Dreams of sex and stage.., p.1
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       Dreams of Sex and Stage Diving, p.1
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           Martin Millar
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Dreams of Sex and Stage Diving


  Table of Contents

  Praise

  also by martin millar:

  Title Page

  one

  two

  three

  Four

  five

  Six

  seven

  eight - [ STAGE DIVING WITH ELFISH ]

  nine

  ten

  eleven

  twelve

  thirteen

  fourteen

  fifteen

  sixteen - [ STAGE DIVING WITH ELFISH ]

  seventeen

  eighteen

  nineteen

  twenty

  twenty-one

  twenty-two

  twenty-three

  twenty-four - [ STAGE DIVING WITH ELFISH ]

  twenty-five

  twenty-six

  twenty-seven

  twenty-eight

  twenty-nine

  thirty

  thirty-one - [ STAGE DIVING WITH ELFISH ]

  thirty-two

  thirty-three

  thirty-four

  thirty-five

  thirty-six

  thirty-seven

  thirty-eight

  thirty-nine

  forty

  forty-one - [ STAGE DIVING WITH ELFISH ]

  forty-two

  forty-three

  forty-four

  forty-five

  forty-six

  forty-seven

  forty-eight

  forty-nine

  fifty

  fifty-one

  fifty-two

  fifty-three

  fifty-four

  fifty-five

  fifty-six

  fifty-seven

  fifty-eight

  fifty-nine

  sixty

  sixty-one

  sixty-two

  sixty-three

  sixty-four

  sixty-five

  sixty-six

  sixty-seven

  sixty-eight

  sixty-nine

  Copyright Page

  PRAISE FOR THE WORK OF

  Martin Millar

  MILK, SULPHATE, AND ALBY STARVATION

  “Milk is a giddy journey, an amusement park ride, an enchantment like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

  —The New York Times Book Review

  “The dizzying array of characters and perspectives whips Millar’s madcap story into a potent blitz that runs at full throttle through the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Irvine Welsh will love Millar’s singularly entertaining tale of suspicious minds.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Creates a patchwork of a novel that is fresh, clever, and compulsively readable . . . Millar’s novel so thoroughly embraces its narrator’s paranoia that I found myself questioning my own sense of reality. Even so, real or not, I loved this book.”

  —Bookslut

  “A low-life fairy tale, Milk preserves a strong sense of hard-earned realism . . . one comes to feel thoroughly under the influence of Millar’s lively, hurtling prose.”

  —Bookforum

  “Millar’s first novel receives a welcome re-issue . . . evokes amphetamine-induced paranoia without ever approaching a cliché. These days the drugs have changed, but this entertaining fable, which is alternately surreal and grubbily realistic, still delights.”

  —The Times (U.K.)

  “Pop cultural references are everywhere in this frantic cultish debut which takes an Irvine Welsh-esque turn.”

  —The Guardian

  “Written in 1987, this welcome re-issue is a masterful work that goes straight to the heart of a spurned generation, alive and not so well, in Thatcher’s revolting (in both meanings of the word) Britain . . . A work of rare genius and truly cult, it deserves a place on your book shelf next to Hubert Selby Jr’s Last Exit To Brooklyn.”

  —The List

  “Martin Millar created a minor classic with his exciting, surreal and funny debut novel. It is strange, quirky and entertaining to the end.”

  —What’s On London

  “What’s allergic to milk, collects comics, sells speed, likes The Fall and lives in Brixton? Alby Starvation, the first true British anti-hero of the giro generation. A strange and wonderful story, I’ve yet to meet someone who has not enjoyed it.”

  —NME

  “A classic tale of Brixton low-life. ****”

  —Uncut

  “A crazed comedy of Brixton lowlife, drugs and martial arts.”

  —The Face

  RUBY AND THE STONE AGE DIET

  “I fell a little bit in love with the sweet, gormless, lovelorn Brixton squatter protagonist and his best friend Ruby, who never wore shoes, and who made everything okay by naming it.”

  —Bookslut

  LUX THE POET

  “Millar uses all of the elements of his story . . . to build a batshit atmosphere in which humor and the grim specter of class tension can play.”

  —Time Out Chicago

  “An uncommon voice in the wilderness of fantasy novelists.”

  —Kirkus Reviews

  “Offer[s] laughs and, finally, some touching insights into life’s trajectory.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  SUZY, LED ZEPPELIN, AND ME

  “Glasgow circa 1972 shimmers like a vision of Atlantis, a lost world.”

  —Ed Park, The Los Angeles Times

  “It’s like being there, minus the acid.”

  —Publishers Weekly, “Books for Grownups”

  “Part romance, nostalgia trip and musical memory . . . a hip and canny gem of a novel wrapped up in cheesecloth and patchouli . . . [A] heartfelt tale of teen emotional toothache.”

  —Bookmunch

  “Millar’s self-deprecating humor and wild enthusiasm for the music of his youth deepen the pull of this bittersweet read.”

  —Booklist

  “The British author does a crack job recalling that youth . . . the mere timelessness of this rite of passage is something well worth documenting.”

  —The Austin Chronicle

  “A passionate account of what it meant to be young, spotty and in love when Led Zeppelin IV came out, presented in the authentic voice of a dreamy 14-year-old whose other great obsessions are lusting after girls and vanquishing the Monstrous Hordes of Xotha.”

  —The Guardian

  “His finest.”

  —Daily Telegraph

  LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL

  “It’s so compelling you don’t want to it end. The grungy, gory, glorious world that World Fantasy Award-winner Millar has created is unforgettable.”

  —Booklist (starred review)

  “[A] loving tribute to disaffection and the hopefulness of youth.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  “Every detail in this book is rich and deep and thoughtful; Millar gives his characters the time and attention they deserve . . . The fact that this is sincerely accomplished through the text is really quite remarkable and a testament to the writing ability of this so very talented, and sharply creative, author.”

  —Bookslut

  THE GOOD FAIRIES OF NEW YORK

  “Read it now, and then make your friends buy their own copies. You’ll thank me someday.”

  —Neil Gaiman

  “Millar offers fiercely funny (and often inebriated) Scottish fairies, a poignant love story, cultural conflicts, and the plight of the homeless in this fey urban fantasy.”

  —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  ““Imagine Kurt Vonnegut reading Marvel Comics with The Clash thrashing in the background. For the deceptively simple poetry of the everyday, nobody does it better. Just check out . . . the Highlands-bred, New York Dolls-obsessed fairies for you
rself.”

  —The List (UK)

  also by martin millar:

  The Good Fairies of New York

  Lonely Werewolf Girl

  Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me

  Milk, Sulphate, and Alby Starvation

  Lux the Poet

  Ruby and the Stone Age Diet

  one

  ELFISH, PRETENDING TO be her ex-friend Amnesia, phoned up Mo.

  “Mo? This is Amnesia. Remember me?”

  Mo remembered. It was more than a year since he had seen Amnesia but she was not a person who was easily forgotten, even by a man who drank as much as Mo.

  “What do you want?” he asked, wasting no time on politeness. Mo was never polite. Besides, he hated Elfish and felt no particular desire to speak to her acquaintances.

  Elfish was not sure what she wanted.

  Her brother Aran, sitting beside her, looked on dully. Aran was so deep in depression that even the unusual event of his sister Elfish phoning up her old lover under the guise of being her ex-friend Amnesia barely interested him.

  “Nothing in particular.”

  Elfish was making some effort to disguise her voice, pitching it a little deeper, but she was not really worried about Mo realising he was being fooled. Elfish’s regard for Mo’s intelligence was not high. In fact, Elfish’s repeated assertion to Mo that he was stupid was one of the main reasons for their present antagonism.

  “I’m coming up to London next week. I was hoping I’d meet you again. But Elfish tells me you’re not seeing each other anymore.”

  “Right.”

  “How come?”

  “How come?”

  “Because Elfish is a bitch.”

  “She certainly is,” agreed Elfish. “I always wondered what you saw in her.”

  “I never saw anything in her,” claimed Mo. “We just slept together sometimes. I was always seeing other women as well.”

  “Really?” Elfish forced a little amusement into her voice. “Poor Elfish. I don’t expect she realised. She was always pretty stupid about things like that.”

  “Right,” said Mo.

  “Well, I’d better be going, Mo. I’ll come and see you when I get to London. You remember what I look like?”

  Mo grunted.

  “I bleached my hair blonder,” said Elfish. “You’ll like it. Bye.”

  She put the phone down.

  “How was it?” enquired Aran, but Elfish, now on her feet and marching round the room in a tight circle, was too furious to reply.

  two

  ELFISH WOKE UP in a pool of her own vomit and other people’s beer. She groaned. Her head was unbearably sore and it quickly got worse. Trying to raise herself she made it only on to one elbow before vomiting again. It dribbled down her T-shirt, flowing in small rivulets around the already congealed mess from last night. Tears of pain smarted in her eyes and her throat was so dry she could not swallow. When she vomited again she felt as if her stomach was coming out in shreds.

  “I’m poisoned. I can’t move.”

  Her groin was damp. Elfish couldn’t believe it. She had wet herself. The classroom, one of many in the old school, was devastated. Everywhere were empty and broken bottles, crushed cans and cigarette packets and piles of unidentifiable debris. Some chairs in the corner had been burned and the large classroom window had been smashed. A slight rain trickled through the hole making the broken glass sparkle and the filth on the floor turn to mud.

  Good party, thought Elfish, but did not manage to raise a smile. Needing liquid, she began to crawl. As she crawled the fresh sick on her clothes rubbed off on the floor leaving a trail behind her like a snail. Her hand came into contact with a can. Shaking it, she found that it was half full, and drank from it. A cigarette butt flowed from the can into her mouth and she was sick again, followed this time by long shuddering convulsions.

  “Elfish,” came a voice. “You are completely disgusting.”

  It was Aba. She stared at Elfish for a while, then leant down to kiss her. Elfish unfortunately could not prevent herself from being sick again. Aba shrieked and spat furiously.

  “You ignorant bitch,” she screamed.

  Elfish laughed, and Aba laughed too. She poured stale beer from the can over Elfish’s face and hair and used her sleeve to wipe her mouth clean. She put her hand on the collar of Elfish’s T-shirt and pulled. The soaked and rotten material gave way, exposing Elfish’s small breasts, over which Aba poured more beer, and rubbed them clean.

  “Go away,” said Elfish.

  Aba grabbed Elfish and kissed her fiercely, lying on top of her so that her thigh pushed into the smaller woman’s groin and the studs on her leather jacket dug into Elfish’s skin.

  Elfish pulled at Aba’s clothes but was too weak to remove them, but Aba, who was strong, had no difficulty in removing the rest of Elfish’s. Still dressed, Aba poured the last of the beer on to Elfish’s pubic hair and began to lick it off.

  In the doorway, another party victim, newly awakened, looked on briefly before the pain in his head and limbs forced him to face the daylight and head for home.

  Elfish writhed, and wrapped her legs round Aba’s head. Aba looked up briefly.

  “You stink, Elfish. You stink of beer and whisky and vomit and piss. You are disgusting.” She slid her tongue back into Elfish’s vagina.

  Elfish, still fighting her headache and nausea, managed to unzip Aba’s jeans and slide her small hand as far in as it would go. She could not reach Aba’s clitoris but entwined her fingers in her pubic hair. They lay in this manner for some time in the ruined classroom, having sex among the debris with the rain now pouring in through the broken window, turning the mud under Elfish’s naked body into slime.

  Aba turned Elfish over, wiped her with her sleeve, and licked her anus. Elfish wriggled. Aba slid three fingers up her vagina, gripped her clitoris with her other hand and licked Elfish’s anus till Elfish came in a violent spasm that sent fluid spilling out to mix with the sludge on the floor.

  Aba stood up, spat, zipped up her jeans, and left. Elfish lay naked and unconscious on the floor, the rain now coming down on her body in a torrent. When she awoke it was midday. She was freezing and stiff, and could not move.

  There were many things that Elfish should be doing in the world outside.

  I will just lie here and die instead, she thought.

  Moments later she began to crawl into her sodden clothes, having remembered that she was Elfish, and the main thing about Elfish was that she did not just lie down and die.

  three

  IN 1959 AN archaeological dig unearthed the complete text of Menander’s comedy, the Dyskolos, written about 340 B.C. This is the only complete text of Menander’s work that survives.

  From Menander, a line can be drawn connecting him with the Roman dramatists, and then to Molière and Shakespeare. So it said in the introduction to Aran’s copy anyway. He was interested in this, and wondered who he could relate it to.

  His sister Elfish arrived, looking terrible.

  “Did you know that a line can be drawn connecting Menander to Shakespeare, through the Roman dramatists and Molière?”

  “No,” said Elfish. “And I don’t care. I’ve come to use your phone. I’m going to call Mo again and pretend to be Amnesia.”

  Elfish spat. Her hatred for Mo was intense. Aran produced two beers and they sat and drank.

  Amnesia was not around anymore. Consequently there was no chance of Mo meeting her and realising he was being fooled. So Elfish hoped, anyway.

  Elfish was as usual both comforted and depressed by her brother’s presence. They were good friends, but her brother had entered a clinical depression and seemed to have no intention of leaving it. Elfish, herself melancholic by nature, found this hard to take.

  She told him about her experiences the night before, at the party in the old school building.

  “I fucked Aba this morning,” she added. “Which is good as I know she slept with Mo and I like to fuck Mo’s l
overs.”

  Elfish dialled Mo’s number, concentrating because the gloom in Aran’s room was such that visibility was very limited.

  “Hey, Mo. It’s Amnesia again. How you doing? I’ve just spoken to Elfish on the phone. You know she had sex with Aba last night? You see Aba sometimes, don’t you? Has Elfish slept with many of your women?”

  “So how did Mo take that?” asked Aran, after the call.

  “Badly.”

  Elfish explained to her brother that she was softening up Mo before moving on to the main thrust of her attack and asked him if he would also phone Mo, and drop into the conversation that he had recently seen Amnesia, and she had grown into the most beautiful girl in the world.

  This was confusing and troubling for Aran.

  “Make her sound like Jayne Mansfield. Blonde hair and huge tits. Mo is so dumb he won’t remember she wasn’t like that and he’ll go for it. He’ll go for her as well.”

  Aran did not think he was capable of doing this.

  “Of course you are,” said Elfish encouragingly. “And you know how important it is to me. I need the name of Queen Mab.”

  The thought of actually doing anything at all was almost too much for Aran and he went to his fridge for more beers before relating to his sister yet again how much he missed his girlfriend and how sad he was about it all. Elfish made sympathetic noises for a while till she got bored and left.

  Four

  QUEEN MAB IS the deliverer of dreams. Elfish and Mo used to play in a band called Queen Mab. They argued and the band split up before playing a gig. Now both of them laid claim to the name.

 
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