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What do you do when sex and drugs and rock and roll are no longer enough? At one time, Transmission were probably the most famous rock band on the planet. Now, even as they approach their twenty-fifth anniversary they are still up there, one of the top ten bands of all time. However, each of the surviving members of the band feels something, somewhere, has gone wrong, and the rock and roll dream they used to believe in so much has become an empty and hollow routine. Dance On Fire is an exploration of the relationships between the remaining original members of Transmission, and their manager, as the band enters their 25th year together. The novel charts their growing realisation that rock music no longer has any meaning for them, and they are - at best - still going through force of habit - 'We've become our own tribute band.' Dance On Fire is a novel about the shallowness of everlasting adolescence and the vacuity at the heart of the rock and roll mythology.
The throbbing beating brain-numbing noise was almost solid enough to touch. The noise used as music in clubs like this was too loud to be music, too primal to be music, too crude to be music; a noise stripped of almost all its possibilities of becoming music. It was music beaten up, raped, buggered, pissed on and left for dead with its lifeblood oozing out of it and running down the drain with each pulsebeat.
Pete loved it now.
He was dancing, with a half-full bottle of Champagne in each hand. Dancing – or so he thought – like a shaman, like a witch doctor. He was the mystical priest of the beat. He was primal too. He was savage. He was base. He was Dionysus.
The lights throbbed and pulsed showing then concealing the smiling, laughing, grinning coterie he - or rather, his recently discovered valid credit card – had gathered. He had disciples. He was the pied piper, the pied pissed-up prankster that would lead his gang of grinning cavorting lovelies to a new, higher paradise.
‘What?’ Pete jammed his ear up against the mouth of… whatever her name was.
‘XXXXZXzzzzzz! Quuallll! Tits?’
In the briefest of silences in the noise, Pete was sure that he had heard the word ‘tits’. He nodded his head enthusiastically. ‘Tits, yes!’ he yelled grinning down at the items in question. He was almost sure she had only the normal complement, but there seemed to be far more than just two in there. However, she proved his notion of the conventional correct when she whipped her top off and shook both of them in Pete’s face.
‘Yum! Yum!’ Pete shouted, watching mesmerised, as they performed a slow-motion gravity-defining dance all of their own.
The rest of his entourage had now noticed that one of their number had managed to monopolise the attention of their platinum-credit-card wielding sugar daddy. So, in the spirit of good old free enterprise they too decided that a revealing of their own not-inconsiderable assets would be a way of restoring some balance to the proceedings.
By this time, Pete was already seeing double – if not triple – the sudden avalanche of naked mammaries bouncing and undulating for his delectation was almost too much for him to cope with. He stopped his cavorting and took a step back.
Unfortunately, his backwards motion brought him into contact with the almost full pint held by one of a group of young men. The men were already feeling more than a touch aggrieved that this bloke – at least old enough to be their father – was monopolising so much female attention seemingly through the mere fact of being significantly wealthier than all of them put together.
‘Oi! Cunt. Watch it.’
Pete heard and turned. He grinned. ‘Sorry, mate. It’s getting a bit crowded in here isn’t it?’ He gestured behind him towards the undulating mammorial tide that was threatening to engulf them all.
‘Are you taking the piss?’
‘Hey Jimmy, this old cunt is taking the piss, as well as all the birds.’
Jimmy and the rest of the gang began to circle around Pete. Even in his befuddled state, Pete could recognise that things were beginning to get ugly. As the circle closed around him, he could see the girls edged out one by one. But still the first punch to the side of his head took him by surprise.
Pete staggered back into the men who had moved around behind him. They pushed him forward once more. It was over twenty years since Pete and Johnny had to fight their way out of an Austin bar. Since then Pete had not had to raise a fist in anger. Despite this, he knew he was easily able to handle half a dozen or so blokes who were probably over twenty years his junior. He raised his fists, noticing that he still held the two – now empty – champagne bottles.
‘Hmm… useful,’ Pete Muttered. He could feel that his mouth was already starting to swell up. He raised the bottles and took up a martial arts pose.
There was a whirling blur and the man directly in front of Pete collapsed. One of the topless girls took his place. The way she was swinging her lethal looking handbag around her head caused all the young men to turn in her direction. They gazed, mesmerised by her breasts and the slow, almost, leisurely way they developed independent orbits around her upper body.
Two more of the men fell, handbagged from behind be Pete’s tribe of vengeful amazons. Pete lowered his bottles and just stared as the gang fell one by one. Out of the corner of his eye, Pete just noticed the handbag bouncing off the shaven head of one of his attackers and heading towards him.
There was pain. He fell. It went dark.