The Deep Field Universe
"All your teenage dreams have come true, and it's turned into a bit of a nightmare" - Alex Jones, bassist, Slur
This sprawling epic was the centrepiece story of an ancient "Pop Music Fan Fiction" site called Entertain Me! way back in the mid-90s. It originally started as Blur fan fiction, and expanded to be a snapshot of the 90s indie music scene. After being (allegedly) threatened with lawsuit by certain unamused musicians who shall remain nameless, all of the band names were changed to ciphers - part of the fun of reading is trying to figure out who "Radioshack*" or "Jim and William Gallivant of Mirage**" or "AbSynth***" really were. It eventually became hard to tell the real bands from the made-up ones.
*Guessing these people is easy
**A strange mixture of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Oasis
We wanted to read and write original female characters who were as cool, as interesting, and as rock'n'roll as the boys we lusted after. In a music scene that included Elastica and Lush and Huggy Bear and Stereolab, a band like The Charms really seemed possible. 20 years later, re-reading the story, I realise that the girls, all based on real people I knew back then, *are* the story.
- Part 1 of The Deep Field Universe
24 Aug 2013
London in the 90s! BritPop! YBAs! Trying to "break the States" with soul destroying tours! NYC in the 90s! Grunge bands! Drugs! Gentrification!
In Book 2 of the Deep Field trilogy, Alex from Slur and Kate Charms have "eloped" from the wreckage of egos, tour crack-ups and suicides, but can they survive a greater danger - the ghosts from their own pasts? The Charms start working with a photographer who turns out to be Alex's ex girlfriend and Slur tour with a band who used to be Kate's friends (clap clap) a long time ago.
(On the old site, this was two stories - Pretty Deep Waters, dealing with the events of 97/98 and Charm School Dropouts dealing with the events before the Charms got signed, back in 95)
This was originally written together with Pretty Flowers by The Paperbag Princess - a fantastically talented writer who was also writing about Blur etc. During a drunken night at The Lakeside Lounge, we wondered, what would happen if we crashed our stories into one another? If 2 OFCs were involved with the same Pop Star, with all the attendant mess? The story unfolded in parallel, so you could read key scenes from both perspectives.
- Part 2 of The Deep Field Universe
11 Apr 2014
The third part of the Charms Trilogy, on a kaleidoscope trip through the Britpop 90s, starting about a year from the end of Death Of A Party, so that it is now the spring of 1998.
Conceptual art shows! Loft Living! Second album blues! Glam Rock Biopics! Football Anthems! World Cup Parties! Touring the States, again! Groupies! Drug addictions! Drinking binges at the Groucho Club with members of Blur, Pulp and Oasis! Being sneered at by Radiohead for drinking at the Groucho with same. Having to deal with your former lover/best friend, and the fact that the woman he left you for is now his "fiancee."
Amidst all of which, Kate Gordon falls properly in love, and gets married. Just not necessarily to the same person.
Content Warning: There is a great deal of rough sex and kinky sex involving consenting adults pushing the boundaries of control and dub-con, including sex with a sleeping partner and diminished capacity. This is in no way condoning rape or rape culture, but this may be triggering to some readers. There is also implied domestic violence and depictions of a toxic relationship turning emotionally and even physically abusive. I will put content warnings on appropriate chapters.
- Part 3 of The Deep Field Universe
So I wrote a novel. It's fiction but also sort of fan-fiction, though not about a specific artist. It's fan fiction about being-in-a-band, about the Music Industry itself, from skeevy toilet clubs on the Lower East Side to the glittering heights of The Charts and, of course, a semi-romanticised view of NYC in the 90s, from 2 decades' perspective.
Daniel J. Asheton Jr of Metropolis, and Merry Wythenshawe of Deltawave: two bands, a five-year relationship. One of them takes the major label route to international rock stardom, the other the long, hard slog of being an indie cult band. But the real romance is with pop music itself, and what it's like to love music so much that you are prepared to sacrifice your whole life (and everyone in it) to be able to play it. Can they balance the pressures of success (and the pressures of failure) to keep their musical dreams - and their love - alive?
Not great literature; a soap opera (with guitars).
- Part 4 of The Deep Field Universe