Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests





Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The Blacklight Ballroom" by Peter Murphy

"The Blacklight Ballroom" by Peter Murphy (2010, 8 pages)

Irish Short Story Week Year Two
March 12 to March 31

Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two-All you have to do to join us is to do a post on an Irish Short Story and let me know about it.  If you prefer, I will be happy to host you as a guest poster.  From March 23 to March 29 I will be focusing on Irish Folk and Fairy Tales and on Emerging Irish Women Writers.  You do not have to follow my schedule at all.   If you have any questions please let me know.

A lot of people do not really like short stories.   Two years ago I would have said I did not really like them.  I thought short stories were not somehow a substantial enough literary form for me.  I thought short stories would not allow me to really get into the world of what I am reading, which I like to do.   I always figured a short story would just leave me wanting more.  Through a lucky suggestion I began to read short stories about two years ago and after reading about a 1000 of them I would say I think they are a purer work than the novel and older than poetry.  The Irish Short Story for sure bears this out.


Yesterday I read "The Blacklight Ballroom" by Peter Murphy, included in New Irish Short Stories by Joseph O'Connor.   The story for sure completed a world I could enter into, though it is as world I would prefer to just read about, and certainly the story came to a very dramatic highly cinematic conclusion.  The story did leave me wanting more, not of the story which is a well done organic work, what I wanted more of was the work of Peter Murphy.  This is a wonderfully written, very exciting story.  

As the story opens I am wondering if we are in a troubled time in Irish History, in the Balkans or sub-Sahara Africa.  It seemed as I read on a bit more a vision of the future.  I will quote a bit from the story so you can see if you like his prose style.

Nearly a year into the civil war that no one care to declare a civil war, they had grown tired of hatching their fires, and waiting to die in their dressing gowns, and blitz sprit drove the the first ones out like animals after hibernation to smell the air and test the inclination of the wind.
Then, as if privy to the twitchings of antennae or some hive-minded transmission, somebody got word from somebody of  place to congregate on Saturday night-the Blacklight Ballroom in the old Bailey Hotel. 

The guests, if you can use such a gentile word in this world, arrive ready for a big night of  stress relief which includes lots of fights (weapons checked at the door), hooking up if you wish, discrete no questions asked but "where is your money"  rooms can be rented.  Everybody is waiting for the show to begin.  Everybody in the crowd has lost "a limb or a loved one".  There are graphic sharply realized descriptions of the damage war has done to the bodies of the people in the ballroom.    This is a crowd that would be banned from the bar in the first Star Wars movie.  


The excitement of the crowd is very well shown to us.  I felt like I was there waiting for "him" to come and provide the crowd the release they needed and maybe I needed at this point also.  I will tell no more of the plot.   This is a wonderful story.


The Blacklight Ballroom" by Peter Murphy is a kind of post-apocalyptic revels of Dionysus story done to extreme heavy metal music.   


Here is his official biography.



Peter Murphy was born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, 1968 His debut novel is John the Revelator (London, Faber & Faber/New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Fiction Prize, and The Costa First Novel Award. At the age of 17, he won the EU sponsored Michael Sweetman Award for Young [...]
Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy. Image source Faber.co.uk

Peter Murphy was born in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, 1968
His debut novel is John the Revelator (London, Faber & Faber/New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), which was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Fiction Prize, and The Costa First Novel Award.
At the age of 17, he won the EU sponsored Michael Sweetman Award for Young Writers, taught himself to play drums, and over the next nine years toured and recorded with bands such as The Tulips and Grasshopper, sharing stages with The Cramps and Public Enemy.
He writes for Hot Press and now lives in Enniscorthy.
I really want to read his debut novel John the Revelator which is already being spoken of as work that will one day be a classic coming of age novel.  I looked on Amazon and if there was Kindle edition I would have bought it.   

There is an interesting interview with Murphy on the web page of the Cork International Short Story Festival, at which he has read from his work.

"Peter, I think I heard your music
3000 years ago"-Carmilla

Mel u

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