I Aten’t Ded

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:17 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

Hands still hurting a bit, and the heatwave making it impossible for me to think. Will try to get the last of the Who posts up tomorrow, but no promises.


Beach Boys Book 3 Now Out!

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:44 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

The Beach Boys on CD volume 3 is now available. I know some of you have been waiting for it a long time, so I thought I’d let you all know straight away.
Note that *I have not yet received my proof copies* of the physical book, so be aware that purchases of the physical books in the next few days might be flawed (though the digital files used for them look perfectly fine to me). The paperback should be going live in the next hour or two, the rest are already available.

The hardback can be found at Lulu. The paperback is at Amazon (US) (UK) (and will be in other online shops eventually). The Kindle ebook is at Amazon (US) and (UK), and the book can be found on all other ebook stores via this Books2Read Universal link as it becomes available for them (so far it’s on Kobo, Scribd, and Inktera, with other bookstores following over the next few days).


Brief updates

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:21 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

Just to let you all know that the ebook versions of Beach Boys book vol 3 are uploaded to Amazon and Draft2Digital (which will in turn send it through to all the other ebook stores shortly). I accidentally priced the Amazon version at $10 rather than $5 and can’t fix that until it’s finished processing, but it should be fixed tomorrow.
I’ll provide purchase links when I have the paper copies up. I’ve had some formatting difficulties with that (primarily because it’s only the second paper book I’ve published through Amazon rather than Lulu, but also because of stupid things to do with typesetting and not having a long enough blurb for the back cover so it doesn’t go into super-large print), but I should have them done tomorrow or Tuesday.
Also, I know I haven’t yet done the final Doctor Who season 22 post. I’ve had an arthritis flare-up in my hands for the last few days, so haven’t been able to type much. As soon as my hands get better, I’ll write it up. No guarantees as to when that will be, but these flare-ups never last too long.


Destroyer: Chapter 9

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

Before the war, travelling to Torquay had mostly been for pleasure – holidaymakers would travel down to the south west to swim in the town’s famously blue waters, to marvel at the sights, and to look out over the ocean. Now, however, the journey was made most often by evacuees, desperate to get away from the danger of London.

The south west of England had always, though, been a place unto itself, with different mores, a different accent, and a different, slower, pace of life than the metropolis. Ian Fleming had once heard someone talk about how the difference between Britain and America was that in America a hundred years was a long time, while in Britain a hundred miles was a long way. The hundred-and-sixty or so miles between London and Torquay seemed an almost insurmountable distance culturally, if not geographically.

This was not a place of clubs and chaps who knew chaps. This was a place where everyone knew everyone, and where strangers were not welcome, even though the town had built itself on tourism. People from out of town were perfectly fine to spend their money on overpriced ices and watered beer, but they were not to be talked to, or to be treated as people rather than walking wallets.

And because of this reticence, and a general reluctance to give directions, Fleming had some difficulty finding his target, and it was almost dark before he arrived. Aleister Crowley had apparently moved relatively recently, and Fleming found him not in a Gothic mansion or abandoned monastery, but in a small, white-painted, suburban house.

Fleming’s knock had been answered by a frail-looking old man, who bore such little resemblance to the Great Beast of legend that Fleming had needed to make sure he’d come to the right place.

“I’m looking for Aleister Crowley”.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” said the skinny, balding old man, with the white goatee, with bits of egg-yolk in his beard.

“An interesting creed. But not, perhaps, a useful one during a war.”

“Come through to my dining room, and we might discuss its utility in comfort.”

Crowley led Fleming through to a small dining room, whose window opened onto a view of the green fields nearby. He sat at the single chair pulled up to a round wooden coffee table, on which was a cup of tea, much of which seemed to have spilled into the saucer on which the cup was placed, and an eggcup containing a half-eaten boiled egg with a spoon still inside it.

Crowley gestured to the one other chair in the room, and Fleming pulled it up to the table.

“Do sit down,” Crowley said, after Fleming had taken his seat. He picked up his spoon, and finished off his egg, eating slowly and methodically, and dabbing his mouth with a napkin after every bite. Only when he had finished eating did he resume the conversation. “Now, you believe that doing one’s will is an anarchist creed. Far from it. Should the policemen and judges of this world be let loose on society, it would be a veritable hell. One cannot do one’s will until one understands what that will is, and very few people have attained such a level of understanding.”

Crowley smiled, a gentle smile which quite surprised Fleming with his charm. Crowley had an imposing reputation, but the elderly gentleman here did indeed seem a gentle man. There was a kindness to him which quite belied Wheatley’s fearsome warnings. Fleming decided he was going to like this man.

Crowley dabbed his mouth again with his napkin, smearing the egg yolk without managing to remove any of it, then continued talking.

“Anyway, I do not normally enter into metaphysical debate until I have been introduced to my interlocutor. You would be?”

“My name is Ian Fleming, sir, and I have come on behalf of Naval Intelligence.”

“Ah, so you would be here about the Hess affair. Most perplexing. Why would an intelligent man think that Britain would – now, of all times – be interested in surrender? A year ago, maybe. But we have struggled through enough, and lost enough, that to back down without victory would be a betrayal of the dead.”

“Indeed. I’m sure he has his reasons, though.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you knew what those reasons were. But you in the intelligence services know more than most the wisdom of the command to know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence. I shall not press you on matters which are beyond the scope of my activities, and shall assume that you will inform me of any matters which are germane.”

Crowley reached into his jacket pocket and took out a small, zippered, pouch. He opened it, and nestled in what looked like a velvet lining was a syringe.

“I hope you don’t mind, sir, if I take my regular infusion of diamorphine?”

Fleming nodded his assent, and Crowley tied off his left arm, found a vein, and injected the fluid. His expression immediately changed into one of vacant bliss – rather more quickly, Fleming thought, than the drug could have affected him; Fleming wondered if this was all an act, and if Crowley had injected some inert substance rather than the narcotic.

The two men talked for some time about trivial matters, and Fleming noted that Crowley’s train of thought seemed to drift, more or less at random. He would be talking about the insignia of the Nazis, and then suddenly break off and start talking about the Egyptian god Noor-Ra-Huit, or he would ask about Hess and, before Fleming had a chance to answer, would go on into a digression about demonic possession.

Eventually, Fleming managed to steer the topic around to the purpose of his visit.

“So, Mr. Crowley, what help, precisely, do you think you can provide His Majesty’s Government in the matter of Herr Hess?”

“Oh, I thought maybe I could perform an exorcism on him. Or maybe telepathically contact him and extract the appropriate information from him.”

Fleming paused before replying. “You’re offering…to perform a magic spell? That’s your offer?”

“Indeed. I shall magickally extract any information you require from his skull.”

“We were rather hoping that you should, perhaps, merely intimidate him. Put on a show of some sort, or offer him occult secrets in return for his co-operation.”

“My dear sir!” Crowley’s expression was a perfect mask of offence, save for his eyes, which were glittering. “You ask me to perform…fakery? To prostitute my life’s work?”

“I apologise if I have caused any offence. But you must understand that His Majesty’s Government does not believe that telepathic powers have any effect. Your magic can’t be of any use to us.”

Crowley rose.

“In that case, sir, I fear we have nothing further to discuss. Please give my regards to Mr. Wheatley.”

Fleming was half-way down the street before he realised that he had not mentioned Wheatley to Crowley at all.


This is an excerpt from my novel, Destroyer. If you like this chapter, please buy the book. It can be bought in hardback from Lulu. The Kindle and paperback editions are available from Amazon (UK) and (US). For non-Kindle ebook versions This Books2Read Universal Link will give you links for your preferred ebook retailer.


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Posted by Andrew Hickey

I’ve uploaded the third volume of my Beach Boys book as epub and mobi files to Patreon. Backers can find them here.
The book will be going on general release in a few days, and I’ll be contacting Patreons on the $2 or higher tiers then for their addresses, to send physical copies of this and Destroyer


Destroyer: Chapter 8

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:34 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

(For some reason this didn’t autopost on Sunday. I only just noticed)

Even during a war unlike any that had been seen in the history of the world, the business of government still had to continue, and in Britain part of that business is allowing the hereditary aristocracy a space in the legislature in which to voice their opinions on every topic known to humanity.

There are countries in the world in which the voice of the people is paramount – vox populi, vox dei – while in other countries it is the voice of a single leader that must not be countermanded in any circumstances. For the British Empire, though, the voices of those who were bred for privilege and power, and the leaders of the Established Church, had veto power over all others. Continuity, and the establishment, were all.

Britain’s legislature had, for centuries, been split into two houses. The lower house, the House of Commons, was, as the name suggested, made up of common people. Or at least, people who hadn’t yet risen to the first rank of the nobility – the members of Parliament had very few coal miners or street sweepers among their ranks, and rather a lot of men with knighthoods.

The House of Lords, on the other hand, was for the uncommon – the hereditary aristocracy, the newly ennobled, and the Bishops.

The same night that Hess had made his flight, the Palace of Westminster, in which both houses of Parliament sat, had been bombed by the Germans. Parliament had lost its ancient home, and both houses were currently relegated to the church annexe of the Palace. But the change of venue did not mean that the ancient role of the Lords had changed.

Since before Parliament had a home at all, the nobility had had its say in the affairs of state. They represented continuity – their families had owned England, and later the United Kingdom, for centuries, and they intended to keep it that way. Elected politicians could come and go every few years and change their views with the prevailing winds, but there would always be a Duke of Westminster, and he would always have the same interests as his grandfather had and his grandson would.

Of course, some things had changed over the years. Many of the older peers were still nostalgic for the days before Lloyd George had filled the place up with boot-polish merchants and jumped-up tobacconists, who had bought their way to an Earldom. And even more so, they were nostalgic for the time before the other great change that the Liberals had made to their privileges, introducing the Parliament Act and making it clear in law that the House of Commons, not the Lords, had primacy when it came to legislation.

Nonetheless, the Lords still had their place, and still represented Britain’s traditions. They were there to advise the monarch, and to ensure the Government had regard to events further away than the next election.

And so, as they had since the days of Simon de Montfort, the Lords Temporal and Spiritual were assembled in Parliament, and were making their views known to a public that hung on their every word, at least as far as they were aware. Their words were duly recorded by the few reporters given access to Parliament during the War, and then largely unprinted in favour of the events of the day. But this lack of public interest did not concern them, any more than the fact that the Prime Minister was largely ignoring them and governing according to his own sense of military strategy.

The Lord who was, at the present moment, voicing his opinions was Lord Keynsham, a short, podgy man, with a shock of white hair that looked as if someone had stuck a mop on top of his head. The subject of the great man’s speech to the nation was the threat of Satanist-controlled Communists taking over the country, and in particular the threat caused by Tom Driberg, the Daily Express‘ “William Hickey” columnist.

“Hitler is a distraction, mark my words. Man needs to be put down like a rabid dog, of course, no question of that – no-one can be allowed to attack the British Empire and get away with it, still less to have this place and the other place bombed. Damned impertinence of the man! – but we mustn’t let him take our minds off the Reds. Hitler is a man. Stalin is controlled by Satan himself. The very Devil. Mark my words.”

Driberg, sat in the gallery, laughed to himself. Keynsham was a relic, like one of Wodehouse’s more pompous Earls or Dukes. Driberg was more of an Evelyn Waugh man himself, and saw Keynsham as one more symbol of the decline and fall of the British Empire.

Even had Driberg been a spy for the Russians – and had Keynsham had as much access to the secret world of espionage as he pretended, he would have known that in fact Driberg was spying on the Russians – he would not have been worried by Keynsham’s rambling threats. The poor man was deluded.

While Keynsham liked to pretend he was a great aristocrat, everyone with any real knowledge knew his father was a brewer who’d bought a peerage from Lloyd George thirty years earlier, and promptly dropped dead, leaving his idiot son with the title. Driberg liked to remind him of that in his column, to Keynsham’s evident ire.

“And the worst fifth columnist in this country – the one who, more than any of the Mosleyites, is doing his bit to destroy morale and weaken our great nation – is William Hickey of the Daily Express. The evil of his words is all the greater for their apparent patriotism. This is a man who pretends to support the war effort, and who pretends to support Britain, but who through drips of insinuation is slowly wearing down the public morale. Mark my words. Mark them, I say. William Hickey is the man who will bring about the destruction of the British Empire.”

Driberg started to realise that Keynsham actually didn’t know that William Hickey was merely a pseudonym. This could be interesting…if Keynsham was genuinely unaware of his identity, then Driberg might be able to make use of him. This would require some serious thought…


This is an excerpt from my novel, Destroyer. If you like this chapter, please buy the book. It can be bought in hardback from Lulu. The Kindle and paperback editions are available from Amazon (UK) and (US). For non-Kindle ebook versions This Books2Read Universal Link will give you links for your preferred ebook retailer.


Coming Next Week

Jul. 9th, 2017 08:53 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

I know several of you have been waiting a while for this. I’m just finishing up the edits on the last chapter right now, and I’ll be passing it over to Holly for a final proofreading pass tomorrow, which will take a couple of days. Once that’s done, Patreons will get their ebook copy that day. The rest of you will have to wait until the end of next week, as I have to get the index done for the print version before going public with it.
The book covers every Beach Boys or solo release (so not stuff like The Wilsons, Orange Crate Art, Beckley/Lamm/Wilson, or Al’s recordings with the Surf City All-Stars) from the self-titled 1985 album through 2015’s Live in Chicago 1965. It has revised versions of the album essays I’ve posted here, plus new essays (some of them rather short, but many quite detailed) on Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys, The Pet Sounds Sessions, Endless Harmony, Ultimate Christmas, Hawthorne, CA, Pet Sounds Live In London, The Smile Sessions, Made In California, The Big Beat 1963, Live In Sacramento 1964, Beach Boys’ Party! Uncovered and Unplugged, Live In Chicago 1965, and the various tracks that haven’t appeared on a proper album.
The book’s a long one (by my standards) — a little over 80,000 words (for comparison, volume two was about 55,000, while California Dreaming was about 90,000). I hope you find it’s been worth the wait.


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