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John Doran Publishes Menk Book
John Doran , March 19th, 2015 07:47

No one asked for it; he didn't want to write it and then he had a nervous break down in the process. And yet here we are...

TQ Editor John Doran is publishing his first book via Strange Attractor this June.

Jolly Lad will be available in hardback, paperback and electronic editions. Copies of the hardback book which is limited to 500 copies can only be ordered from the Strange Attractor website are available from May and come with a CD featuring spoken word (from Doran) and music from Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers), Abi & Neil from British Sea Power, Grumbling Fur, Teeth Of The Sea, GNOD, English Heretic, Mark Dicker, Eccentronic Research Council and Bronze Teeth.

The book, a memoir about recovery from alcoholism, mental illness, and substance abuse, is also concerned with the healing power of music, how memory defines us, the redemption offered by fatherhood and what it means to be working class. It is based loosely on Doran's MENK column for VICE magazine and features cover art by Simon Fowler and illustrations by Krent Able.

He says: “I was determined not to write a ‘my drink and drug hell’ kind of book for several reasons – the main one being that I had, for the most part, a really good time drinking and taking drugs. True, a handful of pretty appalling things have happened to me and some people that I know or used to know over the years. But I have, for the most part, left them out of this book as they are not illuminating, not edifying and in some cases concern other people who aren’t here to consent to their appearance. Instead this book concentrates on what you face after the drink and the drugs have gone.

“In my experience, being an alcoholic is debt consolidation for your life. Drink becomes the only thing you care about – eventually to the point where you don’t even care if you live or die. So when you stop drinking... well, that’s when the real trouble starts. Everything you drank to avoid dealing with — which in my case included mental illness, debt, depression, the impulse to self- harm, the impulse to commit suicide, anxiety, social dysfunction, body dysmorphia, stress, anger, violent rage and hypochondria — suddenly comes back into focus the second you stop.

“I started drinking when I was 13. I was drinking every day by the time I was 15. Then I stayed constantly drunk until I was 37. When I stopped I had no idea what I would be like as an adult."

“Picture a reservoir surrounded by mountains. You have been tasked with draining the massive body of water away to repopulate the area. But once the water has gone you are faced with the former town that was initially flooded and the now wrecked buildings which need to be pulled down. Call several construction firms. People have been fly tipping here for years. There is tons of rubbish here. You will need help to clean the area up. There are corpses wrapped in carpet and chains. It was the ideal place to dump bodies.You’ll need to call the police and the coroner’s office. The press are on their way. There are rotten and half eaten animal carcasses that need to be cleared up and disposed of. Environmental health need to be involved.You have never seen so many mangled shopping trollies, broken children’s bikes and unwanted cars.The clearance job will be massive.There are burst canisters of toxic waste that have long since leached into the ground. It will be years before you can do anything with this land. The water was merely the stuff that was making this area look picturesque.What you have left in its place is an area of outstanding natural horror. It probably feels like you should have left well enough alone.”

As part of his ongoing mid-life crisis Doran will also be releasing a spoken word album on tQPC entitled Hubris featuring collaborations with Arabrot, Perc, Nik Void of Factory Foor, Nicky Wire and members of British Sea Power. He will also be undertaking a 31-date reading tour of England as a temporary member of Arabrot for the full month of May, performing in numerous prisons, churches, libraries, record shops and cinemas and collaborating with musicians, writers and artists on the way. More details of all of these ill-advised ventures to follow.