My Inspiration: Red Or Dead Author David Peace

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David Peace's new novel, Red or Dead, has already been widely celebrated for its originality, thanks to a combination of Peace's signature short, rythmic sentences and the meticulous research he undertook to recreate the life of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly.

But even books from pioneering writers that revitalise their genre – and Peace has certainly done that with the sports biography – aren't recreated in a vacuum. They are, like all art, shaped by other great art.

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Here Peace traces his own writing career, from the Red Riding Quartet that made his name to Red or Dead looking at the music, novels and visual art that shaped his creative process at the time.

Nineteen Seventy-Four (Red Riding Quartet)
"Diamond Dogs by David Bowie and Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis; simply put, I wanted the book to sound like that album and read like that novel."

Nineteen Seventy-Seven (Red Riding Quartet)
"Two Sevens Clash by Culture and the Factory Series by Derek Raymond; as above. Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom by Walter Sickert would have been the ideal cover for the book."

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Nineteen Eighty (Red Riding Quartet)
"Heathen Earth by Throbbing Gristle and the paintings of Francis Bacon, particularly his Heads, Popes and Man in Blue series; the music and images I tried to capture in my own text. Less pretentiously, Resurrection Man by Eoin McNamee was also important."

Nineteen Eighty-Three (Red Riding Quartet)
"1984 by George Orwell, Moss Side Story by Barry Adamson and After Murder Park by the Auteurs; England, my England."

GB84 
"The films of Sergei Eisenstein, the music of Dimitri Shostakovich – particularly Symphony No.8 conducted by Evgeny Mravinsky – and U.S.A. by John Dos Passos; the writing of history."

The Damned Utd
"T
his Sporting Life by David Storey, Christie Mallory’s Own Double- Entry and Alma Cogan by Gordon Burn; these were the novels I hoped to pay tribute to with own book. I’d also add Paul Tickell’s film of Christie Mallory here, too, with a soundtrack by Luke Haines. Around this time (2006), Luke also put out the Leeds United EP; these things go hand in hand."   

Tokyo Year Zero 
"In the back of this book, I listed the many inspirations and sources that helped me try to write but I would single out: the novel No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, the film Stray Dog directed by Akira Kurosawa and The Tranquilizer Song by the Japanese 'avant-garde' metal band Sigh from their album Gallows Gallery.   

Occupied City
"I borrowed/stole the structure for this novel from In a Grove by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (and which, of course, was filmed by Kurosawa as Rashōmon). Akutagawa remains a constant source of inspiration. And for anyone who is interested, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories, translated by Jay Rubin, is a wonderful recent collection. Heiner Mūller’s play Die Hamletmaschine was also a big influence along with Einstürzende Neubauten’s 1990 CD of the same name. As was Curlew River by Benjamin Britten, based on the Noh drama Sumidagawa (the river which runs through Tokyo)."

Red or Dead
"
Eisenstein and Shostakovich again and the revolutionary poetry of Alexandr Blok – particularly The Twelve – and Vladimir Mayakovsky; ART FROM ALL, ART FOR ALL. And on my wall above my desk as I wrote was a postcard of The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt (and which was the origin of the quotation at the start of the novel). But the poetry, paintings and music Saint Bill loved were never far away: Burns, Lowry and You’ll Never Walk Alone …"


SEE ALSO:
David Peace interview: how he wrote Red Or Dead

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