THE LIFE MODEL

FOREWORD

THE SPOKEN WORD

THE WRITTEN WORD

I guess for me it has always been about the process and not the produce.

Aye, I know that might be more of a hindsight judgment. Almost an excuse for the produce never having been as good as what one had hoped.

Ocean Rain by Echo & The Bunnymen is not the greatest album ever made, but those years from 1978 leading up to Ocean Rain’s release in 1984, for me is one of the greatest periods of process for a rock band that has ever existed.

The KLF never wrote and recorded a truly great song that stands the test of time.

But...

All those moments and action that happened between the release of 1987 (What The Fuck is Going On?) to Justified & Ancient failing to be the 1991 Christmas Number One, I would nail to the mast of life.

As for this Memoir that I might claim to be a spoken novel by William E. Drummond, that I have not written one word let alone read yet...

I would claim it is the process that has involved the risk, imagination, time and efforts of over 160 different people scattered across the globe, over a period of two months at the end of 2022, that is the bordering on ‘the epic’. What the finished product is like, as a literary work, or even commercial product, is almost irrelevant. Of course, I hope it does work as something that can be consumed by myself.

If I was to make an analogy, for me the product is equivalent to the programme. The process is the actual match.

Bill Drummond
Wednesday the 28th of December 2022


BACKWORD

THE SPOKEN WORD

THE WRITTEN WORD

Jodhpur Park is an area of South Kolkata in India.

I am in Jodhpur Park for a week with my life partner, her mother and our son.
We are here to visit their family who we have not seen since before Covid.

I am using my free time here to stitch together and read through all of the years in this book that claims to be a memoir. I have now made a counterclaim to it being a novel. A novel by William E. Drummond. As in the wholesale appropriation of the work done by 168 others for my own self aggrandisation.

But...

Last week I was in a different world.

Last week my long-term colleague, Dave Balfe and I drove up from Suburban North London to Galloway in Scotland and more specifically the Black Loch. I had a jerrycan with me. I like a jerrycan. Who does not like a jerrycan? I filled this jerrycan with water from the Black Loch. The plan was that on my return, after this sojourn in Kolkata, to decant the water from the Black Loch from the jerrycan into the seventy glass vials that I have. And then to send the glass vials of water from the Black Loch to those seventy people who wrote their version of the dark underside of each of my seventy years.

But...

Ten or so minutes ago I realised I had made a major mistake...

I was supposed to take seventy pebbles with me, along with the seventy glass vials to the Black Loch. 

And...

I was supposed to throw each of those seventy pebbles, in turn, into the Black Loch. And then in turn, use each of the seventy glass vials to capture a ripple created by each of the corresponding pebbles hitting the waters of the Black Loch – as in each ripple representing a year in my life.

But...

I had forgotten all about that.

Does this mean that on my return to The Atlantic Archipelago, as in The British Isles, next week, I have to journey back up the M1 and M6 and then at Gretna Green head west along the A57 and then, just after Blackcraig turn north up the A712 to the turning on the left up the track to the Black Loch with the seventy glass vials and seventy pebbles from the beach at Sizewell B?

I guess I will have to and get the job done properly.

But anyway...

I know it is not my job to review my own “memoir”, even less to pass judgement in what I am now claiming to be a novel that William E. Drummond is claiming the credit for...

But...

I can’t deny that whilst reading through all these years in ‘my’ life, both over and under and all the troubling dreams, while sitting here on this balcony overlooking Jodhpur Park, I have at times spluttered with laughter, wished I had been there, thought ‘why did I not think of that?’ and found myself wiping tears from my cheek.

This was all far more than what I was expecting, not that I knew what I was expecting, and I don’t just mean in word count. That said on the word count front, I am totally aware that it is way too much for the casual reader. That it being the patch work quilt that I so desired, means it does not have the ark of a story to hold the reader’s hand. But I am very much glad, that this format has given each year equal measure, thus not just focus in on the “hits and near misses” years.

But why no mention of nights out with Epstein in the New York of the early 80s? Or that fling I had with Fergie – or was it Ginger Spice? Not even a passing reference to Gary Glitter. And nothing, or at least not much about me being a bad father, let alone bad at business. Were those, that threw their names in the hat too afraid to deal the dirt – in case I might be offended, and their words cast aside.

And on the subject of ‘words cast aside’, yes as you will have already seen, if not read, Scissorman had his say, his or I should say Their tag seemingly randomly scattered across pages. But on closer inspection, each time Scissorman has deemed to add Their creative input, it is because of the offence They have taken at certain words and references. And not just the adjectives that They are at war with.

As for my editorial influence, I have attempted the touch to be light. Just the opening up of certain passages, to give more space, to let the light in.

The trouble is...

As these eight days and seven nights spent in this corner of this heaving city with all of life and death writhing and spluttering before me and the Crows rebuilding their nests; the giant bats gathering in their hundreds and the pair of Green Woodpeckers pecking a hole in the tree to make their home. The squirrels with the stripes down their backs running along the telephone wires. Gangs of feral street cats out at night on the prowl. The funeral pyres burning into the night across the pond. The new-born babies suckling. The Black Kites circling overhead. The midnight stillness only broken by the whistle of the constable on his beat. The near ear buzz of a mosquito coming in for the kill at 3am. The before dawn chorus of a zillion birds, followed by the car horns of not just another day but this very day, as this very city awakes. Then the school kids off to school. The rickshaw wallahs plying their trade. Then me, the over entitled white man, who thinks he can pass comment, with his return ticket in his back pocket, and cannot stop himself...

I start to imagine a film...

I know, I know, I have to get the Poppies in The Field film set in Galloway made first. But right here right now, I am in Jodhpur Park on this veranda looking out and can’t stop myself...

The film would be in Bangla, thus using local actors. It would be set in the present day. There would be two young men setting up their fledgling record label called Zoo, or whatever the Bangla for Zoo is. And they would have two bands on the label, both fronted by charismatic poets, both rivals to be crowned the prince of Jodhpur Park and all of South Kolkata. But across the Howrah Bridge, as in on the other side of the Hooghly River there is a rival fledgling record label called Factory, or whatever the Bangla for Factory is. And this Factory label have a band fronted by an equally charismatic poet. But this poet is more distant, more disturbed. And this poet ends his life the week his band’s debut record is released. And the record is called Love Will Tear Us Apart. And all of Kolkata, both North and South and either side of the Howrah Bridge, fall for this record and this poet taking his own life, like other great poets before him. All of Kolkata knows that the love will tear them apart. And the two young men running the fledgling record label called Zoo, or whatever the Bangla for Zoo is, know there is only one thing to be done. They make a pact. They will flip a coin. Heads or tails will be the decider as to which of their two charismatic poets fronting their label’s two bands should be murdered, thus outdoing their rivals at Factory, or whatever the Bangla for Factory is...

The film would be called...

I won’t give the ending away, but it is not what you might expect.

Bill Drummond
Friday the 17th of February 2023

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