We continue with the second part of the interview with Kim Newman. If you would like to read the first part of the please follow this link.
The whole spirit of Punk was D.I.Y and do it yourself?
(Kim) Yeah, the strange thing is that science Fiction Fandom had been doing that since the 1930s. Yes there must be do not know if there are Fanzines for Trad Jazz and Skiffle, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is, we just do not know about them. For some reason Science Fiction has been prominent. There was a bit of an overlap with The New Musical Express, it did all meld together and I worked on it, and used to know people that had worked on it. After Punk during the Death Metal period, you started getting bands that were influenced by Horror films. Cramps and The Misfits in London, the scene was around the Scala Cinema, which was first in Goodge Street then in Kings Cross, so I did run into quite a few people in the Music industry.
They mention the Scala in the Video Nasties documentary as being quite seedy?
(Kim) That’s rather there was seedy Cinemas in London. The Scala was not one of them, Scala was a rep Cinema a student Cinema. The Classic in Charing Cross road, that was a seedy Cinema. They would have all night showings and homeless people would live there. The other run down Cinemas in London, kind of faded away in the 80s. There were still many rep Cinemas and Student Cinemas which were a bit seedy however you did not have the feeling you were taking your life in your hands, which you certainly did at the Classic Cinema. If you went to the Classic at Charing Cross Road, apparently they had very good programming. (laughter)
I think I heard somewhere that you have been homeless.
(Kim) Yeah, it is now what we call Sofa Surfing. I was not homeless in the traditional sense of huddling around a fire and sleeping on the streets. However, yes, I was homeless; I stayed with people and friends who became increasingly fed up with me. What I didn’t have been I could go home, I was not cast out, in the sense a lot of homeless people are cast out.
I certainty had the experience of homelessness, which I think is more common now than it was then. The idea you have to first depend on your friends and then radiating out to depend on their friends and then radiating it out further to depend on their friends. I stayed for a time with someone who had been my dads lecturer. Through all that, it did not get me anywhere. How I eventually got out of it was one of my Mums friends worked in an Estate Agent. It was all connections. I then had a horrible not horrible but grim bedsit which I lived in for a couple of years, I only got that because my dad made a guarantee that I could pay the rent. Life did get better, and as a consequence of that I do not make any particular fuss about my enormous suffering, because it was not that bad. However, at the time it seemed pretty wretched. It was a particular time after university and I spent the summer with my parents and I decided to move to London, perhaps foolishly, around about September, October time and it was bitterly cold. It was probably only six weeks. However, at the time it seemed to last forever. Obviously you staying at places where you on sufferance I did what homeless people do now, I stayed in Libraries, because you could sit there and read and because it was warm. You didn’t have to buy anything. I also went to railway stations and bus stops, somewhere to sit. I think it was a particularly cold autumn and I do not remember ever being that cold, bitterly cold, where circumstances saw that I had to be out. Anyway, many people have had much worse suffering, but I could not hack it now.
What was it like to work with Neil Gaiman?
(Kim) Yeah, I worked with him for quite a while. He is very inventive. We got a lot of stuff done. He’s a good ideas guy.
Any other writers you would like to work with?
(Kim) I have collaborated with a bunch of writers. I have written with my friend Paul Mc Cauley. I have done bits and pieces. Of course, Comics is collaborative. I worked with another writer as well as an artist on Witch Finder (Comic). I have done various bits for theatre and radio. I co-write secrets of Cinema with Mark Kermode. I like to think I am good at collaborating; I am detailed. I think I ended up working with Neil and Mark because they are good at ideas. Who have loads of ideas and they need someone to throw half of them out? I often become the guy that shapes the material, so it is like being a Script Editor as well as a Contributor. It may also be that I like that, I like a sense of Control.
What is the obvious flaws in collaborating?
(Kim) The obvious flaws is that other people are unreliable (laughter).Not particularly the people I work with and they are not particularly unreliable. However, the fact is you can rely on yourself so much more than anyone else.
What is your fan base like? Is there a particular type of Kim Newman fan or are they from all walks of Life?
(Kim) You know, I have no idea. I am just grateful that there are some out there. (laughter)
Do you meet them at Conventions?
(Kim) I meet people that say they like my work; I suppose particular pieces appeal to Particular people. I have written a couple of books about a girls school, so I guess that appeals to teenage girls. I suppose Anno Dracula appeals to Goths and people into History, stuff like that. Maybe the stuff on Film appeals to a particular Film fan. I do not get the sense of my writing for a particular Clique. I think of myself sort of as a main stream writer. I know that there are plenty of things in my work that some people would not like or respond to.
To be continued next week.