Bird # 54
A short text published in the September 2016 edition of Moonglasses Magazine. Go here to read it. A spoken-word version of this will appear on the All Things Left On Earth album.
Buddha's Mistake / Alec Station / The Mystery Trend
Three short texts published over at Unlikely Stories. Read them here. Buddha's Mistake is taken from the album Left At The Luna Mansion. Alec Station and The Mystery Trend are versions-in-progress of Hate Ashbury texts.
Sandman / West Ramona Spiders / Ahh Bitte / Bird # 54
All four of these texts were published on Across The Margin in May 2016. Go here to read them. We love their description: "UK poet and musician Darren Francis’ poems explode with thoughts interrupted, images colliding, experience rendered into microns, reflections and wily juxtapositions, all processed through a diction unwilling to sit still and explain itself." We're also very fond of the image they've used to accompany the texts (and which we've borrowed; see to the right of this paragraph). West Ramona Spiders, Sandman, and Ahh Bitte, all appear in spoken-with-music form on the album Left At The Luna Mansion. Bird # 54 appears on the album Open The Dog.
God, Love, Money & Other Snares
Published in the November 2015 edition of Bougainvillea Road Lit Mag. Read it here. This text originally appeared on my spoken word with music album God Thing, and seems to be one of my more popular pieces. We guess sedition is essential, sometimes, even if by proxy.
Published in March 2008 in issue 2 of Fissure magazine by Shadow Archer Press, along with the DF pieces Never End Never End Never End and Tatter. See Shadow Archer Press' website for more information or to buy a copy of the magazine. This piece was written in September 2007 and first saw the light of day in January 2008 on DF's myspace page. To date it doesn't appear anywhere else.
Never End Never End Never End
Published in March 2008 in issue 2 of Fissure, along with the DF pieces Coelacanth and Tatter. See Shadow Archer Press' website for a copy of the magazine. Written in November 2006, this is a 'poemised' version of a section of the text from Scarecrow, from God Thing. The title may or may not have significance to Silent Hill fans, though the poem itself is not related to Silent Hill in any way at all.
Here To Here
Published in the October 2007 edition of Retort. This was originally written as a prose piece in Summer 2006; this poem version dates from Spring 2007. To date it is unpublished elsewhere.
Published in the October 2007 edition of Retort. This originate from the Will I Dream section of God Thing. This version was rendered in November 2006. The title no doubt alludes to Jane's Addiction's finest moment from their Ritual de lo Habitual album, which has DF associations we really have no desire to delve into. Those seeking clarity as to the final line are referred to Belly's 1993 album Star, which has similar correlations.
Holborn, London, December 23 2006
Published in the October 2007 edition of Retort. This started life as a prose piece in the mid to late 1990s, and was re-worked by DF for God Thing (as God, Love, Money & Other Snares). This version was rendered - unsurprisingly - in December 2006. The original was a staple of DF live performances in the late 90s and early 00s. There are all manner of references and inferences here, but we'll leave it to the reader to decipher them. None of them are too obscure, we think.
The Last Boss
Published in the October 2007 edition of Retort. Written November 2006. More God Thing. The title, we expect, will have significance to computer gamers.
Published in the October 2007 edition of Retort, this is another piece sourced from God Thing (in this case, W9GFO). We suspect that the core of this will be lost on anybody who isn't DF or doesn't know DF well. The obvious sources are Carl Sagan's Contact and Terry Gilliam's Brazil, by way of Kraftwerk. You really had to be there.
Buy You A
Written August 2007, and published in the September 2007 edition of Why Vandalism? To date this piece remains unpublished elsewhere.
The Hills Are Alive (demo)
Work-in-progress from DF's God Thing spoken word project, showcased here on DF's website. It's labelled a 'demo' because that's exactly what it is. Written October 2006, published October 2006.
This is likely one of DF's most read pieces. It was first published on Pulp in January 2006, under the title Circles. Click here to read that version, or download a pdf of it here. You can read an alternate version - DF's preferred 'monitor mix' if you will - in Spell. The Spell version was also published in issue 4 of Fissure magazine (Fissure website here). Thank you also to 'peaceful' for posting a link to the Pulp version on the Crop Circle Connector forum, which no doubt attracted a fair number of readers who would otherwise not have encountered DF's fiction. This piece was written over the afternoon of 6th October 2005, and is certainly the swiftest interval DF has had between writing and publication. The story concerns crop circles, and some ways of their manufacture. On the day DF wrote it, he'd just got Coil's final album, The Ape Of Naples, listened to on repeat while tapping away. This may have influenced the story in one sense or another.
Instead Of Stressed I Lie Here Charmed
Published on Sick Among The Pure, October 2004. Like Tatter, Still Dead, If God Were A Goth, and Anything That Flies (see below for all), this is work-in-progress from the novel Cutting. Yes, the title is a Placebo lyric. On the SATP site, this and Tatter were published as parts one and two of a single piece (this being part two). This story also features as part of Despite Straight Lines, published in DF's book Spell.
Published on Sick Among The Pure, August 2004. Like various other pieces listed here, this is work-in-progress from the novel Cutting. On the SATP site, this and Instead Of Stressed I Lie Here Charmed were published as parts one and two of a single piece (this being part one). Some reader feedback: "Amazing story. I feel that few stories really take a gaze into the thoughts of people who don't just think complexly, but feel complexly also. I think that it was a great story. Very honest. I commend Darren Francis not only on his story but his small reference to Placebo's song, 'Every me, Every You' [sic.] in part 2. Thanks darren, for the insight into the complex infrastructure that is your mind." This story features as part of Despite Straight Lines in DF's book Spell.It was also re-published in March 2008 in issue 2 of the magazine Fissure; see Shadow Archer Press' website for more information and to buy a copy of the magazine.
Published on Starving Arts, June 2004. Like Anything That Flies and If God Were A Goth (see below), this is work-in-progress from the novel Cutting, which concerns - amongst other things - self-harm. This story also features as part of Despite Straight Lines in DF's book Spell.
If God Were A Goth
Published on Sick Among The Pure, June 2004. Work-in-progress from the novel Cutting, and also featured as part of Despite Straight Lines in Spell. Some reader feedback, from SATP: "I've been reading the SickAmongThePure articles for some time, but have never sent any feedback until now. I've just read Darren Francis' short story and I love it. I believe that he should continue the story and expand upon the characters, interesting read, I'd like some more. The rest of the articles are excellent as usual, keep up the good work!" and "I'm not sure who this is going to, or what the point of responding to this story is, but I Just felt I had to. Almost every line reminded me of something about myself, or people I know, and at the same time made you feel like you were in love with Cassie at some party, or alone in your room. Also, it was like reading about people who I could actually relate to, unlike most writing these days, and I really want to know what happens to them... I think it would be cool if the author could add to it, or if SickAmongThePure could put another part in next issue, and I just would want to read more of the authors work, get inside his head."
Anything That Flies
Published on Poetic Inhalation, March 2004. Work-in-progress from the novel Cutting. First draft Summer 2001, though re-worked later. It ought to be said that the title of this story (filched from Coil, from their Worship The Glitch album) bears little relation to the text, except perhaps obliquely.
Published in the Winter 2003/2004 edition of the ken*again journal. Like Almost Something (see below), this is excerpted from the Belong novel, and was written c.1997. For those keen on the chronology, Almost Something opens the novel, while Dolphin Blue occurs ten or so pages later, though both have been edited to make them self-contained. Who knows, maybe one day soon we'll be able to link ourselves all the way through the book... Nota Bummer: It wasn't until reading this story on the ken*again site that DF noticed a typo; the line "hands lined and crumpled with fossil trilobites" was supposed to read "hands lined and crumpled like fossil trilobites." DF's error entirely, though he decided to leave it, feeling that the line as it stood had a certain deranged poetic quality that he approved of.
A short story excerpted from the long-lost Belong novel, published in the online journal Catalyzer. Written c.1997, published September 2003. The title of this piece was probably co-opted from Minus Something by Swans, from their Soundtracks For The Blind album, which DF was listening to a lot when he wrote it.
Published in the anthology em three, 20th July 2001. ISBN 1366-3755. There was quite a span of time between the writing of this piece (August 1997) and its publication. At the time of composition, Clinton was US president, and the passing of comet Hale-Bopp and the Heaven's Gate suicides were recent events. Art Bell's predilections remain unaltered. These references will make little sense to those who have not read the story. Binary was - subject to a minor re-draft - re-published in DF's book Spell. For more information on em foundation and the em anthologies, visit the em website.
Published in the anthology britpulp! by Sceptre, 17th June 1999. This is a long and very different excerpt from DF's unpublished novel Sprawl, and was written at various points between 1994 and 1998. Edited by Tony White, the book also includes contributions from Nicholas Blincoe, Victor Headley, Stewart Home, Billy Childish, Simon Lewis, Steve Aylett, Stella Duffy, Michael Moorcock, Ted Lewis and Jack Trevor Story, amongst others. Iain Sinclair had this to say about the anthology: "britpulp! is urban, nervy, aggressive. Fast-twitch prose that fizzles and spits. Narrative with a kick. Jump-cuts that hurt like a knuckle in the eye. Here are the improper (and therefore reliable) tales of the city. Here are stars who glory in their anonymity. Here, too, in Michael Moorcock, Ted Lewis, and Jack Trevor Story, are the best of the reforgotten (they've never gone away, although it has taken someone with Tony White's sharp eye for history to acknowledge a proper debt). Pulp has always been a secret. Read by millions, remembered by few. There is no room for prima donnas in a world where gaudy-covered shockers have the lifespan of a fruitfly. There is only one rule; keep the pages turning. Get your retaliation in early, and often. Let this book read you." So there you go. Not sure about the 'glory in their anonymity' bit, though.
Website, by Pulp Books. "A non-linear, psychogeographical exploration of London". Work in collaboration with James Flint, Penny J Cotton, and Toby Litt, comprising approximately 10,000 words by each writer. Here's the blurb: "BabyLondon is a text-based hyperfiction website written by 4 young London-based authors, with London's multiplicity as its theme... Britain's first major hyperfiction site featuring crosslinked narratives, BabyLondon is not technically publishable in book form, as each path through the site is potentially unique with no two readers getting the text in the same order." To read BabyLondon, click here (note however that this link takes you to the Pulp Books website, where BabyLondon resides). DF's contribution is entitled Mythonaut. Written January-June 1998.
Published in TechnoPagan by Pulp Faction, October 1995. ISBN 1-899571-01-09. This excerpt comprised the first three sections of DF's novel Scat. These scenes were written in Autumn 1991. TechnoPagan is probably out of print by now, though it was the most popular of the Pulp Fiction anthologies and there were several re-prints.
Note: a book titled Scat by Darren Francis was listed on Amazon for a while as having been published by Pulp Faction though always listed as "currently unavailable". Don't bother trying to track down a copy; it was never actually published.
Skin Of My Dead Mother
Written Spring 1990 - Summer 1991. Published in the anthology Skin by Pulp Faction, February 1995. ISBN 1-899571-00-0. Herewith a bunch of nice things written by various reviewers: "Best of the bunch by far from this fine compilation is Darren Francis' brilliant story Skin Of My Dead Mother. It's a fascinating study of one man's mother-fixated existence and his consequent need for the other women in his life to fulfill a similar role. Women, if you want an exaggerated example of one of the things that plays a large part in the make-up of your chap's psyche, read this. Francis' story is worth the asking price alone" - Tim Johnson, Paint It Red, February 1995 (that's is not what I meant at all. This is not it, at all) or "...tight visual prose. The latter is especially impressive in Darren Francis' Skin Of My Dead Mother" - Shaun Phillips, Vox, July 1995. Alternatively, "Darren Francis, bass player with hardcore techno band Cubanate and author of the fascinating, vaguely repulsive Skin Of My Dead Mother, looks set to pursue a part-time career as a novelist" - On, July 1995 (it was keyboard, actually, not bass). This is a much-edited (approximately 10,000 words) version of the novel Under My Mother's Skin. DF was listening to an awful lot of Swans at the time of writing this, which perhaps explains a thing or two.