Sunday, 7 April 2019

My new book. Only a few more months to go.

The first of April 2019 marked one year since I started work on my new book. It's unlike anything else I've ever published as it follows nine men, each from his boyhood to manhood; it's like nine novels in one. It's probably going to be titled The Boys and Men of Auckland's Mickey Rooney Gang. I've even drafted the blurb (although that could and probably will change).

The Boys and Men of Auckland's Mickey Rooney Gang. 
It was at the Point, a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, in nineteen fifty-seven, that eight mildly rebellious boys, in the middle of their adolescence, and frustrated by the conservatism of their cautious elders, were attracted to the charismatic but delinquent Mickey Rooney and so joined his little gang. But later, after an especially unpleasant practical joke – a nasty trick – played by Mickey Rooney on Pearly Gates, the gang broke up. The hapless Pearly Gates was the gang’s most vulnerable member, despite his size and strength, and the others came to be utterly ashamed of their participation in his humiliation. The gang disintegrated then when each of the boys, angry with himself, with nothing in common with the others but his sex, age and place of residence, and confused, as all adolescent males are, by his inner turmoil – went his own way.
This book follows each of them into adult-hood and, for those who survived, into old age. Nine lives. Nine stories. Nine men with nothing in common but the adolescent year they wasted in Auckland’s Mickey Rooney gang.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

A new cover for 'For Viktor'

As I had to reprint 'For Viktor' I decided that it warranted a new cover. And here it is, thanks to DIY Publishing. 

About my book, For Viktor. The story of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.

This short, entertaining book, based on fact, is written in Modest Mussorgsky’s own voice as he guides a young companion around the picture exhibition held in honour of his friend Viktor Hartman at the Academy of Artists in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1874. It was this exhibition which inspired Mussorgsky to write the suite of music he called 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.

The book is written to be read in time with the playing of the music, preferably the original piano version. While reading the text the reader will find that the duration of each section — including each of the promenades — is about the same as the musical piece it describes. Indeed, important events in the narrative often intersect with appropriate moments in the music to bring the unseen pictures to life.

It is a unique meeting of art, music and literature.

Endorsed and supported by Vladimir Ashkenazy 
Accordingly, ‘For Viktor’ has received the personal endorsement of the celebrated Russian concert pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Maestro Ashkenazy is a recognised expert on Russian music. He has recorded ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ twice and has created his own orchestration of the suite which he has recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as conducting its performance with other orchestras all over the world. 

What Vladimir Ashkenazy said about For Viktor 

May 2009

Dear Mr Bolton
I read your book For Viktor. The Story of Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' with great interest and satisfaction. I think it is very important to try to bring school children to a certain level of appreciation and understanding of what great music of the great composers brings to all of us. I know of numerous examples of how children react being exposed to well presented lessons based on this kind of music and the results are absolutely astounding; apart from the fact that as they grow up they almost never abandon their affection for the serious music, they perform much better in all other subjects of their curriculum than those children who were not exposed to the same musical appreciation program. I know first hand of these examples in many countries - from the U.K. to Russia - having been a part of such programs.
I think your very well presented book on 'Pictures' could be a wonderful item in such a curriculum and I think you should endeavour in presenting it to various educational institutions in your country. I'll be delighted to be of help when needed and send you all my best wishes.


Vladimir Ashkenazy