Charlie Williams' novels about unhinged nightclub doorman Royston Blake are some of my absolute favorites; the first three are being reissued in the next few months, and a fourth will appear in August (it has the excellent title One Dead Hen). These novels are true classics of dark comic noir; "Blakey" has the same sort of life off the page that Harold Bloom attributes to Shakespearean characters like Falstaff and Cleopatra!
Blakey has been on a blogging spree recently, and when I suggested to Charlie that perhaps a guest post for Light Reading would be in order, he was happy to serve as middleman...
ROYSTON BLAKE'S TOP TEN LITERARY PICKS
I were in a lock-in down the Volley once when Filthy Stan the motor man suggested I can't read. To prove how wrong he were, I picked up a copy of the Mangel Informer, the premier news wossname in our town, and started reading the top story out loud. "MAN GETS NOSE BUST," I shouted, starting with the headline. You gotta shout it so they knows it's in big letters that are capital. "Filthy Stan the motor man, a stumpy little cunt from Norbert Green who has got hair so greasy he can fry his breakfast in it on a warm day, got his nose bust in the Volley last night. There was no witnesses and the whole thing were an accident caused by not thinking things through before he opens his cake-hole. In future, he ought to be more careful." I put down the paper and gave Stan a look that asked him if he had any comeback. The answer were no, I reckon, cos he turned arse and pegged it for the exit. Only it were a lock-in, like I says, and he bounced off the door and fell on his arse, clutching his hooter that were dripping red.
If you're looking for a grot mag, you can't get no better than Penthouse. I found this particular copy in a skip when I were about 5, and it's followed us everywhere since then. Which ain't actually that far, being as I still lives in the same house I growed up in. Same bedroom and all, although I moved my old man's double bed in there after he carked it so I can stretch out and shag birds. But I still got that old Penthouse under the mattress for when I can't pull.
Rocky vs Clubber Lang
This is my favourite book. It is about how the famous heavyweight boxer Rocky Balboa has to fight Clubber Lang, played by B.A. Baracus from the A-Team, after B.A. kills Mickey the coach by shouting at Rocky. This book were so successful they made a film of it, and that also starred B.A. Baracus as Clubber Lang. I reckon it's important that they keeps the same actors when they turns a book into a film, else it'll confuse intelligent folks like meself who read it as a book first.
This is the opposite of Rocky vs Clubber, cos they turned it into a book after they done the film first, getting some called David Morris to do it (I ain't sure about that last name cos a bit of the cover's gone). Personally I reckon he had a piss easy job, this Morris feller, cos all he had to do were watch the fucking film and write down what happens. And he couldn't even do that right cos he's got Rambo dying in the end, which he don't in the film. What I reckon is that he fell akip before the film finished, and had to guess what happened. But you fucked up, didn't you, Dave? That's why they never came back to you for Rambo: First Blood Part II.
I've had this one since being a youngun. You don't see catalogues much no more but everyone used to have em in them days, and you could buy anything from them, even boring shite like ironing boards. But the best bit were the lingerie section. I never found out what lingerie is, but I didn't really care - the whole section were full of birds wearing hardly nothing at all. And we're talking cracking looking birds here. Even the older ones are well fit, in their cross-your-heart bras that you could lug a couple of frozen turkeys in if you had a mind to. But it's one in particular that caught my eye, from the age of five right up to now, with me taking it down every now and then for another peep at her. She's fucking beautiful, I swear, and yet everything about her is wrong. Dark brown hair, normal size tits, pale skin... but there's a look on her face that says she's been waiting all her life to put this bra and knickers on and have me look at her, and that she's held out for me. I always wondered if one day I might find her. I'd ask her out and bring her some flowers and take her down by the river for a picnic. Then I'd find a quiet spot and pull her dress off, her looking at us the whole while like this is all that ever mattered. But I wouldn't take her knickers and bra off - no way. To do that would be to destroy her purity. I'd just yank the gusset aside.
Ford Capri Haynes guide
Anyone with a motor needs a book on how to strip her down and fix her. I found this one in the boot when I first got my Capri, which were a 2.8i model in gold with a black vinyl roof. Mind you, I reckon they got the pages mixed up or summat, cos I can't make tail nor arse of it.
The Bitch - Jackie Collins
This were my mam's book, and I keeps it there on the shelf so I can remember her by it. She died when I were a youngun, but sometimes she comes to me in my dreams and says she's left a load of letters to me and hid em somewhere no one will look except me. But I've searched everywhere and I can't fucking find em. I ain't giving up, mind. I'll be looking for them letters until the day I carks it. I reckon they might be in the cellar or summat.
Knight Rider Goes to Hazzard County
This were my favourite book as a youngun, but I seem to have lost the pages and I just got the cover now. I went to have a read of it the other day and when I opened it a load of old folded up bits of letter-writing paper fell out, which I chucked in the bin. Fucking vandal, whoever done that.
The Magus - John Fowles
I chanced upon this book when I were about ten. We used to have a bookshop in town in them days, and I were knocking about around the High street with Legsy and Fin when we decided to have a gander in it. Thing was, all the other shops was on the look-out just then, so you had nowhere you could hone your shoplifting technique without fear of getting caught and the coppers brung in, which wastes your whole afternoon. One look in the bookshop and we knowed it were the place - there were some speccy bird behind the counter and no fucker else. So Fin steps up first, swipes a book off the side and slies it down the front of his trolleys, thereby contaminating it with his unwashed regions but it don't matter cos no one's gonna read the fucking thing anyhow. He's going for the door, pretending to look at some postcards or summat on the way, and the speccy bird stands up and blows a whistle, pointing at Fin like he's got the lurgey (which he has, like as not). Next thing we knows, and while we're still trying to suss out what's taking place here, a massive baldy bloke with a beard hares out from the back and starts eyeballing us, fists clenched like swollen pig hearts. He follows the bird's pointy finger to Fin and goes for him, grabbing him by the elbow before Fin, twat like he is, could piss off out the door. So I picked up the nearest, fattest book I could find and used it to pummel the beardy bloke's head a few times until he let Fin go and we was all happy. That book were The Magus by John Fowles, or someone.
Deadfolk - me (but typed up by Charlie Williams)
This is the one the Writer is meant to have typed out and got turned into a book. Personally I ain't ever seen a copy, so I dunno if it's true or not, but I can vouch for the words in it so long as he wrote em down just the way I telled em. Every one of them words is true, I fucking swears it. Even the lies is true, and there ain't none of them at all. In case you're wondering, Deadfolk is about me - Royston Blake, being head doorman of Hoppers Wine Bar & Bistro (as the new owner insisted on calling it). It's about how I came to have a joint stake in that operation, and features a lot of cunts who was trying to stop us and besmirch my name. You can't have that, cunts besmirching your name. When that happens, the only thing you can do is try to smirch em back, and this here book is about how I done that. There's also a bit about Rocky III in it.