Paperback Writer Part 2: Paul Cuddihy

If I had a pen…

The first Paperback Writer interview on Drone Publishing was placed on the site at the weekend and we have wasted no time in providing you with the second in our series where we get to know our authors and give you some insight into the people that write the books we publish.

If you want to check out Dave Redford’s interview, and it is highly recommended, it can be found here but for now, we are delighted to get the second interview underway and this interview comes with the man behind DRONE 004 – Paul Cuddihy.

That book – As Easy As A Nuclear War: Short Stories Inspired By Duran Duran Song titles – is currently available at the low low price of 99p on the Kindle. Yes, if you snap the ebook up before the end of the day on Wednesday the 29th of July, you will get to enjoy a wide range of stories for less than £1. The link to find the cheap deal is here so make sure you get over there and grab yourself a bargain. There are three five star reviews for the book already on the site and it’s a book that we are delighted to be associated with.

We are also delighted to be associated with Paul because during the course of the interview, he slated some musical acts we dislike while praising songs and acts that we love, so that is always a good sign. We’re not as opposed to small green vegetables as Paul is though, we think that there is a role for all vegetables…mind you, we’ll stick any food on a roll!

Enough inane chatter from us, here is the interview with Paul Cuddihy:

For people who don’t know you, how would you describe yourself?

Start with an easy question, why don’t you! I would like to think that I’m a positive person (which means I’m a pain in the arse first thing in the morning, apparently!), and quite laid-back. I avoid conflict at all costs, except when I’m playing five-a-sides when I am a pain in the arse. I hate lateness, and rollercoasters, which are the work of the devil … and Brussel Sprouts, which are dirty and evil.

How would someone else describe you?

Probably as an old curmudgeon. I’ll take that.

The author not looking as old or as curmudgeonly

The author not looking as old or as curmudgeonly

We focus on music at Drone Publishing – are there are any artists/musicians that have inspired or influenced your writing?

My writing’s been influenced by other writers rather than by musicians. I’ve always listened to music, but I don’t really believe that people like a song because of the lyrics. It’s all about the music. If you get good lyrics as well, that’s a bonus. For example, if Queen had set Seamus Heaney poems to music, the songs would have still been crap regardless of the beauty of the words.

Who are you listening to right now?

I was listening to a lot of Duran Duran while I was writing As Easy As A Nuclear War, obviously enough, and I listen to a lot of 80s music anyway. Other things I’ve been listening to recently include Rodriquez, music from the Nashville soundtrack, a smattering of Gregorian Chant and Will Young’s new album.

I’ve also stumbled upon David Shrigley’s album, Music and Words, which is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard. He’s the guy who has designed the surreal (hideous) new Partick Thistle mascot. This album, which is a collaboration with Malcolm Middleton of Arab Strap, is incredible. I defy anyone to listen A Toast or Monkeys and not be completely blown away.

Image courtesy of Terry Lee @ Subbuteo Art – and their site can be found here

Are you a writer who can have music on in the background when you write? If so, who or what style of music/genre?

Yes, I generally write with music in the background. The music depends on what I’m writing. For example, I’m writing a novel set in 1981, so I’m listening to a lot of music from that time, and also working on a Scottish road trip novel set in the present day, and I’ve had Noel Gallagher on while I’ve been writing that.

Frank Zappa was famously disparaging in his opinions about people who wrote about music – Frank Zappa was rubbish wasn’t he?

He might well be. I have to confess I’ve never listened to him. Should I?

No. However, on the back of his famous quote, what is your take on writing about music or any art form?

I much prefer to read someone’s view on any art form than listen to them. I find arts critics on TV to be relentlessly irritating and I end up shouting at the screen – someone should invent a gadget that means I can switch to another channel – although I tend to read more about literature than music.

Can you tell us about some of your favourite music books/books about music?

Does Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments count as a book about music? I love that book, and indeed the entire Barrytown Trilogy. I read a few music autobiographies last year – John Taylor of Duran Duran, which was okay, and Morrissey’s tome, which was rubbish. The best by far was Tracey Thorn’s memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen. I enjoyed Revolution in the Head by Ian McDonald a few years back, which tells the story of every Beatles song, while Giles Smith’s Lost In Music, another memoir of growing up with a love of music and trying to make it in a band was a decent read. And I remember enjoying Bye Bye Baby by Caroline Sullivan, which charts her teenage years in New Jersey as an obsessive fan of Bay City Rollers.

What about your favourite books (of any kind), what are they and how would you rate your favourite music books alongside them?

My favourite books would include John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Robin Jenkins’ The Cone Gatherers – the latest edition has an introduction/appreciation from actor, Paul Giamatti – Master of Morgana by Allan Campbell McLean, which is one of my favourite books from childhood, William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and anything by Anne Tyler, to name but a few. They would all be head and shoulders above any of the music books I’ve read.

Traditional music writing is declining in numbers (like many traditional print options) even the NME is going free – any concerns about the future of music writing?
As long as music continues to be made, there will always be a place for music writing. That might not be in traditional music papers, but online line platforms will continue to offer a space for writers and might well encourage a wider spectrum of opinions – and quality of writing – than was previously available.

Any plans for any other music books in the future?
When I was asked this question before, I said, ‘I’d like to do Kylie Minogue,’ which got me into a bit of trouble with my wife! I’ve no music books in the pipeline at the moment, at least not until I’ve cleared the decks of the other projects I’m working on or want to start.

I was going to say that there would be no better way to conclude that interview by saying to Paul that he should be so lucky…lucky, lucky, lucky…but there is a better way and that would be for Frank Sidebottom to sing it, so take it away please Frank!

Don’t think that we have anything against the wonderful Kylie (and we’ll side-step the obvious comment) though so here is The Chemical Brothers remix of Slow:

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