Tag Archives: disney’s dream debased

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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the revolution will be downloaded

23 Jun

the new and improved ether books app has arrived…

i’m not sure if i’ve ever mentioned ether books to you before but-

oh, silly me, i nearly forgot; i’ve rambled on about ether’s pure brilliance here, here, and performed an award-winning* dramatic performance about it here.

but it’s time for me to rave about ether once again, because from today you** can download the new, improved, all singing, all dancing*** ether iphone app v1.4.

since i last wrote about the fantastic work ether are doing to push the short story into the smartphone age, they’ve massively picked up momentum. almost every day now, ether books’ facebook page and twitter feed raves about new releases; more talented writers are joining ether every day, many of whom are well-established award-winners who often offer their stories for free. because they’re nice like that. not because they’re rubbish at writing and can barely give it away.  and, as i’ve said before, i’m proud to have had two stories published by ether books so far (‘i think the sun is shining’ and ‘bcc:’, both frankly brilliant and yours, here),  largely because i’m amongst such fine company.

…so download the revolution

if for some reason you’ve got an iphone and evaded ether’s charms so far, now is the time to get involved. ether’s iphone app has always been a winner – easy to use, good-looking and a joy to read from – but v1.4 is even better. it looks smarter, it’s more intuitive, plus it’s, like, as down with the kids in this social media age as it should be: now, you can not only follow the authors you fall in love with, as well as link to their own sites / blogs, but also rave about their brilliance by sharing links to their stories via the facebooks, the twitters or good ol’ email. ether has always been great at offering affordable quick reads on the go, but this new functionality means you can now recommend your new discoveries in an instant. as a result, you will inevitably become more popular, and your new friends will think you’re ever so cultured and, like, literary, because you’ve recommended they read some writing and stuff.****

anyway, ether themselves talk far more convincingly – and professionally – about the benefits of v1.4 here and here.

this new world of mobile reading isn’t going to fade away – the rise of the mighty kindle has proved that – and ether will have more to offer as time goes on. this week they announced that, as well as short stories, essays and serials, you can also download weekly columns by well-established writers and journalists via the ether app. plus ether will, sooner rather than later, be available on android and blackberry too. the ether universe is expanding. so come on, get involved. before everyone starts laughing at you more than they already do. sorry. shouldn’t have mentioned that. it’s nothing, honest.

oh, one more thing:

“thanks for this wonderfully written pr stunt, daaan,” i hear you say. “but what’s in it for you?”

nothing. i just do these things out of pure love.

but – oh – incidentally, i do have another story scheduled to be published by ether very soon indeed. it’s called ‘disney’s dream debased’, and originally appeared in a short story collection i contributed to, pop fiction: stories inspired by songs. it’s an essential purchase for everyone in the world who:

a) owns an iphone

b) likes my writing but

c) failed to buy pop fiction when it came out, despite my incessant pleading

d) thinks “£7.99 for a book? bugger that, i’ll spend 59p on just one of the stories instead. that’s a reasonable price”.

there must be one of you out there…so please buy it when it comes out. fret not – i’ll let you know.

so. what now? well, first, i’d recommend grabbing your iphone and downloading the ether app v1.4. even if you’ve been kind enough to listen to me in the past and get involved, you’ll need to update the application to get the best out of what ether has to offer.

and, once you’ve got your app, marvelled at its beauty and immersed yourself in a world of fantastic fiction…get voting. that’s right – the sunday times is looking for the best apps out there, and i reckon ether deserves your vote. it’s either that or angry birds, but frankly i’d plump for the app that doesn’t make you scream like a child and drive you towards murderous thoughts every time you play it.*****

* ‘best iphone app-pimping whilst eating confectionary performance’ category, the idiot awards, 2011.

** when i say ‘you’, i mean ‘you, if you’ve got an iphone’. we’ve already discussed what you need to do if you don’t own one. seriously, sort it out. it’s getting embarrassing.

*** nb. ether app v1.4 does not sing or dance. but v1.5 presumably will.

**** this cannot be proven and yet remains a fact.

***** i am not addicted. it is just a game. it is just a game. it’s just a bloody game and i will destroy those pigs or die trying. ahem. sorry.

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