The Real Stories of Fictional Bands: An Interview With Aug Stone

Aug Stone

In an era where nearly every detail about every piece of music recorded in the last couple of decades is widely available, what does it mean when an entire band’s body of work turns elusive? That’s the question at the heart of Aug Stone‘s new novel The Ballad of Buttery Cake Ass, the story of the search for the history of a cult early-80s band — and the reasons why their music went unheralded in their day. I spoke with Stone about the making of the novel, creating lengthy discographies for fictional artists, and the challenges of writing convincingly about nonexistent musicians.

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Analog Media Rewrites Reality: Talking “Head Cleaner” With David James Keaton

David James Keaton

Talking with David James Keaton about his sprawling, hard-to-describe books has become a semi-regular occurrence around these parts, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. His new novel Head Cleaner follows the staff of a video store as they find themselves on the verge of a bizarre discovery about physical media and experiencing a phenomenon that evokes time loops at their most paranoia-inducing. I chatted with Keaton about the novel’s origins, its ties to his other work, and movies that could change the world.

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Sunday Stories: “Night Skaters”

Ice skater

Night Skaters
by Jacqueline Eis

Sleepless and ruminating at midnight, Phoebe gives up, gets up, and looks out her bedroom window at the night’s full winter moon, street-light bright, sharp-edged, with an icy-looking cloud hanging beside it. A couple, illuminated in the moonlight, ice-skates on the small neighborhood pond across the street. For a moment she thinks the couple could be her father and Dotty, his second wife, waltzing across the ice. Her father was once a very good ice-skater and dancer and has led Phoebe in occasional waltzes around a dance floor or an ice rink. As the couple skates closer, she sees it’s someone else, someone much younger, no one she knows, but playing at romance and showing off, the way Dad and Dotty might have done under her window on a winter night. The skater holds the woman close and leans toward her mouth. Just as Phoebe thinks he’s about to kiss her, he spins her away, her short woolen skirt flaring, and races ahead, teasing. He looks up and briefly makes eye contact with Phoebe at her window, a look she interprets as intrusive and cocky. 

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