New novel - Truth and Lies in Murder Park: a book about Mr Luke Haines Available May 26th or pre-order now frombenben press or amazon


What they are saying:

'A brilliant companion piece (to Luke Haines's Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in its Downfall)...

Mitchell succeeds in the almost impossible task of rendering Haines's acerbic, antagonistic, but always fascinating lyrical style in fiction...

(He) takes us on a unique tour of Haines's mind and there is not one point at which he loses the feel...

Anyone reading this will not be disappointed by the quality of the writing. Mitchell's prose is accomplished and, given the diversity of the material, he does a brilliant job of maintaining consistency...

A valuable addition to music literature' — Vulpes Libres

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'A fascinatingly obtuse companion piece (to Bad Vibes)' - Sweeping the Nation

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'Disturbing and extremely well resolved' - El Pais

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'Tim Mitchell's "Truth And Lies In Murder Park" (Benben Press) journey's into the mythology of the British singer-songwriter Luke Haines to conjure a fictional narrative with fragments of biography. As the title acknowledges this is not faction as such, rather an impressive and heart-felt testament to the imagination of the the so-called 'Godfather of Britpop'. Luke Haines may now have been cast into a minor supporting role in the history of British music, albeit with a rabid cult following, yet as Mitchell's book testifies his artistic legacy is far greater and richer than that of any of his contemporaries. Which other songwriter in recent history would facilitate such a feat of imagination as Mitchell lays before the reader here? For a comparative mythology one would have to look to rock icons such as Bob Dylan or Tom Waits to locate such a lineage. Indeed, Mitchell's book weaves in the vast array of Haines's obsessions and characters into a hallucinogenic narrative that evokes the surrealism of Powell & Pressburger's "A Matter Of Life And Death", a film that has registered upon Haines's own radar.

Indeed, for Haines's aficionados, 'Truth And Lies...' greatest strength is the way it sheds new autobiographical light upon Haines's work. Coming shortly after Luke Haines's own incorrigible autobiography, itself a scorched earth policy on the Brit Pop years, this is no minor accomplishment. Certainly, the appendix credits Luke Haines for his involvement in the book, but it is the readings of Haines's songs that Mitchell so excels at. He extracts the big themes of those early Haines albums with The Auteurs and showcases them anew, and in doing so exposes the profundity that distinguishes the music to this day. Regarding the The Auteur's 'After Murder Park' - from which this novel appropriates its name - Mitchell is especially strong. He reveals the haunting back story to 'Unsolved Child Murder', the autobiographical origins of The Auteur's most poignant song. "When I was five, he (Haines) said, the kid at the end of the road disappeared and was found - murdered. His Father was a doctor. Up until that point I had believed - naively - that the healing powers of doctors made them untouchable by tragedy."

Elsewhere, Mitchell plunders the material that inspires and increasingly defines Haines's extraordinary lyrics and embraces it as fuel for his own story - the Dadaists, Marinetti and the Futurists, Debord and the Sitautionists, the jaded glamour of the Warhol scene and its murderous streak (Valerie Solanas), ESP and seances, the narcissism of terrorists (Meinhof, Baader, Carlos The Jackal, SNL) and their victims (Patty Hearst), life's victims (the Deverell Twins), UK history both officiated (Churchill, Beaverbrook) and secret (Helen Duncan, Walton-On-Thames ) and, most pressingly here, cult British Cinema, in particular Bryan Forbes's 'Seance On A Thursday Afternoon', a dark, eerie film about child abduction set in London suburbia. As Haines explains, "The entrapment of the couple (in Seance...) seemed to echo what I was going through at the time. The album (After Murder Park) is really about claustrophobia and about how ordinary people overcome - or do not - all that is thrown at them." Indeed, Haines's cinematic obsession ultimately characterises 'Truth and Lies...' own narrative and in doing so Mitchell conjures the essence of Luke Haines's greatness, whilst confirming his own merits as a provocative and experimental writer in his own right' — Richard Kovitch

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