I’m almost ready with novel #2 now. What began as a lively jaunt through the winter of 1973 and the the summer of 1974 soon became a long and drawn out saga. There was also this worldwide phenomena known as ‘lockdowns’ to contend with. Thanks to the internet and my familiarity with my hometown, this wasn’t too much of an issue. I also found that folk who were confined to their homes were happy to chat on line and fill in anything that was missing in the way of historical fact.
When it comes to writing I’m a big fan of employing the Daniel Day Lewis method. That is, go live it and then write about it. Thus it was, that in the summer of 2020 I found myself listening exclusively to Glam Rock and dressing like a grandad who hadn’t had a wardrobe change for 50 years! It was a lot of fun, done mainly in private thanks to the inability to move around a lot. Let me tell you something about 1970s fashions: the materials are not good. Polyester and crinoline cling to your skin, they don’t breathe well and you get very hot and sweaty. Men didn’t really bathe in the 70s, and they didn’t believe in deodorant either. The end result was a decade or more of smelly blokes who hid the stink with aftershave such as Brut (cat pee) or Old Spice (dog pee). Needless to say, I only took my excursion to the 70s so far.
What I hadn’t realised when I began writing was that Glam Rock came to an end in the winter of ’73. Sure there was the odd hit into 1974 but the movement was over, killed by a rise in inflation, civil unrest and unrelenting strikes. The next big musical scene didn’t come along until Punk got serious, and that was 1976. I found that I’d written a book intending it to be about Glam Rock only to discover that Glam had vanished from normal life. It took me 9 months to reach the decision to split my work in two – I’ll write about the mechanics of splitting a book in a separate blog entry – and a further 9 months to rework what I had into some semblance of a story.
The end result is Catch of the Day: 1973.
I’m very pleased with the result, but I know it won’t be for everyone. If you hanker for the 70s having grown up in this era, or you love Glam Rock, or you want to know what it was really like in the UK 50 years ago, then I’m sure you’ll love it. There’s a lot of YA lit that focuses on girls and heroines, with boys being very much out of fashion. This is a book about boys doing boy stuff. It’s in the mold of Just William or other boys’ tales from this era, except it’s set in a fishing town in the gritty North. If you want to know what northern lads got up to, read on. If you’re a soft southern pansy then you’re gonna have to man-up. Boys were in charge back then and girls were second-class, which for me was something I thought worth exploring further, hence the tagline: You can’t have a girl in the gang.
Everything that occurs stems from this idea. What might happen when a lad tries to introduce a girl he likes into a gang of 10-year old boys? Nothing good is the short answer. Throughout the 70s girls were furniture. The first proper girl-in-a-gang that I’ve found is (Maid) Marion, who appeared in Robin of Sherwood, which is early 80s. I rewatched it recently and it’s landmark TV. This Marion is still a lady of the era, but she can use a bow and arrow and her opinion counts. She’s not a silly wench and this is an important development in the arc of the female hero. The female lead in Catch of the Day has to make her own way and take on the boys using wit and guile. You’ll have to read it to discover if she succeeds.
Reading proof are on their way from Amazon. I’m targeting the first week of December for release.