Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Voodoo Review: No More Idols by CHASE AND STATUS

...Dat's what I call some Voodoo beats... Well, it must be lack of chocolate or something, having opted for Jelly Belly beans instead of an Easter Egg when shopping this week, for some reason I'm feeling on a bit of a downer this evening. All my latest stuff is edited and waiting for proofreading copies in paperback format, so all I have to do at the moment is twiddle my thumbs, or open a half-finished project and invent some new Zombies for Dorothy to munch on. I think it was moving some of the books on my coffee table, and unwittingly opening Teach Yourself: Managing Stress on page 179, about relationships. About how critical they are, to adult development and health. Well, I've still not had one, and I'll be 40 this summer - and having it rubbed in by well-meaning Psychology-lite books that I know less about intimacy than a Celica brake disc lifespan (especially when driving with the music too loud to hear the pads drop out as it gets trashed), doesn't do a lot for my self-image and confidence. I can probably still fool a psychiatric department, like I did a few years ago that I'm normal for my age, but that's only I reckon because I saw my paperwork afterwards and they'd got my date of birth wrong and had me down as 24 :) Must be my great DNA :)

Editing "Death & The City" brought back a lot of those memories too. It's about an unlikely hitman's nemesis, single mum Lara Leatherstone (not her real name - she chose it off an online Porn Star Name Generator), who has developed a highly-self-monitoring way of controlling her own psychotic personality disorders, which keeps her off medication and out of hospitals while throwing snipers off rooftops and shooting them from motorway bridges, when not on shift working in nightclub security. All good so far. But to make it a story, it became the tale of what happens when she's set up with another 'Deathrunner' work colleague, and along came the romance angle.

I didn't have any experience of romance to write from, so I used my imagination. As well as exploring all the everyday romantic delusional states that my former workmates and friends were experiencing as I saw them, to develop the scenery of surrounding characters in the book's setting of the nightlife hospitality industry.

Along came film producer Sophie Neville (in real life, not the story - IMDb profile here), and she wanted to have a read. So quite willingly I let her check out my first unedited proofs. Not only did she come back with tips on proofreading annotation and shorthand to help speed up my editing, she emailed asking me to ring, which I did one afternoon before heading to the day job - and she couldn't say more glowingly how great the romance parts of the story are, and how amazing and original they are. Humble thanks was all I managed on the phone, before having to make my excuses and go to work, but have been in a state of shock about ever since.

Either I over-compensated with my imagination for lack of experience, or I don't have the self-censorship of having real romantic events or intimacy to hide in my past, or to keep private. But I go from feeling vaguely fraudulent, to feeling shame that perhaps I've unleashed something that will raise single women's expectations beyond realistic achievement in real life if they go looking for it, to basic curiosity about what I'm missing out on - if a worldly, experienced and accomplished professional in the Media world can identify with and praise the kind of stories that come out of my own inexperienced head. At one point I even thought I had writer's block, trying to keep the scenario running. But I cracked it in my own way - I just can't believe that an antisocial hermit like me can come out with something in that scheme of things, that a fully-grown reader can find so appealing.

To find out about it, you'll just have to check out DEATH & THE CITY: Book One (and Two, which follows on directly, as they were too big for a single paperback volume) on Kindle now - and in paperback next month.

Anyway, enough about my noisy insecurities and depressingly lifelong singledom. (I don't drink, so don't tell me to go to bars or parties *bleck* - saw too much of that sort of thing scraping them off the dancefloor when I was an SIA bouncer).

Instead of taking my car out for a thrash tonight and running in my new brake discs with a bit of Fear Factory's Remanufacture or the latest Pendulum CD, I downloaded CHASE AND STATUS: "No More Idols" from Amazon MP3. Now, that's what I call therapy :) Can't wait to get my hoop out tomorrow and hula my way through the tracklist.

It's dark and beckoning and gives as much attitude as a pack of Komodo Dragons in a cemetery full of shallow graves. Some of the tracks are truly cosmic, including "Blind Faith" featuring Liam Bailey, and "Time" featuring Delilah, and pack that proper big-style anthemic sound that you really need to get you out of that gyroscopic introspection when it's really eating away at you.

Plus the lyrics pack a punch that ring true as well. If you're advanced enough in your self-repair processes to handle a bit of "Fool Yourself", having it mashed in your ears is a good reminder that you're not alone :) Awesome stuff.

If you are finding that you have more internal questions than answers these days, I recommend "Head Case" by Dr. Pamela Stephenson Connolly, and if you can get hold of them, the self-help books by Dr. Raj Persaud that put psychoanalysis and mental health on daytime TV. The research was valid - even if the credits/referencing were vague ;)

For more background info on surgical psychosis, check out my case study on the homepage of

In the meantime, download No More Idols by Chase And Status, and dance off some of that troublesome adrenaline and dopamine clogging up your system...


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