Notebook

Love remains, though everything is lost

  Memories fall towards you sometimes, like brown leaves out of the blue of the sky. The thunder of drums coming through the wall backstage at a long defunct outdoor arena on the outskirts of Nashville. The eve of the R30 tour, myself, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee mid-interview, I'd already spoken to Neil in his dressing room across the hall, seated next to a drum-kit the size of which can best be described as ominous. He was giving that same set of drums merry hell...

In the teeth of winter

The wind comes in hard at your thighs, it makes little impression, but leaves your fingers numb. You've long given up on feeling your face as you stretch into your third mile, your tops are layered and from the waist up you're starting to overheat slightly, but only in increments. Your balls are a distant memory, somewhere up near your stomach you think as you're grateful to hit a red light that lets the traffic roar by and you stop to breathe hard on the...

Red, Rush And A Head Full Of Stars (the Manchester edit)

The train pushed north through rods of rain and a headwind that could make your teeth rattle. The passing countryside a smear of greens and black. Geddy Lee, eyebrows arched over round, tinted, spectacles, holds up his phone to show me a vintage Rush ticket for a gig at Manchester's Free Trade Hall in 1977. "All The World's A Stage tour, I'd guess, we went to Wales to record A Farewell To Kings after that", a quizzical furrow forming a line between his eyebrows. A...

Red in the City That Burns

It seems odd to be poring over the bones of New York City in 1980 when I'm sitting on the slowly lifting and falling dock of a lake on a still Canadian morning. I'm not sure how many years it's been now since I started The Death and Life of Red Henley (three, four?) but I do know that it, like CCMS, started out as a completely different book. Different characters, different ideas, just the notion that it had to be set over one year...

Spark To The Flame

A few years ago I tried to leave London (in truth, I think I was trying to get away from myself, but that's for another time). I gave away most of my books, my music, my DVDs (the Oxfam shop in Kentish Town, littered with remnants of my past, had a display window that looked the Wilding Bazaar and Emporium, I winced each time I went past), packed up my little flat and headed for an even smaller space down on the south coast. It...

Red: The World Burns…

What was it Bukowski said, the days run away like wild horses over hills?  I have a friend who sometimes chides me for my occasional dramatic flourish (I say occasional), but as the hours and days count down to the deadline for my second novel, The Death And Life Of Red Henley, I'll admit to feeling a little skittish, the odd pulse-quicklening moment as we creep towards the final target as it remains defiantly and tantalisingly just out of reach. I've very little to complain...

Red Is Dead (Maybe)

Forty-five days in to the Unbound pledge campaign for The Death and Life Of Red Henley seems like a good time as any to marvel/recoil/reflect on the whole thing so far. At ninety days the thing goes dead, apparently, but, pleasingly, at the halfway mark we're at 73%, which is tantalisingly close to our target and could see me with a new tattoo (I have the first novel title Cross Country Murder Song set in black typeface on my left arm, I'm so emo) before...

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As (Not) Seen On TV: Death And Life In The American West

So just over a year later after I handed over the manuscript of my second novel, The Death And Life Of Red Henley, to some North American producers (film and TV, but more latterly TV, as that's where the money is, though not in my case), they've handed it back. In truth, I've missed her, I've gone back over the pages many time, tinkering here, readdressing there, I spent a few months crafting a TV pitch that ended up using the characters from the book...

A Few Words About Love (and Blood)

I finished my second novel (truly finished it after kidding myself it was completed a few months previously) and then watched it dwindle and die. My former editor had retired and wasn't taking on the number of books he once did and the new season of editors and publishers who had blanched at Cross Country Murder Song's multi-layered plot lines and dense flashbacks (or maybe they just didn't like all that blood?), didn't seem keen to rush in and scoop up my latest effort. I...

The Fall of Rome (LA Edit)

It's nearly midday and the sunshine is scattering the shadows across the patio of my suite at the London West Hollywood. Someone is smoking dope on a balcony high above me, someone else is playing Nirvana and singing along. The low thrum in the near distance is the endless stream of cars snaking their way along the stop start procession that is Sunset Boulevard at any time of the day. We've been here five days now as I've stood around watching Rush packing up their...