Vickie Lester is utterly beguiled by author Ben Vendetta, and a post punk rock roman à clef


There’s enchantment here, and the precision of memory laid down to a throbbing beat:

The next day I decide to go to London and meet Nick Danger. Dave probably meant well, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s not going to connect me with anyone at Melody Maker. The last time I was in his room, I saw the copies of my press clippings in a pile with some of his class notes. Despite being in England for a full month I’ve only been to London once, and that was just to see an England vs. Turkey football match with some of my flatmates, piss-up beforehand on Baker Street. We didn’t see Holmes and Watson.

Melody Maker is in the vicinity of Waterloo Station, just south of the Thames. I arrive at reception and nervously ask the girl behind the desk if Nick Danger is around. At first she doesn’t think he is, but then an old hippie guy with a ponytail, who looks like he could even be in his mid-thirties, says that Nick is in the back. While waiting for Nick, I’m surprised at how old some of the other people are, not just ponytail guy. In my head I somehow expected music journalists to look and dress like pop stars, resigned to a Menudo or Logan’s Run expiration date when they got too old to be relevant. With the exception of a few trendy youngsters, who all seem to look and dress like Dave, England’s tastemakers are a surprisingly bland looking bunch.

Nick isn’t what I expect either he’s a few inches shorter than me, pale and thin, with messy black hair just over his ears and covering his eyes in front. He’s wearing National Health specs, a thrift store cardigan over a Pastels t-shirt, brown corduroys, and Clarke’s desert boots. On paper he’s an angry, borderline gonzo journalist, but in person he’s quiet and quite sweet…

We grab a quick pint at Nick’s local before heading to the club. The venue is dank and depressing with just a small stage in back, but there’s a lot of energy in the air. The place is packed, the audience consisting mainly of indie boys like Nick in cardigans and anoraks, and their female counterparts looking cute in thrift store dresses and Mary Quant or Marianne Faithfull haircuts. I suddenly feel out of place in my leather jacket until Nick introduces me to Alan McGee, who is clad head-to-toe in black leather and has a carrot orange afro, well, as much as a Scotsman can muster. His accent is indecipherable but he buys me a pint. I can understand that much, the international language of intoxication. Nick seems to know everyone and we make the rounds as Meat Whiplash begin to set up. He introduces me to the guys in Primal Scream, who will be playing after…

Primal Scream is fantastic. Though I haven’t heard anything by them, the songs are instantly catchy. Bobby pours his heart and soul into it and the kids are eating it up. The guitarist, Jim, is incredible. His lines are striking without succumbing to any guitar hero antics, a kindred spirit to Johnny Marr. No flash, no excess, just pure and beautiful rock ‘n’ roll. One song in particular floors me. Bobby tells the audience it’s a new one called “Velocity Girl.” It begins with the line, “Here she comes again with vodka in her veins,” which is about all I manage to catch. The track is much too short, barely a minute long, ending with Bobby repeating the line, “leave me alone” over and over as the music fades out. It’s timeless, melancholic and beautiful, reminiscent of my favorite Rolling Stones songs like “Paint it Black,” “Heart of Stone,” and “Play With Fire.” Primal Scream is cut from the same cloth…

…I’m feeling wrecked, but ecstatic. I’m reinventing myself so nicely here, I think. No one needs to know that I used to be a jock until just a few years ago. No one needs to know that I got jilted by a girl that was hip by Ann Arbor standards, but couldn’t hold a candle to some of the girls I saw at the show last night…

Dixie-Narco Book Tour

While you can purchase the novel here (yes it comes direct from the small press in Ohio when you order!), be on the watch for a signing and/or rock ‘n’ roll reading near you down south….


Saturday, April 26th @ Flyleaf Books Chapel Hill, NC 7pm to 8:30pm

Sunday, April 27th @ Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC 6pm – ?

Monday, April 28th @ The Bottletree, Birmingham, AL 6pm

Wednesday, April 30th @ The Brickhouse Bar, Meridian, MS

Friday, May 2nd @ R Bar, New Orleans, LA 4pm to 6pm

Wednesday, May 7th @ Howlin’ Books x Grimey’s Too. Nashville, TN 6pm

Thursday, May 8th @ Rake’s End. Cincinnati, OH

via Elephant Stone Records | Drugfuzzing since 2002.

Wivenhoe Park by Ben Vendetta — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists.

Ben Vendetta.

Wivenhoe Park: Ben Vendetta: 9781937513306: Books.

Subscribe to Podcast


  1. April 9, 2014

    Hmmm. He’ll be at Rake’s End in Cinci. I might have to go, as that is basically in my old hood. Thanks for letting us know.

    • April 9, 2014

      You’re welcome! It’ll be a great evening!

  2. Heather in Arles
    April 9, 2014

    As that is a period that I dearly loved (too much perhaps?) this sounds just perrrrfect, Ms V. Merci!

    • April 9, 2014

      The added bonus is it’s funny!

Comments are closed.