TEN STOREY LOVE SONG (2009, FABER & FABER)
Spanning one dynamite paragraph, Ten Storey Love Song follows Bobby the Artist's rise to stardom and horrific drug psychosis, Johnnie's attempts to stop thieving and start pleasing Ellen in bed, and Alan Blunt, a forty-year-old truck driver who spends a worrying amount of time patrolling the grounds of the local primary school. Bobby - the so-called 'love-child of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat', holed up in a Middlesbrough tower block - works on his canvases under the influence of pills-on-toast, acid-on-crackers and Francis Bacon. When Bent Lewis, a famous art dealer and mover-shaker from that London appears, Bobby and friends are sent on a sweaty adventure of self-discovery, hedonism and violence involving a 2.5cm-head curved claw hammer. A love song to a loveless Teesside, Ten Storey Love Song is a ferocious slab of concrete prose peppered with beauty and delivered with glorious abandon.