Saturday 27 November 2010

Dancing With Myself: RICHARD GODWIN interviews RICHARD GODWIN

Richard Godwin writes dark crime fiction, and he lets it slip the net like wash into horror.

His work has appeared in many publications, places like A Twist Of Noir and Pulp Metal Magazine, as well as in two anthologies. His story 'Pike N Flytrap' is in this Fall's issue of Needle Magazine. His play ‘The Cure-All’ has been produced on the London stage.

All his stories and poetry can be found at his blog here

His first crime novel ‘Apostle Rising’ is about to be published and will be released for sale onto the market on March 10th 2011. Use the link to watch a video ad of it.


Questions Six and Eight became reversed in transit, shaking may disturb the product.

1 England is sinking, its last hope was Billy Idol, who was the foxtrot maestro par excellence, he had the hair and he had the pelvic thrust he bought from an Elvis catalogue, and now we are left with this sewage problem, what do you think can save the nation from its moral malaise?

Option a: Better cleaning products, a clean home is a happy home, mm do I smell home cooking?

Option b: Analysing the system and looking at what writers have been trying to say for centuries.

2 Is life like a road map?

You’re handed coordinates early on through the tribe you belong to and maybe you learn the rules. Those rules might mean getting the right education and acting as a mirror to various familial needs. You’re inhabiting a power structure. Hemingway wrote in ‘The Sun Also Rises’ that they tell you the rules and then kick the shit out of you the first time they catch you off first base. The truth is there ain’t no maps. As Melville said, the only secret is there isn’t one.

3 Does sadness increase with age?

If grief is commensurate with loss and the proportions of denial. Denial of the reality of those about you until it is too late.

4 What makes a great actor?

The ability to immerse themselves in another’s skin, you have to suspend your ego to do that. Think of De Niro, he becomes the people he portrays and that is a tricky business. Think of the old greats like Richard Burton. Live on the edge of another’s skin until you can feel the insects creeping across it. So Lee Strasberg comes along and says walk the walk. Literally. And Brando had it. James Dean. Anthony Hopkins encapsulates all the great acting talents and then you have charisma. People play roles, they rehearse them in their private lives and become the good husband or boss or the bad guy or the entertainer. Acting is a version of this except professionals are impersonating others or non-existent people. If that doesn’t tell you a lot about humanity nothing will.

5 Do you think society is being socially engineered?

I think there have been many forces of social engineering from the eugenics practised by the Nazis, to the kind of power structures we are seeing in more subtle forms nowadays. Propaganda plays a huge part, as used by the media moguls. If you accept everything you read and take without question all the lies thrown at you you are being passed a bag of warm saccharined vomit and being told it’s gourmet food. Here darling taste this it’s fantastic. It’s been going on a while, hand your ticket to yourself at the door and sit down, we have all you can eat stacked over there and the funeral parlour’s round the corner. As

Steven Berkoff put it brilliantly in ‘Decadence’ ‘The mouth pink and raw once again, to receive like Gargantua its morsels of fun’.

Ben Jonson, probably the most underrated writer in world history simply because he was competing directly with Shakespeare, saw it vividly. Jonson could really write plots, and belongs to the bad guys, he killed twice, once in a duel and spent time in prison. His dialogue is some of the best ever written. He lets his characters use their own idiosyncratic forms of speech. As Sir Epicure Mammon says in ‘The Alchemist’ ‘I myself will have the beards of barbels with the fresh unctuous paps of a fat pregnant sow newly cut off and served in an exquisite poignant sauce.’ What are you being fed?

Stanley Milgram conducted an interesting psychological experiment which he wrote about in his book ‘Obedience to Authority’. Volunteers were recruited to take part in a memory test. They were told by a guy in a white coat that they needed to ask questions to unseen anonymous people behind a screen. If they got the answers wrong the volunteers had to administer an electric shock. Most of them went along with this, even though they heard screams from the other side.

The participants were all actors apart from the volunteers who knew nothing of the real basis for the experiment, which was a study in the psychology of obedience and power structures. No electricity was being administered. They went along with it because a figure of authority told them he would take responsibility for their actions. Someone else cannot take responsibility for your actions. Doctors save lives. They also misdiagnose and screw up.

Gunter Grass recently upset Germany by admitting he was in the Waffen-SS in the Second World War.

In ‘Peeling The Onion’ what he exposes is the way the power system worked in Nazi Germany. People knew. Of course they did. But the dissemination of the information was carefully engineered so that those at the fringes got only a little. He pissed a lot of people of saying it. He also outraged the intellectual establishment by black marking himself when respectability seemed to the the prize. Since when has the purpose of writing been to be to prop up moral rectitude?

6 Who calls the shots?

Billy Idol.

On the floor of Tokyo
Or down in London town to go, go
With the record selection
And the mirror's reflection

I'm dancing with myself
When there's no-one else in sight
In the crowded lonely night
Well I wait so long
For my love vibration
And I'm dancing with myself

7 Do you think politics has any interest in literature or art?

Go Back a few years to Nazi Germany, all they wanted was propaganda, they saw art as a vehicle for their announcements and that is how you spawn turgid laxatives.
The art they favoured as within post-Stalinist Russia was so unimaginative it was soporific and that is what dictators create. Stasis.

The manipulation of our perceptions is what you’re dealing with.

Control the information in such a way as to make people buy your product.

Do you think the Girl From Ipanima took Dulco Lax?

‘And when she passes, each one she passes goes – ah’.

I think it is almost impossible to create a decent work of art that has a political agenda. Preaching and narrative do not make good bed fellows.

The best authors who engage in politics as subject matter describe political events with a degree of detachment that is necessary to sustain a good narrative.

There is nothing to suggest the two are coupled. George Orwell was a great political novelist, and that is a rarity . He was highly prophetic but not an outstanding stylist, however what he was doing worked ideally for his form. He was a one off.
Politicians croon about their artistic tastes while leeching any funding artists may receive.

The modern political agenda in England has systematically raped arts funding and disgraced itself and its history with the politically correct agenda that rules it now.

As Frank Zappa said, and there is no better way of putting it ‘Political correctness is just another form of cowardice, no one will say what is on their mind any more’.
Do we really think we can legislate against thoughts? We’re back to Orwell and the thought police.

When a writer like Lynda La Plante, who has written some of the best most memorable crime drama for TV, criticises the BBC over its commissioning policies and their salaries and says: 'If my name were Usafi Iqbadal and I was 19, then they'd probably bring me in and talk' you know we’re in trouble.

What are they trying to do?

Nice day for a white wedding.

8 What are these interviews about?

Banks, pharmaceutical companies. Economic practices are tied hand and foot into the power structure set up by the pharmaceutical industry, look at the fiscal relationships between war and drugs, politics and power and you’ll get into the dark underbelly and I tell you this, it ain’t been washed down there in a long time. Tie in chemical weapons and you have yourself a bag of money, that’s the trip, economic manipulation for the guys at the top while they tax us.

Remember the CIA were laundering their money in Cuba just like the Mafia before Castro locked it in and good old England was hanging out the wash oversees. Follow your leader to the heap and whistle while you work cause they just made a dwarf of you. Most politics in England today has no political agenda, to use an American saying, it has sold itself down the river.

9 Do you think people are drawn to the lives of others?

If you watch TV and look at the kind of shows that draw the highest audiences then the answer would have to be yes. People seem to be fascinated by what is going on behind closed doors and that may be a form of narcissism in itself because most people have similar problems. Voyeurism is a cheap form of avoidance. It is arguable that what is behind this is the fragmentation of identity by the things I am talking about with perhaps too much passion for some, but a warning. If we don’t question what we are sold, no one else is going to pick up the pieces. Read the small print.

10 What is your novel ‘Apostle Rising’ about and when’s it coming out?

A psychopath is playing games with the police.

This guy knows a lot about an old case, a case that saw the biggest manhunt in England. And he’s smarter than the police. He’s also leaving no forensics.
In fact he’s recreating the original crime scenes and taunting Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle, who failed to solve the old case. His failure resulted in him being savaged by the British Press.

Frank Castle knows a lot about serial killers but he just can’t get a reading on this one. He’s leading the investigation and it begins to erode his life. Not just his, but the life of his partner DI Jacki Stone. She’s tough and hungry but the darkness of what this killer is exposing them to starts to fragment them. Their training didn’t prepare them for this.

The killer is literally crucifying politicians.

Bu there’s something he’s leaving at the crime scenes that is harrowing to even the most jaded of cops.

The narrative has many twists and turns and some probing psychological analysis when the offender profiler employed by the police to catch the killer analyses what is motivating him. Imagine a Chin Wag with a killer. But this one takes the gloves off.

It’s also got a very nasty shock in it.

Here’s a plot summary.

Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press, and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case.

He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others.

‘Apostle Rising’, is being published on 10th March 2011.

It will be available in book stores as well as from Amazon and book distributors.

It’s priced at £8.99 in the UK and $14.95 in the US as a paperback original.

My site contains information about it. You will be able to find out more as the release date draws near.

In the meantime this link takes you to a thirty second video ad for it:

And if you want to subscribe to the RSS feeds on my site, more information will be coming out about ‘Apostle Rising’. I hope you enjoy it.


  1. Really great interview. You echo my own sentiments regarding social engineering, art and propaganda.

    Fuck em.

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  2. Thanks UV, I appreciate your support.
    I thought you'd agree.

  3. Nice catch, the billy idol connection, and what fun, the martini treatment of six and eight. Regarding the latter, I might have asked ‘What possessed you?’ except for I see from this dance that you’ve got more intelligence, knowledge and wit than you know what to do with. I figured it’d be such a brain that could cohere a thriller. We all gotta get our exercise somehow.
    I got mine on your fourth question, the roles we humans play, one of my favorite things to ponder. Aye, beware the sheep mentality and examine your interior, if you can! Social engineering well nailed.
    Thanks for the dance, Mr. Godwin. You do a fine foxtrot : )

  4. Miss Alister, your footsteps have great elegance and charm. Thank you for this and all your support, let the band play Dixy.

  5. This dovetails nicely with my post over at Novel Spaces, about how politics tries to remove the power of words or twist their meaning to fit it's own ends. I teach about Milgram's experiment all the time. Fascinating stuff.

  6. With a rebel yell I cry More More more. I know from treasured experience that there is no such thing as a stationary conversation with Richard. When you speak with him be prepared to MOVE! He will always take you in directions you never saw coming but are very glad they arrived. "Apostle Rising" is at the top of my March 10 2011 must do list. Top Shelf interview my friend.

  7. A friend of mine is fond of saying, "Fuck art, let's kill." That's one for the propaganda posters, as our governments have been following that philosophy with increasing speed. Thought provoking interview, Richard.

  8. Pharmaceutical companies and Billy Idol. What else is there? Classic, man! Everyone is under strict media-control.

  9. Charles, John Stuart Mill said in 'On Liberty' that the more conformist a political system is the less genius you see. Conformity is being manufactured subtly these days, let's not allow it to kill off the geniuses.

  10. AJ, thank you for all your ongoing support.I'm honoured to count you as friend.

  11. Pamila, thank you, that says it nicely. Why don't you abduct your friend and lock him in one of the rooms at the Bella Vista Motel?

  12. Mark, thank you, white weddings, white powders.
    Do you think the image consultants are taking over?

  13. Mr. G,
    Your essays and personal interveiws are nothing less than fascinating. I agree with yuor propaganda observation, and with how the Nazi's played the mind bending game. The authority & obedience experment- wow.

    I found Q&A to number 7 particularly intriguing, art and politics. I always think that we as a human race cuold die off but politics, religion, and art will live on in one form or another. Not sure if that's a white or black wedding. Perhaps a marriage of both.
    Witty and intelligent, Richard.

  14. I mean this from the heart: few writers can consistently produce excellent work the way Richard Godwin can. He is one of my favorite authors for another reason. He is brilliant! Name a subject he can't discuss, I dare you.

    Salvatore Buttaci

  15. Mrs A, be it Eichmann or Belzec or the innumerable manipulators of perception and lies, poltics is at war with Art and always will be. It is as Lorca said a Blood Wedding and the priest worships Satan.

  16. Sal, thank you for all your support. It is always good to see you and hear what you say.

  17. When I saw Gen X at Boro Rock Garden, Billy Idol snogged a lass I fancied. Never liked him since.

    Great writing.I'd put that Banksy inside if I had my way, mind you.

  18. Hi Paul, thank you, snogging a lass you fancied is out of order. Now if Banksy painted on your wall and you could sell it for 10 grand, would you?

  19. politics, art, social engineering, eugenics, berkoff, burton, orwell, psychopaths & billy idol...

    pure godwin. enough said.

  20. Richard, you never fail to delight, amuse, enlighten and astonish me.

    Thanks for doing all those things, and for being my friend.

  21. I really enjoyed seeing you interview yourself. Self-examination is often the most difficult. Now I have "Dancing With Myself" stuck in my head. Thanks Richard.

  22. Jason, thank you for seeing the concoction. We make good cakes.

  23. Quin, thank you, I'm chuffed. You're a great friend.

  24. Carrie,it's good to see you here. You better play the riff on your bass.

  25. What an excellent interview, Richard. No ordinary questions and most assuredly, no ordinary answers. Nothing 'ordinary' ever comes from you, Richard, and that's what distinguishes you from, and stations you above, most of the rest. Apostle Rising is most certainly on my to read list!

  26. Joyce, thank you so much. It is always good to see you and hear what you have to say.

  27. It looks like Apostle Rising has a following already. It's on my list, too.

  28. Thank you for inviting me Nigel. I really appreciate it.

  29. I will never listen to Jobim's Girl from Ipanema the same..

  30. Michael, I thought you may not. Good to see you.

  31. This made me dizzy it was so insightful.
    Particularly what you had to say about grief and age, acting and reality t.v

  32. Seems I'm late to the dance, but so happy I didn't miss it. Intriguing interview and a pleasure as always, Richard.

  33. Hi Callan, good to see you, thank you. Dizzy's good.

  34. Hi Kristin, I see you brought your dancing shoes. Thank you for all your support.

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