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  • Writer's picturePaul Burston

Monkey business

In the words of the late, great Christopher Fowler, I’ve been a “word monkey” for over 30 years. Word Monkey is the title of his latest book, published posthumously with the help of his loving husband, Pete, and available now from all good bookshops. Typically modest, it’s a personal account of his career as a writer and his battle with cancer.

Chris was a word monkey of the highest order. Not only did he write a huge number of bestselling books in a variety of genres - he’s also the man who coined the phrase “In space no one can hear you scream” which was used to promote a little film called Alien.

I can’t lay claim to anything half as glamorous. I’ve written books, short stories and a fair amount of journalism. I’ve never written a tag line for an iconic film or the sleeve notes for a landmark music release.

Until now. This month sees the release of two albums with a foreword by yours truly. The first is the rerelease of Jimmy Somerville’s 1989 solo album Read My Lips. Jimmy and I were both AIDS activists with Act Up London at the time. I’ve shared some memories of those days and talked about the album in both its musical and political context.

The second is Box of Sin, a stunning collection of gay dance classics from 1980-1989, lovingly selected by Mark Wood of Readers Wifes fame. Mark provides the notes for each track and kindly asked me to provide a personal overview, starting with the night I first went to Heaven.

It was an honour to be asked to contribute to both of these landmark gay projects. Please support them if you can. And do read Chris’s book. It’s beautiful.

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