Monday, 26 March 2018

Slabs from Paradise

Jason Williamson Slabs from Paradise (2017)
This is the third I've read from Amphetamine Sulphate - arguably the star turn in so much as that it's the work of himself of international hitmakers, the Sleaford Mods, but feeling strangely mainstream after Captagon and Creepshots. Both books felt as though there was a lot going on just behind the narrative, whereas Paradise is very much up front and direct by comparison. In fact, these five short tales - although I'm not sure tales is quite the word given its invocation of something cosy experienced whilst drinking cocoa - these five short tales would be kitchen sink drama in the tradition of Sillitoe were it not for the coke and dogging.

It probably won't come as much of a surprise that these stories exude the same gleeful desperation as you hear on any Sleaford Mods record, and only the emphasis is slightly different. There's a lot more sex, a bit more violence - at least spiritually - and roughly the same quota of slate grey romance. Williamson expertly captures those aspects of working class existence which resist shoehorning into tastefully distressed high definition television shows - the stench, the endless disappointment, and having to get on with it despite daily punches in the face. Not for the first time, his writing reminds me of several decades spent working for Royal Mail and Parcel Force - which wasn't so much fun as you might think - minus the coke and dogging in my case. Slabs from Paradise speeds up all the misery and the futile wanking to breakneck pace, which isn't pretty, but probably needs to be recorded for the sake of posterity so that future generations looking back don't end up with the impression that it was all probably a bit like one of those shows which tries too hard on Channel 4. It's painful and intense, and very much in your face, which is probably why it's a good thing that these Amphetamine Sulphate books are all so short. Any more would be too much.

No comments:

Post a Comment