New Weird/ neo-realist/ literary occultist/ father of Yorkshire noir/ northern Ballardian/ modern-day Zola David Peace talks to a French TV show about the composition of The Damned United. I'd love to know what the French made of this:
'So, right, there's this football manager, and he's got this sweary interior monologue where he thinks about murders and the devil and occasionally comes out of it to tell Johnny Giles or Billy Bremner where to stick it, and he's obsessed with numerology and prophecy, and it fits into a previous sequence of novels in which Millgarth police station in Leeds is a kind of Lovecraftian omphalos and another which links Margaret Thatcher to a neo-Nazi conspiracy.'
'Could you not just have written a 90 page novel in which someone sits in a hotel room smoking- chuck in one very vivid description of S&M and some unreadable musings on the Hegelian Dialectic or the impossibility of writing.'
'No, I think I'll do the novel about the demonically-possessed football manager instead, if it's all the same to you.'
Obviously, a bit unfair on both parties there. Peace seems to have the French transgressive classics- Bataille, Guyotat and (particularly, I think) Celine- behind his work as much as his avowed influences in British social realism and the likes of Derek Raymond or James Ellroy. I think it would be so easy for him to claim this lineage and come across as a bit more hoity in interviews, but he's from Ossett so instead you get him identifying his significant precursors as people like Stan Barstow. Peace's work is vastly, vastly superior to Barstow and John Braine.
On another note, I'd love to find out what the novelised history of Leeds United (AKA 'we all hate Leeds scum', as the fans of every club in in the ridings would have you believe) would have looked like. As Peace doesn't do normal, or pleasant, I'm willing to be that hooliganism would have figured rather heavily, plus the liquidation of the earlier club, Leeds City, and the current financial shenanigans. It probably wouldn't have been quite as visceral as the Clough book though, and might not have tucked in with the comprehensive vision of a post-industrial, mid-apocalyptic 70s/80s Yorkshire that emerges from a reading of the 'Red Riding' quartet and GB84. I just hope they don't bugger the movie version up entirely.