Authors: Terry Tyler
Copyright © 2012 by Terry Tyler
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events, websites, locations or persons, alive or dead, is entirely coincidental.
No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, without the express written permission of Terry Tyler.
All rights reserved.
Cover art by CraniumXDesign
I would like to thank my beloved husband Mark and the
rest of my family for their support, help and interest.
A special mention to Kev Hodgson for walking down that cobbled street...
...and big thanks to Julia, Joel Cortez, David Stirling, Jacki Lee, Dave Waters,
Breakers Cafe, Cromer - and cheers to Susan, KJ, Zoe, Charles, Jan, George, Clive, Andy and all
my fellow writer friends.
- Early August, 2007
- A Week Earlier
- Four Weeks Later
- Glynis Tooke's Creative Workshop
- Raw Talent!
- Happy New Year!
- Raw Talent ~ Day One
- Raw Talent ~ Day Two
- Raw Talent ~ Day Three
- Raw Talent ~ The Results
- The Parting Of Ways
- Spring Into Summer, 2008
- June 2009 - A Year Later
"Success is what happens when everyone else is asleep."
Dave Bentley had read that, somewhere.
The idea for his new band had socked him over the
head at about three o'clock one morning, so he thought it was about right.
He couldn't wait to tell the others.
"What, you mean we've got to dress up like
Vikings?" Shane Cowley said. "I'm not wearing one of those helmets, it'll
spoil me hair!" He laughed, and gave his tousled flaxen mane an exaggerated
"Boz won't mind, he'll do owt for a laugh," said
Ritchie Myers. He took a gulp from his can of lager, leaving froth on his black
moustache. "Boz, he dressed up as a drunk vicar when he was drumming with that
punk band last week."
"What punk band was that?" Shane asked.
"The Drunk Vicars."
"Ah. Right." Shane frowned. "How did he dress up as a
drunk vicar, then?"
"Well, he wore a dog collar and a long black dress, made
his hair stick up on end with gel, like, then he put purple lipstick on his
cheeks and nose to make him look like a wino."
Shane laughed. "Quality!"
"Can we stick to the matter in hand, please?" Dave
said. Why weren't they taking this seriously? His idea was unique, the best he'd
ever had; they were supposed to be stricken with awe by its brilliance. Okay,
he knew that calling rock bands by the names of Norse gods had been done before
- there was Odin, for a start - but no-one else had actually carried the theme
through to the band itself
Dave had been in two minds over their name; Valhalla would
be pretty good, too. Valhalla, the majestic hall where Norse gods were
celebrated upon their glorious deaths! Then he'd decided that would
be better employed as the title song of the first album, instead. '
"Look, we haven't got to take it that far - we'll
look like a right load of idiots if we're all on stage in horned helmets," Dave
said, "but maybe Boz could wear one. People expect the drummer to be a bit
of a character, don't they? Like Keith Moon, right? We can wear
animal skins and those boots with leather laces tied round our legs, though; I
looked at some pictures on the internet. We could get someone to make them
"Yeah," Shane said, and rubbed his chin. "My
sister could knock something up, she can do that dressmaking stuff." He
grinned. "The Vikings, right, they wore skirts, didn't they? Well,
I haven't got any problem with getting the old pins out, but I don't reckon
Ritchie should. You seen his? Proper knobbly knees contest standard, it's
"Sod off," said Ritchie.
"Look, we can fine tune later," said Dave. "I just wanted
to run it past you. See what you think of the idea."
"Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes
it?" said Ritchie, and laughed. "That's what our Pete says. He loves all that
management speak garbage. So, this is a brainstorming session, right? Are we
doing some blue sky thinking?" He laughed again. "Prat!"
"Yeah, okay, Ritchie," said Dave. "So, it's a goer, then?"
Shane lit a cigarette and stretched out his legs. "Could be. But what about the music? Nothing too heavy, right? The birds don't go for it. Just cover versions, I reckon."
Dave took a deep breath. "No. That's what we're
going to do. We carry the Viking theme right the way through. If we're
going to be more than just a pub band, we've got to do our own material." He
coughed. "I've written a couple of songs already."
"What, like the one that got you chucked out of
Critical Mass?" Shane said, and grinned. "Sorry, mate, only jesting! What
are they about, then? Raping and pillaging and all that?"
"I fancy a bit of a pillage, me," said Ritchie. "You for
"Cheers." Dave opened the can of lager that Ritchie
handed to him. "I've started three, actually," he said. "One of them is,
like, dead commercial. It's about a warrior who falls in love with a girl from
one of the villages he's burning to the ground. It's called 'Saved'." He felt
himself grow slightly hot. "It's - well, I reckon in a couple of years' time
it's going to be on those 'Fifty Greatest Rock Anthems' compilation albums. It's the best thing I've ever written."
Shane leant forward and slapped him on the back. "Nice one, mate! Yeah, let's go for it." He grinned. "Well, it'll give us
something to do, won't it? Could be a right laugh, too. You in, Ritchie?"
"Yeah. Don't have much choice, do I?"
"No! To Thor, then!" said Shane.
"To Thor," said Ritchie, with somewhat less gusto,
though he raised his can of Carlsberg Export in agreement.
"I know!" said Shane. "We can all have Viking
names! Like, Stig and Olaf!" He slapped his thigh and threw back his head with
laughter. "Yeah! I'm going to be Stig Goldenhair! Classic!"
"You're having a laugh," said Ritchie, "we have actually
got to live here, when we're not prancing around on stage in fur rugs,
"Yeah, I was only kidding! As if, eh?"
Dave Bentley felt himself grow hot again. He
hadn't actually got to that bit.
He'd already planned his first interview in the NME.
Not just a gimmick - Lars Erikson of Thor speaks
out about his previous incarnation as a Viking warrior!
Perhaps he wouldn't tell them about that, not just
Dave Bentley put his hand in the inside pocket of
his leather jacket and found a Harley Davidson where he'd hoped to find twenty
He'd bought it from Absolute Bargains on the market
square, for three pounds ninety-nine, the day before. Damn. Fancy forgetting
to leave it. Janice didn't like their son to have cheap toys, but he'd hoped she
might make an exception in this case. Maybe not, the mood she was in today.
Dave considered going back, then reconsidered. Time
on his own, in which to nurture his New Idea, was much needed. Anyway, he'd
suffered enough earache from Janice that afternoon; he didn't want to give her
fuel for another bout.
"I told you not to buy him cheap macho man rubbish,"
she'd probably say, "and certainly not a motorbike. He'll grow up wanting one,
and then he'll get mashed up in some horrible accident." Something like that.
Harley would love the bike, though. He loved the
fact that there was a motorbike named after him, because he was Harley, David's
son. He told everyone; come September, he'd be telling his friends at school,
too. Harley, starting school. How had that happened so soon? The thought
gave Dave Bentley a nice warm feeling inside. His boy, out in the world.
That very subject, though, had been the trigger for
today's round of arguments.
A pre-school trip to Cut 'n' Dried on the estate
was due, and Dave wanted his son's messy mop to be cut into a sort of Mohawk,
leaving a long tail at the back. Janice was having none of it.
"I don't want people to think his parents are new
age hippie travellers," she said. "Next thing, the teachers will be asking us
if we smoke dope in front of him. Anyway, kids don't like being singled
out. They want to feel the same as the others."
"I want him to stand out from the crowd, be an
individual," Dave said.
"Give him some credit - don't you think he'll stand
out from the crowd all by himself?" Janice said. "People who really are
individual don't need a wacky hairstyle to announce it to the world, anyway."
The Mohawk conflict had been followed by several
others. All those that occurred on a regular basis, plus a couple of new ones
for good measure.
"Giving Harley 'a rounded education' doesn't just mean
playing James Brown to him as well as Led Zeppelin," she'd said, turning the CD
player off. "How about teaching him to read and write, too?"
"But he needs to know about the soul greats," Dave
had said, "and learning to read and write is what he's going to school for,
He didn't know what Janice's problem was, half the time. He did all he could for them, because he loved them. Both of them. If she'd
wanted him to be around more she shouldn't have kicked him out, should she?
Dave reached the bus stop, lit a Marlboro Light
(they'd been in his jeans pocket, after all), and decided to walk. He hated
getting on buses with all the OAPs, and teenage mums with their 'buggies'. Too
risky to take the motor, though, in its current lack of MOT state. The day was
brightening up; the two mile walk would clear his head of last night's beer
and, with luck, the feeling of inadequacy that the past couple of hours had
left with him.
It was half past three. Ritchie would be in The Bull, up
by the site where he worked - he always knocked off early on a Friday.
Dave hoped a couple of ales might sort out the
remnants of his hangover, too.
"Women, you see, they just don't get men," Ritchie
said. "They think they understand us, but they don't."
"Yeah, you're right there," Dave said, already only
half listening. Privately, he thought Ritchie's regular rant against women was
a case of
the geezer doth
protest too much
; if he really didn't
want a girlfriend and was so happy being single, why was he always talking
"I bloody am," Ritchie said. "When you first meet them
they reckon it's brilliant that you're in a band, they love going down the pub,
and they're up for it whenever and wherever. But give it a year down the
line, and all they want to do is stay at home, watch Coronation Street and get
sprogged up. I mean, look at your Jan."
"Yeah," said Dave. He swallowed the last of his
pint. "D'you want another?"
"Don't mind if I do," said Ritchie. "Wendy, love! Over here. Yeah, same again." He turned back to Dave. "I mean, no offence,
mate, Jan's a great girl, and your Harley's a great kid, but you didn't get a
say in the matter, did you? That's why I'm not getting caught. I've
said it before, I know, and I'll say it again; one minute you're sauntering
along, happy as Larry; you've got a gig that night, money in your wallet and
some little darling in the audience who's only got eyes for you, and the next
day you wake up next to a woman you don't recognise who's put on five stone,
wears pyjamas to bed so you won't get any ideas, thinks more of the kids than
she does of you, and wants you to pack in your music and get some shit boring
job so that you can pay for her to sit on her arse and watch Jeremy Kyle all
day. I've seen it happen over and over again."