Most Things Don’t Happen is the new zine style lyrics, poetry and prose publication that collects writing by Kirk Lake. It includes selected lyrics from his myriad of recorded releases alongside short stories and poems and previously unreleased material spanning 20 years. On the eve of publication, we caught up with Kirk for a quick chat...
Outsideleft: Most Things Don’t Happen? Is that a good or a bad thing?
Kirk Lake: You can read it either way. I mean, originally I used to use the phrase when I was talking about various projects that I’ve been involved in, or at least projects that people have put to me that, for varied reasons, never get completed, or just fade away… There are times when you spend an age putting together a proposal for a non-fiction book that goes unsold, writing scripts for films that don’t get made etc etc… And then somebody will say, “What happened to that film you were making with X? What happened to that graphic novel that you wrote for Y?” And you just shrug and say… “most things don’t happen.” So don’t worry about it. In terms of the stuff in the zine, when I was compiling it I realised that it’s a theme I have returned to again and again. The idea of a plan that doesn’t work, a dream that gets destroyed, hearts that get broken… It’s in the novels and it's in the songs and it runs throughout the zine from the oldest piece English Presley, The Pearly King of Rock’n’Roll, a true story about myself and a friend’s plan to record and release an album which never got further than sitting around in a pub talking about it, to one of the most recent lyrics This Is How Some Things End which dissects a failed one-sided relationship.
OL: Most things don’t happen but some things do. This is 20 years of lyrics but its not really a comprehensive overview of the work you’ve done is it?
KL: That wasn’t the plan. This is just a selection of stuff from some of the records. It’s just about 20 years since I started so I thought it was time to try and get a handle on the back catalogue. Almost none of the records are online, the novels are out of print… I’m going to put together an anthology of tracks from all of the albums and singles and release that next year and then there’ll be a 20th anniversary reissue of the novel Never Hit The Ground in 2017. Disco City Books are going to reprint the Mickey The Mimic novel soon as the first printing sold out. I mean, if you missed this stuff first time around… And you almost certainly did… I’m about as underground as you can get without being buried alive.
OL: What made you want to do the zine?
KL: I’ve always loved that basic garage style publication. Laid out by hand. Cut and paste. Immediate. Years ago I ran this zine called Twister which published the usual music reviews and interviews and then had new poems by Bukowski, Richard Hell, Billy Childish etc. I used to love putting that together. We ended up getting this one printed at exactly the same place I had used for Twister. I don’t think they’ve put up their prices for 25 years. And, I wanted to just put something together myself that would be conceived, designed and printed in a very short space of time. After the fiasco with the clown that ran Ink Monkey Books who virtually killed my last novel through his rank incompetence it was good to do another Disco City thing. No bullshit.
OL: I saw you’ve been doing some acting recently?
KL: Yeah, well I played the archivist in the Nick Cave film 20,000 Days on Earth and the directors of that film had me acting four different small parts in their Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories television series for Sky. Then there are some short films I made with the Powis Square Pictures film team that I’m a part of. There’s a feature film forthcoming from Powis Square that I co-wrote and will be acting in as well. It’s a kind of film noir/ horror movie.
OL: Anything else that might or might not happen?
KL: I have just finished a new novel. A literary noir set in a California desert town in the mid 1980s. That’ll come out some time in 2017. A few other film projects are being put together and then I’m part way through writing/recording two new records. There’s one lyric from each of those in the zine. One of them has been going on for about two years so that could be almost teetering on the edge of something that doesn’t happen. The other one is in its very early stages. We’ll see.
Extract – Dementia Pugilistica (1996)
And when he fell,
it was like the wind had made a wish and blown him down.
And lying there
he sees nothing but the black lights coming down.
hears the count of five and six above the roar
like the rumble of the ocean,
leaves him wondering what happened to one to four
And lying there
he sees nothing but the black lights all around
And lying there
he sees nothing but the black lights coming down
And forever isn’t long enough,
and forever isn’t long enough,
and forever isn’t long enough.
And you can mumble along karaoke style to the original track now on YouTube, here...
Hamilton High was born on Doheny Ave in the gutter, is a poet, writer and observer of popular culture. Likes fashion and cares less for style. He's on the move, he's an alter ego and we hardly ever hear from him.