennis’ actions today clawed at the surgeon’s conscience. He felt a fool for having made allowances for this man, who had effectively used his dead son for profit.

Injecting all the venom he could muster into his voice, the surgeon spat out,

“You sold out your son to get it. I hope it was worth it.”

Ennis had already turned and begun to walk towards the exit.

The surgeon headed in the opposite direction, his next task, the disposal of little Garth Ennis’ remains.

 

End of Excerpt

The Man Who Sold His Son is Free on kindle from 30th June – 4th July, 2014. You can find Mark and his books (including the Lanarkshire Strays series) at Amazon UK and Amazon US

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The Man Who Sold His Son – Foreword by Ryan Bracha

My fifth novel, The Man Who Sold His Son is part of the Lanarkshire Strays series and will be available on June 30th, 2014. With the upcoming release in mind I figured that I’d make a pest of myself by asking my favourite Indie-author for his input in the form of a foreword. Enjoy

FOREWORD:

I love reading. I love reading Mark Wilson’s books. I hate Mark Wilson. I’ll tell you why.

He struts confidently around various genres that I just wouldn’t ever pick up, he casts his dirty little spell over them, and he leaves me wondering how the hell he managed to make me enjoy them. But enjoy them I do, and I hate him for it. dEaDINBURGH, for example, a Young Adult tale of the undead terrorising a city. He builds his outlandish and bizarre world that- for me -will never be a likely reality, but by simply creating sturdy and believable relationships, and without pandering to convention, he turns it into something completely different. Or Naebody’s Hero, a superhero story, that focuses not on the talents and powers that his protagonist has, but on how it hinders his ability to form and keep meaningful relationships. And this, The Man Who Sold His Son, an intricate and educated piece of speculative fiction set forty years from now, about how a virus has all but killed off male fertility. About how synthetic sperm is the chosen method of fertilising women’s eggs. About how people not borne of this method are cast out of conventional society simply for being free thinkers. And about how, after a chance encounter, a man must become the sole guinea pig for a global corporation run by a man who, indeed, sold his son, so that he can save his own.
But guess what? It’s all just another extremely well thought out back drop for Mark Wilson to create another series of incredibly powerful relationships, and emotional set pieces, and it works a treat.

​Wilson’s standout strength in all of his books is his capacity for painting the raw and true emotion that runs between two people who love each other. Whether it’s between two naïve and young people first branching out into the world of dating, or if it’s the love between two best friends who, no matter how bad things get, will always be there for one another. He does it faultlessly. What he does best of all, however, is the paternal bond between male relatives, and The Man Who Sold His Son gives him the ideal foil to do just that, in abundance.

​From the intimate and tender moments between Alex and his son Tommy as their connection grows in the midst of Alex’ wife’s addiction to mind bending substances, to Tommy’s natural love of his great grandfather, Tom, the protagonist from Wilson’s debut novel Bobby’s Boy. Not only does he create, and maintain these relationships, but he takes it up another level when he masterfully sets these against the cold and heartless character, Gavin Ennis, who in the very first few pages chooses to switch off his son’s life support machine in the pursuit of his fortune.

​So again, I’ll tell you. I hate Mark Wilson. I hate his stupid face, and I hate his stupid bald head. But most of all, I hate that he manages to turn round my opinions of the genres he chooses to write with fantastic aplomb every single time. ​
​- Ryan Bracha, June 2014

You can find Ryan and his books at Amazon, US and UK

The Man Who Sold His Son is due for publication by Paddy’s Daddy Publishing on June 30th, 2014
You can find Mark Wilson and his books at Amazon, US and UK

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Five free books from the PDP Catalogue

Grab yourself five FREE kindle books from Paddy’s Daddy Publishing’s catalogue. On promotion from 20th November 2013 until the 22nd November 2013. We hope you enjoy the novels and consider leaving reviews once you’ve completed them.

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Ca:

Amazon Au:

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The Banjo String Snapped but The Band Played On by Ryan Bracha – Review

Ryan never fails to entertain and inspire.

I always look forward to new story from Ryan Bracha. Very few new and even fewer Indie-writers have the imagination Bracha possesses or the guts to tell a story uncompromisingly. Most new writers find a preferred writing style (narrative, viewpoint etc) and stick with it; Ryan has absolutely no fear and uses many engaging writng styles. John Niven is a standout at this as were Chris Brookmyre and Irvine Welsh early in their careers. Ryan has a very Scottish feel to his writing, in that the characters and situations he creates are invariably entertaining, challenging, complex often brutally exposed and often funny as hell.

Awaiting a Bracha publication is comparable to what Monday mornings (new release day, pre-downloads) were like for a long-term music fan. I don’t get quite the same satisfaction ‘ripping open’ a Bracha book as I did flicking through 45s and later CDs, but it’s close enough to that excitement for now.

With The Banjo String Snapped But The Band Played On, Ryan continues his series of short-stories and his run of form. Whilst I preferred Bracha’s previous book, Baron Catastrophe and The King of Jackals, I found plenty in this book to entertain and engage with.
Ryan’s writing is experimental, he takes chances and is developing with each story, but I had trouble connecting with this particular tale. This is no fault of the author, his prose is as fresh and gripping as ever; but rather as the reader, I found the multiple changes of viewpoint difficult to follow, mainly because I’m a bit simple at times.

I’m docking Bracha a single rating star for one main reason.

I desperately wanted and perhaps expected the main characters to be the actual Jesus, Superman etc and was gutted that they were merely some mates on a Stag-do. I suspect this says more about me than it does about Ryan’s book, but it’s my review and I wanted the real Jesus, so four stars it is.

With the quality of Ryan’s writing he only has himself to blame; he continuously readjusts the readers expectation of his books, each brings something different than the last, and I wanted more from this. Despite my own personal preferences, this is a very good read; smart, vapid and concise writing at its best, but next time give me more Messiah.

Ryan is an affiliate author with Paddy’s Daddy Publishing
Banjo is free on Amazon on 26/6/2013

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Music and Stories

For me, music has been a constant soundtrack to my life. Key events, loved ones, hard times and great times all have a song or album as a soundtrack. Books and movies are no exception.

Little wonder that my own debut novel was so driven and influenced by the music pof the times it’s set in and passes through.

Here are the three songs I chose for each “Act” of the book and why:

In part one I quoted Huey Lewsi and the News “The power of love” :

“Make a bad one good.

Make a wrong one right.

The power of love will keep you home at night.”

Partly because I love the track but mostly because the era that part one of Bobby’s Boy is set in is encapsulated so well in the memories that this song envokes. All the good stuff and all the bad are brought to the fore of my mind’s eye in the openeing 5 seconds of this song. The quote also evokes the love I wanted Tommy to encounter and be changed by

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NMph943tsw

The second act of the book was introduced with the quote

 

“Oh I would never give up and go home,

 beaten and broken.

 No, I don’t know who I am anymore,

But I’ll keep on chasing those rainbows.”

 

from “The Only Enemy that Ever Mattered” by the wonderful Hopeless Heroic. At this stage of the book, tommy was departing on the trip of his life, but he was every bit as much running from his past as he ws barrrelling towards his future.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eau7ojfX7_E

The last song I used was intended to show the wish to start all over again. Tommy’s been fantasising for so long, and he now lives in a world once more he wishes wasn’t real , but is. The video is a perfect fit also.

Coldplay – “The Scientist”

“Nobody said it was easy.

No-one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh, take me back to the start.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqWLpTKBFcU

Bobby’s Boy is on FREE PROMO until tomorrow

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347132445&sr=8-2

 

 

I

Positive Scots

Scots, for me, have become the whipping boys of the literature and film-making worlds in their seeming determination to present us with unintelligent, violent, and predictably inaccurate stereotypes of the people of my nation.

The British, generally, suffer in this regard but whilst the English stereotype in Hollywood is the evergreen, upper-class accented, moustache-twirling villain and/or cheeky chappy cockney, rarely is an English character presented as we would find the ordinary hard-working men and women of the midlands and Northern England for example, or the Welsh.
Only the Irish seem to have lucked into a more light hearted, twinkly-eyed, everyone’s best drinking buddy type of stereotype. Still hugely misrepresentative of their people though (mostly).

Whilst most Brits are represented in a ridiculous way, I do feel that Scots suffer most of all from the public perception which the media seems determined to portray us as. Almost invariably whenever Scots appear in books, TV or films they are presented as violent, usually drunk, often drug addicts, and incoherently stupid. It appears that the media’s view of Scots is of a nation perpetually in the pub/football stadium/ high/drunk/aggressive/loud, unintelligible and most of all, thick.

Very few forms of entertainment present us with a positive Scots’ role model, and the worst offenders are produced here in Scotland.

While we do have Inspector Rebus played brilliantly by Ken Stott, Amy Pond, great character, James Bond, an intelligent and proactive super-spy, Jack Parlabane, funny, human and clever (Brookmyre), we’re also victim to the “We’re just one of you” brigade of Scottish TV and actors like Elaine C Smith, with her Morningside accent for the interviews, and her Clyde side “Mary-Doll” for the plebs.
Even the brilliant Peter Mullen’s NEDS, focuses on this thug minority, albeit in an insightful and skilled manner.

I find it difficult to believe also that Hollywood can’t cast a Scottish actor in main roles when tackling very Scottish projects. Instead we get an Australian William Wallace, an Irish Rob Roy, never once a Scottish “Scotty” in Star Trek, a French Christophe Lambert Playing a Scottish Immortal in Highlander beside a Scottish Sean Connery playing a Spaniard.
Are Scots really so untalented that we can’t be used to represent our own nation. Pixar’s “Brave” appears to have taken a huge step in the right direction in this regard with it’s genuinely all-Scottish, very talented cast.

Its very difficult to pinpoint a good, honest portrayal of a Scotsman these days who isn’t a junky, a wee NED, talks through his/her nose or has anything positive or intelligent, or human to say. A character who reflects the ordinary people of his/her country would be a start.
The people of Scotland that I know are warm, good people. They’re clever (even the uneducated ones folks), they’re vital, funny as hell, resilient, hardy, and rough sometimes yes, but among the most decent people worldwide.

Let’s see some of that on the screen or in books. Lets see some truly gutsy, interesting Scottish characters in our media and ditch the Shortbread tin or smackhead/NED image we’re tarred with. Characters like Jack and Victor and all their entourage in Still Game who revel Scotland’s heart in their genuine characterisation of its people.
People like our handicapped superstar golfer in John Niven’s wonderful “The Amateurs”. Some real characters with real and current difficulties and victories like the ones that John Mackenzie gave us throughout his career, but most especially in “Just another Saturday”.
People who learn, make mistakes, change, care, and laugh and cry throughout their lives.
Proper story telling. Proper characterisation.

This is exactly what I need to see more of and why I populate my books with such characters. Flawed, funny, wilful, interesting. Just like peoples of all countries contain. People with something to say, with a story to tell, imperfect people with the capacity for goodness and badness. People with heart..

Ken loach can stick his “Angel’s Share” and its cheeky chappy, criminal wee NEDS-come-good up his arse. Social commentary for unemployed and disenfranchised youth? Maybe but representative of the majority of Scotland youth or its people generally.Absoultely not.
Buy Bobby’s Boy on kindle for 85p

Hamsters on the wheel

Everyone remembers the Tom Hanks movie “Big”, right. Little kid finds a “Zoltar Speaks” machine at the carnival, makes a wish to be “Big”, wish granted” appears on a wee card, and he wakes up the next morning an adult. Gets everything he wants, great job testing toys, a wee dance on a floor piano with his boss, a girlfriend, status, wealth, but goes back to the simple life of being a kid.

Tom And Robert Loggia, doing Chopstix

Great movie and indicative of a time when kids thought everything would be fine if they were a bit older, able to make their own choices and forge their own paths in life. Anything seemed possible when we were 13 years old. So what stopped us chasing those dreams?

Why didn’t we tread the untried path instead of playing it safe, getting that job, going to university, or slipping into roles we never would have wanted as kids? Financial responsibilities maybe? Just didn’t know how?

A Lack of opportunity or encouragement, I mean who growing up in Bellshill in the 90s knew a writer or artist or musician or even a student who wasn’t treated like a lazy pig? Who knew anyone really, who did something they loved instead of just working a job they detested to keep a house to feed the family and wake knackered every morning to repeat it all over again.

I’m not knocking the working man or woman, he/she’s a total hero, but there’s so many of us approaching 30 or 40 or 50 who just gave in to life and went with it, completely forgetting all our early dreams for life. If little Josh (the kid in Big) thought for a second that adult life would be one of such percieved burdens and limited choices, theres absolutely no way he’d have wished to be “BIG”.He’d have run like a bastard from that Zoltan dude.

Keep on trucking Hamster

As we get older all too many of us have convinced ourselves that we’ve become trapped in a cycle of responsibility and repetitive duties. We’ve subsequently have forgotten the goals we had as children.

We all felt that we were someone special once. We all KNEW that we would do something important, or fun, or special or plain BIG with our lives at some point. Life, time, work, illness, responsibility, disillusionment, and disappointment slowly robbed us of our desire to reach our goals. Worse, we helped in the process and strive to keep the next generation in their place too.

Screw that. I say, let’s dream Big again. Let’s find the “I will,You can, I want to” attitudes we used to take so much for granted. Can you imagine our 13 year old selves reaction at seeing us today?

I’m sure mine’s would have been: “Hey, Fannybaws! Get up, do something, he’/she’s done it so can you. Screw the X-Factor. Screw stuffing your face and getting fat, Screw feeling like you have no control or have lived your life by 35 years old, shift your arse, I want more than this!” ( In between wanks of course).

We’re well fed prisoners, buying stuff that means nothing, taking comfort in calories flat-screen TVs, Playstations and shelves full of fuckin DVDs. Jailing ourselves in our wee private kingdoms, and ignoring the world outside and our own potential, dreams and wishes for fear of losing our grubby possessions. Blamimg terrorisms, security, illegal Immigrants, status or eduction for not being who we should be or having what we deserve.

We’ve let ourselves down and settled for far less than we are capable of. We all do it. Worship at the celebrity cult, “Oooh Beyonce has broken a big toenail”, while people the world over, shit, in our own streets, ignore each other and pretend that their lives are fine when they’re a stunted version of everything you ever dreamed.

Ask that teen version of you what he/she would want to change What did you want to do, to be, to have, to see or experience? What in the name of hell is stopping you? Don’t use kids, lack of money, responsibilities, illness, or depression as an excuse to not do what you know in your heart you should be. If you’re determined, you’ll make the time, find the resources, and enrich everyone’s life around you as a result. You deserve that life, we all do.

I’ve watched good friends, with admiration and pride, completely change their lives in recent years, taken a gamble, ditched jobs they hate, and achieved things they never thought they would. In other words, got off that hamster wheel and made bold changes in their lives, taken strides in directions they chose.

Some Hopeful Teens

All of us can follow that example, keep your lives, but enrich them, and be who you know yourself to truly be in your heart. Write that book, song or movie. Take that trip. Build that house, get that job, emigrate, write, do a marathon. Whatever it was you wished for at 13 for when you were “Big”. Go get it.

I’ll leave you with some quotes from the fantastic Mr Tyler Durden and two very fitting songs:

“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.”

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

Unified Zombie Nation:

Fluorescent Adolescent:

Free Chapter from my Debut Novel: Bobby’s Boy

The following excerpt is from Chapter 16 of “Bobby’s Boy” by Mark Wilson  Copyright: Mark Wilson 2012: Tom Kinsella, my main character, has returned home to Scotland and Bellshill for a visit after being on tour with an American rock band. He has his new best friend Donny, an American who needs a break from his bandmate Davey, in tow. you can find a link to the book on Amazon at the top of the page and after the excerpt below.

ALL FEEDBACK APPRECIATED AND WELCOMED

16

Back Home

The tour recommenced and proceeded at a pace that the people involved had expected, but found themselves unprepared for nonetheless. Daily life consisted of pack-up, travel, un-pack, play, pack-up, travel, and repeat. Continuing across the States until the end of January, they then flew to London which would be the starting point of the European Leg, taking them through February and so many countries that they all began to lose track of where they were in a haze of performance, drink, drugs, sex and more travel.

By the time the tour had come to Glasgow, playing King Tut’s at the end of February, Tom had filled dozens of notebooks with material from the tour. He could leave the job that very day and have more than enough with which to write several books. Most of which, in recent weeks, documented the dire downward spiral of Donny and Davey’s working and personal relationship.

The former friends had all but divorced each other, save for the forty five minutes they spent on stage together nightly. Davey constantly complained about Donny when he wasn’t there and verbally attacked him whenever they were in a room together. The jealousy and paranoia emanating from Davey could be felt by everyone, and as he was forcing factions between everyone on the tour.

Frequently Davey could be found in dark corners of the tour bus or venue, whispering bile about Donny into the ears of another of Donny’s, soon to become, former friends. The problem was that it was working. Donny started to cut more and more of a solitary figure backstage and on the tour-bus.

Whatever Davey was saying, it hadn’t reached Tom’s ears so far, but he had overheard Jody shouting at Davey the previous night. “Go fuck yourself man, who gives a flying fuck about that? You’re shooting yourself in the damn foot boy. Donny’s the talent in your fuckin band and you’re forcing him to dump you guys. Wise up you fucking child.”

Obviously Jody had cracked in response to Davey’s attempts at spreading his poison further. Jody did have a point. What exactly did Davey think it would achieve alienating his friend like this? It’d end the tour lifestyle he loved so much for sure.

The guys couldn’t stand to be in the same room together at all anymore by the time the tour reached Glasgow’s King Tut’s. Donny asked if he could have a bit of a timeout at Tom’s home.

“No problem man”, Tom had told him. “But you’ll have to put up with my uncle Alec bending your ear and talking shite about music to you non-stop.” Donny looked at him with wet eyes full of gratitude. “That sounds great Tom. Thanks bro.”

Tom arrived at Alec’s house the day before the King Tut’s gig with Donny in tow. Anal Seepage weren’t joining RATM on stage for the next few shows, so they had three days to themselves before they’d have to catch a flight to San Diego for the next leg of the North American tour.

“What do you think Davey and Mikey are doing?”

“Probably the usual, coke, whiskey and sluts, but who gives a fuck what they’re doing”, Donny sighed.

Tom reckoned that Bellshill must have been a total culture shock to his American friend. They’d taken a taxi from Glasgow city centre, passing through some wild parts of Lanarkshire. Donny’s face had remained impassive, head down, eyes on the carpet of the taxi.

When they reached Bellshill and Community Road, Tom fished his key out of his bag to open the door. Before he put the key in the lock the door swung open, revealing Alec. “Hullo boys, in ye’ come”, Alec roared at them, giving his nephew a punch on the shoulder as he passed. “You’re putting the beef on Tommy, look at the fucking size of ye. Right, in and get the kettle on. Cup ay tea…….half a cup, son.”

Alec turned his attention to Donny, who was still standing in the doorway. “Fuckin hell son, cheer up”, Alec roared before delivering a slap to his shoulder that nearly knocked him back out the door.

Donny relaxed instantly in response to Alec’s easy friendliness, and despite the apparent gruffness of his friend’s Uncle, smiled broadly at him. “Yessir.”

Alec turned to Tom, “Sir? Jist like on the telly. Should’ve fucking had you calling me sir all these years baw-jaws.”

Tom rolled his eyes, “Right ye are Alec, ye’ve more chance of me calling ye Jesus.”

Donny watched the exchange, and the hugs between the two men, one he called his friend and the other he’d only just met. He felt instantly at home. Donny closed the door in response to Alec’s “Yer letting the fuckin heat out.” Donny gave a silent thank you for this respite, and for the first time in months, felt safe and wanted.

Tom and Donny made fine use of their short time off from tour, visiting Tom’s friends, places he loved (mostly music venues and cinemas) and relaxing in local bars. Donny stuck out like a sore thumb in Bellshill with his height, accent and, now once again, cheery, disposition. To be fair, Tom felt that he himself was just as mis-matched at times in Bellshill, but was relieved to be home for a few days.

Familiar faces came and went from their table in the lounge of Franklyn’s Bar where the boys had virtually camped out for the remainder of their first day in town after touring round Lanarkshire and Glasgow. Alec had spread the word that Tom was in town, and a steady stream of old friends had appeared throughout the day to hear his stories and share their own. It was great to hear how everyone was doing, and did Tom’s spirit good to catch up with these people he hadn’t realised that he’d missed so much.

Bellshill seemed smaller than ever to him now, but it still refreshed his tired soul and regenerated him in the same way that it had all those years ago when he returned here from Blackwood to live with Alec. Tom hadn’t appreciated quite how tired he’d been until he found himself relaxing in the company of people who’d known him his whole life, and he them. His people, who asked nothing of him, but to just be himself.

Donny coped well with the accent and the dialogue, joining conversations easily and making the pub roar with laughter when repeating Scots phrases like “Haw, fanny-baws” or “Ye want yer hole?” at the request of some of the guys. He spat these words out in a kind of half-American/Jamaican/Irish bastard-ism of the intended phrase that was irresistibly funny, and the requests kept on coming for an hour or more. Tom watched his friends with pride. The locals, so welcoming to a foreigner just as he’d expected of them and Donny, engaging with everyone happily and more relaxed than Tom had seen him in months. This visit had been a good idea and had lifted the spirits of both him and Donny.

Over the next couple of days Tom found, despite invitations to go here or there with him and Cathy that Donny seemed content to give them their space and spend a bit of time with Alec, who had taken to Donny with gusto, and vice versa. The two men talked incessantly about music, movies and pop-culture and appeared to have known each other for years. Once again, Tom was proud of how readily his Uncle had accepted a new face in his life, as he had done also with Cathy.

Alec genuinely enjoyed the company of someone new who had something to say for himself. The older man was clearly invigorated by the chance to converse with someone who appreciated the same things as he did, but viewed them from a different era and perspective.

Tom returned home late on their last evening in Scotland, dropped into his chair with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, sighing as he relaxed into the familiarity of the chair, room and conversation. He quickly caught up with the ongoing discussion on great movie villains between Alec and Donny, both men a bit drunk by now.

Donny reckoned that Robert Mitchum’s Max Cady in the original Cape Fear was the most fearsome. Donny described Mitchum skillfully terrifying the life out of the audience in his stalking, ‘rapey-but charming’ demeanor.

Alec told him to get fucked. “Robert Mitchum was a scary big cunt right enough Donny, but your man Anthony Hopkins pishes all over him. Understated, creepy, highly intelligent, truly chilling auld monster, so Hannibal Lecter was son.”

Tom laughed at the look on Donny’s face. He reckoned that Donny caught about seventy percent of what Alec had said, which wasn’t bad where Alec was concerned.

“You’re both wrong”, Tom told them.

“Is that right smart-arse? Let’s hear it then, golden-baws. What half-arsed, shitey comic-book pish made you shit your frilly knickers? Fucking daft Vader, I suppose?”

Donny continued to wipe his tears of laughter away, while Tom leaned back into his chair and took a long slow drag on his Marlborough, enjoying making Alec wait.

“Na, Vader’s a prick, here’s the guy I’d fear.” He leaned into his uncle, waiting again until Alec leaned to him too. Tom lowered his voice, before continuing.

“I’ve never seen a properly scary villain who ticked all the boxes for me, but if I made a movie, here’s what he’d be…..Completely fucking normal, wimp-ish even, with slicked down black hair in a side-parting, overly- large and sad-looking  oval eyes, wee, thin pencil moustache, and always dressed in golf clothes. He’d look a bit like an accountant from the fifties.”

“Get tae fuck”, interrupted Alec, “he’s supposed tae be a scary bastard. A terrifying predator, no your auld English teacher fae school. Mind that cunt wi’ the ears on him Tommy?”

Tom laughed hard, and then leaned back in to continue. “He’d be a quiet man Alec, but with means. He’d shy away from crowds, but find release in torturing small animals. This guy wouldn’t be swimming about, shirt off like that big fanny Mitchum, and he wouldn’t be a pensioner in a fucking dug’s muzzle, spouting half-arsed philosophical shite about rolling birds to some lassie daft enough to entertain his pish. This guy would be still as a lake, always calm, never ruffled or excited or displaying any emotion.”

Alec snorted out a derisory plume of smoke from his nostrils. “Sounds like a right boring bastard, that’ll pull in the crowds having a fucking mannequin for the bad guy. Oh look, he’s sitting there doing fuck-all.”

Tom ignored him and Donny’s laughing. Donny was having trouble sitting up.

“My guy’s the kind of sick freak who only feels his blood stir when people die on a massive scale. He’s the guy that’d be watching earthquakes or tsunamis killing millions on TV, masturbating with a boxing glove and a handful of thinly sliced deli-meat, screaming the mantra “take it you fucking slags” as his soundtrack to death.

Alec looked at his nephew, one eyebrow raised. “You’re no fuckin right in the heid, scared of a fuckin librarian”. He shook his head and changed the subject. “So, what time are you boys away tomorrow then?” He already knew, but Tom suspected it was a good excuse for him to get off to bed under the guise of “I’ll no keep you two up, then.”

Donny beat him to it, “We’re going down to Manchester on Tom’s bike first thing, and he’s leaving it at his friends’ house.”

Alec laughed loudly. “If you’re getting on the back of his bike son, you better make sure you’ve some clean fucking pants waiting for ye’ at the other end.”

Donny got up from the couch laughing, and made it to the door before turning his head back to the room. ”You guys are so lucky to have each other, I’m off to bed, see you in the morning. Thanks Alec.”

“What’s he thanking you for uncle Alec?” Tom asked as Donny’s footsteps retreated upstairs.

“Och, nothing really, I’ll tell you later son…..You gonny tell me what happened with Cathy tonight?”

Fucking Alec, he always knew.

“Aye, I’d like that, if that’s ok?”

“Fire away son.”

Tom explained that in the last few days he and Cathy had been a bit “off” with each other. They’d argued several times on the phone over the last few weeks and, rather than sorting it out in person, seeing each other had seemed to amplify the problem. Tom embarrassedly explained to Alec that he’d been having a hard time hearing about all the people in Cathy’s life. Guys in particular. He felt that she was moving further and further away from him and every time she spoke about coffee with this one, or study with that one, Tom would go into a silent sulk, followed by questions, then accusations.

He couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut, or stop torturing himself with mental images of what he imagined her to be up to with God knows who, so far away from him. It’s not something he had ever suffered from before, jealousy, but it had him in it’s grip firmly now. Worse still, it had brought along its mates, mistrust and paranoia, to join the party. It didn’t matter how many times he told himself to shut the fuck up, told himself that she would never, had never, that she loved him. His mouth just had to ask, to accuse. He knew that his actions sooner or later would either make his fears a reality when Cathy got fed up and decided to do what she was being accused of, or those same baseless accusations would result in her kicking him into touch. He couldn’t lose her, but couldn’t stop himself from thinking those twisted things. His brain wouldn’t obey him, betraying him instead with an unwanted slideshow of his worst fears.

Alec listened impassively. No comments like, “ya stupid wee arsehole” or “for fuck’s sake, Tommy” escaped his lips. Rather, he stood up, held his nephew close for a few moments and gently told him “Tom, you need to find out what’s making you behave like this, deal with it and stop acting so possessively towards her. She’s not a girl you want tae lose. And Tom….. do it soon. Cathy won’t put up with your shite for long. And nor should she.”

Tom’s tear-filled eyes looked at his uncle. He asked him” How Alec? I’m desperate to, but I don’t know how.”

Alec sighed, “I don’t know either son.”

You can buy Bobby’s Boy on Amazon UK here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335641028&sr=1-1

or in the US here:

http://www.amazon.com/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=lp_B007OIGYJW_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335641130&sr=1-1

Irvine Welsh and Snow Patrol F@cked It Up

I’m just so excited about the stage we have reached in terms of the music and literature industry in Britain right now. We’re about to hit a bubble where a massive explosion of new, exciting, meaningful and mind-blowingly energetic music and novels are about to emerge; clearing out the bland pish we are currently drowning in. Even the odd meaningful movie with a heart is sneaking through. Chronicle for example.

Don’t believe me? I’m a man in the know.

All my life, I’ve had a peculiar “affliction”. The technical name for it is synesthesia. Essentially it means that sounds in general, and music in particular, appear in my mind’s eye as colours. These are very specific and distinct to what each song or voice is conveying emotionally for me. As well as this, I love books and movies also. Imagine the soundtrack to a movie enhanced by flowing, swaying and splashing colours to accompany the music and words. Imagine the colour that flows from the words on a page when spoken aloud.

Now, how does this give me insight into the shifting landscape of our music and book industry? Well, for about 5 years now the British music industry in particular has been a very beige place to be in. The seemingly endless conveyer belt of X-Factor puppets and reformation of man-bands and Buble’s of the world have left the music scene dry, boring and colour-less. Where’s the excitement? Where are the songs and albums that you can identify with, laugh with, be outraged with, or that make you want to go f@cking nuts? Which particular artists are going to define the teen of today? The Script? The Wanted? JLS? Take-That? Nothing wrong with any of these acts, certainly there’s a lot worse around, but to my ears (and eyes) it’s music to chat to; music to have “ isn’t this civilised?” dinner parties to; but mostly, music to ignore.

Just look at Snow Patrol. This group actually produced some decent and innovative songs in their early days. Now? They’re slaves to their record company’s demands for formulaic coffee table soft rock ballads. They’ve gone from being a battered old VW van, full of charisma, tales to tell and character to becoming a 5 star safety rated Renault Megane. Don’t get me started on those bastards, Nickleback!

This Snow Patrol record is shite

The literary world is just as bad and just as beige. Irvine Welsh came along and redefined everything for me about how a book could be formatted and written, or a tale told. Trainspotting was a revelation; Glue was arguably his finest moment. Everything else? A copy of a copy. Each piece written to emulate what made his early work so vibrant, but never quite recapturing the hunger and passion of those works. Irv, please, don’t keep writing what you think the audience wants; rather give us your best, straight from your black heart. I miss Juice Terry, Begbie and the boys, but don’t trot them out like well-worn slippers for a tired re-enactment or two, put some good old-fashioned Welsh spunk in their stories or don’t bother yer arse.

I could list all day the formulaic strategy that writers have adopted and name and shame those c@nts, but why bother? You know how you are; Grisham, Cornwell, Patterson, Harris, Ludlum and your pals. The comparison between these “industries” is obvious to anyone who loves music, books and movies. The “big 6” have told us who and what we “want” to read for long enough.

Just as music is emerging (hopefully soon) from an age where the bean-counters and committees decide and dictate what we listen to, read or watch, so too is the literary world. Self-publishing without a doubt will bring its problems: poorly written, poorly edited or written to a formula John Locke-type “novels” etc. However with that comes the freedom of being able to publish the stories we want to tell when we want to tell them. To be able to write and distribute the very best words straight from our hearts to (hopefully) our audience. Fine times are ahead indeed.

Here’s the Brucie-Bonus though. Every so often when music or film or literature gets to its lowest point a monster of a group or completely new sound, or a new voice, director, writer or visionary comes along and inspires change of immense proportions. Guys like John Niven are starting to emerge and that suits me just fine Times of austerity and poverty also historically produce musicians, writers and artists who are hungry for change and have a message to force into the public consciousness.. Times are very tough at present.

Revolution is on its way, praise the Lord.

Good times are a comin’.

My debut novel, “Bobby’s Boy” is available now on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335467068&sr=1-1