In the latest instalment of the Criminal Records series, Dirty Books curator Tom Leins puts together a playlist to accompany his new book, Boneyard Dogs (Close to the Bone, 2019).
BONEYARD DOGS by Baxter Dury
My book Boneyard Dogs is the sequel to Meat Bubbles & Other Stories, which was soundtracked here last year. Whereas that playlist featured a raucous mixture of punk, hip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass, this time around the tone is more subdued. Boneyard Dogs features its fair share of unhinged, pulse-pounding scenes, but the mood is also unusually contemplative in places – by my standards anyway.
This track – which inspired the book’s title – was included on Baxter Dury’s debut album, Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift, from 2002. I was very hungover very often that summer, and this woozy album takes me back to that era in an instant. Unlike my protagonist, Joe Rey, I didn’t have to go toe-to-toe with scumbags in smoke-choked pubs while nursing a succession of brutal hangovers – I just had to hire out deckchairs to holidaymakers!
Tonally, my book is nothing like this gently psychedelic album, but this song title was too good not to recycle, with its unwitting echoes of Matt Scudder and Quentin Tarantino.
RENTED ROOMS by Tindersticks
Tindersticks were one of the more unusual English bands to emerge during the Britpop era, and they are probably as well known for their soundtrack work as they are for their conventional albums. (Interestingly, since leaving the band, multi-instrumentalist Dickon Hinchcliffe has composed the soundtracks for all manner of cool stuff, including Winter’s Bone, Out of the Furnace, Red Riding and Peaky Blinders.)
Anyway, this is another slow song – about grubby sexual encounters – something that Joe Rey is no stranger to, especially in this book, where he attempts to use his dubious charms to his advantage on more than one occasion.
Right, are you ready for something to set your toes tapping?
MARSHA MOXLEY by Nixon & The Burn
Nixon & The Burn were the best band to ever come out of Paignton, and their presence on the Boneyard Dogs soundtrack is a no-brainer. In a just world, their songs would be playing on the jukeboxes in pubs across town on a daily basis, but Paignton was no more ready for them than it is for my books!
This video features Paignton Pier and the Palace Place Social Club (two locations which haven’t yet featured in my books), but I would definitely use this song in one of the Dirty Lemon scenes (an old band hang-out) – probably to accompany the first ‘discussion’ between Rey and his nemesis, Detective Inspector Butcher.
CHARNEL HOUSE BLUES by Crazy Arm
A double-dose of Devonshire is called for, and this song by Plymouth roots-punks Crazy Arm is a cracker. A Charnel House is a vault where skeletal remains are stored – appropriate for a book with a body-count as high as Boneyard Dogs – and the lyrics are a great fit too, from the great “fucking up someone somewhere, fucking up someone bad” line to the references to a “coastal bruiser” and “trouble in Little England”. This one is my favourite track on the band’s second album, Union City Breath. Tremendous stuff!
BEYOND HERE LIES NOTHIN’ by Bob Dylan
‘Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ is a great title, and possibly my favourite Dylan song since ‘Things Have Changed’ in 2000, which was included on the Wonder Boys soundtrack. Odd video too – grubby, gritty and violent.
After hearing this track for the first time, I knew that I wanted to use the title for the closing chapter of this particular book. It feels entirely appropriate for a man who has run out of options, run out of friends and run out of luck. Rey kicks down doors for a living – what’s behind this one?
Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. He is the author of Boneyard Dogs and Meat Bubbles & Other Stories (both Close To The Bone) and Repetition Kills You (All Due Respect) as well as the novelettes Skull Meat, Snuff Racket, Spine Farm and Slug Bait. For more information, please visit: Things To Do In Devon When You’re Dead.
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