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What happens when a disturbed sound engineer snaps?
Patrick McDonagh is a Liverpool sound tech who truly understands the old saying that “silence is golden”. Highly-skilled behind a mixing desk, but undervalued due to his lack of charisma and social graces, he remains forever on the fringes of the music industry, picking up whatever crumbs he can to look after his mother in their terraced house by the docks. What most people don’t know about Patrick is that alongside the guitars, drums, bass and vocals, there has always been the mysterious grey noise and fortunately for everyone in his little black book, he’s always been able to ignore it … Until now.
As he decides whether to exact his well-deserved vengeance upon the lead singer of Summer Seems So Far, the grey noise builds to a crescendo, inciting deadly violence and macabre scenes at their wildest gig yet. Find out whether Patrick survives his jaunt through the Glasgow underworld to fulfil his dark agenda in this rock and roll horror story, written by the author of A Smaller Hell.
‘The nights are really drawing in now, aren’t they?’
‘Nip in the air.’
‘That time of year.’
The old man, who had been stalking me across the desolate golf course with a huge Great Dane, fell silent as he looked out over the estuary.
‘Got to take as much in while we can.’
It was the point when idle chatter transgressed briefly into something else – something that had a whiff of meaning about it. Surely this was not the time and place for meaning? How very un-British of you to accost a stranger in such a fashion, sir. And on a public footpath. I deflected this attempt at talking about stuff that matters with more politeness.
‘I suppose we have,’ I replied with a ridiculous smile.
But he was not smiling, and it was then that I realised what an arrogant fool I was being. I excused myself from the conversation through embarrassment more than anything else.
I was haunted for days by the feeling that I might well have thrown away an opportunity for enlightenment of a highly exclusive nature. I cursed myself for being a hypocrite, and for potentially increasing that dying man’s sense of loneliness and alienation. How could I extol the virtues of compassion in my work if I couldn’t manage this small feat of listening and talking to this man for a few more minutes?
I shared my concerns with a close friend on whom I can always rely to be very direct in times of moral or existential crisis. Upon learning that the incident took place at dusk on the Wirral Way, he assuaged all my worries with five words:
‘Probably a flasher anyway, dude.’
And the Earth kept on turning.