Pixies frontman Black Francis recently announced ‘The Good Inn’, a graphic novel telling the story of “the first narrative pornographic film”. He joins rapper Lupe Fiasco, who this weekend began publishing a novel via Twitter brilliantly titled ‘Teriyaki Joe: Neo-Harlem Detective’, in the ranks of musicians with literary debuts in the works. They’re not the first musicians to try their hand at fiction, though: Louise Wener from Sleeper, Paul McCartney, Nick Cave, 50 Cent and Leonard Cohen have all authored novels of sorts. So which NME favourites should have a go next? Here are 10 we’d like to see competing for next year’s Man Booker Prize.
Have you heard ‘Monster’? Yeezy is Patrick Bateman. He practically admitted as much in the promotional campaign for ‘Yeezus’, riffing on the Bret Easton Ellis creation’s famous Phil Collins tirade in ‘American Psycho’ in this promo video. Having conquered the world of music and fashion, should Kanye unleash a literary debut on the world, a harrowing insight into the dark underside of the American upper class surely beckons. But with more Luis Vutton references and flaky French pastries, obvs.
The former At The Drive-In and Mars Volta man’s lyrics are Thomas Pynchon-esque streams of consciousness dripped in spooky surrealist mayhem (sample line, from The Mars Volta’s ‘The Widow’: “He’s got fasting black lungs made of clove splintered shards/They’re the kind that will talk, through a weezing of coughs.”) Give the man a publishing deal and we could have a new ‘Ulysses’ on our hands – but via druggy El Paso desert waste lands instead of the cobbled streets of Dublin. Move over, James Joyce.
Annie Clark captured the nuances of hum-drum day to day domestic life on 2011’s ‘Strange Mercy’. “I have this fixation with ‘60s housewives,” she said around its release, explaining the video to ‘Cruel’, in which she plays a downtrodden stay-at-home mother who spends her days grocery shopping and idly combing her children’s hair. You just know she’d be good for a dark, imaginative, fierce Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road type insight into suburban living.
‘Regulate’ is rap storytelling at its finest (and funkiest). Literature loves morally dubious anti-heroes, and you don’t get much more morally dubious than Warren G and Nate Dogg gunning down a cast of hood rats before heading to a seedy motel to party with prostitutes. Alright, so Dickens never used the phrase “horny tricks” to describe his female characters, and judging by the constant spelling mistakes in his tweets he might need to bring someone in to handle all things grammar but as the G-funk master might say, that ain’t no thang.
They say if you give a thousand monkeys a thousand keyboards they’d eventually come up with entire works of Shakespeare. I reckon it’d take far less time for this one Monkey to pen a classic, if the witty lyrical vignettes on ‘AM’ are anything to go by. Oldies like ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ reveal Turner has always been a compelling storyteller but only recently has he developed a knack for out of this world imagery: “Arabella’s got some interstellagator skin boots / And a helter skelter around her little finger and I ride it endlessly.” Give the man a book deal already.
We already know Bowie is an avid reader: earlier this year, he published a list for his 100 must-read books, giving a fascinating insight into the mind of the influential musician and style icon. The list featured everything from Martin Amis’s epic ‘Money’ to the entire oeuvre of Viz, so what exactly a Bowie book would be like is anyone’s guess. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility though – notoriously shy about his private life, a fiction work is more likely than an autobiography, and if this year’s shock comeback album ‘The Next Day’ proved, the man delights in throwing surprises.
The year is 3045 AD. An intergalactic cruiser of dignitaries from Planet Disco is hijacked by space pirates. Only two robotic heroes stand in their way. See? Daft Punk’s debut novel writes itself. And they’ve already got the costumes for the inevitable movie adaptation, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The sprawl of sci-fi sounds on ‘Random Access Memories’ makes us think a work of fiction from the Franco-robo pair would be a futuristic Phillip K Dick tale.
Rapper Gucci chronicled his day to day life in the fast lane on mixtape ‘Diary of a Trap God’ earlier this year, setting himself out as the rap game Bridget Jones. Maybe he fancies writing an Adrian Mole style novel? After all, he might soon have a lot of time on his hands – he’s currently awaiting a court case for possession of illegal firearms that could see him imprisoned for 20 years…
The former Pavement singer is one of rock’s great lyricists. Witty with a fierce satirical streak, he’s got the makings of a great novelist in the vein of a funnier Jonathan Franzen. Though he’s never made clear intentions to write a book, he did have this to say in an interview in 1999: “Books are a total escape. They don’t make me depressed ‘cos reading the newspaper makes me sad and afraid of dying or something. So I like to read books, novels… It’s a major pass-time of mine.”
The Harlem emcee in 2011 revealed his undying love for Harry Potter: “I love Harry Potter and JK Rowling – don’t laugh at me! Either ‘The Sorcerer’s Stone’, ‘The Chamber Of Secrets’, ‘The Prisoner Of Azkaban’, ‘The Goblet Of Fire or The Half-Blood Prince’. I’m the biggest Harry Potter fan in the fucking world. Does that freak you out? You’ve gotta be yourself.” Perhaps he fancies penning his own Harlem-set take on the Potter series: a kid’s book about a young wizard whose spells help him conquer hood life and buy loads of Rick Owens and Givenchy threads. Stranger things have happened. Things stranger than fiction…