Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Battleship Run. An interview with the author David Phillips.


LIKE LA poet and author Charles Bukowski, David Phillips worked for the United States Post Office. Unlike Bukowski Phillips served in the US military. He repaired small firearms for almost 13 years, as a hobby, he claims..

In Webster City, Iowa he constructed horse stalls and developed ground-breaking animal feeding devices. He organized accounts for magazine publishers in Boone Iowa and wrote Battleship Run, originally intended as a film spec script. The work was shaped into a novel, with more, hopefully to follow in the series.

One early September morning Phillips was involved in a serious car crash. A broken neck, ribs, and the loss of his upper teeth, surgery for nerve damage is upcoming. Yet still David Phillips tries to write every day. Battleship Run is sure to grab you from the first page and not let you go until the very last.

I caught up with David just before his interview with a local newspaper.

JAN: First of all congratulations on the publication of Battleship Run. Let's hope it continues to sell briskly. What led you to write the book? I understand it was originally intended as a film treatment, right? 

DP: First off, I’d like to say thank you for allowing me to answer these questions for you.  Yes, it originally started out as a film spec script. It underwent numerous changes in the course of writing it three times or so. What you read in the book is not how the first script looked. I added and deleted scenes, changed the settings and involved more countries. It was a bit darker you could say. I had the financial collapse pending with the United States, and China being more of the aggressor. I had the Isis Satellite still in operation towards the big battle scene at the end, where the world was able to see the fight that would take place. I also had the ship badly burned and the crew dying as Ghost brought the ship back home on her own as thousands of spectators watched the burnt vessel coming into port.
I really liked what I had created so decided to go to the next step. I spent some money and had a professional script consultant look it over and give me his thoughts. He loved the story and thought it was amazing but as is the case with most scripts, I had too much dialog. I had to chop it down to where they were barely saying anything. He also thought that some of the things I wrote were too far-fetched to be believable, like the economic collapse of the United States. I knew from that moment on I did not like where this was going. I then made up my mind to convert the story to a book form. I wanted to tell it my way and not somebody else's way. I changed a few things again so that I could perhaps turn it into a two part story or a trilogy.
I only did the script version, and the conversion to book form just for my own pleasure. I never intended it to be out in the open for others to see. I was bored one day and I was sick of the stupid television reality shows on TV and did this to pass the time.
It didn’t exactly stay hidden very well because as you know James, I was looking for advice on how to format a book and you offered your services. Next thing I know, I hear you like the story and here I am.
JAN: Were there any particular books, television shows, movies or life experiences that inspired you to start Battleship Run or was it just an idea out of the blue?

 DP: It was an idea out of the blue. As a kid I would have model boats and even make those little paper hats and me and a friend of mine would go down to the dredge ditch and put them in the water upstream and then we would take turns shooting at them with our BB guns as they slowly floated by. It was always fun to see how many times we could hit them, there are still small chunks of plastic sitting on the bottom.

My best model even had a small motor on it that would turn the propellers. I didn’t want to shoot that one, so come bath time it ended up in the tub with me. It didn’t float to well. It spent most of it’s time capsized bouncing off the walls of the bathtub. It would eventually sink and chug along the bottom as a submarine eventually striking a bar of soap or something. More fun than a yellow rubber ducky I always thought.


JAN: You've also turned your hand to shorty writing lately, "Post Partum Separation" is a wonderfully twisted tale. Where did that idea come from? Not the bathtub I hope.
DP: Ha-ha, no bathtub this time. It was the shower. Seriously though, it came from all the pain pills I was taking at the time I believe.

I was in an automobile accident and broke my neck some ribs and messed up various other body parts.  So the pain pills and the agony I was in gave me this nightmare. It was something I have never dreamt of before, and I hope never again. It was pretty creepy as the readers will find out before long. I think it took me just an hour or two to hurry up and write down what I saw.

JAN: I believe, and I hope I'm not the only one, that story telling does come from experiences in life, good or bad. But it is the scary stories that people love to read the most so it follows that from tragic life experiences great stories can be told. I've found this to be true. Readers are fascinated by fear and the grit and determination the protagonist must pull out of his or her locker while getting through a shitty experience. Do you think the accident in anyway shaped or formed your writing or feelings towards writing? Has it made you more determined? More driven?
DP: It has now. I had Battleship Run completed already, but the sequel has come to a halt at the moment. Looking back at what happened it certainly changes everything I do from this point forward. The sound of the impact with metal collapsing all around you, and then suddenly finding yourself standing up 30 feet from your vehicle in a ditch with no memory of what happened in between, is one of the most oddest feelings I have ever experienced. It makes you wonder if it was divine intervention, luck, or lack of it, or surviving because some part of your destiny has not been completed yet. I often think of these things. I have no wife and kids and basically no relations left. The other person had all of the above and yet I was the one who walked away. Why? I have simply come to the conclusion that everything has a purpose whether it is good or bad.


JAN: Are you more determined to make your mark now you’ve been given a second chance?

DP: I wouldn’t say it has made me more driven or determined, but it has made me look deeper into every little thing I do.  Too often people take things for granted and only when we lose something do we realize what it was we had, and how thankful we should have been.  It only takes one second for everything to change. Whatever it is we set out to do, try to do your best. If you fail, so what, you tried and that is something no one can take away from you.  It is better to try and fail, than not try at all. 

I have started to try my hand at writing not because I thought I was great at it, but because I was often told I had a knack for telling a story. The only way I could know for sure was to throw it out there and let the public decide.
JAN: Well, so far they have decided in your favor. Let’s hope it continues

Battleship Run is for sale on Amazon and at www.spankingpulppress.com.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Taliban Man

SHOCKING THE WORLD all over again.

Taliban Man. by Krom .

WE HAVE seen it all before. Well, not quite. The Cambodian band led by Christopher Minko accompanied by one of the finest singers in Cambodia, Sophea Chamroeun. Superstar in her own right. The band have their sights set firmly on 2015 being their year, and listening to the most recent material it just might be.

A demo for their new track Taliban Man fell into my inbox. I put on the headphones...

The dark vocals of Minko juxtaposed against the haunting melodies works in this, their latest track. The subject matter as ever disturbing, but doesn't cause offence. Minko is an observer in a world gone slightly mad rather than a provoker of debate. If the lyrics seem too direct it is because they are supposed to be. This compared with the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Chamroeun makes for a powerful potent stew rather than a watery soup.

The track begins with gunshots and doesn't really let go until the end.

Photo By Alasdair McLeod - Bangkok Rooftop concert.

Cast your mind back, gentle reader, way back, way, way, back.... Dusty temple ruins teleport up above the city, far, far form here we look up and we look down, we float above the temple complex and the magnificence of that glorious civilization. These are the images that the backing vocals conjure up in this listener's mind

Centipedes battle for money, spiders shelter in perilous dwellings Hearts broken, lives lost, above us there is hope. Hope is a bitch most of the time, but she is there, always. Hope stands in the shape of a Chicago Typewriter

(That's Tommy Gun to me and you.)

Taliban Man invites the listener to consider the impossibilities of man-kind as only Krom can. Murder, death, manipulation, all Minko's signature themes are in here.

Krom's lyrics ask scary questions and answer them. Sometimes with such brutal honestly that you find yourself wondering where the question came from.... Ah "From the heart."....Land too scary to venture for fear of landmines. Covered up, overgrowth, branches, fallen trees. While most of the world wanders around with selfie sticks Krom are on the frontlines of world conflicts taking wide-angled shots of atrocities many care not to think about. I asked the band about this.

KROM:   This KROM song is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of innocent children killed in war and civil conflict. The lyrics can be equally applied to the thousands of Jewish children gassed in Nazi concentration camps in WW2, to the multitude of children who died under the brutal regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, the recent kidnapping of innocent children by Boko Haram and the innocent children currently being killed by US drone bombs in Afghanistan. Saddest of all is the recognition that even in the 21st Century, humanity continues to use innocent children as tools of war and civil conflict.

Let's go underground. Descend into the sewers of  hell. The Taliban Man takes us there.

Charles Bukowski once wrote "Nothing worth a shit got wrote in paradise."

Minko understands this.

They have the skill to break into World Music. Christopher is a wonderful musician, classically trained, steady on his path and gaining a foothold.

The band came over to Bangkok last year. The artistic community here were spellbound and realized that they were watching something special. Minko's strong grip on the neck of his electric acoustic and steady chord arrangements, the haunting beauty of the sister's vocals. I was impressed to the point I took their CD to London.

London loved it.

And so should you.

The band and production team are:

Music: Christopher Minko + Sophea Chamroeun
Guitar(s) / Lyrics / Vocals: Christopher Minko
Harmony Vocals: Sophea Chamroeun
Produced by James "Mao" Sokleap
Recorded in Phnom Penh: February 2015
Mastered at The Carvery (UK)
A Metal Postcard Release

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Joe Dylan's Hangover Cure,

Warhol wouldn't do this....
NOW, AS we all know Joe Dylan is no stranger to the odd 'lost weekend.' Owing to this and with our own livers in mind we thought we would catch up with Dylan for his advice on a handy hangover remedy. We hand you over to Joe Dylan, hangover expert and private investigator.

JD: It's all about preparation and foresight which are unfortunately two tools normally absent form your average alcoholics toolkit. What the hell, here's a simple cure that seems to do the trick. And let's face it when you're waking up feeling like there's a nest of rats scratching to escape your noodle its time to get wise and get wise quick. You need a plan. You need to prepare. You'll need:

Vitamin C 1000mg x 3
Vitamin B Complex 1000mg x 3
Tuna - 1 can
Corn soup - 1 can
Macaroni - 250 grams.
Water - 3 liters.
Electrolyte powder - 3 sachets
Tomato juice - 1 large carton
Gatorade - 1 bottle.

It may seem like a good idea to reach for the headache pills or even the bottle of booze that stung you but that just prolongs the agony. You could play around with combinations of headache pills, antihistamines, benzodiazepines or even, say morphine. Try to avoid this.

Now I'm a herbalist and I don't mean Satan's cabbage neither. That stuff gives me the horrors. Now I've given up the devil's bargain and let me tell you, I'm no quitter when it comes to quitting.

You know that. Don't ya?

Vitamins C an B are great at getting the liver back working and when your liver is in shape you're good to go on the next bender, I mean, next blender juice diet. These 1000 mil tablets can be bought over the counter in Fun City. Not sure where you are but those 25, 50 or 100 mil tablets in a container won't touch a hangover detox unless you take a lot. So check the dosage.

The tomato juice is packed full of stuff like potassium, the tuna pure protein which is plain and easy to digest as is the soup. The electrolyte powders are used by athletes and alcoholics alike to rehydrate the body after some serious exercise, ditto the Gatorade.

Here's the steps, man.

Step 1. Arrive back to your cold water apartment smashed out of your skull.
Step 2. Down that bottle of Gatorade along with one Vitamin C and one B.
Step 3. Wake up feeling like there's a nuclear explosion in your head. But don't worry, baby, the worse is yet to come.
Step 4. Take that carton of tomato juice (don't add any voddy to that you cheeky scamp) add ice to a glass and chug away the whole carton along with another B and C vitamin tablet.
Step 5. Heat water in a pan and add the macaroni. Cook until soft and tender like your liver.
Step 6. Add the tuna and corn soup. Try not to spew in the broth.
Step 7. Stir and then add a little to a plate. Eat a little at a time until the B and C's kick in giving the liver the all clear to keep on going. You might start shaking, this is normal. Well abnormal but normal considering the fact you had all the morals of a god darn sewer rat last night. Don't eat the whole macaroni dish.
Step 8. Take a large pint glass of water and add the electrolytes. Drink it down. Now's the time you might heave up that bowl of golden goodness. That's why I said leave some for later, stupid.
Step 9. Take a nap.
Step 10. Wake up. Get some exercise. Go for a walk. A jog if you do that sort of thing.
Step 11. Drink the remaining water. Feeling better now?
Step 12. Consider taking the 12 steps, because buddy, you got a drinking problem and you know it.

The Beat Goes On.