|Unfortunately, although this book has been planned
with Kevin for a year now he will not see the final
result. Sadly Kevin Coyne died on 2nd December
2004 in the arms of his dear wife Helmi at home in
Nuremberg. This book is one of many that Kevin
and I were planning to publish and I intend to carry
out that wish.
|The best place to discover the work of this
great writer and singer is Pascal's Kevin Coyne
site at www.kevincoynepage.tk/
|Helmi Coyne announced the publication of the book
with " The book is a collection of short stories,
glimpses of humanity and life's goings on. Kevin
never saw the finished product but I know he would
have been as pleased with it as I am.I hope you
She also said that the book was Kevin's most
ambitious book project. For the first time he
reworked stories that were written a long time ago.
And behind the lines there are some very personal
notes in the text
|Mojo magazine in the October issue carried the
Sadly, Kevin Coyne died before his first book in 14
years was published. But the spontaneity and energy
that hallmarked his songwriting style shines through
in these poems, fragments and short stories, all set in
a vividly drawn suburban dystopia. Coyne's
examination of humans beings as they try to co-exist
in spite of their flaws and foibles is moving, surreal and
very funny. In Life Stories, he protests: " Can't they
accept my third wife's moustache and testicles made
love-making repulsive. Mike Barnes
|The July 2005 edition of Uncut magazine carries a 4
Star review of the book. Nigel Williamson writes...
Posthumous collection of writings from eccentric but
brilliant English singer songwriter
The final helping of short stories from Coyne, who died
of lung fibrosis in December, resonates with the same
qualities we came to expect from his songs - dark,
humorous, perceptive, eccentric, painful but always
brimful of humanity. It's often said that the better
narrative songwriters create short stories set to music.
Coyne flipped the notion on its head by writing fiction
like a songwriter-turned-journalist. If you've ever
picked up a tabloid newspaper and been gripped by a
story about someone you've never heard of, the
technique is similar.
"Carol says she's got AIDS, broadcasts it all over the
public bar most evenings," one story begins. Nobody
knows whether to believe her; there's a rumour her
father's a bishop and we learn that she thinks Steven
King's books are read by morons. It's wonderfully
detailed yet totally vague at the same time. Does she
really have AIDS? We're drawn into the story by being
left to speculate with the characters in the bar. In the
title story, a man drops his trousers in the town centre
and gets sent to an open prison. Again, we're not told
why he exposed himself. Instead, we're made to share
the flasher's own confusion over the reasons for his
compulsive behaviour. Not so much a collection of
short stories, more illuminated glimpses of humanity's
|Stride Magazine contains this review in November 2005
1. This collection of short pieces is really one long happily
self-indulgent doodle, unravelling across the floor of an outside
bog. It could have been printed in the form of a toilet roll, in fact.
This is not an insult or criticism, just a thought for future marketing,
because Kevin Coyne talks a lot about arses, flatulent ones
mostly, with the kind of joy one would expect of a toddler who`d
swallowed a dictionary, and then ran around showing everyone the
resultant gleaming turds.
2. This collection has themes; madness (the axe-wielding cartoon
kind), and farting, as in
this extract from `Diarrhoea`;
Dad: Was that you or a passing motorbike?... Could it be that spicy
fiddle faddle you cooked for dinner?
and this, from `Topsy Turvy Time`;
The author pauses to fart four times. Switch to a small bar in Oslo.
A jolly group of Norwegian youths are gathered round a log fire
farting in harmony. A buxom, middle-aged woman in a long velvet
evening dress is conducting them with great panache. The loudest
of the young farters starts a conversation with her...
Well Mrs Gluwein, what do you think?
It smells Michael, but it`s good.
Nice to know it. Nice to know we are farting together in the correct
Someone much sadder and more obsessive than I might count the
times farting is mentioned. It would be a lot, I bet. Also any slang
word for penis. I`m wondering if the intention of this book is to
topple the reign of the `coffee table` book, by making this the best
`smallest room` book ever written. Then I could say it`s making a
class statement, or some valid point about the state of current
literature. But I think it`s just Mr Coyne having fun with himself, and
us, if we care to join in.
3. Kevin Coyne has the ability to write the most delightfully unlikely
phrases, which work because he decontextualises ... (at this point
my mind wandered into the garden)
4. This collection of short pieces is very giddy. The sentences
swoop and crush. The way Coyne builds a story seems entirely
organic; an idea leads to an idea and there`s no restraint at all.
None. Which I do find rather exhilarating, but also tiring, enfeebling
Here`s a bit of `Getting Better`;
He sat down to write... "In the midst of the hallucination of time a
steam roller had squashed his violet pumps." He was Oscar Wilde -
or was he? He`d been mad once (or was it twice?) and the
thoughts of entering that screaming dark world again shocked him.
He decided he wasn`t Oscar Wilde; that he was really himself
writing about Oscar Wilde. He felt better.
You can almost feel the thinking process happening, or running
away with itself for sheer delight in it`s own daftness;
Cedric`s obsessed with Cardiff.
"The city of the gods," he calls it, "a paradise for men, children,
and all women over fifty." I`ve a powerful suspicion he`s never
been near the place. My mother says he was born in Cairo, and I
have to admit, he certainly looks like someone from the dark
continent when he`s got his fez on. It`s very strange, very peculiar,
very disturbing to a sauve and honest chap like myself. I wish he`d
stop calling me "Boyo", in front of the guests in the dining room.
Listening to Ali`s tales of loose women, pregnant canaries, and a
one legged nun from Sri Lanka is more than enough for one
sensitive man to bear.
(from `Rabbit Teeth`)
5. This collection of short pieces (and a few poems too) is for Viz
fans who can spell. Or maybe it`s a genuine poke in the
establishment`s eye. I didn`t find it very funny; I found some turns
of phrase truly inspired, and the rest of it mind-numbingly crass.
Now I must go, as my senile cat`s making a fuss about using his
tray again and it`s given me an idea for a story.
© Sandra Tappenden 2005
|Frank Bangay wrote in the November issue of Southwark MIND
Newsletter in November 2005
Kevin Coyne is probably best known in England for a series of
fine records that he made on the virgin label in the 1970's.
However right up until his sad death from lung fibrosis last
December he carried on making interesting records. He also
pursued separate careers as a painter and as a writer. The latter
career started with the publication of The Party Dress in 1990.
That Old Suburban Angst is Kevin's first bookk to be published
in English since Showbusiness in 1993. Subsequent books
were translated into German. Kevin made Germany his home in
1985. Sadly Kevin passed away before this book was published.
Like the title suggests a number of stories are set in a troubled
but often-surreal version of suburbia. The narrator drops his
trousers in public. After a two week spell in an open prison near
Biggleswade, finds himself ostracised by all around. He is left
trying to understand the reason for his behaviour. Life Stories
features seven different characters, four of who are from
professional backgrounds. But be it Dickie Dorset the depressive
body builder, or head psychiatrist Dr. Ramsbottom. All seven
characters are as mad as one another. All have an equal amount
Another story Parrot is a look at human life through the eyes of a
parrot in a cage. What the parrot sees is quite disturbing. Days
By The Sea is a humorous look at sheltered accommodation and
some of the people who live there. Some of the stories have a
darker edge to them, relating to Kevin's stuggle with ill health. For
example in Alive the main character dies and is thrown into a
disorientating afterlife that he struggles to get used to. Some of
the characters in this book have disabilities that make them feel
like outsiders. In some stories like Rabbit Teeth and Alan's
Search For True Love there is a sense of tragedy, however
you get the feeling that these people can laugh at themselves.
I won't spoil things by telling you more about this book. Discover it
for yourself. you won't be disappointed.
|This review appeared in the December issue of Modern
Dance magazine- also on line at www.modern-dance.co.uk.
|Karl Bruckmeaier German DJ and Coyne supporter on his
www.le-musterkoffer.de/musikstrom.html gave the book 4 out of 6
saying "Kevin's Mischung aus Abscheu gegenuber Zuneigung zu
den Menschen ist unverwechselbar und fehlt mir sehr ****
("I miss Kevin's unique mix of abhorrence and sympathy to people
|Amazon currently carries this customer review with a five star
"Not only a very talented musician, April 18, 2005
Reviewer: go2sweeney from London Great Britain
Kevin Coyne is mainly known for his musical career, but he was
also a very talented writer and painter. In this book, he submits a
number of short stories relating to life in general. The stories are
written with humour and a great perceptiveness of modern life. It
is by no means an easy read, but, if you persevere, you will
understand and enjoy it. It is type of book that you will want to
come back to."