This newsletter contains dark places and a ray of hope.
Nǐ hǎo, friend!
WELCOME TO A CITY OF ANARCHISTS AND OUTLAWS...
I'm talking, of course, about Hong Kong's infamous Walled City Of Kowloon. This City of Darkness was a lumbering, makeshift construction of 300 high-rises built by squatters. They used their imagination and ingenuity to stack one shack on top of another until not a finger of light could flicker down to the bottom. The buildings were connected by dark tunnels and grated catwalks, and they housed every walk of life and every variety of industry. The city was literally lawless. No police or armed forces would dare to enter the narrow terrain of shadows. Would you?
Explore the Walled City yourself with the help of this 17-minute documentary created by the Wall Street Journal. It relies on actual footage to capture the spirit of the City of Darkness.
READ THE DEVILISH NOVEL THAT INSPIRED 60s ROCK 'N' ROLL...
Speaking of anarchy and outlaws, I finally got around to reading Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, and it delivers.
Bulgakov wrote this funny, tragic, philosophical novel secretly during Stalin's regime. It wasn't published until 1966, the year the Perilous and Sparks novels begin. No doubt, he would've been imprisoned (at best) if the satirical story about the Devil's fateful visit to Moscow had been released during his lifetime.
As it turns out, the 60s counterculture was perfectly primed for Bulgakov's illicit, surreal message. Mick Jagger was just one among a veritable cabal of iconic Aquarian Age artists who cite the novel as an influence.
Watch the Rolling Stones perform Sympathy for the Devil, inspired by The Master and Margarita, in 1968.
SPEAK OF THE DEVIL...
I finally finished The Kowloon Jukebox! While old Hot Head Himself isn't a character in the second Perilous and Sparks novel, he does offer several clandestine cameos if you keep your eyes open. TKJ also features a few 60s rock legends you may not have heard of (because I invented them) and a swinging London hotspot based on a real Greek Street nightclub.
You'll dine in Hong Kong's finest imaginary establishments, of course, and you'll also experience the thrill of the Mid-Autumn Festival and a dragon boat race in a crowded typhoon shelter, among other things. Naturally, you'll make a dangerous foray into the City of Darkness as well - if you dare. Are you packed and ready to go yet, adventurer?
I'll be looking for beta readers in July. If you're interested, email me!
PICK UP YOUR INNOCENT POSTCARDS
If you haven't visited Perilous and Sparks HQ lately, head back over. A stack of Innocent Postcards are waiting for you to peruse, and I've spruced the place up for summer. I'd love to know what you think of the new and improved look.
HOLD ONTO HOPELESS HOPE
"Just because today isn’t the day, doesn’t mean the day will never come."