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The Quietus Hour Special: Author David Keenan Interviewed
John Doran , February 9th, 2017 10:11

David Keenan talks to John Doran about his new novel, This Is Memorial Device and picks the music for this week's podcast

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Today’s guest on this special edition of The Quietus Hour podcast is writer David Keenan.

David has been, at various times, an independent record label boss, a contributor to The Wire and Melody Maker, the author of the Nurse With Wound, Coil and Current 93 book England’s Hidden Reverse, a musician, a record shop owner and a published poet. Well, he can now add novelist to the list, as this week sees the release of his debut for Faber.

This Is Memorial Device is a singular novel - and one of the best we’ve read at TQHQ in the last couple of years. It’s frequently hilarious and touching, while also being an uncomfortably precise portrait of the often inward looking world of underground music fandom, that has its own distinct voice while also echoing David Foster Wallace, the early Irvine Welsh of Trainspotting and Alan Warner.

The action of the novel is set in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, in the early 80s, as told from the point of view of several characters recalling being in and around the mythical post punk band, Memorial Device - who sounded like Joy Division playing down a well.

David talks about the genesis of his novel, the problems of forming a band with only mannequins as members and gives us the insider’s view of the night his one-time group 18 Wheeler supported Oasis at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in 1993... the night they "got signed"... But not only that he picks all of the music which stretches from Felt to Whitehouse via an Italian punk band called Tampax and the fantastically deranged 'Rantin Robbie' by Nyah Fearties.

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Tog
Feb 9, 2017 2:34pm

In terms of Cluster, for a novice is Zuckerzeit the one to get?

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Feb 9, 2017 3:33pm

Anyone else remember Keenan's post-rock combo Telstar Ponies? Hugely underrated band who produced two great albums: In The Space Of A Few Minutes and Voices From The New Music.

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John Doran
Feb 9, 2017 5:54pm

In reply to Tog:

A lot of their albums are really good but Zuckerzeit was the one I started with and it has that really recognisable mix of Moebius and Roedelius offset by the more melodic leanings of Michael Rother. So yeah, I'd say that or the previous one, Cluster 2.

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John Ashbery
Feb 9, 2017 10:11pm

i used to think David Keenan was alright - until i read this: http://www.15questions.net/interview/fifteen-questions-interview-david-keenan/page-1/

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D
Feb 10, 2017 8:53am

In reply to John Ashbery:

Not sure what you see as wrong with that interview.

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D
Feb 10, 2017 8:57am

I like Keenan
There is a level of BS and bravado about his writing that is lacking from most other modern music journalism.

People used to complain that Volcanic Tongue newsletters were a self-parody with every other release being the greatest thing ever.
Fuck that -- I loved it - it made me want to listen to everything on the list. Isn't that what you want as a music fan? It is supposed to be a passion not a fucking BBC feature on the Middle East.

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John Ashbery
Feb 10, 2017 10:20pm

In reply to D:

I quite like his writing - just not the overweening vanity and conceit shown here, or the bleating about 'political correctness' while eulogising 'exraordinary people' - which he presumably holds himself to be one of, what with being so 'allergic to ordinariness' and all. And yeah, he's 'not a very online-focused person', not like the rest of us bovine dullards- well, apart from the online shop he ran, it's twitter and Facebook accounts, his blog, and his columns for redbullmusicacademy

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George Street
Feb 10, 2017 10:40pm

Thanks for this, wasn't aware of him before but was there for a lot of his refs - The Prats, Splash One, Oasis gig etc - and he's bang on.

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faketit
Feb 13, 2017 8:37am

keenan probably realised later but ikuro takahashi was not the fushitsusha drummer until 97.prior to him and on the track played it was jun kosugi.

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