De Fen Chats With Author
Rick Hudson
About
Bedlam Lullabies
By: De Fen
A young couple whose messianic progeny repulses them; a smothering obsessive god whose "love" leaves little breathing room for his lovelies; a man who is so enamored with his wife's mind that he ponders chopping off her head; a baboon looking creature who sneaks into people's sitting rooms and after turning them into putrefied messes, drinks them; an army of dolls who are kept so pristine that they frighten their collector to death out of sheer boredom, and a man who rents out his abdomen to three seemingly well mannered eel like creatures are but some of the characters contained in author and musician, Rick Hudson's self published novel, Bedlam Lullabies.

Bedlam Lullabies introduces the reader to fascinating worlds filled with horror, satire, and Hudson's masterful sense of humor. We travel through time, life spans, nightmares, and dream worlds in the 50 odd fragments contained in just over 100 pages. These fragments work just as well as independent short prose pieces as they do as a frame story.

Bedlam Lullabies is not likely for the faint of stomach of weak of heart. I now wish that I had made little notches on my notebook for every brilliant death or maiming so that I could report back my shocking accounting. Oh well. A good lot, but probably not as many per page as The Snows of Kilimanjaro if it makes any difference. Grievous bodily aside, Bedlam Lullabies is nothing short of brilliant and inspiring. Horror and Fantasy enthusiasts will be interested in Hudson's work as he has managed a truly original novel out of an over mined genre, while writer's of all genres will no doubt marvel at Hudson's mastery of language and literary technique (please see The Gentleman Assassin for a perfectly inspired breaking of the 4th wall) as well as his good humored critiques directed at the cynical posturing that has come to pass for irreverence:

"Free us from the tyranny of compulsory cynicism. We want beautiful, mournful things. Let us shriek for love and justice; let us bawl for the sublime. We are all so tired, so very tired of the glib and the cool and the self-referential. We rage with passion because that is all we have." [From: A Hopefully Not So Predictable Denouement, pg. 76, Bedlam Lullabies]

I recently had a chance to catch up with Rick Hudson about Bedlam Lullabies, music projects, and more. I hope you enjoy.
Punk Globe:
In what year did you start The Motels?
Rick Hudson:
I didn't actually start the Motels, my friend Lisa Brenneis, who was playing bass at the time, invited me to come sing with this band she was working with; it consisted of Dean Chamberlain, guitar, Chuck Wada, guitar, and herself, ( the guys took turns drumming). We had three rehearsals, and played our first gig Halloween night 1971. That band was then called the Warfield Foxes. In 1975 we moved down to LA to make it "overnight". Personal changes resulted in Lisa leaving and Rich Dandrea taking over on bass and Robert Newman became the full time drummer. We had now become "The Angels of Mercy" a name I found confusing, telling Dean I thought I should be serving soup to the poor rather than belting out songs. As we were going to our first gig at the famous Barney's Beanery in Hollywood, we drove past the many motels with their big neon signs that used to line Santa Monica Blvd. I was still complaining about the name Dean looks up and says "what about The Motels?" Perfect! No soup was served.
Punk Globe:
Thanks for making time to chat with the Punk Globe readers. Can you introduce yourself?
Rick Hudson:
Well, I'm just a regular guy really... whatever that means. But, the name's Rick Hudson and I'm a novelist and short story writer who has always had strong links with both the punk and metal scenes in Manchester (UK). In fact, I play bass in two small time bands: Shrieking Goblin, which is a fairly straight forward punk/ metal outfit and Nightmare Engineers who do more experimental, electronic creepy stuff. I'm also a lecturer in English Literature - which I think equates to a Professor in the US. But I hope I don't have any delusions of grandeur about being an 'artist' or an 'intellectual', these are just the things that interest me and where my particular talents lie.

Writing wise, there's definitely a dark and grotesque angle to it, but mixed with humor - albeit quite grotesque. Sort of like Monty Python.... maybe it's an English thing. I'm interested in mixing up the distinctions between literary and popular fiction. So, my first novel - Shrapnel - is both 'literary' and a detective novel, and Bedlam Lullabies is both 'literary' and horror fiction.
Punk Globe:
Can You tell the readers about Bedlam Lullabies?
Rick Hudson:
Bedlam Lullabies is a bit of a mish-mash or collage of different sections of writing that generally fall into the category of horror or fantasy. In plot terms it could be read as either the thoughts of the narrator undergoing a nervous breakdown, or he is experiencing 'dead men's dreams' as stated at the beginning. However, the plot doesn't matter too much at all... I think it's best just read as a series of short pieces that - whilst linked by a framing device - exist as independent pieces.
Punk Globe:
At what age did you start writing?
Rick Hudson:
Hmmmm. Very hard to answer. Professionally I've been writing since I was 16 and throughout my teenage years I wrote amateur stuff for fanzines. But I've been writing as long as I can remember: short stories in note books, comics and tape recorded stories and plays with friends when I was a kid. So, I guess, 'always' is the answer to that one.
Punk Globe:
What section of the newspaper do you read first?
Rick Hudson:
Very predictable here, I'm afraid. The major news at the front and then the art, literature and culture sections. Then I might dab into other bits or not as the mood takes me. Don't really read the sport or fashion sections.
Punk Globe:
Daydreams or nightmares?
Rick Hudson:
Daydreams definitely. Although my fiction is generally kind of dark, on the whole I'm a cheerful optimistic person. And also very much a daydreamer.
Punk Globe:
Revolution or apocalypse?
Rick Hudson:
Revolution... definitely. My optimism again is responsible for this. I got a great belief in the human spirit which some people might find naive. I find nihilism and cynicism very naive in an adolescent kind of way.... and also very unproductive and a bit egocentric.
Punk Globe:
Who are your favorite writers? Favorite books?
Rick Hudson:
Oooooh! Now you've got me, remember I'm a Literature teacher ;). I could go on for pages here. I think in terms of direct influence we'd be talking about JG Ballard, Thomas Ligotti, early Clive Barker, Borges, Vonnegut, certainly HP Lovecraft. But I love Martin Amis, the poet Ted Hughes and many of the classics such as Henry Fielding and even Jane Austin. It's easy to dismiss the classic writers as being 'stuffy' or disconnected with reality and our own lives - but they were sharp eyed commentators of people and society, and were often very funny. I love Shakespeare too, which might not be a very 'punk' answer- but he truly was fantastic. If I had to choose one single book I'd go for Moby Dick, it's such a glorious mess.
Punk Globe:
How important is music to your creative process?
Rick Hudson:
Oh, an absolutely tremendous one. I don't consciously listen to music for inspiration; but I do immerse myself in music when I'm in my flat on my own. All kinds to: not just punk and metal, but classic rock like Pink Floyd, Zep, the Doors and also classical music including Beethoven, Mozart and a lot of contemporary classical stuff. An old teacher of mine said that if you are going to be active in any of the arts you've got to be a kind of cultural sponge and expose yourself too as much stuff as possible and soak it up: not just the media you are working in. You've got to expose yourself to as much literature, visual art, music, film etc as possible and soak up the influences. You might not know that this stuff is giving you ideas, but influences will often creep in through the back door unconsciously.
Punk Globe:
What bands/groups have you been listening to lately?
Rick Hudson:
I'm going to be quite predictable here.... Dead Kennedys, Alice Donut, the Cramps, Stooges. There's a brilliant local band where I live called Kreosote who are great. The Dead Weather are a band I've grown to love. Obsessive Compulsive (Manchester Band) are great. but also, Floyd, the Doors, Zep, AC/DC, Sabbath, and the classical stuff.
Punk Globe:
How do you deal with the dreaded writers block?
Rick Hudson:
Ah-ha, now I am going to go against the grain here. Firstly, I think writer's block comes from two sources: 1. it's a kind of performance anxiety- you're worrying too much and should just get on and write... you can always go back and edit or chuck stuff away if it's crap. Also, I have a note book of half-thought out ideas that I've scribbled down... so if I'm stuck I take a look at that and see if there's anything there I can run with. 2. If you are stuck for ideas it might be that you need more input from the outside world. Being a writer is quite a solitary existence, it's very easy to get cooped up at home without any other human contact. It's also very easy to loose yourself in yourself, if you know what I mean. Your bucket of ideas might have run dry and you need to refill the bucket. So, I guess what I mean is, if you can't write DON'T. Go out, meet some people, see a movie, go for a walk (I'm lucky not only do I live about 20 mins from the centre of Manchester- which by UK standards is a very big city- but I'm also very close to the Peak District which is staggeringly beautiful.)
Punk Globe:
I've read that the Dadaists used to pull words at random out of a hat and W.S. Burroughs utilized the cut up method. Do you ever play any divination-like word games such as that?
Rick Hudson:
Yes they did. It's a very interesting way of working. I've actually got some half decent poems out of Magnetic Poetry fridge magnets, believe it or not. One thing I like to do is shuffle illustrated cards I've got as the components from a number of board games- I draw one at random and see if the picture gives me ideas. Also I open art books at random pages and see if the pictures give me any inspiration. Funnily enough, one thing I'm working on at the moment is a piece of fiction that is made up of short paragraphs which I'm writing in response to articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica: I open a random volume at a random page and pick a random entry. The last time I did this I was confronted with the entry on cockroaches and I wrote quite a nice piece about sentient cockroaches.
Punk Globe:
Have you been reading about the Occupy Movement? Any thoughts?
Rick Hudson:
I have. I have very mixed feelings about this, although I know some artists who are very involved. I think, on the positive side, it's making the point that we've all felt for a long time - that the democratic system as it stands is failing to represent the needs of the populace it is supposed to represent and this fact needs to be addressed. Secondly, from a UK perspective at least, it's showing that people are more prepared to become engaged with politics actively - which is good. But what long term difference it will make, I don't know.
Punk Globe:
What projects are you working on currently?
Rick Hudson:
I'm completing a couple of more 'conventional' novels at the moment: one called 'Scarecrow' and another called 'The Wayman' both of which are HP Lovecraft inspired horror novels. I'm also working with my band Nightmare Engineers on an album (our EP is download able for free off Soundcloud). Also I'm doing quite a bit of academic writing and I'm trying to get involved in computer game design. I don't think I'll have time to work on anything in the style of 'Bedlam Lullabies' until Easter.
Punk Globe:
Do you have any links you'd like to share?
Punk Globe:
Do you have any parting words for the Punk Globe readers?
Rick Hudson:
Yes: It's more important to be nice than to be cool.




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