Mark Brend (Ghostwriter) has just released his debut novel titled Undercliff via Hornet Books.
Described as ‘a compelling mystery exploring the difficulty in telling good from evil, and natural from supernatural.’
Synopsis – It’s the summer of 1972, and 30-something divorcee Martyn returns to London after some years away. He joins the Olive Grove, a religious community, where he forms a relationship with Amelia. Over time Martyn becomes suspicious of the Olive Grove’s leaders, a pair of apparently ordinary men who can speak in perfect unison, known as the Two. A sequence of ambiguous events might indicate that the Two have malign purposes, though Martyn cannot be sure. These suspicions come to a head when Amelia breaks off with Martyn and appears to vanish. He travels to Devon, where the Olive Grove has a retreat house, in search of Amelia and the truth about the organisation. There, events take several disturbing and unexpected turns.
Mark has also been working on some new music with his pre-Ghostwriter band Fariña which should see a release later in the year on Spanish label Hanky Panky. In the meantime, check out Undercliff, 1973.
The novel can be purchased at your local bookstore or alternatively you can order from Waterstones or Amazon.
As Stewart Lee points out in his notes for this long overdue reissue, the 80’s were different times. You had to live through them to “convey to the contemporary consumer the sheer unknowable mysteriousness of recently distant popular culture in the pre-internet age… Arthur Lee’s name was just a cryptic lyric in a Lloyd Cole single, Bert Jansch was ignored once a month in the back room of my local, and the idea that Nick Drake would one day soundtrack a Volkswagen Cabrio advert was absurd.” You could describe the Palace of Light by simply mentioning those names, or others like Scott Walker, the Go-Betweens and Cyrus Faryar.
The album got some great reviews, but though the band played a bunch of live shows in London and did some more recordings no more music would be released as the Palace of Light. With the addition of new drummer Tom Anthony (replacing Charlie Llewellin), Geoff Smith, Matt Gale and Mark Brend quietly morphed into Mabel Joy. In 1993 they released an album on Bam Caruso, the marvelous “Wish I Was” – also reissued by Hanky Panky Records – and disappeared shortly afterwards. Matt and Mark went on to record two fine albums as Fariña in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Charlie joined the Austin alt country combo the Gourds and recently played with a reformed Maximum Joy. These days Matt composes classical music, while Geoff is working on new material. But Mark has been the most prolific. In recent years his sonic explorations as Ghostwriter have gained him much critical acclaim, and he is also a noted music writer, having authored four books so far.
It’s now the 30th anniversary of the original release of “Beginning Here And Travelling Outward” and along with the remastered album, this Expanded Edition includes one rare B-side from the “City Of Gold” 12”; a bunch of previously unreleased studio recordings and demos recorded between 1987 and 1989; six live tracks recorded for a shelved mini-album on Bam Caruso (covers of Nick Drake, Tom Rush, Mickey Newbury, Tim Hardin…); the rare 1991 Catherine/Books single, privately pressed by the group and credited to Mabel Joy (reissued by Spring Records in 2011); and a brand new recording made last year by the original line-up. Release date – 30th July 2017.