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  N O V E M B E R   2 0 1 7

• • • From Our Man in Kent, Washington

Razor King

Abel Diaz sends his impressions of the latest from David Britton:

"Razor King arrived like some insurgent ambush into my complacent, unguarded mailbox. It is another exceptional entry in an already exceptional body of work, but the chapters that really stand out for me are:

"'The Horror, the Kike and the Cake' for its opening salvo of dark humor that remained the funniest chapter throughout. The introduction of Dolly Lolly, his absurd mission and his candy-planet origins was ingenious, and it breathed new life into the Horror universe. He made for a more interesting foil or sidekick to Lord Horror than La Squab does. In addition, the contrast of Dolly's innocence against the horrid landscape of Auschwitozaliala and his confusion about his purpose for being there was much more enthralling to me than Lord Horror's hubris and pomposity. This was a damn fine beginning that set a terrific tone for the rest of the book.

"'Pipsqueak on the Take' for its sustained, fantastic imagery delivered in that luxurious prose I deeply love. I never suspected there was cosmic horror to be found in popcorn, but now I'm convinced: 'In actual fact, Lolly was in the middle of a field of popcorn, its buttery yellow shells puffing out a spoory vapour that danced with purpose through the air'.

"That passage harkens back to some of the finest, quietly unsettling atmosphere invoked in the first Lord Horror novel. 'He was well accustomed to receiving emissions from space "I speak to, and of, and for, nations; I speak to, and of, and for, nations; I speak to, and of, and for, nations" Lord Horror had concluded that the voice was a kind of countdown, pitched to give the impression of gradually fading. But he was sure it was not a broadcast from earth; it seemed to arise from somewhere beyond Jupiter."

"I savour these strange and haunting moments in these novels. To me, there is something more fundamentally valuable about this writing than the shock and awe that gets all the attention. If these books had been just a collection of racist jokes and offensive antics, I would have quit reading them long ago. I have stayed in love because time and time again, in certain paragraphs and pages hidden here and there amid the chaos, I have found the most incredible examples of cosmic horror, surreal decadence and weird fantasy that I have ever read in my life. That is no exaggeration.

"I also found Chapter 3, 'In the Belly of the Dolly Varden', to be especially interesting as a sort of Weird Wind in the Willows. It set my mind to dreaming about the existence of an entire novel featuring these vicious little badgers, ferrets and rats, plundering the Seven Seas and butchering all that crossed their path. In my imagination, this slim and superlative volume is titled The Pyrate King in Yellow or perhaps The Sea-Wolves of Torenbürgen.

"To my surprise, my favorite character this time around was not Lord Horror. He stood buried in the long, deep shadow cast by Dolly Lolly Pop. This interplanetary traveler was a fantastic creation. He stole every scene he was in, so much so that I admit that I grew impatient waiting for Dolly to return while reading certain chapters. His transformation from confectionary angel to repentant man-eater was phenomenal; it WAS the book for me. And I was so angry when Lord Horror ate that beautiful little bastard that I had to put the book down for several minutes. Like the inspired recreation of the Ononoes before him, Dolly Lolly Pop will stay long in my mind and heart.

"Julien Gracq once wrote, 'What I want from a literary critic 'contribution' to literature and the enrichment it is supposed to bring me, know that I will marry even without a dowry.'
It is in this spirit and according to this philosophy (which I agree with completely) that I have tried to share my thoughts. I know that I'm no Julien Gracq, but this is why it has never been very important to me to champion Savoy as descendants of whatever important dead authors or to debate the morality of writing such books in the first place. (For the record, I am half Ashkenazi Jew but agree absolutely with Wilde that there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book, and these books are NOT badly written at all.) What I have tried to do (with spectacular failure, I'm sure!) is to communicate what I loved and what spoke to me and what excited me. I feel that I have been privileged to watch something unique and incredible unfold. This is art of the highest quality.

"Let me end by saying:

"Dolly Lolly Pop über alles, meine Freunde!!!"


  O C T O B E R   2 0 1 7

• • • Razor King published

Razor King

Cover art by James Cawthorn. Design by John Coulthart.

Razor King is David Britton's seventh novel. His first, Lord Horror, published in 1989, was the last book to be banned in Britain under the Obscene Publications Act. In a defence led by Geoffrey Robertson QC the book was cleared of obscenity in July 1992.

The new novel continues Britton's cycle of Absurdist picaresque narratives, a series replete with scatological routines and outlandish tableaux. Razor King draws shockingly on the Jewish Holocaust, following the transgressive speculative-fiction lineage of JG Ballard and William S Burroughs while embracing the fin de siècle psychedelia of Alfred Jarry and Harry Clarke.

In Razor King two unconnected worlds and genres collide: the Wild West/Westerns, and outer space/planetary adventure. Key influences are the fantastical works of two of Adolf Hitler's favourite novelists: Karl May, a German author whose Western tales include characters such as Old Shatterhand and Winnetou the Warrior; and Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose Mars trilogy (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars) prefigures many of the popular fictional styles—sword and sorcery, heroic fantasy, science fiction—of later decades. Britton brings to the surface the psychotic undercurrents that often fuel these genres to create a phantasmagoria grounded in real historical events.

Continuing a trend begun with La Squab in 2012, Razor King is illustrated throughout by Kris Guidio.

Razor King — October 2017
• ISBN: 978-0-86130-130-0
• RRP: £20

Contact: Robert Holland — office@savoy.abel.co.uk


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  M A Y   2 0 1 7

• • • A Savoyard's meeting with the Lord Mayor

CC, MB, CAB

l to r: Clara Casian, Michael Butterworth, the Lord Mayor of Manchester
Carl Austin-Behan. Photo by Jonathan Barlow

Manchester's Lord Mayor, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, took time to reminisce with Savoy's Michael Butterworth about the city's brush with repression under Police Chief Constable James Anderton (1976–1991). The occasion was a preview for the La Movida exhibition, HOME art complex, April 13th, where Clara Casian's new film about Savoy and censorship, House on the Borderland, is being screened.

The exhibition celebrates the immense upsurge in artistic innovation that occurred in Spain when censorship was abolished following General Franco's death in 1975. Among the counterculturalists of La Movida Madrileña was filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar: "We weren't a generation; we weren't an artistic movement; we weren't a group with a concrete ideology. We were simply a bunch of people that coincided in one of the most explosive moments in the country." Casian's film connects the Savoyards of Manchester with that "bunch of people". Butterworth's recollections for Casian of The Savoy Wars – a twenty-five year battle with the Manchester police that paralleled the Spanish artists' struggle against Franco – are overlaid with Fay Ballard's narrative of her father JG Ballard's creation of an artwork.

The House on the Borderland, William Hope Hodgson's novel of cosmic terror, is the name we gave to Savoy's first retail bookshop, opened in Manchester in 1972 and inspired by Derek 'Bram' Stokes' London-based shop, Dark They Were and Golden Eyed. Casian's film is intended as an intermediate work between her earlier films about Savoy, and a planned feature film. The latter will be co-developed by Feature Expanded, an international programme between HOME Manchester and Lo Schermo Dell'Arte film festival, Florence, Italy. La Movida is curated by Sarah Perks and is part of HOME's ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival running from 14th April until July 2017 at HOME, Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN.

• • • A King of the Wild Frontier

The Gas by Charles Platt

Savoy Books 1980. Cover art by Harry Douthwaite

Charles Platt's classic novel of comic depravity and future sex, The Gas, is being reissued by Orion as part of a nine-book deal that will see most of Platt's titles available once again. Other titles will include Dream Makers, his book of interviews with SF writers, first published by Savoy as Who Writes Science Fiction?, and his 'New Wave' science-fiction novel The City Dwellers. All titles will be in ebook format.

Prior to Lord Horror, The Gas was Savoy's most notorious title. Not only did bookshops in Britain refuse to sell it, our distributors of the time, New English Library, declined to handle it. The book also came under the censorious purview of the Manchester police, and its seizure in 1980 resulted in Savoyard David Britton's first prison sentence: twenty-eight days in the riot-torn slammer of Strangeways. (For writing and publishing Lord Horror he was sentenced in 1993 to four further months in Strangeways and other prisons.)

With this history in mind, Platt has dedicated the reissue to David Britton; the new edition will also contain an insightful introduction by Platt outlining his novel's chequered history including an account of the police attacks on Savoy Books and our fight-back. To the finger-wagging moralisers who object to extreme content in fantasy, Platt's introduction offers this reminder: "In the immortal words of Robert Crumb, 'It's only ink on paper, folks!'"

• • • Good Things Come in Threes

Cawthorn Elric

James Cawthorn T-shirt design featuring Elric of Melniboné from Michael Moorcock's 1963 novel, The Stealer of Souls. Limited to 10 shirts. The handwritten caption from Moorcock, dated Xmas 1993, adds: "To celebrate over 30 years of fruitful collaboration!"

Another book not by Savoy! The long-awaited hardcover memorial for the late James Cawthorn, James Cawthorn: The Man and His Art, is now approaching completion. The book is the result of the combined forces of Maureen Cawthorn Bell (Cawthorn's sister), publishers Jayde Design and cheerleading from the wings by Savoy Books. The process of selecting artwork for this career-spanning collection is now complete, and the book is awaiting design by John Coulthart before heading for the printers in July 2017.

As well as the swords-and-sorcery artwork for which he is known, the book will encompass Cawthorn's writing and film work, designs for T-shirts and shops, together with more personal material such as family photographs, Christmas cards and cartoons done for friends. Cawthorn was the first artist to depict scenes and characters from the The Lord of the Rings (after Tolkien's own illustrations, of course), and this artwork from the late fifties and early sixties, recently exhibited at the Great Hall of Newcastle Castle Keep, will also be included. The book will represent a lifetime's work from the artist whom Michael Moorcock calls the greatest British fantasy artist after Mervyn Peake, and the definitive portrayer of Moorcock's own Elric of Melniboné. This is a Savoy book in everything but name: we have acted as advisers, and thrown open our archives to the editors at Jayde Design, John and Maureen Davey. Drawn from the Cawthorn archive at the Bodleian in Oxford, Maureen Cawthorn Bell's own collection, and Savoy's archives, the book will be a lovely distillation of memoir and artwork from over two thousand illustrations spanning Cawthorn's career.

Watch this space for the publication announcement.


  P R E V I O U S   B U L L E T I N S

December 2014–November 2016: End of Year Round-Up / Butterworth in Berlin / Another Savoy author incarcerated / The Blue Monday Diaries: In the Studio with New Order by Michael Butterworth / The Cramps at the Haçienda / Guidio & Moorcock: interviewed and interrupted at YouTube / RIP Kim Fowley

August 2013–December 2014: Invictus Horror / Eduardo Paolozzi at New Worlds / RIP Colin Wilson / Roger Eagle and Captain Beefheart / More Beefheart / Exhibitionism

May 2012–May 2013: Savoy on the move (again) / TS Eliot's Four Quartets read by Fenella Fielding / Sit Down! Listen To This!: The Roger Eagle Story / Lord Horror: Reverbstorm / Goodbye Gus / Reverbstorm reviewed / New CD release: Fenella Fielding reads Colette

April 2011–April 2012: La Squab sets sail! / La Squab: The Black Rose of Auschwitz / Fenella Fielding: The Savoy Sessions / Rubric at Savoy

February 2010–December 2010: Savoy at Ballardian 2 / Engelbrecht lives to fight another day / Michael Moorcock goes Into the Media Web / News for purchasers of Baptised in the Blood of Millions / Into the Media Web sells out / Don Van Vliet, 1941–2010

January 2009–November 2009: Lord Horror in Penny Blood magazine / RIP Lux Interior / Kris Guidio remembers Lux / Kim Fowley delivers sleevenotes for the Fenella album / Baron von Guidio with Space Fairies / Savoy profiled at Ballardian

August 2008–December 2008: Savoy music on iTunes / Jim Cawthorn 1929–2008

September 2007–February 2008: The Adventures of Little Lou by Lucy Swan published / New books announced: Moorcock's Into the Media Web and a new edition of Engelbrecht / Savoy signs with online music distributer The Orchard

May 2007–September 2007: The Fenella Fielding sessions continued: a studio filled with an array of talent / Kris Guidio: The new montage photo-shoot / Coming soon: Horror Panegyric / Jim Cawthorn

May 2005–December 2006: More squibs from La Squab / Isis of the Aethyr! / More from the Terrible Twins / Sieg Heil Iconographers in print / The Love Sessions / Mitchell book wins award / Moorcock in conversation with Alan Moore

July 2004-January 2005: Fenella news / The Odyssey of a Dogged Optimist / Savoy on Banned in Britain / Fuck Off And Die in print

November 2003-March 2004: A Serious Life / Fuck Off And Die / More Fenella / The Adventures of Little Lou

October 2002-March 2003: Pipped to the post / A Tea Dance at Savoy / Hoogstraten announcement / Fenella again

June 2002-August 2002: Arcturus published / Fenella! / Here we go again

October 2001-January 2002: The Killer published / Jim Leon-RIP

April-September 2001: New links and updates / Zenith the Albino published

February-March 2001: New Lord Horror novel / New Proby picture galleries

November-December 2000: New picture galleries / Engelbrecht triumphs

August-October 2000: Website upgraded / Zenith announcement / New Britton novel

June 2000: New book line announced / Reverbstorm #7 published

November 1999: John Coulthart's The Haunter of the Dark

October 1999: Savoy on the move

June 1999: Savoy comics seized and then released

July 1998: PJ Proby rip-offs alert


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