The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Radio & Podcasts

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

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.