Richard Bowes. Waiting for the Phone to Ring. (F&SF Mar/Apr 2010)

Another instalment in a series that is to be brought together in an autobiographical novel. ‘I Needs Must..’ a couple of issues ago, was top quality, and this is up there with it. It convincingly portrays New York in the late 60s/70s – mind you, as I wasn’t there, I suppose I can only say it tallies with my understanding of it from knowledge gleaned from my musical interests which start with the Velvet Underground and The Stooges, and go through Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie and into British punk.

The main character finds himself looking back on those days, when two almost-forgotten figures from the past get back in touch on the same day. They reawaken memories of his, and he pulls out is a story he wrote a while back, drawing on his experiences, and those around him at that time. There’s drug use, prostitution, music, and a very bad dude from those days, and a murder.

Put a Velvet Underground LP on (CDs and mp3s won’t cut it) and step back in time 40 years.

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