I Lost You On Blue Monday by Tomasz Kowalczyk

#Noirvember, International Noir, Music, Polski Noir, Punk Noir Magazine, Tomasz Kowalczyk

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0PE2i…

TIDAL: https://listen.tidal.com/artist/8495352

DEZEER: https://www.deezer.com/en/artist/1187…

Composer/pianist: Tomasz Kowalczyk (contact via e-mail: tomaszkowalczyk90@gmail.com)

Animation: Leszek „Hill” Górka

Mix/Mastering: http://www.ip-studio.pl/

Cullen Gallagher interviews Paul D. Brazill

Cullen Gallagher, Flash Fiction, Interviews, Music, Non-fiction, Paul D. Brazill, Polski Noir, post punk, Pulp, Punk Noir Magazine, Vic Godard

Long ago, I interviewed one of my favorite noir writers, Paul D. Brazill, about his then-recent novella, Kill Me Quick! Whether it was fate, circumstance, or just laziness, Pulp Serenade sort of faded away and I shamefully did not publish the interview. Now, years later, I’m trying to make amends. Paul was kind enough to update the interview with a little bit about his newest work, Last Year’s Man, as well as a short story, “No One is Innocent” (published over at Retreats from Oblivion).

Your story “No One is Innocent” was later incorporated into the novel, Big City Blues. Can you tell us a little bit about Big City Blues and how the short story found its way into a longer work?

With Big City Blues I wanted to have a bundle of OTT characters collide in London. The blurb says: ‘British coppers, an American private eye, London gangsters, international spies, and a serial killer known as The Black Crow all collide violently and hilariously in Big City Blues.’ I changed the main characters from No One Is Innocent a bit to fit in with the bigger story.

The jukebox in “No One is Innocent” plays Jane Morgan’s “The Day the Rains Came.” If you could program your perfect bar jukebox, what would be on it?

There are far too many to choose from but any jukebox without Tom Waits, Sinatra and Dusty Springfield isn’t a real jukebox.

Last Year’s Man is your new novel, what’s it about and what inspired you to write it?

A troubled, ageing hit man leaves London and returns to his hometown in the north east of England hoping for peace. But the ghosts of his past return to haunt him. I always liked the idea of the comedian Tony Hancock as a hit man or gangster and Last Year’s Man is my stab at that.

The setting of Kill Me Quick! is Seatown, a shithole town populated by has-beens, screw-ups, and half-assed ex-musicians who never made it. Is this place for real, or what inspired it?

Seatown is a grotesque version of my home town, Hartlepool, and the areas around the town. A lot of it is based on real people and real situations but by throwing them all together at one time it makes the quirky sides of the town seem all the more bizarre. There are, of course, lots of normal people doing normal things in Hartlepool but there’s no fun in writing about them.
There are so many great details about the life of a musician, from grimy bars to band breakups to business scams. This isn’t even the glitter and glam of VH1 Behind the Music, but the real-deal grit. What is your own background in music, and did any of the details come your own musical experiences?
My oldest brother was a musician who mostly played in hotel bars, working men’s clubs, on cruise ships and the like. I played in a couple of post- punk bands. I’ve been around musicians of various shades of success all of my life.  Many musicians’ reach exceeds their grasp and vice versa, so it can have a tragi-comic aspect to it that suits my spin on noir.
Lots of music is referenced through the book, including Tom Waits, Julie London, Fairport Convention, and John Martyn, but none is so surprising as Dire Straits. This must be the first noir book to mention that band. You describe them as the sound of gloom. Do you really hate Dire Straits that much, and just what is so bleak about them to your ears?
I don’t mind them in small amounts, to be honest. Knopfler is a very tasty guitarist. Never been a fan. They signify a certain pastel cloured, ’80s, hotel bar corporate rock sound, though.
More than a couple people are wearing Doc Martens. What’s the cultural significance, and do you still have a pair yourself?
I haven’t worn Doc Martin boots in my life! Not with my feet! They are very Brit Grit, though. Like Fred Perry, Carry On Films and marmite.
One of your characters defines irony as “when the audience knows more about what’s happening than a character and knows that the character’s making a mistake.” So, do you think all noir is inherently ironic?
As I’ve said before, I think noir has a lot in common with slapstick, in that the characters are on the verge of falling down a metaphorical manhole all the time. They usually think they know what’s going on but haven’t a clue!
Apparently no good shows happen in Seatown any more … so tell me, what’s the best and worst shows you’ve ever seen?
Gang Of 4 at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, Magazine at Redcar Coatham Bowl, Ennio Morricone at the Barbican Centre, Lyle Lovitt ant Hammersmith Apollo were all great. Both times I saw Kinky Friedman. Both times I saw the Subway Sect. Leeds Futurama Festival in 1979 – Joy Division, the Fall etc. I don’t remember the crap ones: enough with those negative waves, Moriarty!
Give me some music recommendations! What are some of the best British punk bands that people don’t talk about as much as they should?
Although British punk was about re-inventing rock muic, some of the best bands were the ones that were anti- rock. Subway Sect, The Prefects, ATV. They had a different approach to music and lyrics.
One of your characters says, “Democracy drags things down to the level of the lowest common denominator. In music, that’s usually the bass player.” Why does everyone always make fun of bassists? 
I used to play bass, so … It does seem that bass players are not so much the ugly friend but the mousey one you always forget about. There are many exceptions of course: Barry Adamson, Bootsy Collins, for example.

Shifting gears, I have some questions about other projects … Roman Dalton, werewolf P.I., began as one of your stories, but now other writers are taking a spin with the character. Why open it up to other writers, and what’s it like seeing other people use your character?

I actually thought the Dalton world was a good one that I didn’t have the ability to exploit fully. Letting someone like Allan Leverone or Matt Hilton take a bite of it put more meat on its bones, he says mixing metaphors.
What’s this about the Polski Noir project on your website? Who does the translating?
Polski Noir is a webzine where flash fiction in English is translated into Polish. The translations are done by my friend Marta Crickmar and her students. Writers published so far include Patti Abbot, Richard Godwin, K A Laity.

What are you working on now? Any upcoming publications you can share with us? Small Town Crimes is a flash fiction and short story collection that will be out from Near To The Knuckle at the end of the month. I’ve just finished a follow up to Last Year’s Man. It’s called “The Iceman Always Rings Twice.”

“The Iceman Always Rings Twice!” That’s a great title. Do you come up with titles before you start writing?
That title was suggested by Daniel Moses Luft on Facebook when he found out I’d written a yarn called “The Postman Cometh.”


This interview first appeared at PULP SERENADE.

Pulp Serenade Banner Sept 2015

Jolly New Songs by TRUPA TRUPA

Euro Noir, Music, Noir, Noir Songs, Polski Noir, post punk, Punk Noir Magazine, Trupa Trupa

Jolly New Songs

Jolly New Songs by TRUPA TRUPA

‘A cracking album from this fabulous Polish Avant Rock group. Highly recommended and a great follow up to their superb 2015 album ‘Headache’. In fact, I think I like this a bit better. They have their own unique sound, but the easiest elements to nail are the psychedelic feel that permeates the overall atmosphere and occasional melodic interventions reminiscent of The Beatles. Favourite track: COFFIN. ‘ – Gavin Hellyer

Trupa Trupa

Poliski Noir – 3 Polish Crime Films by Paul D. Brazill

Films, Music, Non-fiction, Polski Noir, Punk Noir Magazine

ediPoland is a country that has certainly been no stranger to austerity and has subsequently produced some cracking, hard-hitting crime dramas. Here are a few of my faves.

Edi (2002) Directed by Piotr Trzaskalski with a screenplay by Wojciech Lepianka and Piotr Trzaskalski.

The star of Edi, Henyrk Golebiewski, is a man with a face so lived in squatters wouldn’t stay there.  A former child star, whose life went off the rails when he became an adult, he went AWOL and was eventually tracked down by Trzaskalski – the director – to play the eponymous Edi who, along with his friend Jureczek, walks the streets of Lodz – a decaying industrial city- collecting scrap. Edi is a smart man, however, with a fridge full of books which he devours. Like Golebiewski he has had his share of hard knocks but Edi still believes that ‘It can be Christmas every day if you want it to be.’

A pair of local gangster brothers – who have recently beaten one of Edi’s scrap collector friends to death – ask Edi to help their beloved sister – Princess – pass here exams. Princess is secretly in love with Gypsy, one of the gangsters’ henchman, though. Something her over–protective brothers would not approve of, and so, she gets Edi drunk after one of their lessons, and secretly sneaks off to see Gypsy.

Months later, when Princess discovers that she is pregnant by Gypsy, she accuses Edi of raping her. The brothers’ punishment is most certainly cruel and inhuman and, while recovering, Edi ends up taking care of the girl’s child.

Edi is a tough but sometimes beautiful film, with a strong cast that is anchored by Golebiewski’s heartfelt performance.

The Debt ( 1999), directed by Krzysztof Krause and written by Krause and Jerzy Morawski, for example, stars Robert Gonera, Jacek Boruch and the splendid Andrzej Chyra.

Based on a true story, it takes place in Poland’s dark economic hinterland after the fall of communism and before its more recent rebirth. The Debt tells the story of Adam and Stefan, a couple of young likely-lads from Warsaw, who come up with the smart idea of manufacturing Italian scooters on the cheap in Poland and making a fortune selling them to the Italians.

They first go to the bank for a loan but are swiftly refused. Then they encounter a well- off acquaintance, Gerard (Chyra), who offers to lend them the funds to start -up their business in exchange for a share of the company profits.

So far, so good but when they later decide that Gerard is asking for too much, and back out of the proposal, things really go pear shaped.

Gerard bizarrely starts harassing them for the money that he never even lent them, saying that they were already too far into the deal to back out. It then becomes painfully clear that Gerard is a vicious gangster and things spiral horribly out of control from then on.

The Debt is like a knee to the groin – a naturalistic, hard hitting and chilling story with a great, charismatic performance from Chyra.

The Debt Collector (2005) is directed by Feliks Falk with a screenplay by Grzegorz Loszewski. It also stars Andrzej Chyra and is again based on true events.

Chyra plays Lucek a hard-hearted debt collector, working in one of Poland’s most deprived areas, who mercilessly repossesses anything he can – including vital machines from hospitals and even a statue of the Virgin Mary. But, as the film progresses, Lucek starts to have doubts and he puThe-Dark-House-2009lls so hard on the strings of his life that the whole thing unravels as he experiences an ‘epiphany’ that turns him into a decent human being.

The Debt Collector is almost painfully naturalistic and very well acted but, although it does have a more optimistic ending then The Debt, it’s just as effective in showing the hard side of life.

The Dark House (2009) Directed by  Wojciech Smarzowski and written by Lukasz Kosmicki and Wojciech Smarzowski.

One cold autumn in the 1970s Edward  (Arkardiusz  Jakubik,) an alcoholic zoo technician, haunted by his wife’s death , accidentally ends up stopping over in the Dziabas family’s farmhouse,  in a remote mountain area.  They all subsequently get drunk on ‘bimber’ – Polish moonshine – and deliriously decide to set up business together.  However the combination of booze and supressed passions leads to violence and murder.

This story is intercut with another, which is set on a snow smothered winter day four years later, during Martial Law in Poland. The Milicja Obywatelska (People’s Militia) visit the crime scene and Lieutenant Mroz (Bartlomeij Topa) – with Edward’s help- tries to piece together what actually happened.

The Dark House is gory, bleak, full of claustrophobic atmosphere and, at times, surreal. There is also a touch of black comedy and great performances from Jakaubik, Topa, Marian Dziedziel and Kinga Pries.

The Tag line: ‘Truth? There is no such thing.’

Shots Of Polski Noir by Paul D. Brazill

Noir, Polski Noir, Uncategorized, Writing

katarzyna BondaFor a country with such a relatively low crime rate, crime fiction is more than somewhat popular in Poland. Polish television is as cluttered with corpses as its British and US counterparts and if you walk into Empik, or any of the country’s many book shops, you immediately spot the kryminał and sensacja sections. The shelves are choc-full of police procedurals, cozies, thrillers, and their various hybrids. There are lots of books by foreign authors there, of course, especially the ubiquitous Nordic noirs. But there’s plenty of home-grown talent, too. Most of whom have yet to be translated into English – though not for long, I suspect.

Here are a few shots of Polski Noir to give you a taster:

k bondaKatarzyna Bonda is a journalist and scriptwriter whose novels have all become best-sellers in Poland. Her books include the Hubert Meyer trilogy (The Case of Nina Frank, Only the Dead Don’t Lie, The Florist), the true crime books Polish Murderesses, and An Imperfect Crime, as well as a textbook entitled The Writing Machine. However, her most successful novel series stars the female profiler Sasza Załuska: Girl at MidnightThe White Mercedes, and Lanterns. Girl at Midnight received the Audience Award at the 2015 International Crime Festival, while The White Mercedes won the 2015 Empik Bestseller Award. Foreign rights to the books have been purchased by the likes of Hodder & Stoughton and Random House.

sandra b

S. M. Borowiecky has been compared to Dan Brown, James Patterson, Paula Hawkins and Stephen King. She followed up her bestselling debut Ani Żadnej Rzeczy (Or Anything) with Która Jego Jest (Who is he?), which has also been a great success.


Mary Sue Ann was born in a small town in Silesia. In the dark evenings she writes dark novels. Zabójcza podświadomość (The Murderous Subconscious) is a paranormal crime novel. The action takes places in Los Angeles where a serial killer targets woman who are in advanced stages of pregnancy. Real estate agent Laura Kovalsky one day receives a strange phone call that shakes her stable world. Will a little boy with paranormal abilities be able to help Laura, the police and the FBI catch the killer?

23140438_1134969006634123_107251585_nJacek Ostrowski AKA Jack Sharp is a Polish writer who specializes in dark fantasy noir with a strong gothic atmosphere.

His best known books are Posiadlosc w Portovenere (The Mansion In Portovenere), UT, Transplantacja (Transplantation) and Mezczyzna z tatuazem (The Man With The Tattoo).23158006_1134968249967532_1631462797_o

His most recent novel Ostatnia wizyta (The Very Last Visit) is based on the true story of an unsolved kidnapping that took place in communist Poland.

It shouldn’t be long before all of these authors are translated in English so keep a beady, bloodshot eye out for them.