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Audio and Audacity
There will be no further Jane Austen-inflected titles in this Substack
I HAVE A COFFEE MACHINE AGAIN.
This is the machine that basically held my hand through the lockdowns. It was on sale at some absurd reduced price - because, I don’t know, it was last season’s colour -when our old machine turned into some kind of rebellious evil fire extinguisher and I bought it because without coffee things do not go well in our house. I don’t even drink caffeinated coffee any more and I cannot really cope with the day without the stuff. Yes, I drink it with oat milk. Yes, that is insane. Yes, Aidan Truhen would be VERY disapproving, but Aidan abuses substances on principle and I do not and that is one of the differences which make me a less awful person than he is. Anyway, the machine was broken and now it is home again; RING OUT THE CHURCH BELLS!
Also WOW shop coffee is expensive. I think it’s actually got a bigger markup on it than decent wine.
Aidan’s an interesting figure in my life at the moment. The way he came about - and just in case you’re sitting there going WHO THE HELL IS AIDAN? - is this:
When I was finishing Gnomon, the world decided to go a little bit nuts, both on a personal and a global level. Aside from most of the intrusive technology I’d carefully made up as nightmare fuel becoming just another app in the surveillance-as-a-service culture, our home refurb turned into an A1 nightmare (the kind where Kevin McCloud shakes his head and puts his arm around one partner or another because they’re standing in an urban wasteland weeping into sketches of a giant solar panel in the shape of a lizard’s head and says “I don’t think this is really what you wanted, is it?”) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland decided for reasons which still defeat my understanding to remove itself from the European Union, even after I had personally explained why this was a terrible idea.
I know, it’s unfathomable. Why would no one listen to a guy who writes books about informational apocalypses, gold bees and dressing up as a tiger to respond to geopolitical villainy? I mean what is WRONG with people?
And the thing is that my vibe as Nick Harkaway to that point had been almost relentlessly positive. Even my tragedies had upbeat endings, in a way. Even Tigerman contains a textual vagueness which some people cling to in order to assert a full-on happy ending (which is absolutely fine, by the way, that vagueness is there specifically so that you can). But that voice did not answer to my need to say something at that moment.
Instead, I sat down and started typing the book that became The Price You Pay, and the voice was deranged, manic and splenetic. The world was totally unfairly picking on a perfectly innocent white-collar coke dealer, and he was pushing back in measured and proportional ways like firing a guy’s head out of a cannon.
I ended up doing events in this outfit in 2018. And even looking at that, the part of me which enjoyed the whole mad performance (which Mrs H described as “genuinely disturbing-as-shit weird”) is howling to make the point that: yeah, I was wearing a mask in public before it was cool.
Anyway, that was Aidan’s voice, or rather, the voice which became “Aidan Truhen”, my second pseudonym. The name is an anagram of Diana Hunter, a central character in Gnomon who writes literary pulp novels. So there’s a whole too-clever riff there.
But now here I am, having written two Aidan detective novels, publishing a Nick Harkaway one. It’s not the same by tone any means, yet it has an Aidan-ish sense of irony coupled to a quieter, less demonstrative fury. The voice is different, but not as different as the voice in Gnomon was from The Price You Pay. And some formative goddam times have elapsed…
Is it a middle ground? A hybrid? Does that mean I’ve eaten my own rage and incorporated it? What’s going on?
Not sure. If anyone’s interested, I’ll try to figure it out…
Meanwhile, there’s a gorgeous sample of the audiobook of Titanium Noir on the Twitters. I’ll try to get a file or a link for those who do not allow the hellsite to touch them anymore.
See that? That slightly alarming implication of physical contact with a notably alarming digital media website is Aidan seeping into - or out of - my brain. It’s very odd being me(s).
I’ve just realised there is no audacity in this post. I shall audaciously ignore this fact.
If you feel the urge to ask “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” please be assured that I don’t know either.