Monday 8 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: BYKER ED interviews BYKER ED

Have you heard of ‘Byker Books’ they’re a little mob from Newcastle that became so frustrated with publishing in this country that they decided to do it themselves. Their stuff – whilst being undoubtedly fucking brilliant – can be a bit brutal and scary ( a bit like a threesome with Jodie Marsh and Kerry Katona) so when we were tasked with tracking down and interrogating the mysterious ‘Ed’ we thought we’d better take some insurance just in case...bloody Direct Line was closed though….

• So Byker Ed – wassup?

Don’t give us all that faux American shite son and take that fucking baseball cap off your head – that’s better. Now I’m assuming that garbled nonsense was to ask me what we’re up to and then I give you the hard sell about our latest book? Well I can’t be arsed with that – we’re Byker Books and we’re a little different.
If people want to look at our website and read about quality books like the uniquely written ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and the forthcoming darkly comic ‘Dumb Luck’ then I’m sure they will – particularly as these will be taught in schools in a hundred years time – but I’m not going to prostitute myself by even mentioning that they’re only £7.99 and that our web address is ...oh no, not me like.

• Errr this ‘Radgepacket’ thing you do – what’s that all about?

Radgepacket is our baby. Some publishers have boy wizards, others have spunky thirty-something singletons and a few have a thing about vampires but our signature read is a series of books about British inner city life that are as full of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll as you could possibly wish for. I mean granted, we might feature any of the above in one of our stories but the chances are they’d be getting happy slapped by a group of ten year olds on a council estate...

• You do a bit of writing yourself so who or what would you say inspired you to take up the pen initially?

I read loads as a kid, all that ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ stuff – couldn’t ever relate to a bunch of middle class kids like – and carried it on through my adult life but it was only when I read ‘Trainspotting’ by Irvine Welsh that I really thought ‘hold on – they’re letting people like us have pens now!’
That was probably the start of my transformation from foul mouthed, lager swilling, yob to foul mouthed, lager swilling, yob who writes stuff.

• Your first full length book, ‘I’m Rivelino’ (by Andy Rivers - howay man get ya wallets out, the lad’s good! ) was a well received piece of work that managed to accomplish being a ‘proper’ football book that was both funny and interesting rather than a run-of-the-mill ‘hooligan’ book. How did it come about?

I’ve read a few of them hooligan books and they’re basically all the same ‘We never ran and we were the hardest,’ they’re also bollocks and a bit boring after a while. So when we got offered a book that we thought detailed the matchday experiences of normal, football going blokes who liked a pint and a laugh – think a working class Nick Hornby – then we jumped at it. In fact I think everyone reading this should buy a copy and then email you to tell me if I achieved it.

• Fizzy Lager, Champagne or Newcastle Brown?

Fizzy lager every time! I like champagne but being a Newcastle fan I don’t have reason to drink it very often…and Newcastle Broon…well…I don’t mind it but it’s not brewed in Newcastle anymore as the brewery put profit over tradition and people’s jobs so frankly they can fuck off!

• Any advice you could give aspiring writers?

Yes – this is the most important piece of advice any writer will ever be given...ever. Are you ready to write it down...sure? Okay then, I’ll begin.
When the publisher gives you some basic instructions on submissions in the form they’d prefer then follow them – to the letter. Don’t write a witty email detailing how you never follow instructions because you’re just so zany, don’t bombard the publisher with emails about changes you want to make to the story he’s just spent precious time reading, don’t send him huffy emails about how it wasn’t ‘your best work anyway’ when you get rejected and, most of all, don’t fucking harass him for an answer the same day you submitted – we’ve got lives as well you bastards!!
*ahem* yeah – that should cover it.

• Ever considered promoting one of your authors via Celebrity reality bollocks?

Only if they do a special edition where it’s in a house/jungle/prison where we can arm our hardest author – I’m thinking the boy Rivers but Tom Arnold is a Millwall fan so who knows – with some kind of club or bat and the only voting involves who he kills today. I can see it now... ‘Day seven in Celebrities get smashed to death and Jordan is on the phone to her agent because Andy didn’t hit her on her best side...’ how good would that be man? I’d watch it!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Someone good looking obviously – I’m thinking Brad Pitt, Jonny Depp, those kind of handsome bastards. Realistically I’d probably end up with Jimmy Nail though *sigh*

• And what sort of soundtrack would you like playing?

Plenty of Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, Pulp, Kasabian, The Courteeners, The Twang, The Specials, The Who, James…shall I go on?

• Riiiiggghhhttt...that’s about it really. Fancy a pint?

Go on then – fizzy lager please.


  1. That was one great interview. Going to check out the site now. Thanks for the heads up. I f'n love the style and stories of the UK crime writers. American's need to get their heads out of their ass, and start reading more of it.

  2. I went my mates to watch the football the other night. Lech poznan were playing Man city. Every time Poznan scored the dog did a cartwheel and a rumba around the room.When Man City scored it started breakdancing. 'What does it do when Newcastle score?' I said.'Dunno,' said my mate. 'I've only had it ten years.'

    Byker Books are the bee's knees, the cat's whiskers, the dog's bollocks.

  3. Needed cheering up today, so when I heard about this I shot over. Thanks for cheering me up with some gritty northern banter, 'Ed'. Am sorted now, innit.
    Ps. Cheers to Nigel too for hosting.
    Pps. Paul - :)

  4. Col, you should have been in the pub last Wednesday. Or maybe not.

  5. It's THIS Wednesday that counts... v the crumbling empire!

  6. Din't understand a word, now did I? But enjoyed it thoroughly -- not to worry, Nigel's promised to translate for me. Completely agree with filleting the tossers who are "too cool for submission guidelines".