spare a thought for dolly

28 Jun

my short story, ‘disney’s dream debased’…

i was that mouse: waving white gloved hands. fixed smile failing to distract horrified eyes.

it wasn’t my fault. that’s what I’d tell mark if I met him again. but, as I never will, the best I can do is belatedly offer my side of the story…

a few months ago now, i edited and contributed to a short story collection, pop fiction: stories inspired by songs. if you know me, you probably already know about the book. lord knows i went on about it, not least of all here.

quite a few of you were kind enough to buy a copy, and have therefore (hopefully) read the two stories i contributed, ‘the only conclusion’ and ‘disney’s dream debased’. i hope you enjoyed them, and i appreciate your support. honest, i do.

however…if you never got round to buying the book (because you forgot / hate contributing to charity /deliberately snubbed me as i’m a shameless self-promoter), have i got some exciting news for you.

yes, you guessed it: you can now own one of the stories – ‘disney’s dream debased’ – without bothering to buy pop fiction…and it’ll only cost you 59p.

that’s right: pinch yourself and sing hallelujah. you’re not (disney) dreaming.

…now available from ether books.

last week, i wrote about the new, improved iphone app for ether books here. my argument in ether’s favour was so damn persuasive, i’d be amazed if there’s a single one of you left who owns an iphone and hasn’t downloaded their wonderful free app. but, just in case, you can – and should – get it here.

and now, as if by some crazy coincidence, ether have published ‘disney’s dream debased’. cynics would say it’s almost as if i knew ether was going to release my story, that i only wrote about them by way of thanks in advance. but those cynics would be wrong. and too cynical for their own good.

anyway, it’s yours for 59p. it’s an “ingeniously post-modernist spin on song interpretation itself”, apparently.

“a real life atrocity cartoon, immortalised in song.”

now, i know you’re already reaching for your iphone to download your copy (or reading this with tears in your eyes as you remember that you still haven’t got a decent phone). but, to entice you further, i’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about ‘disney’s dream debased’.

as with every story in pop fiction, it’s based on a song; one of my favourite songs, in fact, by one of my favourite bands: the fall. it really is a spellbinding tune, and you can enjoy it here, plus read an appreciation of it here on a brilliant fall-centric blog by mike shields.

the song – and therefore my story – is based on a real event: the death of a lady called dolly regene young, thrown from a disneyland ride on the same day in 1984 that the fall frontman, mark e. smith, and his then-wife, brix, happened to be visiting. you can read a brief overview of what happened here, as well as brix’s account of what she witnessed here. my inspiration for the story stems as much from the events recalled by mark and brix as the numerous factual accounts i found when researching the incident. dolly’s death is a fact; the reactions of disney’s staff is open to conjecture…but i had loads of fun exploring the impact such a bizarre scene could have on a man unfortunate enough to be dressed as mickey mouse at the time.

now, it’s not for me to say whether my ‘disney’s dream debased’ conveys any of the horror, tragedy, pitch-black comedy or sadness of the incident itself, but i can proudly say i gave it a good try. dolly’s story has disturbed me ever since i first read about it; it’s gut-wrenching yet ridiculous, cartoon-like but shocking. she was an ordinary woman who died an extraordinary death.

so i’d like you to pick up your iphone and download ‘disney’s dream debased’. but what i’d really love is for you to read the facts about dolly’s end, and take a moment to remember that death is often at least as random and ridiculous as the life that precedes it.

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