A Sunken Treasure - Ship-reX by Shug Hanlan

Written by JR Hartley
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Hard to imagine that there was a time when Shug Hanlan was mentioned in the same breath as fellow Scottish authors Irvine Welsh, Ali Smith and Alan Warner (all featured in the same 1997 anthology, “Ahead of Its Time”). With a new booklet, Ship-reX, Hanlan has resuscitated his literary career as a seafaring, less droll, version of Ivor Cutler.

It’s sometime during the mid-1960’s and for the residents of Chungymouth, life in a Scotch shipping village goes on without any outward influence from the modern world. Out at sea, broadcasting form a ship called The North Star Grassman, the Pirate Radio station, Radio Reefer is bringing the sounds of the swinging sixties into their tight knit community. The fissions in fishing traditions and comic, pop culture tensions this produces amongst Chungymouth’s population, the teenage female community especially, are played for delicious, salty, effect.

Things are not all peace and love at Reefer Radio either and on board the good ship North Star Grassman, bitter rivalries are brewing. Differing musical tastes are the springboard for a personal falling out when a Peel like, late night DJ, Seaslater Syd, squares off against Kinky Ken Kensington, the station supremo whose bedside manner makes Jimmy Saville look like Florence Nightingale.

Hanlan spares us the concrete details of the actual sinking but when the pirate ship is washed up on the sands of Chungymouth, the reception committee is led by the village’s most violent miscreants known as the Lean, Young, Hard Crew. Compassion is in short supply but there are laughs aplenty.

In an additional short story “Wasps”, Hanlan may have inadvertently stumbled on a new literary genre; Rugby Union Magical Realism.

Copies of Ship-reX and its predecessor, Xploration (review to come), can obtained from the Kerfuffle Press website priced £3.50.

Read 4965 times Last modified on Monday, 15 July 2019 15:22
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JR Hartley

JR Hartley

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