My guest in the Comfy Chair today is fellow Brit Melanie Tushmore, whose breezy British writing style is a real breath of fresh air. Her latest release – Crucifox #1: The Green-Eyed Monster, was released on March 1st and I can confirm that it’s terrific and a real hoot to boot.
Thanks Melanie for agreeing to be my guest and answer my questions.
Thank you, Elin! 🙂
Elin: They say you should write what you know and I get the feeling from your work that you know your subject inside out. How much time have you spent on the road with up and coming rock bands?
Melanie: Too long! Actually I made sure I wasn’t “on the road” too much. I sometimes accompanied the band on mini-tours, but it wasn’t for me. I’m not a musician or a roadie, so there’s lots of waiting around in the cold, getting bored. I’m also vegetarian, and I don’t drink a lot (pretty much am sober 99% of the time) and I had a childhood of camping in leaky tents anyway, so touring really isn’t for me. I prefer to organise things, but the actual travelling and gigging is crappy. Leave the drinking, smoking, buger-guzzling, smelly men to it; I was happy to stay home and get on with my piles and piles of work.
Often there would be gigs I’d still need to organise at home; in-house promotions at a few home venues, which meant I had touring bands from elsewhere show up for me to put on their gig.
If the UK weather was constantly sunny, I might have gone away more. Even in Europe you can’t guarantee nice weather.
Elin: I once spent some time in a student house in Bristol where every floor sucked as you walked across it and there were two bricks missing in the bathroom so you could see into the street as you sat on the loo. And Crucifox’s dwelling seems even worse. Are all musicians pads as bad as that?
Melanie: LOL!!! That sounds hilarious. My friend’s house had floorboards missing in their upstairs bathroom, so the men there used to wave their dicks as they took a piss, and spray the pee into the kitchen down below, aiming for someone else’s cup of tea.
(Yeah, I know…don’t judge me! I wasn’t present!)
I don’t know what it is about rock boys, they’re a grubby lot. There are some who are massive ponces; our old bassist, Zoolander, springs to mind. He couldn’t go two days without taking a shower and re-doing his bloody hair. Even I can cope without a shower every day!
On the whole, I find that posers more concerned about their outer image just annoy me. The guys who are obsessed by their music are usually the less-clean ones, but they are the guys I like. The artists. The true musicians. Yeah, they might be a bit grubby, and stink of alcohol and cigarettes, but they’re interesting and charistmatic.
As for the Crucifox house, omigod. Literally disgusting. It’s actually an amalgamation of two houses; my old student house, and my ex’s batchelor pad. The house my ex shared with three other men was rancid; it was actually condemned, and those dimwits didn’t realise it and were still paying rent because the landlord was fleecing them. It was so cold in winter that if anyone had a shower, the condensation would build up in the bedroom next door, and it created rain. Next door to them was the Jehovah’s temple, which always made for interesting conversation when touring bands came to crash at their house.
Elin: Could you explain the difference between ’emo’ and ‘goth’ to the uninitiated who think it’s all down to eyeliner?
Melanie:Certainly. Goth (proper goth) came from post-punk Britain, and is for snobs and clever people.
The big four; Bauhaus, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Cure, and Joy Division.
Early emo / emocore was American punk, mid to late 80s, early 90s.
Emo isn’t my specialist subject (this is one genre I couldn’t care less about!) but let’s mention the band Minor Threat, to give you an idea.
Latter day emo was more “pop”, and watered down. Let’s mention Jimmy Eat World.
Note: if any emo or hardcore fans out there disagree with my reference choices, send your hate mail to the usual address…
I bloody hate emo in all its forms, actually. I don’t like “old skool punk” or pretty much any “hardcore” music. There’s a couple of exceptions, but I generally dislike the whole hardcore genre, and the attitude from the old gits who like it (and hassle anyone who doesn’t) and I hate with a vengeance the modern day reincarnation of “emo” which basically equates to wet teeny-boppers (or grown adults) who shop at Hot Topic, wear glitter/miss the whole point of punk, and just generally miss the point of alternative culture in general. Just ARRGH.
Once again, I turn to South Park for succinct satirical reference: there’s an episode that features the high school goths. Firstly, I peed myself laughing at the goth send-up; it was done so well. Four angry misfit kids who had their own style, hated everything about modern life, drank coffee and smoked cigarettes. The posters in their bedrooms were PROPER goth bands.
Obviously, the South Park creative team know what they’re talking about!
In the episode, the satire features Twilight fans. Trendy, preppy kids who turn up to school wearing black, cutesy clothes, black lipstick with glitter, and talking about what sort of glittery vampires they are. Of course, the goth kids are furious.
The episode is utterly hilarious, pure comedic genius, and ends with the goth kids finding the source of all evil; Hot Topic, which has been spawning these Twishite-goth-wannabes. So they burn it to the ground.
Sorry, I knew I was going to rant about this question! I hate emo. And I hate that goth is deemed “wet” these days and is synonymous with “emo kiddies” and shit.
All in all, there’s far too much wet music around at the moment. I wish real goth would come back and tell everyone what for. Everyone’s pretty into rock right now, though; everything is glam and rocked up. I don’t mind that, I’ve always been into glam metal, glam punk. (Not glam rock; that’s Rod Stewart. And eww.)
But one thing that stops me from enjoying mindless glam day in, day out, is my inner goth snob! Ho hum. Never satisfied; I am angry about everything. Please note: not sad and crying like an emo, but ANGRY. That’s proper goth.
Elin: Could you recommend a sound track to listen to while reading The Green-Eyed Monster?
Melanie: Yes, how long have you got? LOL.
I usually have sound-track posts to all my stories, on my WordPress blog. During the story I mention lots of bands. Lots of these bands sound like lines from a poem.
The Virgin Prunes. New Model Army. Bauhaus. Crux Shadows. Gaye Bikers on Acid. Jesus Jones. Creaming Jesus. The March Violets. Siouxsie and The Banshees. Marionettes. My Life with The Thrill Kill Cult. The Damned…
The list goes on!
Elin: The Virgin Prunes – best band name ever. Apart from Gaye Bikers on Acid. What’s the worst venue you’ve even seen a band try to play in?
Melanie: That probably depends how you define ‘worst’. All rock venues are pretty grubby; well used. That’s the way it should be! The venues I promoted from were dives; stages with holes in, covered in manky carpet, or rickety stages built from beercrates. Manky, grotty, and sweaty. But all I cared about was the set up (i.e. does the sound system work?), the band are taken care of (i.e. treated with the basic respect they deserve) and a crowd turns up.
I would say, without a doubt, the worst venues or gigs in general are ones without a crowd. It’s just soul crushing, and there’s not a lot you can do. In the UK, usually the weather puts people off going out.
I will pick one venue that drove me nuts repeatedly; it was less for bands, and more for theatre and live music. It’s not in use any more (hardly surprising) as this lot couldn’t organise an empty drawer. One spectacular fuck up was when I was running a double-feature evening; first, a cabaret show, and later, a club night. The morons in charge of the venue CLOSED the front doors and box office after my cabaret show, but didn’t tell anyone. We were in the bowels of the building, wondering why we had a poor turn out for the club. Eventually, a security guard just clocking off came to tell me that the doors were shut, and paying customers had been turned away.
I ask you!
So muggins here had to go sit on the freezing cold side door, to let customers in, instead of being able to enjoy the warmth of the club inside.
And people wonder why I wanted a break from promoting!
Elin: All your work so far has been fairly firmly rooted in the modern day. Would you ever consider writing in another genre? If so, which ones.
Melanie: I’m very pleased to say that my all-new fantasy series has been accepted by Less Than Three press, and the first release is in October 2013. The series is set in the 1640s, England, and is about naughty goblins and elves. I’m very excited for it, as it’s my first fantasy release, and I guess my first non-modern story.
I do have a freebie story on my website which is set in ancient Greece; ‘Tentacle Pool.’ I’d never written tentacles porn before, it was a birthday prompt for Samantha. I am rather obsessed with ancient Greek mythology, and wish there was more M/M stories of that ilk out there. I like the romantic elements of it, and the magic the gods’ possess. I also love ancient Egypt, but the sort of research I’d need to get things right stall me from jumping into it.
Elin: What’s next? Can you tell us a bit about your current WIP? Or do you prefer to keep them underwraps until they are almost finished?
Melanie: I’m knee-deep in band-fic land right now. To stop me going crazy, I’m also writing more of my Goblins series (first release October from Less Than Three press!) and it’s great to write complete fantasy and escape from ‘real life’ stories.
Though I do tend to agonise over the wording in my fantasy stories a lot more; I don’t like modern-sounding words in my stories. My characters can’t drink normal tea as we know it, because it’s 1647! Massive agonising over that. Tonnes of research as well, all very interesting about folklore, witches, and the fey. The Goblins series will definitely have a modern day feel to it, but hopefully with enough weight behind it that makes it believable as historical fantasy.
Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of The Green-Eyed Monster?
Melanie: Of course! 😀
The hotel was busy, full of bands, crew, management and groupies. The heaving throng at the bar was too much for me, and I told Brandon I was going upstairs to shower. I hadn’t showered from last night, and I really needed one. He said he’d meet me up there after ‘pullin’ some birds’.
I grabbed his arm before he charged off. “Brandon? Just one.”
“A’right. One bird. See ye up there.” He pressed something into my hand. I knew it was a pill without even looking at it.
“Yir welcome. Take my fox, eh?” He thrust his fur at me, sticky with God knows what, and then he grinned and disappeared into the bar. I got in the lift, sharing it with two other guys, themselves probably from a band. I avoided looking at them, hiding the fox behind my back. At my floor, I shuffled from the lift. The doors pinged closed, and I was alone. Luckily, the hallway was empty, though I could definitely hear noises and various thumps and bumps throughout the floor as parties started up.
Great. No sleep tonight, then.
I pulled the key from my pocket and entered the room. The beds had been turned down, but otherwise it was in the same state we’d left it in. Near my bed was relatively tidy. On the other side, Brandon had spread his stuff everywhere. The contents of his suitcases spilled open with clothes, boots, toiletries, make-up. I didn’t see why he had to make such a damn mess all the time.
The windows were open, and the smell of sex from last night had long faded. The only smells here now were Brandon’s peppery aftershave, his Aqua Net hairspray, and sweat. Lots of it. I lifted my arm and sniffed. The sweat was probably me. I tossed his fox into an open suitcase and looked down at the pill in my hand. Should I take a whole pill? Brandon had more on him, surely.
Fishing out a bottle of water, I swallowed the pill whole before I could think about it too much. Then I stripped off my stale, sweaty clothes, wiped away my eyeliner, and jumped in the shower.
Back in the room, I pulled on my cleanest pair of black jeans, wrapped the towel around my head, and flicked through TV channels. I wanted to find a show that had covered the festival, but was out of luck. Maybe there’d be one tomorrow, after the final day. I tuned into a music show, mostly to drown out the party sounds through the thin walls of the hotel. My hair had dried. I wasn’t sure how many minutes I’d been waiting.
On average, I knew it didn’t take Brandon long to pull. It never took him this long. Had he taken his pill and forgotten what he was doing? What if he left me up here alone? What would I do with myself? All I felt was paranoia and a strange itchy feeling on my skin. I panicked over what to do, and then, finally, there was a knock at the door.
“That better be you, Brandon,” I said, my teeth grinding. I wasn’t cold; my jaw was clenching on its own. I opened the door to Brandon, who clutched a wet bag to his bare chest. He grinned at me, and then edged into the room. I looked out in the hall but there was no one else there. “Where’s the girl?” I asked, shutting the door.
“Never mind that for now.” He scurried to the bathroom. “I’ve got something better!”
“Better?” I followed him to the bathroom. He dumped the wet bag in the sink. “What is it?”
“Aye. Find some glasses.”
I looked around the room. There was one glass, and one clean coffee cup. They would have to do. I brought them into the bathroom. “You know, my gran used to tell me off for eating ice.” “Oh, aye? Well, you’ll love this more.” Brandon took the cups from my hands, filling them with ice.
“Did you bring a—”
“Drink?” He pulled a pair of miniatures from his jeans pocket.
“Yeah. What is it?”
“Amaretto. Tastes like Christmas in a glass.”
“I hate Christmas. Anyway, it’s July.”
“Early Christmas.” He chuckled, pouring amaretto over cracking ice.
“Brandon, have you taken a pill?”
“A whole one?”
“Is your jaw clenching, too?”
“Aye, it happens. Come an’ drink this.” He flitted away to his bed, and I followed him. We sat together. He handed me the glass, while he had the china cup. “Cheers,” he said, holding the cup by its handle. I laughed in response. “What?” he asked.
“Nothing. Why’d you choose amaretto?”
His brown eyes blinked at me, all pupil. “Um… I don’t know. Shall I get another one?”
“No, no.” I sipped from the glass. The liquor tasted sweet, tingling my tongue. “What’s the big deal about ice?”
“Ah.” He fished one out of his cup. “Remember the mints?”
“Oh, hell yeah.”
He popped an ice cube in his mouth. I watched him suck on it, his eyes going wide as the breath rushed in and out of his nose. “It’s good,” he lisped out, like he had a gob stopper in his mouth. I gazed into my glass. The ice cubes were pretty small. The cold burnt my fingers. I quickly stuck it in my mouth, sucking the amaretto drops from my thumb.
The ice sat on my tongue, its cold spreading through my mouth, tingling, igniting my taste buds. It was so cold. It felt like my brain was freezing up. I sucked in a breath, fancying it turned to crystal in my lungs. This felt incredible. A shiver ran over my body and I gasped, looking down at my chest. My nipples were getting hard.
“Mm.” Brandon smiled knowingly. “Have another.”
We sucked ice cubes together, breathing heavily through the rush. The TV chattered away in the background, and the amaretto was almost gone. I had two cubes left, and they were partly melted.
“Try it on your skin.” Brandon held ice in his fingers. He reached out and trailed it down my arm. My skin rippled to goose-flesh, the hairs standing on end. I could feel the cold down to the very tips of my toes. That tight, itchy sensation was back, making me feel too big for my skin and very, very horny. My dick throbbed for attention.
Brandon trailed the ice up my arm, over my neck. A shudder ran over me and I swatted his hand away. The ice clattered against the wall.
“Brandon, why don’t you get the girl, now? I need to get off.”
He stared back at me, a smile curving his lips, still faintly lined in red. “We don’t need a girl.”
“I’d rather do you.”
© Melanie Tushmore 2013
Many thanks, Melanie, for being such a good sport.
Crucifox #1: The Green-Eyed Monster