FAGS AND LAGER - Charlie Williams
Taking up from DEADFOLK (a debut with a punch if there ever was one), FAGS AND LAGER finds out just how far Royston Blake, head doorman at Hoppers and self-confessed hard man of Mangel, will go for free stack of tinnies and fags.
It seems it's a fair way, as long as you don't mind that Blake does everything his own way (even though he's singing the theme tune from Minder - you just can't help thinking a karaoke version of My Way would be better).
Mangel is a grim little town full of grim little individuals and Blake rules (or at least he thinks he does). Until he finds himself ousted from his beloved position of power (head doorman at Mangels) and surrounded by some very oddly behaving young kids around town. So there he is, jobless, moneyless, beaten up, looking for his local shopkeepers young daughter (payment of the aforementioned Fags and Lager) and somebody's actually had a go at his one love - his 2.8i Capri car (gold - no self-respecting hard man would drive a white one).
So whilst Blake is yomping around (his word for walking) trying to sort out a seriously inconvenient situation for himself, Mangel itself is fighting a seriously weird drug situation and the local newspaper is running its own investigations.
Blake's a counter culture hero if there ever was one - unloveable but totally unhateable; messed up from childhood; totally consistent and even, heaven help us, moral within his own terms of reference; he's out to set things right come hell, high water or a seriously good thumping.
FAGS AND LAGER is dark, tense, heavy-handed, sometime unbelievable, over the top, funny, thought-provoking, sometime believable, disturbing, gruesome and weird - all at once. Don't even attempt to read it if you think it's perfectly okay to drive a white 1.3 Capri.
Royston Blake recounts another tough tale from the crap town of Mangel. Still Head Doorman at Hoppers, Blake begins to notice a change in general punter behaviour. The norm of beery violence and lechery has given way to trance-like stares and nonsensical blatherings. Particularly amongst the younger age bracket, which seems to be dominant these days. Puzzled, he scratches his head and seeks solace at the bottom of a pint glass. And when Doug the shopkeeper offers him a bounty of 400 fags and 400 cans of lager to sort out his teenage daughter's undesirable boyfriend - an enigmatic outsider with a curious pull on the youth of Mangel - Blake's solace looks to be in the bag for at least a couple of weeks. But things don?t quite go according to plan. So begins Blake's journey from pillar of the Mangel community to local pariah. Can he rise above it this time? Will Nathan the barman help him out? And where has Finney got to?