Subtitle: 208:The creative crucible
208 was the house number. The house in question was a building, some called it a cottage, that had seen better days located on the outskirts of a village which lay just beyond the outskirts of Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, England.
208 had probably been home to the owners of the woodyard next door at one time. The woodyard was still in operation at that time and the not unpleasant smell of sawdust and wood chips filled the air – but the owners didn’t live at 208 anymore. Instead they rented the house out and my part on the story of the how of The Hegs begins when I moved in downstairs. My accommodations consisted of a front room, a bedroom, a bathroom/W.C. and a kitchen which gave onto a backyard with a disused outhouse and the enormous greenly painted corrugated iron wall of the woodyard’s wood-storage shed. It all had a certain piquant, old-worldly charm but was definitely run-down if not seedy. I wasn’t bothered about any of that. In fact, it suited me down to the ground.
Upstairs at 208 he who I came to know to be Lord Tupelo was in residence. It was mostly from his kitchen, directly above mine, that the affairs of his Brewing and Banking operations were conducted if not controlled. The other tenant upstairs was Mr.Zloti, an artist of the musical kind. Gifted guitarist and drummer, he played in three bands at that time though not at the same time. One of them, Jackdaw with Crowbar, were top of the local pile of groups, had been on John Peel’s radio programme twice and released several albums on Ron Johnson Records. Mr.Zloti, in fact, rarely slept at 208 having converted one of his rooms into a rehearsal space for bands and the other into a recording studio.
That upstairs at 208 was the creative crucible. The inspiration of a lot of incredible music, birthplace of The Church of Bongo, the newly invented sport of Bastardball and The Reeking Hegs.
Mr.Zloti, a sort of amiable piskyish chap with a goatee beard and a ready smile loved nothing better after a workday of drudgery recording a run-of-the-mill Heavy Metal outfit from Solihull than to get together with us in Lord Tupelo’s kitchen and sample the brewery’s latest batch of fine, hand-crafted beverages. Often these get togethers would turn into impromptu recording sessions in which experimentation with sound, word and rhythm was the norm rather than the exception. Lord Tupelo was also in a band, The Tupelo Bogmen. He was their vocalist and supplied the lyrics for their songs. Not long after moving in I joined up with the drummer from the Bogmen and a new friend, Yvelin, to form Live Evil, in which I mostly played bass.
By day I worked driving a taxi. By night experiment was the name of the game. At first musical experimentation was at the fore, but within a short space of time literary experimentation also became part of the recipe and it was those initial attempts at automatic writing which led Tupelo and I down into the garden of many forking paths that was to become our over-riding obsession and metamorphosed eventually into The Reeking Hegs.
Sadly the careers of The Tupelo Bogmen and Live Evil were transitory and little trace of them has survived the long journey through time. Similarly nothing remains now of 208 or our Bastardball court. The Church of Bongo dissolved, though its brief manifestations left an indelible mark on the spirits of all its devotees. Mr.Zloti and Jackdaw with Crowbar on the other hand continue to delight audiences with their brand of indie rock.
To that short but happy list of survivors I proudly add The Reeking Hegs and admonish all who have not already done so to avail themselves of a copy. At once and without delay while stocks last. In its own way it is a testament to 208.
If you feel the urge to go beyond your usual literary confines and explore a completely different world of words conjured from beyond Babel, try The Reeking Hegs: The world’s first arctic gothic horror. Apparently a private investigator is contracted to go forth and unravel the mystery of The Hegs – but dark forces are astir and in the world of The Hegs little is as it seems. Simultaneously a high celebration of linguistic morphology, a pun-lovers paradise, a wizened commentary on the human condition and a remarkable, uniquely sustained imaginative tour-de-force, The Reeking Hegs is unlike anything that you are likely to have read before.
You are now but a clik on the link away from becoming the proud owner of this one-of-a-kind literary event. (The link is to Amazon.com, but you can obtain a copy from any Amazon in the world)