When I was 6 years old, I modelled clothes for a local boutique but that doesn’t make me a ‘former model’.
When I was 11 years old, I ran a race at the school sports day but that doesn’t make me a ‘former athlete’.
When I was 20 years old, I contributed squeaky vocals to a 45 by a band called The Mogodons. It was a one-off and doesn’t make me a ‘former singer’.
It is quite sinister that someone appears intent on making the case of a career that never was from a sole single and to this end has posted personal information on my wiki page about a marriage that was dissolved over 30 years ago. Sure, if they’d been able to put up information about gigs, albums, etc., but they are unable to do so and instead grub around in the dust of old relationships as none-proof. This disclosure also affects my daughter who I raised alone. A career tends to be a long term investment in one particular area, as in my writing, which is fairly substantial. It is really peculiar unless this person hopes to gain in some way from the single’s history? I’m not ashamed of the past but making that record was a distraction on a rainy afternoon. It shouldn’t be allowed to amount to anything more, especially not by an anonymous stranger.
Thank you to Mark Andresen from ‘The Pan Review’, which is a treasure trove of supernatural & esoteric subjects that covers both literature and music. Mark asked some great questions, marrying the past with the present to enquire ‘of all the rock stars you’ve met and written about, who strikes you as the closest to the Victorian decadent’ ? It was also interesting to explore how Glastonbury, once a humble free-festival in one of the most mystical locations in the UK is now a corporate juggernaut.
I’d also like to thank my friend, Caroline Coon for her appraisal of ‘The Greenwood Faun’ which is now up on her website: The Greenwood Faun by Nina Antonia at http://www.carolinecoon.com/news.htm. Caroline looks at the book from both a creative and academic standpoint to deliver an incredibly perceptive overview. It’s the first time I’ve been mentioned in the same breath as Joe Orton, whose work I’ve always revered since seeing ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ in the playwright’s home town of Leicester as a teenager. Like Pan, Mr Sloane cannot help but create chaos and on that note…………
‘Hope is a dream with its eyes open’ and so begins ‘The Greenwood Faun’, which was written in 6 months but took nearly three years to percolate, before it was published via www.EgaeusPress.com, in December. It was a pleasure to work with a publisher of such high aesthetic standards. I’m also indebted to David Tibet and Mark Valentine who have been so generous in their support. The lure of Pan, the irresistible lilt, has the same pull as rock ‘n’ roll. The leap into the ‘Greenwood’ was not quite as great as one might initially imagine. Rock ‘n’ Roll before it became an industry promised freedom & as a girl growing up in a stifling household, that was the promise. Writers shouldn’t be confined, besides I was dreamy enough to visualise Johnny Thunders as a kindred spirit to Rimbaud & to see Baudelaire’s poetic cynicism in Peter Perrett. ‘Insiders’ have never appealed, only those outside, dissident voices and themes. As we devastate nature, Pan remains in exile.
Sadly, this year saw Sheffield Council continue to decimate thousands of healthy, mature trees. Not only are they pulling out the lungs of the city & destroying the habitat of urban wildlife but they are eradicating centuries old and much loved landmarks in an unparalleled campaign of eco-vandalism. Thankfully Sheffield’s dedicated tree-guardians have ensured daily reportage and peaceful protest whilst Bianca Jagger, Vernon Kay and Ken Loach are also adding their support. My contribution, ‘Sheff,’ was illustrated by Sheffield tree activist and artist, ‘The Sad Squirrel.’ Pan is there in spirit or in the words of a branch of the same tree, Puck: ‘I came into England with Oak, Ash and Thorn, and when Oak, Ash and Thorn are gone I shall go too.’
I was delighted to have a two part essay featured in Wormwood, ‘Incurable –Lionel Johnson – The Disconsolate Decadent’. Mass culture ensures only a handful of names & products are recycled like a banquet heaving with plates but only two choices on which to dine. Wormwood (www.tartaruspress.com) however, keeps the torches burning for obscure but deserving authors of the decadent, esoteric & outré, making it a perfect home for the ‘lost’ Victorian poet, Lionel Johnson, who slipped into the literary wilderness, despite having introduced Lord Alfred Douglas to Oscar Wilde and being an influence upon W.B Yeats. It was because of Lionel that I was fortunate enough to make the cover story of ‘Fortean Times’ earlier in the year, when relaying the story of the poet’s haunted chambers, one of London’s less well known avian mysteries, that owes more than a little to Poe.
No year could be complete without a project dedicated to Johnny Thunders. I was more than happy to write liner notes & interview Michael Monroe, for a remastered edition of ‘Que Sera, Sera’, due for release via Jungle Records, (www.jungle-records.com) early in the New Year. Featuring two previously ‘lost’ tracks that are prime JT, it’s a gem.
Delighted that the first review of ‘The Greenwood Faun’ is featured in the Autumn edition of ‘Faunus’, the journal of the friends of Arthur Machen.
Author Timothy J Jarvis has warmly embraced ‘The Faun’, noting the guest appearances of Rimbaud, Wilde & Austin Osman Spare, without giving too much of the plot away.
‘The Greenwood Faun’ is inspired by Arthur Machen’s ‘The Hill of Dreams’, a decadent masterpiece about an aspiring writer who gets lost on Laudanum in a labyrinthine London. Prepare to be seduced……I hope, or at least swoon….
After much anticipation, we are pleased to announce that The Greenwood Faun by Nina Antonia is available to pre-order.
“A strange and curious novel, steeped in the lingering incense and paganism of the fin-de-siècle.” – Phil Baker
“Nina Antonia’s The Greenwood Faun is a haunted, haunting work. Summoning up Lucian Taylor, the hallucinated hero of Arthur Machen’s The Hill of Dreams, Nina channels the curious, captivating story of what happened to Lucian’s literary masterpiece after his death, and how it both saves and destroys those who come across it after it is posthumously published. Shot through with decadence, poetry, opium, and incense, with the ghost of Lionel Johnson as psychopomp and the Great God Pan heavy in the fields, this is a beautifully written proem: witty, crepuscular, enchanting, surprising.” – David Tibet
“Decadent in style and, more importantly, in spirit, The Greenwood Faun captures the lush sentiment as well as the mordant irony of the fin-de-siècle, and contrives a delicate balance between them. I loved it.” – Brian Stableford
Scheduled for official publication on December the 5th, 2017 – Faunalia of the ancient Roman calendar – the book has 192 pages; is a lithographically printed, sewn hardback with colour endpapers. It is limited to just 420 copies. ISBN 978-0-993527876.
For more information and to order please click HERE.
Latest update on ‘The Greenwood Faun’ which is due for publication on December 5th courtesy of the very lovely Egaeus Press www.egaeuspress.com
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Some have noted a mention of our upcoming publication, THE GREENWOOD FAUN by Nina Antonia on the Wormwoodiana blog, and a reading the author will be making at Putney Library, London, on Wednesday 13 December between 6.45pm to 7.45pm. If you happen to be in the region, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, and mulled wine will be on hand to stave of the evening chill. (For more information call 020 8780 3085, or email Charlene.Coleman@gll.org.)
In answer to a number of queries which we have subsequently received, the book itself will be available to order in the early days of December, certainly before Faunalia (5th of December). Further announcements will be made in the weeks to come. It is a quite remarkable work… “shot through with decadence, poetry, opium and incense . . .this is a beautifully written proem: witty, crepuscular, enchanting, surprising” – David Tibet
Meanwhile, a big thank you to everyone who ordered (or pre-ordered) THE ECHO OF THE SEA & OTHER STRANGE WAR STORIES by Paul StJohn Mackintosh. It has shaped up to be quite a success. All ordered copies have been despatched and if they haven’t already received yours, you should do very soon. And if you haven’t ordered already, copies are still available from the EGAEUS PRESS WEBSITE. Don’t forget, this book is limited to 250 copies, and they won’t be around forever!
Wording: The power of the internet – great picture of Ivy Rorschach, insane wallpaper and myself in a book entitled ‘Untypical Girls’. I only found out about Sam Knee’s book due to a sharp eyed pal, so I have no idea if I’m name-checked or not as the author didn’t make contact but it was nice to be included. I adored the Gregory/Kid era Cramps, they were one of the most powerful and pure evocations of rock n’ roll imaginable and I was fortunate to get to know the band in early days. Through meeting them I got the confidence to start writing. Rock n’ roll journalism was perceived as a rather unseemly thing for a young woman to do, it was still very masculine territory. When Wikipedia first went out, I was credited as being a groupie simply because I wrote about bands. It took months to get Wikipedia to change this – no one would ever have dreamed of describing Nick Kent who was a big influence or Lester Bangs as a ‘Groupie’ but because I was female, that assumption was made and then went on to the internet. There’s also an obsession that I was a singer – another distortion of fact. I was always a writer, contributing to numerous publications including Mojo/Uncut and Classic Rock as well as having 5 books to date, published. One foray into backing vocals that was quickly forgotten has set an inaccurate precedent and remains part of the quest to be taken seriously as writer. An ‘untypical girl’? Maybe or maybe not as there was always plenty of females at the gigs I went to, if they weren’t seen as equal participants that has more to do with the mind-set of the music press at the time. Outside of the performers, the rock n’ roll experience wasn’t solely the province of males as hopefully Sam Knee’s book attests. ( I don’t have a copy so can’t say ;))