Peter Wild (Ed): Paint a Vulgar Picture: Fiction Inspired by The Smiths (3 stars)

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Peter Wild (Ed): Paint a Vulgar Picture: Fiction Inspired by The Smiths

These short story collections of Peter Wild’s are certainly well designed for grabbing fans’ imaginations. He gets a fistful of contemporary writers to extrapolate from the songs of a particularly iconic band with The Fall and Sonic Youth having previously received the treatment. Now it’s the turn of The Smiths. But those who expect a mirror to be held up to the artist’s psyche might be disappointed.

James Flint places his tale of aardvark-hunting – ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’ – in the southern USA and not Africa (judging by the dialect), while ‘Death of a Disco Dancer’ is set in hipster 80s Miami where we find a pair of cops knowingly named Rodgers and Edwards (up yours, Moz, and your refusal to ‘get’ disco). Precisely how these are supposed to fit in with Morrissey’s original intent for the songs is unknown.

Yet the presence of musician-author Willy Vlautin, the ever-excellent Chris Killen and the editor’s own faithful-in-spirit ‘Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours’ (no ‘A’ at the start?) affirm this book as a fine prose collection, if not quite the perfect tribute.

(Serpent’s Tail)

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