Sunday, 29 December 2013

GoodReads Offer

Users of GoodReads can avail of the first few chapters of Lost Angeles and Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] for free.  

Monday, 23 December 2013

Downward Facing Doug

Venice Books are releasing my two Roman á clef novels Lost Angeles & Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] in one Kindle busting edition cleverly named Downward Facing Doug.  Though DFD won't be available in Paperback before Christmas (as that's dangerously close to a capitalistic manifesto) it will be available on Kindle from Jesus' birthday.

In addition to the two novels there'll also be three short stories from a collection I'm tentatively calling Short Stories That All Definitely Happened including Death RRP $19.99 [click here to read], A Short Story For Creationists and The Greatest Cock That Ever Lived.  If you've bought someone a Kindle for Christmas and want to fill it with 400 plus pages about life, love, sex, death, addiction and dog wanking then Downward Facing Doug is the book for you!

Merry Christmas Internet!


“BUKOWSKI COMPARISONS ARE JUSTIFIED. LOUDEN HAS A TURN OF PHRASE THAT COULD PUT BIGGER NAMES TO SHAME…” Thom Fell – author of ‘Acceptable in the Eighties’

“TRULY IMPRESSIVE…A WORK OF ART!” Wendy Powers – author of ‘The Testament of Judith Barton’

“A DEBAUCHED, TOUCHING, MESSED UP LOOK AT LOVE & LOSS. FABULOUS.”Inanity & the Girl

“MOVING, BIG-HEARTED AND OFTEN HILARIOUS.” – GoodReads review

“EMOTIONAL, HEARTBREAKING, THOUGHT PROVOKING […] A GREAT BOOK.” – GoodReads review

“IT’S LIKE FRANK McCOURT AND RODDY DOYLE HAD A BABY AND IT WAS LOUDEN’S BONE IDOL” – GoodReads review


Lost Angeles: 1 Dec, 2012
Full time whiskey enthusiast Doug Morgan is on a downward spiral. Over the past two years the Irish man has played witness to the slow and steady decay of his life and he’s finally called time. Haunted by an unacknowledged pain Doug swaps the white collar nine to five of Belfast for one last charge into oblivion in the City of Angels. A scotch-soaked stranger in a strange land Doug befriends a series of like minded and self destructive vagabonds who, like him, are aiming for chaos. In a city that sees thousands of people per year come to be discovered why has one man come to get lost?
4.73/5 on GoodReads

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l]: 28 Nov, 2013
The sophomore follow-up to Lost Angeles is the semi-biographical tale of author David Louden's alter-ego Doug Morgan as he struggles to connect with his father Jack, his mother Ruth and the working class ideology of "a real job". 

From his early adventure filled days in Poleglass through to the alcohol induced haze of his early twenties Doug's life (much like the city) is one at conflict with itself. Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] is filled with humour, sex, guilt and the shameful dream of a boy wanting to create more than a family of haunted heirs. 
4.33/5 on GoodReads

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l]

SYNOPSIS
The sophomore follow-up to Lost Angeles is the semi-biographical tale of author David Louden's alter-ego Doug Morgan as he struggles to connect with his father Jack, his mother Ruth and the working class ideology of "a real job".

From his early adventure filled days in Poleglass through to the alcohol induced haze of his early twenties Doug's life (much like the city) is one at conflict with itself. Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] is filled with humour, sex, guilt and the shameful dream of a boy wanting to create more than a family of haunted heirs.




CULTURAL REFERENCES
Doug Morgan's father Jack is an expert banjo player, Louden's own father was an accomplished banjo player and Louden himself owns and plays both a five string American Bluegrass and a four string Irish traditional.


The childhood books given to Doug by his neighbour Ronan are by early twentieth century American author John Fante.  The book given to him in his teenage years is Charles Bukowski's Post Office.  Both authors have been cited as inspirations by Louden.


While aspects of Jeff Morgan are based on the author's own brother, Tara Morgan is a complete work of fiction based on several childhood friends.

The inscription inside Doug Morgan's copy of Post Office is a direct quote by Charles Bukowski.

The referencing of Japanese Pink movies such as Guts of a Virgin and Exploitation titles like Kung Fu Cannibals are nods towards Louden's love of cinema as both movies have been reviewed on his film blog Knifed in Venice.

The bartender at Copperfield's is named Clive after Clive Scully, an interviewer who Louden promised to name a character after.  Similarly, there's reference to a "cat" from the pool hall named Hank who will appear as an older character in the author's first venture into Noir fiction.

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] is divided into three distinct parts.  There are also three keys deaths in the novel, all of which are male.

Clive Scully has penned a short introduction to Downward Facing Doug which is a Lost Angeles/Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] compilation.

Deep Breath...and Release

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] was released today (Happy Thanksgiving America-land) and to celebrate Lost Angeles is free for 24 whole hours.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Death RRP $19.99

The bar was packed and struck with a chilled silence as the television played news of the latest chapter in the Great American Tragedy.  A High School in Boulder, Colorado sits solemnly behind the ticker tape announcing:
Crime Scene – Do Not Cross.
Adding volume to the moving imagery the bartender stands with his arms folded as all eyes fall on the boob tube; the first on the scene dances expertly with rhetoric at a time when all that’s required is the cold hard facts; that sixteen boys and girls would never reach their wedding days.
            ‘Two students are believed to have entered the cafeteria at 1:05PM today with duffle bags of automatic weapons and opened fired on their peers and teachers.’
            The cameraman lingers on the boundaries of the yellow line that flickers harmlessly in the wind as black bag after black bag is wheeled out to the sudden repetitive flash of light as photographer after photographer grabs image after image as though it’s some sort of grotesque fashion show.  Kid, kid, you with only half a head…who are you wearing?  Forever Twenty-One and Smith & Weston!  With the bodies paraded by the world’s press, the ritualistic dive into recrimination begins.  Who’s to blame?  What went wrong?  How could this happen?  This and in America!  The truth is heartbreakingly simple, too simple to be desired.  The idea that lack of gun control and poor funding for the treatment of mental health issues has anything to do with it is laughed at and denounced as lefty queerism.  No!  Culture is to blame, art is to blame, those bastards in Hollywood are to blame.  The Jews and the Chinese that run that town, it’s those fuckers who are to blame for the death of your little girl. 
‘No, no, that’s not it,’ protests a parent ‘we need better control over firearms.’
‘But wouldn’t America be safer if everyone had a gun?!’ barked another.
I scoffed supping down on my beer turning to my pal George and wondered how cinema was to blame.  How cinema was more responsible for the deaths of children than the bullets that shattered their skulls and painted the cafeteria with their brains.  How someone can shoot up a High School, walk to the sidewalk, crack open a Coors Light before eating the shell and WalMart will ban beer.  Meanwhile the price of automatic rounds go through the roof as demand swells and middle America prepares to shoot on sight anyone that so much as blinks their direction, especially if they’re of colour.
Ban cinema, ban art, ban Coors Light, photography, rap music, and images of a sexual nature.  Showing a man’s head exploding in all its visceral crimson detail is fine but no love making on screen please, that will corrupt our youth.  A handgun is fine fully loaded and pumping out hot tooth after hot tooth but a loaded penis hand pumped to expulsion is wrong.  We deal in death, not life Hollywood so keep your smut to yourself.  Ban everything and damn us all, then the only release we have will be to throttle each other until there’s one lonely psychopath left wandering the continent.
America is God fearing land, bandit country, a social experiment gone wrong.  Nasty old white men will misquote the constitution, misleading the ill-informed masses and angering the founding fathers who burn white hot in their tombs.  They’ll create a country at war with itself, held together only by its contradictions and make bank by doing so.  When everyone is distracted by the mass graves popping up in slumbering suburban utopias the rich use the time to line their pockets with money printed in blood.  I said all this to George and he agreed, but others didn’t.
            ‘You know,’ harped a shaven headed man ‘if you hate America so much why are you here?’
            ‘What?’
            ‘You heard, I love my country.  I fought for my country’s freedom and I won’t sit here and listen to some foreigner talk shit about her.’ getting to his feet.
            ‘Oh I’m sorry,’ I spat ‘I didn’t realise your country was under threat of invasion.  I’m very glad you love your country, I love your country too but this,’ pointing to the television set ‘this is not what was meant by the right to bear arms.’
            ‘I don’t have to listen to this in my own god-damn country!’ he shouted.
            ‘Ok, calm it down.’ advised the barman, reaching under the counter.
            ‘So what?  Is freedom of speech more or less important to you than the right of someone to cull an entire graduating class because it’s easier for him to buy a gun than it is for him to buy a beer?’
            ‘Freedom of speech?’ he hissed ‘What about my freedom to whoop your ass, pal?’
            ‘Which amendment is that again?  I forget.’
            It gets a laugh out of George and angers the skin head enough that he charges across the bar stopping inches from my face as I bolt to my feet.  The tattoo on his arm states he’s USMC and I realise that there are two ways to deal with this put up and shut up but the beer has loosened the hinges on my mouth a little too much so we march outside as the bar empties eager to witness more scenes of unnecessary violence.  How many of them would tear themselves away from their seats if we were taking to the pavement to fuck each other senseless?  That’s the fact of the matter, death sells while love sits gathering dust on the shelves before it’s dumped into the bargain bucket world of the Rom-Com.
            Rolling his sleeves up he says ‘Last chance mister, take it back and you can walk.’
            ‘Fuck you, and fuck Charlton Heston.  I hope Satan’s ass-raping him as we speak while Hitler puds his throat good and raw.’
            His fist shot out like a cobra making contact with my nose twice before I could even get my dukes up.  I was reeling and the Marine was already moving in for the kill.  He went for another but I ducked him and barrelled into his chest sending us both to the ground.  I clocked him once, twice, then he buried a knee to my abdomen knocking the air from my tank.  Falling off him I saw a quick burst as he leapt to his feet before helping me to mine.  He caught me twice more in the gut and my legs gave out.  Holding me in the air like a doll with its strings cut he put the head to me before spinning me round by the tee collar and releasing me into the night.  I landed hard, the circle closed around him as one or two locals congratulated him on dealing with that big mouth.  I came charging at him again and made contact with the side of his face with a rock-handed left and again which put him off balance.  As I grabbed him by the throat he broke the hold and began pounding my face until the lights reset themselves and I woke on the ground.
            He was back in the bar on his stool drinking a beer out of the side of his mouth.  Getting to my feet I lifted a brick and drove it into the windscreen of his pick-up truck.  Turning his head, the beer still tightly pressed to his lips he watched in amazement as I lift the brick again and thrust it down caving the screen in, little white cubes of glass exploding into the night air.  Slamming his beer down he raced towards me, his fists primed and ready to go again.  I noticed the news cycle had begun again as the bodies were being wheeled out on screen; girl with the hole in her throat, who are you wearing?  Sub-machine gun!
            He hit me harder than a semi-truck, I dug my fingers into his eyes and we both went to ground, spewing blood and saliva as our bodies tangled around one another in a gymnastic display of hatred.  Punch, punch, punch went his loaded knuckles before eventually three men pulled him from my bones, convinced as they were that he would kill me.
            ‘Jesus Christ Jeremy, I think you’ve killed him!’ screamed a brunette. 
            ‘Oh good,’ I gargled ‘I got my balls rolled by someone called Jeremy, Christ.’
            ‘I’m so sorry,’ she cried, reaching down to assist me ‘my brother is a fucking asshole.’
            ‘It’s fine, really.  He hits like a girl.’
            ‘Fuck kid,’ squirmed George ‘your god-damn face!’
            ‘Where do you live?’ she asked.  ‘Let me take you home.’
            Carrying me back to the motel Lucy set me on the edge of the bed before heading to the front counter for the first aid kit.  She cleaned my face up while I smoked a cigarette and when the bleeding had stopped and all the wounds were tended to, she stripped down to her bra as I had covered her floral blouse in a healthy dollop of my heme.  Running the warm water for her I let Lucy grab a shower as I laid out a fresh white tee for her and stuck a virginal sheet of paper in the typer.  I needed to get it down while it was still fresh, still raw, still bloody and happening.
            When she emerged from the bathroom her hair had curled from the moisture and she stood naked before me.  Big round hips, large full breasts and areola like pinky-brown saucers.  A playful little patch of bush sat looking at me in an otherwise trimmed garden.
            ‘I couldn’t find a towel.’ she said, crossing the room taking me by the hand and leading me back to the bed.
            My body was broken so she did all the work.  Riding my pole she fucked me for all I was worth, for all the pain and suffering in the world before I filled her up with my warm white. 

After breakfast I met up with George and gave him the new pages for the movie we were working on.  Examining my face he asked why I’d bother to fuck with a psycho pistol-happy bastard like Jeremy.
            ‘The world’s gone wrong,’ I said ‘sooner or later someone he loves will end up on the wrong end of one of those Boulder lunatics and when they do he’ll remember me.  He’ll remember the night he stood up for guns and death and the falsity that violence is somehow more moral than screwing and when he does it’ll hurt him worse than anything he dished out to me last night.’

            ‘You really are an asshole.’ George said smiling and I smiled too because I already knew that.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Bohn Free

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l], from Venice Books, will be available on Kindle and Paperback from Thursday 28th November 2013 and to celebrate the forthcoming release it's completely free for Amazon Kindle for the next five days.

Synopsis
The sophomore follow-up to Lost Angeles is the semi-biographical tale of author David Louden's alter-ego Doug Morgan as he struggles to connect with his father Jack, his mother Ruth and the working class ideology of "a real job". 

From his early adventure filled days in Poleglass through to the alcohol induced haze of his early twenties Doug's life (much like the city) is one at conflict with itself. Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] is filled with humour, sex, guilt and the shameful dream of a boy wanting to create more than a family of haunted heirs.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Own The Bone!



Kind Words From Good People
“BUKOWSKI COMPARISONS ARE JUSTIFIED. LOUDEN HAS A TURN OF PHRASE THAT COULD PUT BIGGER NAMES TO SHAME…” Thom Fell – author of ‘Acceptable in the Eighties’
“TRULY IMPRESSIVE…A WORK OF ART!” Wendy Powers – author of ‘The Testament of Judith Barton’
“A DEBAUCHED, TOUCHING, MESSED UP LOOK AT LOVE & LOSS. FABULOUS.” Inanity & the Girl
“MOVING, BIG-HEARTED AND OFTEN HILARIOUS.” – GoodReads review
“EMOTIONAL, HEARTBREAKING, THOUGHT PROVOKING […] A GREAT BOOK.” – GoodReads review

Available on Amazon Kindle through limited pre-launch release.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] - Chapter 1

1
AND THEN my father said.
“I don’t give a shit what you say boy, this is a different banjo!”
I was maybe three years old at the time which would have made it 1979.  I stood next to my old man holding his hand in that pawn shop while he argued with the Indian owner that the banjo he had pawned earlier that week, the same one which he was buying back now was a different banjo.  He’d have this argument with him every time and every time the Indian guy (who my dad called Gandhi) would offer him his sincerest apologies and an extra few quid for his trouble.  I stood with my right hand in the air as my dad’s tough-palmed bear claw of a hand held on to stop me from wandering.  I was small then so I spent a lot of time in the pawn shop on my tip-toes trying to get some circulation back in my arm.
“You listen here Gandhi, this is not my banjo and I don’t know what you think you’re playing at but in Ireland we don’t try to rob people blind.”
“Mr. Morgan we have gone about this merry dance a thousand times, I beseech you this is the instrument you brought in on the fifth of this month and it is the same instrument you have in your hands now.”
            “This will cost you Sonny-Jim, make no mistake about that.” he bellowed, finger wagging all the while.
            And it did.  It always did.
            It was Christmas at the end of that month.  My parents would buy me a Spiderman bicycle which I couldn’t ride on account of the Bing Crosby Christmas the streets of Belfast were blessed with.  It would turn to ice and see us through to New Years Eve.  Jack Morgan would pawn my bike that month instead of his banjo which he had restrung and taken back out to make some extra whiskey money.  We wouldn’t see Gandhi that month to buy it back and even if we did I wouldn’t imagine the old man would have protested about it not being the same bike.

Our house on Rosapenna was small.  It was small even for two people, thus my sister and I had to share a room.  Mum decorated it as schizophrenically multi-sexual as she could to keep the fights between us to a minimum.  Every once and a while she’d leave a doll on my side of the room, I’d remind her of the territory’s hostile division by scalping the Barbie and giving it a toilet bath, although all too often that resulted in one of my Action Men having Barbie’s clothing glued to him.  The house was an end terrace that sat on the corner of the Oldpark Road surrounded by an overgrown green. Beside the house lurked an electricity generator which hummed all day and night, as a child I stressed it would overheat, catch fire and crisp us all where we lay, but it never did.  We took the bus on Saturdays, all four short stops into town.  You could still smoke on the bus back then and all public transportation was stopped at barricaded checkpoints before it reached the city centre.  Passengers were paraded past soldiers and large snarling dogs; they’d walk the rest of the way to their final destination.
            My mum would send dad out with his kids every Saturday.  At the time there was just the two of us; Mum had spent a lot of money having the kitchen in the small terrace refurbished so it doubled as a sweet shop.  It was great as a kid but milk teeth didn’t last a shit.  I was a sucker for the sherbet; even back then I had my vices.  Saturdays were her busiest days; she’d work every hour that was sent her way without a break.  She’d stop every now and then to chew on a toffee and chat to the neighbourhood parents while their kids greedily scrambled into the queue to surrender their pocket money.  Dad was usually hung-over and in piss-poor form from it, he didn’t take kindly to people telling him what to do. He put up with it when it came to the shop because it meant we had a few more quid coming into the house, consequently he could afford to drain down a little more of what he brought in.
            Every weekend started the same way.  It was a god-damn ritual in the Morgan house.  Ruth would rise at seven, make herself breakfast and set up the shop.  The display cabinets and shelves were all collapsible and she kept them in the locked cupboard under the stairs.  It meant that the yellow and green striped kitchen could at least resemble a home when the youth weren’t pounding on the door demanding strawberry shoelaces.  Tara would wake before me and make enough noise getting dressed that I’d eventually wake grumpy and ready for the micro Israel/Palestine bedroom war of the working class domicile to begin all over again.  Our screaming would eventually wake the old man.  He’d storm through the door in his white vest, the top of his black and grey mixed head pointing in whatever direction he’d collapsed the night before.  He’d clip us both once around the back of the legs for getting him out of bed, the sting would become enough that the slightest sight of his glassy hound-dog peepers in the morning would stop us still as broken clocks.  He’d go back to bed and we’d resist the urge to kill one another but within the hour Mum would be up the stairs dragging her beer soaked brute of a man out of his sack and towards the bathroom.
            “C’mon Jack for Christ’s sake it’s almost ten.” she’d insist even though all the clocks stated nine-twenty.
            “Don’t rush me woman, I’m sick.  I’ve a terrible illness this morning and you’re starting to wind me right the-fuck up!”
            “You want to come lend a hand with the screaming, snotty kids and their sticky money?”
            “You see me moving towards the bathroom?  Let me drop a deuce and shave my face in peace woman if I’m meant to spend all day running around the town with the kids.”
            “Be quick about it.  I’ll get them ready.”
            In our blue and pink bedroom we’d have heard everything and would be in the process of getting ourselves dressed.  I always gravitated towards a Batman tee shirt, which somehow was never clean at the weekend.  I don’t think I ever got to wear that tee into town.  Pulling it up over my head Mum would place a plain one on me; tie my shoes even though I could do it myself and send me downstairs to wait on my father.  Tara would appear a few minutes later and the dirty looks we’d traded in our eight-by-ten would cease and be replaced by the same hope.  I guess we thought if we both hoped it hard enough we’d get our way.

Queen Street in the centre of town was the home of Leisure World.  It was what Toys R Us is to the kids of today only not as flash.  The building resembled a carpeted car-park as it had a ramp through the middle leading to the first floor instead of stairs and it was clearly divided.  Boy’s toys to the left, girl stuff to the right – just like our room.  We’d take the bus into town, it’d look like a Rastafarian road trip with the amount of smoke wafting out of it as the driver cracked open the door to let us on.  We weren’t ignorant about cigarette smoke then, we knew all about the health issues but we didn’t give a fuck.  We were a country of people killing each other over how the other side pronounced ‘H’, like it would matter a fuck when we all had throat cancer and spoke with robotic voices.
            During the short journey to the edge of Royal Avenue and the military checkpoint I’d wind Dad up by asking him inane questions, I never meant to do it – it was just the developing mind of a child looking up to the only male influence he had around him.  What chance did I stand?
            “Daddy, did you know dogs can only see in black and white?”
            He’d grumble something.  He knew this was the start of it.
            “If they only see in black and white how do they watch cartoons?”
            “They probably don’t watch a lot of cartoons Douglas, they’re probably too busy dragging their arses across the carpet or chewing on the arms of furniture or shit like that.” he replied while sparking up a cigarette with the flick of a match.
            “If they don’t see in colour do you think maybe they don’t hear the same as us too?”
            Grumble, grumble.
            “Dad, did you hear me?  Do you think maybe dogs don’t…”
            “Do me a favour son, fuck up a little about dogs ok?!”
            And that would be our interaction.  At the checkpoint Jack would be brought forward and passed through first on account of him having two small children with him.  They never worried about men with children.  We didn’t have anything like child soldiers back then; maybe the odd dwarf but nothing militant.
            Once through the checkpoint Tara would squeeze on his hand and ask the question, the only question that ever mattered to a three year old boy on a weekend day.
            “Can we go to Leisure World Daddy?” she had learned to bat her eyes.
            “Maybe in a bit…not right now.” he was immune to eyes.
            He’d have us tell Mum we spent the day in Leisure World but the truth of the matter was we’d end up one street down from the pleasure emporium in my dad’s own special version of Leisure World – Copperfield’s Bar.  Back then our lives revolved around three streets.  Queen Street with the ever elusive toy store, Fountain Street containing Dad’s favourite watering hole and the street running up between both of them Castle Street.  The street where Dad spent a lot of his time busking.  All too often the money made from plucking on his four string banjo never made it any further than around the corner onto Fountain Street.
            Sitting us in the corner next to the slot machine, the saddest slot machine in the land as the lights had been punched out and never fixed, he set two cokes in front of us and told us to…
            “Be quiet, sit still and don’t disturb anyone.  It’s rude, and you don’t want me to have to tell your mother about you being rude do you?”
            We would both shake our heads furiously and he’d take the five steps over to his stool by the bar where a Guinness and a whiskey were waiting for him.  This was most Saturdays.  In the afternoon he’d switch to vodka because you couldn’t smell it on his breath and he believed he had a higher tolerance for it.  The screaming matches when we got home usually suggested this wasn’t based on any quantifiable evidence.

It was a Saturday coming up to Easter; I was full up on chocolate.  Jack had woken late again, we’d got dressed in silence and ventured into town on the 93 with its windows two inches thick with nicotine stains.  Dad needed new strings for his banjo so we called to the only store he liked to shop in and stood around not touching anything while he picked through his pockets for some loose change.
            “I think that little fella in that buy-back shop is playing silly buggers with me and fraying my strings each month.” he’d comment while waiting for the cashier to ring up his purchase. 
On Wellington Place we were tantalisingly close to Leisure World, we could almost feel the glow of the store’s display window on our pale little faces.  We were equally as close to Copperfield’s.  Dragging us across at the lights we missed the turn off towards the toys.  It was another afternoon in that light absorbing bar, staring at ourselves in the mirror that stretched the depth from the front door to the stooled counter at the back.
            “Right!” Dad proclaimed clapping his hands together thunderously “Which one of you fine gentlemen want to buy me a drink?!”
            His offer was met with a deafening groan of indifference.  Even then I got the impression that my old man wasn’t much liked.  I’d see it in years to come in a thousand different people; it’s all about the company you keep.  Full pockets and an inclination to share and you had the world beating on your bedroom door to befriend or fuck you silly but with a pocket full of lint and stray copper coins, you’d know for sure you were a friendless, deadbeat asshole.
            “Those your kids, Jackie?” a tall man asked.
            “No Clive I won the little one in a raffle, spot me a drink and I’ll pay you back.”
            “When?”
            “Now.”
            “No, when will you pay me back?”
            “When I have it Clive, or is my word no good here no more?” Dad barked.
            A Guinness and a whiskey appeared before him in a matter of moments and he went about patiently waiting for the dark velvet drink to settle before draining off half of it in one sip leaving him with a funny white moustache and a calmness around him I never saw at home.
            “What’s your name little girl?”
            One of the regular faces stooped over Tara.  His balance unsteady, his face hard and spiky.  He was as unsure on his feet as a newborn.
            “Tara.” answered my sister.
            “Why don’t you come over to my table Tara, you can pull up on my knee and I’ll tell you a wonderful story.”
            “My mummy says I’m not to talk to strangers!” she countered.
            “Well I’m Dennis, and since we’re no longer strangers Tara…”
            “Cut that shit out Dennis!” Clive yelled from behind the hard wood counter “I’ve told you before, sit your hole in that corner and keep your knee to your-fuckin-self or I’ll club you!”
            Dad said nothing; only after Clive glared at him with his eyes all but hanging out of his head did he look up from his drink.
            “Stay away from Dennis kids, you hear me?!” our education about Dennis and his kind complete.
            It was pushing 4PM and Dad was still propped at the bar, we had an hour left to get to Leisure World – it wouldn’t happen but we were kids and we still believed strongly in the power of hope.  Somehow he had managed to convince Clive to extend his tab to another five or six rounds, he even convinced Dennis to buy him a couple as compensation for him trying to fiddle with his daughter.
            The building shook in its foundations.  Two large bottles of spirits came off the wall, the chandelier danced in the fittings making a sound similar to that of Santa flying overhead.  The wall length mirror cracked in several places with each break racing to be the first to make the middle.  Getting to his feet Jack grabbed each of us in his callus-riddled hands and dragged us out of the bar.  Clive followed shepherding the weekend Alco-army outside to prevent them from drinking him dry while he figured out what just happened.  Fountain Street was rushed with a tsunami of soot coming towards us from Wellington Place.  Sirens rang out in all directions and then a second bang shook us in our shoes before the grey wave washed over us blinding everyone.
            It took hours to get out of town that Saturday; checkpoints in all directions were queued around the block and the military had their weapons ready and their dogs at work.  We made it through under a tirade of insults.
            “Fucking Irish bastards!” hurled one of the soldiers.
            “You watch your tongue.” spat my dad, his eyes were lazy, footing unsure.  He got that way on whiskey.
            “Or what?”
            “Take you out of that uniform and you’re just a little shit.  If my kids weren’t here I…”
            “You’d what you fucking Mick?” snarled the soldier.
            They looked set to butt heads when an officer came over with a thick well-to-do English accent and instructed the soldier to duties elsewhere.  He marched off and the rest of them give their C.O a look of disgust mixed with disappointment.  You could tell they didn’t respect him.  Maybe he hadn’t earned his stripes; maybe they just wanted to watch a mouthy Paddy get his dough-hole stomped.
            Once past the checkpoint we’d discover the bus service had been suspended due to the bombing in the city centre and would have to walk it home.  I knew better to ask my dad any questions when he was like this – Mum didn’t.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?!  You took our kids to that fucking dirty old bar, almost got them blown up, almost got yourself kicked to death!  Do we not have enough money problems Jack?  Is life not challenging enough for you?!” she poked.
            “Do not talk to me like that Ruth!” he replied, mostly with spit “I will not take this shite from a woman!”
            “Well fuck off then and find yourself a man to take it from!”
            The thump sounded louder than the explosion as I sat at the foot of the stairs by the living room door listening.  I could see Mum fall in the reflection, cast darkly across the glass panel in the living room door which sat half open.  Dad stood over her, his hand turned to rock on the end of his wrist and shaking with adrenaline.
            “Is that all you got in you, you fucking drunk!” she threw back.
            He hit her again and again.  She had a delicate little face and he was set on altering it forever.  She’d get vertical enough to push him off her and would rush past me in a blur quickly followed by him screaming you want more woman, I’ll give you fucking more.  The stairs sat between the doors to the kitchen and the living room, I turned on the stair and had a direct view into the kitchen which still looked like a shop.  He caught up with her at the worktop and spun her around on her heels.  She was prepared though.  Make no mistake about it, Ruth Morgan had a temper too.  What chance did I stand?  Her right hand came round as he rotated her and slammed down on his chest.  Jack took a step back, shocked at the sight of a fish fork sticking out of his barrel, a matter of inches from where his heart may have been.  He hit her again and she dropped to the ground, her lip was fat and her left eye purple by this point. As he contemplated yanking the cutlery from his chest she rose with a hammer and took a swing for his face.  She missed and he got out of there fast.
“You touch me again Jack Morgan and I will cave your bastard head in!” she screamed chasing him out of Rosapena and on to the Oldpark Road.
            I stood by the door as houses and shops evacuated in a show of extreme curiosity as my parents tried desperately to kill each other.  An elderly woman threw me a look of sympathy as she dithered by our front door.  Me, this dirty little child covered in soot like a Victorian chimney sweep, my mum with her multi-coloured punch-bag face swinging a hammer at a drunk with a fork in his chest.  She shook her head and pitied my situation, pitied my life before it had even begun.  Defiantly I snarled back at her and give her the finger; my three year old stumpy little middle finger cocked and loaded with a big old fuck you.  I turned and walked back into the kitchen and helped myself to a pocket full of sweets.  Mum hadn’t learned yet what Clive knew.  I sat and raged at that sorrowful sign of compassion from that stranger all the while eating cola cubes.

Fancy two more chapters? >

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] - Gimme and Giveaway

BONE IDOL [bohn ahyd-l]
noun Chiefly North Belfast
a person from the Oldpark, known as “The Bone”, with aspirations of a career in the arts or above their socio-economic station.


This Thanksgiving my second literary offering Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] becomes available in Paperback and on Amazon Kindle.  In an effort to celebrate the word baby I'm hosting a giveaway on GoodReads; drop by and enter.  It's completely free to do so, no strings.

I'm also in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a paperback launch in Belfast so if you've a few greenbacks going spare I'd love you long time...


SYNOPSIS
The sophomore follow-up to Lost Angeles is the semi-biographical tale of author David Louden's alter-ego Doug Morgan as he struggles to connect with his father Jack, his mother Ruth and the working class ideology of "a real job".


From his early adventure filled days in Poleglass through to the alcohol induced haze of his early twenties Doug's life (much like the city) is one at conflict with itself. Bone Idol [bohn ahyd-l] is filled with humour, sex, guilt and the shameful dream of a boy wanting to create more than a family of haunted heirs.




Bone Idol by David Louden

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Bone Idol

by David Louden

Giveaway ends November 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Big Sleep meets The Big Issue


When Ernie Politics is brutally murdered his best friend Ray Cobb sets out to discover why, no matter the cost.


There's something about Noir that both draws me in and repells me, largely because the genre is so heavily punctuated with code and convention that it's incredibly difficult to pull together a Noir story that's fitting or the genre yet original enough to merit spending the time reading it. THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ERNIE POLITICS is an excellent example of why it's always important to take the risk and read it anyway.



Not only does it have an fascinating contemporary lead detective in Ray Cobb but writer Grusnick has populated the novel with well-drawn and interesting characters that not only drive the narrative but keep the reader turning the page. It's a fast read, a funny read and a genuinely enjoyable read with some great turns along the way. The homeless PI is a great twist on the genre and surely the kind of logic take on the almost nomadic gumshoe that crime writers everywhere will slap hand to head and ask themselves "how did I not see that?!"

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Short & (Bitter) Sweet

Some of the most striking, powerful, and down-trodded prose you're ever likely to read. Memorising and maniacal in equal measure. One or two shorts show the influence of Fante's work in a way that's beautifully evolutionary.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ti Amo Bella Roma

Two incredibly powerful novellas from the most important American writer of his generation. I love John Fante, I love his prose and the guilt of Catholicism he laces throughout his work. Greater appreciation of WEST OF ROME can be found the more you encounter the man's work. Truly magnificent.

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Real Holy Bible


Lipton's THE HOLY BARBARIANS is a study of beatnik and a book of two halves. The first reads like a roman à clef journal of life in Venice West, the second a paper on beat versus the ever commercial modern America and it's origins. An odd mix of entertainment and education which manages to capture the essence of beat in an organised way that doesn't let it shatter in your hands.

Squares beware. There's little for you here.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Edge of Bollocks

Naive, simplistic and with more holes in it than a whorehouse. I don't really know where to start. The fact that the Americans KNOW the threat but don't have enough proof to take action (yeah right) or the fact that the British secret service and safety of the planet falls on the shoulders of a borderline alcoholic (and not in the fun way) reformed IRA man and two London gangsters. Clearly MI6 were on vacation. A 6 year-old with two weeks worth of playing Splinter Cell could and would do better.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

With Nails, With Humour, With Balls

WITH NAILS is unlike any "celeb" diary publication, largely because it reads better than them. It reads like a novel, has touches of the Beat writers and a fascinating picaresque glimpse into the life of 'the actor'. Grant pulls few punches, which is what makes it all the more interesting.



Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

It’s my birthday next week so to celebrate turning thirty-two years on this planet without siring offspring (with the exception of my pug, Molly) the price of my little word baby Lost Angeles is being cut from $2.95 to $0.99.  Similarly if you’ve purchased a paperback copy check into Amazon as you’ll be able to obtain a Kindle version for FREE.  Good, huh?  Yeah, I thought you’d like that.

 

Cut price off ends on Monday 9th September 2013.


Friday, 30 August 2013

Pulp'd

Noir with a heavy dose of the surreal and the metaphorical PULP is Bukowski's finally gift to the world before his passing. Nick Belane is old school, old Hollywood and hot on the straight of a French writer presumed dead and the Red Sparrow, amongst other things. Most interesting Hank penned this having made BARFLY and written HOLLYWOOD. What do you think that says?


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Mad Old Man With Fire In His Belly

There's a richness to old Hank's flirtations with insanity on the edges of skid row. Some of the short stories contained are the manic old man at his absolute best, some are so chaotic and dense that the true value will only be unearthed with multiple readings and others are written for magazines for money. He's a writer unlike any other, polarising sure but intense. He feels every word and doesn't just ponce around in the shallow waters of fashionable genres like so many writers who got/get fat and rich and lazy.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Forthcoming Publication

BONE IDOL [bohn ahyd-l]
noun Chiefly North Belfast
1.

a person from the Oldpark, known as “The Bone”, with aspirations of a career in the arts or above their socio-economic station.


Following up on last year’s release of Lost Angeles, Venice Books will be publishing David Louden’s second novel Bone Idol on Thanksgiving, November 28th 2013.  The sophomore follow-up to his roman á clef debut Lost Angeles is the semi-biographical tale of the author’s alter-ego Doug Morgan as he struggles to connect with his father Jack, his mother Ruth and the working class ideology of “a real job”.

From his early adventure filled days in Poleglass through to the alcohol induced haze of his early twenties Doug’s life (much like the city) is one at conflict with itself.  Bone Idolis filled with humour, sex, guilt and the shameful dream of a boy wanting to create more than a family of haunted heirs.

Early readings of Bone Idol have drawn comparisons with the likes of Charles Bukowski and Brendan Behan as Louden paints a downbeat existence contrasting the magic of infinite childhood possibilities with the often grim reality of working class Belfast in the 1980’s and 90’s.  

There will be a limited amount of paperback and ebook copies available in advance for review.  If you are interested in reviewing Bone Idol please click [here] to contact the author.  Lost Angeles is still available on Kindle and Paperback.  It can be purchased [here] for U.S customers and [here] for U.K.