Thursday 23 November 2017

Racing In The Street

I first read Fuel Injected Dreams when I was 19. The girl who put me on to the Pale Fountains also introduced me to the book. I was up visiting friends in Aberdeen after I had jacked it in and we were at a party where I bumped into Debbie. She came up to me and told me that she had been thinking about me and had something for me if I wanted to go back to her flat with her later. Well I thought that my luck was in, so a bit later on we left the party and headed for her flat. After making a pot of tea she went off to her room and returned with a book which she said she had picked up during the summer and as soon as she started reading it she thought of me and knew that I would love it. How right she was.

The story revolves around an LA graveyard shift DJ, who has a chance encounter with a reclusive, megalomaniac record producer who was responsible for some of the biggest hits of the early 60's with the bands he created and famed for his production techniques but by the end of that  decade had dissolved into a gun toting, drug induced psychotic who keeps his wife prisoner in his mansion, sound familiar to anyone? This chance encounter has the DJ revisit his teenage years and one summer in particular and try to solve a mystery which happened then with some very strange and extremely disturbing results.

The book is kind of trashy and a bit dated now,  as it is set in the mid eighties but I think that it is still worth reading. On discovering that Baker was a screenwriter it did not surprise me as the book reads like a movie and it is easy to picture it as such. I always had Dennis Hopper down for the drug crazed producer, although even by the late 80s he would have been too old to play the part.

I have read this book many times now and years ago I gave it to L when she was going overseas to visit her sister. I was rather hacked off when  L arrived home sans book, don't get me wrong very pleased to see her but slightly distraught about the missing novel. To this day she argues that she brought it back. I searched for this book but to no avail, this was pre or very early internet days and to make matters worse the book was then out of print, the author having committed suicide and subsequent major wrangles over his estate meaning that it was not available. Eventually after a few years searching and improvements on the web I tracked down a copy in a second hand book shop in southern California and payed quite a bit of money for it. It has, however been re-printed since and copies can be found on Amazon for as little as one pence, which may put you off, however it is worth the investment if you ask me.

Over the years I have bought copies of the book and given them to people that I have thought would appreciate this tale of music, lust, drugs and psychosis. Mostly the feedback has been positive but a couple of people have looked at me differently after reading.

I have never been that much of a car nut, I prefer being on two wheels, preferably 10" ones on a machine produced in Italy but I have always fancied "a gleaming blue '63 Corvette split-window coupe" on the back of this novel. Not sure that I could ever afford one or even the petrol for that matter and I would feel guilty about the environmental impact of the car but it would be cool.

Although Springsteen is not talking about a 63" Stingray but a '69 Chevy, not sure which model, I do think of this song when I think of the Stingray.

Racing In The Street 


Echorich said...

Wow! Robert James Baker is a particular favorite of mine... I like (trashy) fiction and his "transgressional' genre is a particular favorite! Fuel Injected Dreams is so good as a novel, it should NEVER be made into a bad film. Also really like Adrenaline, which Greg Ararki borrowed from for The Living End. He has a contemporary in British screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, who's Homme Fatale is wonderful period 80s trash noir.

Swiss Adam said...

I agree- its so filmic to read but I'd be very nervous about a film version.

drew said...

I think the time of the movie of this has been and gone SA. Not sure the audience would be there and not sure it would get a rating anyway