Dan Shea’s Lockdown Jukebox: Part Five

August 13, 2020

Fiction/Selection/Dan Shea

The Monolith Cocktail has coaxed a number of guest spot contributions from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this week released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan has been providing us with a weekly series of ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror and increasingly unfathomable Lynchian, cloaked autobiographical, fictions.


Xiu Xiu – The Wrong Thing


Ronnie was dead to begin with.

I dunno if it was years or days or weeks between the resurrection and her disappearing into the plug hole. Truth be told I remember it being a bath and I may have had one for a while but I don’t know. I just know that me and Gretchen always look into the drain in case she catches us at it. That’s also why I stand G over the drain: so R could peer straight up and maybe consider that I was right and that heterosexuality is just a lie.

“It’s just a lie she tells to her friends”

I move then she moves. An electric purple shuffle stains my eyes and fingers. I told her the Back To The Future nonce joke. She told me the only crowd I’d ever attract was flies.

I told her about the yellow dog then we discussed whether or not dogs could be blonde. This woman will make me a better human being even if I’m not sure that she exists and the feeling is mutual. I don’t want to chance putting Lynch films on around her. Xiu Xiu is close to the bone enough given the connections.

“(My name redacted)”

“Yeah Gerst?”

“Do you remember the princess who lived on the hill? Who loved you even when she knew you were wrong?”

I take her hand and look into her eyes but they’ve gone and she is looking back at me with my eyes. I hate it when this happen. I attempt to stick my fingers through my eyes into my brain to change the channel. She prevents me from doing so with an offhand murmur of “fuck’s sake”.

Performative support aside no one is “always there for you”. It’s a truth that should be more widely spoken. Sleep, death and things more important than my whining will always take precedence. I get it. And it’s a two way street, obviously. I can’t possibly always be there for you. I can try but it’s unlikely in the extreme. Even if I could, would you actually want that?

Tindersticks – A Night In

“I know you’re hurting, and I can’t be there for you”.

She lies her almost translucent head on my lap and asks me about the parts of that film she can’t see that keep sluicing into my brain. The kindness of her smile makes me feel less sick than usual. I feel instant nostalgia for this moment knowing that it will rush through our minds when one devours the other that final time while still admiring the Other’s beauty.

I tell her it as it unfolds with no forethought. How the film troubled me when he found a tape in a fridge abandoned behind his flat. Well, he’s American (albeit of Polish extraction) so he said apartment. But whatever the point was it stands. The girlfriend was then insistent that he transcribe what was on the tape.

He did in this long florid monologue that contained a lot of songs that meant a lot to him and his girlfriend. Then turned over the content of the words between the songs to Ellroy Steers. The guy who did himself in in the movie and bled on my fucking carpet. Lucky it’s a red carpet.

“Hey Tom this is just a voicemail I’m leaving so I can ask for your number so I can phone you. It’s important. It’s about the factory, and what’s left.”

That was the first entry on the tape and it’s the same in the Pulaski movie strangely. It’s the same voice: maybe it’s a prank call using a soundboard. Maybe whoever made it on the tape liked the film so used it as an intro. Maybe they related to this film as much as I do. Who can say?

I despair at the fact I can’t get Riesling from the corner shop anymore.

Cindytalk – Circle of Shit


“So many people are too loud. Needlessly so. Over enthusiastic about the fact they’ve remained unmurdered another day. Servile, simpering, unthinking and incapable of thinking beyond that which is in the interests of their “betters” who make in a week what we do in ten years. Every workplace I’ve had the misfortune of exchanging my precious time for money in its been the same. People who create nothing, produce nothing, and consume a steady diet of nothing. Surrounded with them. Substitute one for another and who would even know or care?”

I’m listening to goth records and drinking in the shower again as I spew this pointless angry screed into the plug hole. I’ve not even turned the water on: why pretend it’s about cleanliness? If you’ve been the places I’ve been you know you’ll never be clean again. Trust me, I’ve been places you wouldn’t shit.

Dylan had been locked in that bathroom for a long time but time has ceased to have any meaning. It was a strange thing. He had no need to eat or drink. Not that there was anything to drink: you turn the tap and all you’d get is shadows. Outside the window BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT. I break the glass til I bleed shadow. The darkness seeps into the bathroom and I am drowned in black milk, briefly comforting me with its reminders of her velvet void.

Tried to drown himself in the bath and woke up again on the floor, as if it matters anymore. Tried to drown himself in the toilet and woke up back in place. Tried to hang himself with his belt and woke up in the same place. Downstairs the mask on the wall kept screaming and he screamed along with it. Smashed his face through the window bleeding shadow into BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT.

The mask was a gift from Farrow for the work he’d done on Thomas Communication. Strange gnarled smile that out of the corner of his eye he noticed twitched when he didn’t think it was looking. How long need I wait for my angel? Every second yawns open for her prize. The apple I stole rotted before my eyes. I blink and I see a dignified old man with his hands folded. I smell disinfectant and the familiar stabbing pain returns in my very core.

The only way to soothe this pain is to use a vibrator: I never put it in fully just let the pulse soothe and numb til I no longer feel him inside me. But as I do this, lay on my mattress with my eyes closed I can’t but help think of Dylan stuck there. And I’m ashamed of the physical response the thought of him produces.

“If I cum thinking of a dead boy is it necrophilia?”

My art is bleeding into my surroundings again. Muttered obscenities under my breath. Thinking of that smug balding prematurely midlife faggot and his simpering entreaties to open my legs. Of the coke fuelled unpleasantness with the mole woman. Of that evening I lost my favourite jacket. I lost two notebooks, my favourite jacket and a sleeveless t shirt. Cunt.

Ceramic Hello – Binary


How about this one? You’ve not heard it before. I’m so jealous that you get to experience this for the first time! Such a beautiful song. My romantic ideal to both listen to minimal wave records with a headphone splitter. In a stupor in a hotel room somewhere. Eating pastrami sandwiches, naked in bed as a mute TV shows the end of a documentary on railways. We will put the sound on when the Bowie doc comes on and I’ll bore you, G, when I won’t stop going on about his cheekbones.

L showed up and was magnetic as usual. One of the few people who just the appearance of makes me a bit happier. I keep having dreams where I’m pregnant somehow and she’s delivering my baby. Well I say it’s a baby. She is kind enough to always look amused by my prematurely senile rambling but I get the feeling she’s worried I may try to kidnap her at some point. Lunch with her and the swastika girl.

I brought up the ritual to her and she ushered me out into the smoking area where we sat nursing pints of Cwtch. Inside the bar a live Van Halen drum solo played: the place was really going downhill since it changed management. The bar staff were sartorially disappointing. We talked about this for a bit and I again mentioned my enjoyment of her Jessica Fletcher t shirt then we returned to discussing the ritual.

“So Dan what did you do in this ritual? This is all very vague. Reminds me of the story about you drinking two bottles of white wine, staring into a scrying mirror and the woman from some 80s goth band showing up in your living room.”

“You know full well that happened you came round to check I wasn’t lying”

“It sounds like you got pissed and took the wrong dosage of your meds, which you shouldn’t be drinking anywhere near the amount you do with, then started having hallucinations again. It’s like when you shaved all your hair off, kept it in a box and then covered every reflective surface.”

I described what happened, the bloated foetal figure that raped my mind forcing me to submit to the ritual. The floor of flesh criss-crossed with veins. And other things around the same time. The hairless inside-out dogs that prowled outside in my back yard when they thought no one was looking. The swollen faced children that I saw washing Carter’s car. And how I had no choice but to lose her again down the plug hole.

She sat watching me explain this with a curious expression. Sphinx like. Then she calmly unbuttoned my shirt, put her cigarette out on my chest and kissed me harsh as barbed wire. Told me I’d kill for her and I agreed. A kiss that drew blood. She forced me to kneel under the table, twisted her fingers round my hair and then right then and there I ate her out in the cold sea air.

That didn’t happen. I wish it did. A crazed public sexual encounter would have been far less troubling. The curious expression part was true. She leaned in close:

“When did we first meet?”

“When I moved here two years ago. I walked into this bar because Lou Reed was playing.”

“No. It was in the snow. You lay your head in my lap and you bled to death. When you mentioned Carter then”

A pause.

“It took me back to that classroom. 2008. Do you remember?”

“You tell me, Ariel”

“In that reality the holes opened wider than ever in the sky. You lay with what was left of your head in my lap, bleeding. I kissed what was left of your face then blackness. We began again.”

I draw a line under the rest of that evening. Even as naked as I leave myself writing this there are some secrets need to be kept.

That Ceramic Hello track isn’t on the CD reissue copy I’ve got, annoyingly.

Psychic TV – The Orchids


Her winter kiss won’t leave my skin.




Don’t come home with that smell on your breath. Don’t beat your head over and over into walls out of self loathing. Don’t blame me for your sickness. I’m ill too. I’ll always be there for you as the unbearable closeness becomes a prison limbo as desire is gone.

Her winter kiss imprinted bruise. Monochrome preferably a room almost empty. We turn the volume up. Double knot, double cross. I’ll show you loss.

The smell of incense in the air the smell of her on my finger tips. I pull back the curtain and I see him there. Carter. A swollen, red faced man. In beige slacks and a blue shirt, buttons strained by his fat hairy stomach. Look I need you to see him in your mind’s eye. Slip ons. Grey thinning hair, strands falling onto that baboon face. He “speaks” in bestial groans, grunts splatter the world. The bruise faced kids in their underwear cleaning his car, til he smacks one of them and they all file back into his house.

I think of what he was in the Other World and what he is in this one two and know what I need to do. This is an important decision I do not make lightly. Please don’t understand me too quickly.

I confided my intentions in her but I did it silently and I cannot be sure she knows what I mean. This is a common issue.








L/G slides into view. Her winter kiss won’t leave my breath.



“The world is growing louder”

She saw the holes widen in the sky. She knew all that had happened. Once I broke the barrier of her resistance she believed me about the ritual. Something is happening here. Something new. Her name meanders through the echoes of mine. She’s seen the movie, you know? She’s seen it.

Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy


“SHOUTING. I was. In the street. I had no idea what was going on. I went to the Conti for a beer and it was shut. At 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday, I ask you. I mean last time I went there I did get my dick out and have a widdle on Hugh Cornwell but my shoddy behaviour is no reason to punish everyone else”

G/L laughed.

“Is that a woman laughing? You could’ve told me. I shouldn’t be on speaker phone with a young lady present. I’ve no trousers on! It’s not right!”

She laughed so much that if I really studied her I could see individual muscles contract. I did and I did yeah She is saving my life.

“So I checked at the Ferret as well. Beer Snob Billy told me they had Cwtch on and the jukebox is pretty good. It’s a digital bitch, you can have Nina Simone or Skullflower on. All sorts of loud penis music like your band. That was shut as well so I went home. Then I looked at my neighbours doorstep paper. There’s this disease that makes people act like poofs and not leave their house.”



I told Mad ‘Mad’ Tony about the ritual and he told me about his latest imaginary girlfriend. He said he was going to have an imaginary affair with Gersten. He told me he’d have an imaginary threesome with us then I could hear him raising his eyebrows as he dropped his burner phone in the bath.

“One day we need to meet Mad Tony then go to Lonely People. You can do your Gordon Cole voice and yell at people pretending to be a tourist.”

She did that “expectant canine” expression American women do at you and then smiled, half her face first then the other half warming up when I laughed and told her how cute it was. Bless her she always looks confused. I wish I was an American. An American woman in particular. Everything’s new to them. Showing a Yorkshire pudding to an American woman is the most fun you can have legally.

A middle class family sat in their dining room talking in hushed tones of the horrific injuries the survivors had sustained. Talk of fissures and gaping, horrific injuries. Fog is slowly filling the dining room. A Duke Ellington record plays but the needle is stuck so it sounds like NON. They don’t seem to notice the noise or fog. They prattle on in stilted RP tones about how awful the whole thing was but they can’t stop talking about it, cunts.

G wakes me up.

“Carter. You know what you have to do don’t you?”

I have to pause as it’s a big decision. But if this is what is necessary to keep Louise/Ronnie/Gersten then I’ll do it. Fuck it. I’ll do it twice. While she watches. Then we’ll go home, still a bit bloodied, and watch a rerun of a mid 80s Top of the Pops in her bed. Just another hit and run.

“Do you want to be there when it happens?”

Her eyes go full circle and her grip on me tightens. Every breath a silent movie heroine. Trust me enough to deem me translucid. Your eyes widen and I’m snagged in your leopard print and wide eyed enthusiasm. I can’t face watching you disappear.

Tom Waits – Alice


I told her about the dreams where I’m pregnant and she asked was it with her genius or what? Reality moves faster than experimental fiction. Sometimes slower but if you know you know.

Suddenly I feel the pain pulsing in my head as I lay my head in Ariel’s lap. The blood gushing rushyrushrushyrush from my wound as the CRISP CLEAR snow falls. She strokes my remains before the moment of calcification. She tells me I did the right thing and I’ll do it again. I flash forward to her drinking a gin sour in leopard print before Ritual Night.

Addiction is the anus of art.

Death is the absence of work.

L pegs me in my living room. Whispering in my ear “he has to go”. She puts cigarettes out on my nipples when the moon talks. She refills my glass. When we’re out of booze she pisses on me, as delightful as ever. I yawn for her prize.

Shambling unshaven neurotic wreck. But she sees something in me.

Burn me again and again.

The sun spills over her in all her eye popping enthusiasm. I normally hate this but I’m being suckered in. Has she seen what I have? I believe she has. I believe she has. The dogs pace rotting back and forth. She’ll stroke them. Til Carter is gone and, presumably, they disappear. Then we will harness the frozen moon til delirium kills me.

I crawl through the passages under Dylan’s home. I bleed shadows into insignificant interior. No one and nothing is unforgettable.

Sometimes in my mind’s eye she is cowering and shivering at the sounds I pull from her. Inciting silence, compassionate construction. Nothing is granted my Mermaid but my submission. Crash in and take over my life. Let’s do this.


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


One Response to “Dan Shea’s Lockdown Jukebox: Part Five”

  1. […] Dan are authors of a kind; both contributing over the years to the Monolith Cocktail with Dan’s Jukebox series and an incredible testament to the late Morris, and Rick, serialising his salacious occult […]

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