Writing 20th Century Pulp Fiction in the 21st Century

I have come to realise that as a writer, there is a style I gravitate towards. I don’t pretend to be highbrow or sophisticated like somebody who went to a particular university, or had a privileged education. I do not have airs and graces. I write about what I find interesting, and entertaining. I weave tales that are not over complicated, but have enough spice (I hope) to turn a page. So, what is it that drives my interests? What is it that makes me return to a genre that is full of those things that so called “polite” society call taboo?

It’s that boyish sense of adventure. I am quite clearly a little immature. I want to be titilated, and experience danger, lust and crime. I want to be the sheriff or the man in the black hat as you would see in a classic Western. I want to be a Gangster, or a super sleuth. I want to sleep with the Femme Fatale, although it could be the death of me – and so it goes on.

Pulp Fiction, is where its at. You escape into the underbelly of life and experience a grittiness that is equally alluring as it is distasteful. The tales can appeal to our most basic instincts. But they also serve as a quick escape from the real world. Where the mundane existence of life seems to crowd in. I think that a great pulp tale from the 20th century provides a portal to life that has a glamour that isn’t as obvious in life today. Interaction between characters is vital, and at a time when distancing yourself from others can be seen as important, so these interactions jump off a page.

So, for me writing within this genre seems a natural fit. I don’t just stick to the formula though. I experiment and provide stories that have enough familiarity that you want to read, but are also different in structure. My Pulp Fiction Poetry for example has a lyricism that helps convey mood, rhythm and a musicality.

Whereas my prose embraces many different genres so as to try and create something original. That is the crux though. How do you provide something that hasn’t been done before? Well you don’t. You go with your instincts. You write about things you are interested in, and hope others are as well. You pick the elements you like, you absorb ideas from around you – on the Internet, in books, on film or even on the radio. Then you regurgitate it in a new way. Taking things forward in the manner that storytellers do.

It’s hard work being a 20th century Pulp Fiction writer in the 21st century. But it continues as an accessible entertainment, and tradition that is there to be enjoyed.

I have written two novels and two Pulp Fiction Poetry collections. This year I hope to complete a third novel and a third Pulp Fiction Poetry collection. I am pretty sure these won’t be my last. It seems I am on a road of my own choosing, where story telling is my thing. So if you want to dig my work check it out at the various online platforms it is available from:

Amazon,

Apple.

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

and

Lulu.com

Watch this space for my forthcoming projects – including news about my first non fiction book.

Kindest regards readers. Stay safe

Jason Disley.

A Pint Of Bitter, and Pulp Fictions

It’s been a week, since I last posted anything. Last Monday I mentioned various book releases I have made available as ebooks. Such as my novella Seven Day Fool, which is now available via iBooks

https://books.apple.com/us/book/seven-day-fool/id1505606104

and my first Pulp Fiction Poetry collection – Beat To A Pulp which is also now available via iBooks

Beat To A Pulp by Jason Disley

https://books.apple.com/us/book/beat-to-a-pulp/id1505713274

As well as releasing these books, in the last week I have written an article for Zani, which is an online magazine with articles covering a wide range of topics. The article I wrote was titled A Pint Of Bitter, Bound To Be A Good Thing… And was About British Jazz icon Tubby Hayes, and a new limited edition book that has been published by Mono Media Books. In the article I interview the main man behind the project-Mark Baxter, who is an author and film producer, amongst other things.

Tubby Hayes

You can read that article here, and if you are interested in this book about the British Jazz legend. You can follow the link for more information at the end of the article.

https://www.zani.co.uk/zani-music/item/3068-tubby-hayes-a-pint-of-bitter-bound-to-be-a-good-thing

So, as you can see – I have been fairly busy. However, the main thing I wish to bring to your attention is my new paperback that has been released – it is titled – Angel In Alabaster,

Angel In Alabaster the new book by Jason Disley is out now.

and is the sequel to Beat To A Pulp. It is a book I am very pleased with and continues with the theme of writing a prose tale in verse form. My interest in Pulp Fiction and Film Noir is very apparent in this book, and it contains moments that feel familiar, and comfortable within the environment of the tale. In fact. An up and coming writer – who is very hip to the world’s I allude to in the book has written a foreword to the book, which I feel gives the reader an insight into what Pulp Fiction Poetry, Or Film Noir Verse is. Here is that foreword:

FOREWORD

It’s a pulp world. A space where people make shapes, alloyed by desire. It’s where Exterior means: “I need to get from Point A to B, with a direct response,” as Interior leaves us groping for dark epithets with one hand, while knocking back a boiler maker with the other.
Jason Disley knows this world like the back of his hand. Read The Angel in Alabaster and you’ll be on several fifth drinking terms with it. It’s a warm enough room; a bourbon haze, a nascent lounge lizard on the Wurlitzer and a Turkish delight scarlet hue in the furnishing. Pick through the Fry’s, expect to stumble upon some ebon promise.
Loretta, Johnny, The Artisan: all creations unique to Jason’s palette – the wasp’s sting here is in their familiarity. The initial impact of The Angel in Alabaster comes from this sense of ironic comfort. For a long time fan of the novels of Raymond Chandler, the songs of Johnny Mercer and the silhouette of Gene Tierney, reading words that invoke 1940s LA hums the same heat as Vernon Duke’s mellow Manhattan Fall: “Glittering crowds (…) In canyons of steel / They’re making me feel I’m home.” But, as a later poet of sky rises observed, It’s also where the hatred is.
The Angel in Alabaster has a raison d’etre supplanted from a previous work, Beat to a Pulp: a juxtaposition of the argot of gumshoes and cheese cakes with the ennui of the verse styling found in T. S. Eliot’s 1920s modernism. In laymen’s terms, this is a way of depicting a story filled with the pulse of hard boiled sensuality, through a poetic metre impressing ‘hip’ speech rhythms, for those of a Spillane bent, at the same time as employing strong rhymes to locate a subtle sense of the universality of Noir in these Google fried times. “The stuff that dreams are made of” now so manifest that “doing a number” is as much part of the current bloodstream as a commonplace app; on its 20th Luckie for the day of course.
And this is where Jason mounts his own unique killer-diller.
Jason’s poetry in The Angel in Alabaster delves into Noir as an intrinsic part of so many of today’s cultural default mode. Sin City – look at the implied neons and Edward Hopper pallor. Peaky Blinders – the hissy darkness and ‘hat as icon’ imagery. Boardwalk Empire – well, It’s like a resort for…. Gangsters. However, Mr. Disley is anything but the lid on a semiotic dust bin. E. M. Forster told us to “only connect;” he could be describing the best way to tuck into The Angel in Alabaster’s rhyme of the non’lent gumshoe jazz riff. Dig the influences, connect the dots. How modernist.
Dot connection is indeed the thing wherein we catch the shtick of the Dis. Slang is normally habitual; It’s great paradox residing in it being always there, despite fashion making it permanently transient. Within the bounds of The Angel in Alabaster, it functions as a refining signifier, beckoning towards a signified inscribed with ‘pleasure.’ Jason’s utilisation of Eliot’s bleak poetics illustrates this best of all. Cf, The Waste Land:
She smooths her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone.
‘This music crept by me upon the waters’ (…)
O City City (….)
Now ‘Angel’:
Johnny needed to shake the lead out of his shorts (….)
He would find the gator with a gat
Or the cat with a shiv
Who had decided the Lady in The Jade Dress must crowd (….)
He needed Seven to become Eleven in this crap shoot.

In The Waste Land, speech rhythm connotes towards ennui – a boredom that beckons towards an out of reach memory from a Tempest. In ‘Alabaster’, the metre is also of speech, but this time the modernist urge to make it new comes not as a lofty literary, but in a bouquet of side mouth rye. The fragments that Jason stores against The Artisan’s ruins read more like William Gottlieb’s photograph of 52nd Street: from swing to bop is the measure of Seven becoming Eleven. The Angel of Alabaster may allude to Eliot’s “a handful of dust,” in form; when read and digested, the grab is still there but definitely in a lamp gaze view – from the lipstick cap to Lana Turner’s eyes, plus John Garfield’s peak in between.
Whether you dream of Rita Hayworth or crack like Jimmy Cagney, rein in your 38. for Jason Disley’s latest invitation to the pulps. *

Nathan James Le-bas

*: All quotes from The Waste Land, The Complete Poems & Plays of T. S. Eliot (London, 1969).

Angel In Alabaster has a wonderful bookcover designed by Mark Head Aka Mr. H. Mark, designed the cover for Beat To A Pulp, and it seemed natural to ask him to design the cover for this collection.

The book is available now from

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

And soon it will be available from other online retailers such as Amazon.

Going forward, I am working on a third Film Noir Verse book, and the sequel to Seven Day Fool, titled Take It Or Leave It, this book will initially be made available as an ebook. I hope that when the time is right it will be published in paperback.

Lastly I wish to share a video of a poem I have written, that is a message for all of us at this time. As we all make our way through this Pandemic – follow the rules and keep safe. I will no doubt be sharing something else with you next Monday. JD.

Keep Your Distance