Every Friday, 1 artist/painter/poet/writer, letting their work speak for itself.
*The following extract is from Billy and the Devil.
Billy is having the best night of his life. Everyone will love him, and his girlfriend Anna will change her mind and let him finger her for sure.
Life feels fucking great, Billy’s usual self-conscious restraints falling onto the pavement with each step, with each empty miniature Gordon’s gin cast under hedges, thrown into bus stops, back gardens, shop doorways, post-boxes, schoolyards, shopping trolleys, playgrounds, graveyards.
YES! Billy is more alive than he has ever been, colours and movement, sound and sense, everything is different, better, new and improved. By the time the staggering Billy reaches the Church Hall doorway he has already decided that this is how he wants to stay, from this thirteen to forever. He smiles at the old lady who collects the entrance money, telling her how beautiful she looks.
Love you, says Billy with a nonchalant flick of the wrist, swinging back the dull thump-thump-thump doors to the sound of Selector, that mod band that a headbanger like Billy cannot dance to, cannot admit to liking amongst his headbanger friends, and yet, tonight, Billy The Incredible is crossing boundaries, squeezing the juice from the gonads of life, and jumping straight in amongst the trilby-headed, narrow-tied, two-tone knees-up of the bum-boy mods.
YES! Billy cries, pogoing dead centre of the enemy, like a brick dropped into a bowl of milk, the ripple of astonishment stopping the running-on-the-spot suited dancers around the epicentre of Billy.
WHAT THE FUCK YOU DOING? yells fat Johnny into Billy’s ear as Billy The Wonderful lands from a deer-like spring through the air. Billy fixes fat Johnny with a bozz-eyed grin. YES! he shouts into fat Johnny’s face, but by now the modboys and beatgirls have all stopped their jag-kneed dancing to gawp. This will not do! But before they can decide on how to react to Billy’s crime of dance, the opening flourish of No More Heroes by The Stranglers causes a spiky tide of punks and punkettes to wash across the dancefloor, studs and white paint on leather, tartan and straps and green-laced Doc Mart’s send the mods scattering to their corner of the Church Hall, and the grinning Billy does the only thing he can do to celebrate this life, this wondrous gift of existence, and that is to do The Twist.
And this, is where things take a turn towards the ugly. The punk boys and girls doing what they have to do too, which is to hurt Billy in the form of dance, by hurling their pogoing spit and boot into the twisting, laughing fool that has the audacity not to dance the dance that has to be, stubbing their fags out on Billy’s face, which now hails a call to Billy’s headbanger friends, who up to now have been watching goggleeyed and gob-smacked from their corner of the Church Hall, and can hesitate no longer as one of their own is kicked and spat on and used as an ashtray.
The music stops.
And the elderly ladies and gentlemen of the Church Committee attempt to quell the push and the shove as best they can, and as the yellow light of fluorescence fills the hall, the white-haired reverend leads Billy by the wrist to the fire exit, the bloodylipped three-minute hero of the hour, grinning at the adoring crowd, knowing full well that he is now champion of the world, a new god, a name that will be passed from classmate to stranger, throughout the whole village to the town. Billy, the boy who danced against the grain, the boy who everyone will want to be, want to be with, to fuck and to worship, the boy who started a revolution.
Outside his bedroom window, the birds are singing to Billy. Billy wishes they’d shut up and leave him alone. He doesn’t want to remember pissing his jeans at the top of the slide, standing open-armed and crucified like a pissy Jesus, all the faces looking up and laughing as he tells everyone to piss themselves because it’s the only way. He doesn’t want to remember the broken chip shop window, the cut hand, the same cut hand that smeared Anna’s face with a slap when she called him a stupid cunt. He doesn’t want to remember his mum and dad when the police brought him home, the same mum and dad that are now sat downstairs waiting to talk to him, to cry and to shout, to tell him there is something wrong with him, to tell him that he’s breaking their hearts, and to ask in the name of good-God-all-bloody-chuffing-mighty: Why?
Dean woke up in a dark wood ten years ago. Enough. Went to college, got some A levels, started writing. Went to university, studied stories, wrote some stories, met some beautiful people. Got given a scholarship, happy, wrote Billy and the Devil. Billy doesn’t understand love and belonging. He makes a mess of things. (But.) Dean now swaps ideas with creative writing students at Sheffield Hallam University. Dean is now writing something new. It could be a story about love and disco. It probably is.
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