"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Sunday, 13 May 2012

More About UV

I always wanted to work with a book called Ultra Violence. 

Or Sex and Violence, but apparently that's already been done. That might not necessarily stop me, but there you go.

I enjoy those two topics.

Particularly in books. I think that sex and violence are better experienced in print than in any other medium, though people disagree with me. As they often do.

I can watch a film like The English Patient, the Bicycle Thieves or the Battleship Potemkin, but I certainly can't read about them. It just doesn't interest me. I tried reading Hardy when I was fourteen and that was the end of English Lit O level for little me. After an hour of a double hour lesson.

There just isn't enough sex and violence to keep me reading. That's why I've set this company up, to publish the books they no longer bother with. The seventies "shoebag" novels.

Ultra Violence. It's a great title.

Football hooliporn novels - and Simon's book is much better than that, in my opinion - have mediocre titles.

Football Factory? Awaydays? The only two titles I really like are Steaming In (Colin Ward) the very first one, which is self explanatory, and Diary of a Football Hooligan (Jay Allen).

Possibly Among The Thugs  (Bill Buford the best written non-fiction, though that title could suggest any theme - gangsters, street corner gangs rather than football.)

The fact that the novel Ultra Violence isn't all that violent is deliberate.

Really, it's a story of Nottingham, of people who live in minor cities and follow small clubs. It's for fans of teams who follow clubs from the bottom half of the Championship to the Conference. All the small clubs that you turn up to because...because... that's what you do. Thick and thin.

Its a story of how a man became a football hooligan - and there is an awful scene at the beginning of the novel which gave me an idea of why - but it doesn't take the traditional approach. The King/Pennant I'm Dead Hard, Me! Approach. Far from it.

It's a story of a man losing everything in his life and harking back to better days, carefree days,
I like that aspect. There are parts of it which chill me to the marrow and they aren't the fight scenes.

Most of all, its a story of a changing Nottingham.

Anyone over thirty five who lives in Nottingham will have noticed how different it has become. I sometimes don't recognise it myself. Simon's book makes the distinction clear on many different dimensions. His job, his relationship, the way people behave with each other, the way people interact, the geography, the regeneration projects, the sheer volume of people in the City. All of it is new to the floundering author and he's suffering.

Yes, there's trouble in there - and the scenes from Hartlepool from 1988 are worth reading, whether you like this subject or not, and I'm aware many people don't - but that's not what it's about if you ask me.

It's about losing something and it's about getting old.
The price you pay to live in a world where no one will ever die of old age

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