Over the weekend, I was at NewCon in Northampton, a gathering of SF writerly types, with guests Iain Banks, Ken McLeod, Storm Constantine, and Paul Cornell. Thank you to Ian Whates and Ian Watson for organizing. I felt like I was at a big party with excellent company and the most welcoming of hosts.
Saturday night saw the launch of Subterfuge, the latest anthology from award-winning independent publishers NewConPress. It contains “tales of misdirection, of finesse, of wilful sleight of hand, stories in which not everything is always as it seems”, from authors including John Meaney, Neal Asher, Pat Cadigan, Tanith Lee, Tony Ballantine, Juliet McKenna, Gary Couzens, and Neil Williamson.
There’s also one by me: The Great Gig in the Sky. It’s a story about a band, and their tribute band, and it’s my own tribute to three things that I love: the unreal city I haunt, folk music, and sensitive young men. I had a playlist while I was writing; more below if you’re interested.
NB: Links go directly to YouTube videos.
▪ Syd Barrett, Golden Hair
Cambridge’s most famous lost son at his most ethereal.
▪ Robert Johnson, Crossroad Blues
It’s said that blues musician Robert Johnson met the Devil at a crossroads and sold him his soul in exchange for mastery of the guitar. Which modern Faustian tale suited my theme of what we are prepared to do to nurture our talent.
▪ Led Zeppelin, Communication Breakdown
Because shy people don’t often find it easy to talk and noisy rock can fill the gap nicely.
▪ Fairport Convention, No Man’s Land
From their second album What We Did On Our Holidays. They all sound so young and hopeful on it – sorry I can’t find it online anywhere for you to hear.
▪ Gryphon, The Unquiet Grave
Prog-folk. Mm, crunchy.
▪ The Holloway Brothers, Night Sky
The Holloway Brothers are a blues band who busk around the south east. Here they are in the unreal city, earlier this year. The track I was listening to is off their CD Creekside.
▪ Chris Thomas King, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
Song in a sad time.
▪ Fairport Convention, Rubber Band
I can’t find this anywhere online either, alas, but I did my best to convey its utter brilliance in a post a while back.
▪ Richard and Linda Thompson, Night Comes In
Working on the assumption that all Richard Thompson songs are happy songs, this one always makes me feel hopeful after I’ve been sad.
▪ Pink Floyd, The Great Gig in the Sky
▪ Nick Drake, Fruit Tree
A beautiful meditation on transience:
Forgotten while you’re here
Remembered for a while
A much updated ruin
From a much outdated style.