The Guiltless Bystander
By David Wheldon
7th July 2022
Available to pre-order now
The Guiltless Bystander is the first collection of short stories by the award-winning novelist David Wheldon. Completed shortly before his death in 2021, they bear testament to the wit, warmth and variety of his writing. There is light and shade: some of these stories are just plain funny, while others are dark and inconclusive, recalling the subconscious worlds of Franz Kafka or Luis Buñuel. Ultimately, though, the contradictions inherent in these tales come to have an elusive rationality.
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Not All Roses
The Life & Times of Stephen Cresser
By Dave Haslam
31st May 2022
‘Not All Roses’ is the sixth book in Dave Haslam’s acclaimed Art Decades series. In the late 1980s, Steve Cresser – aka Cressa – was hailed in i-D magazine as ‘the face of Manchester’, he went on the road with Happy Mondays, and was onstage with the Stone Roses at their big shows and their first TV appearance – even being described as ‘to all intents and purposes the fifth member of the Stone Roses’. In the mid 1990s he co-founded a band called Bad Man Wagon, became close friends with both Damien Hirst and Joe Strummer but then disappeared from view.
What happened to Cressa? He became addicted to heroin, and homeless, and was attacked and hospitalised. Haslam tells Cressa’s profoundly moving and intriguing story from the inside of the world of music and the depths of addiction.
Waiting for the Gift:
Stories Inspired by Low
Edited by Richard V. Hirst
28th July 2022
Available to pre-order now...
Low, David Bowie’s 1977 album, stands as both his creative apex and an album which pushed popular music to its outer limits.
The eleven short stories in Waiting for the Gift, each of which takes a song on the album as its title and inspiration, provide a collective response from some of the best contemporary writers of fiction.
Featuring original work from Dima Alzayat, Anne Billson, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Jen Calleja, Ruby Cowling, Wendy Erskine, Keeley Forsyth, David Hayden, Zoë McLean, Adam Marek, Preti Taneja, Melissa Wan and Hugo Wilcken.
Waiting for the Gift maps out the otherworldly labyrinth that is Low, moving through tales of madness and the abyss, but also of futuristic fantasia and intrepid inner exploration.
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Out of the Dark
17th February 2022
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Daniel Quinn has rented a flat at the top of a high-rise block in Birmingham where he watches the same video over and over again, an old British film noir called Out of the Dark. This film holds some important information for him, something which will help him deal with recent tragic events in his life. But what is he looking for in this corny black and white B-flick?
Out of the Dark is an unsettling story of grief, obsession and duplicity. It is also about film noir itself, and as Daniel dissects the recurring motifs of his favourite film genre he reveals more about himself than he does about the movie. The edges of the film and real life begin to blur. Is Daniel being pulled into a similar whirlpool of deceit, corruption and violence?
'A twisted and darkly funny neo-noir that somehow channels the restless spirits of both David Lynch and Shane Meadows while remaining intensely literary. In Out of the Dark David Gaffney has produced a book with real propulsive energy, one that produces surprises on nearly every page.' Stephen May, Costa Prize-shortlisted author of Life! Death! Prizes!
'Out of the Dark is an ingenious, idiosyncratic and unnerving noir, in which Ballard meets Jim Thomson meets Mike Leigh in a high-rise block next to a motorway in the Black Country.' Luke Brown, editor, critic, and author of novels My Biggest Lie and Theft.
All you need is dynamite
Acid, the Angry Brigade, and the End of the Sixties
publication Date 26th August
In ‘All You Need Is Dynamite’, the latest in his Art Decades series of small format, limited edition books, Dave Haslam explores the fading of Sixties dreams of peace and love, and the emergence of urban terrorist groups, particularly a cell known as the Angry Brigade who carried out dozens of bomb attacks in Britain.
Haslam tracks the political campaigns, the police repression, and the insane times, from underground music venues, via May ’68 in Paris, to the story of Angry Brigade members living in Manchester for several months in 1971 and contributing to the underground paper Mole Express (a bible for local acid-freaks, and fans of the Edgar Broughton Band and the Weather Underground).
Picking his way through forgotten streets and demolished clubs, and the pages of underground newspapers, Haslam uncovers a heady mix of left-wing politics, psychedelic music, police raids and political violence.
Where does one language end and another begin? What happens to those people who find themselves not simply between languages but in states of transformation and translation? How do we speak, act, and live in these spaces where everything seems at once both promised and impossible?
Paul McQuade’s debut short story collection moves into this space between tongues – a play on the Scottish Gaelic word for translation, eadar-theangachadh. These stories span modern myth and the surreal, Europe, Asia, and North America, and take language and technology to their limit to map those strange places where people without voices find themselves.
"Equally at home with the weird and the everyday, McQuade is a singular talent worth seeking out."
In his fourth short story collection, an exploration of the dark side of modern London, Nicholas Royle redefines urban Gothic for the twenty-first century. Fifteen stories, dating from 2000 to the present day and including seven brand-new pieces, demonstrate Royle’s range of styles and techniques. Often writing against a background of film, art or literature, he unearths unease in the streets of Shepherd’s Bush, Hackney and South Tottenham, and creates uncanny effects with innovative, experimental forms.
London Gothic is the first in a projected series of city-based collections by Royle. Forthcoming volumes are devoted to Manchester and Paris.
My Second Home: Sylvia Plath in Paris, 1956
Sylvia Plath was in Paris during Easter 1956, alone in a hotel near Notre Dame. She’d grown to love the city after spending Christmas there with Richard Sassoon and she’d hoped he‘d be with her for Easter too, but he hadn’t answered her letters. She’d met Ted Hughes a month earlier; Ted was also in her head, and within ten weeks they’d be married.
In the fourth book in his Art Decades series, Dave Haslam describes this key period in Sylvia Plath’s life. We discover how she filled those Paris days, including having dinner with an Italian communist, embracing the idea of drunken afternoon sex with a friend of a friend, sketching in the park, and lying on her yellow bed in an attic room listening to the sound of the Paris rain as she considered decisions and future plans:
in her phrase, ‘the fatal dance’ of choices and alternatives.