Not From Above!

(Unbound, 2019)

The danger of setting out to write a parody of something, is that eventually you’ll succumb to the lure of sincerity. And nobody wants that. In any case, a few years ago I happened on the phrase ‘Not From Above!’ – a title that sounded like a spoof self-help book to me, chock full of un-spiritual wisdoms and so on. However, I quickly realised that the little tales I was concocting, while all loosely connected by the appearance of the phrase ‘not from above’, were actually attempts to burrow into modern living (rather than simply have a laugh. The book is, I hope, funny though!)

I’d found that in my thirties I’d become more open to saying yes to odd invitations, less initially dismissive of madder sounding ideas. Being in a band encourages you to get good at being in the flow. You’re rarely in charge of anything beyond nodding to updates on timings and agreeing that yes, we really must stay out all night.

The book is full of decisive moments for indecisive people. They’re adventures undertaken largely by mistake, by city dwellers seduced by increasingly esoteric ways to keep themselves amused. Board games with agendas. A middle-Asian dictator’s unhinged memoirs. And ‘promenade theatre’ where perhaps death is the ultimate immersion…

The book shares its title with the title song of the album ‘Not From Above!’ – a story song about a bunch of men lost on a hillside, inspired to find a goddess. All affairs seem to contain a moment where you’re not entirely sure on what basis the adventure was undertaken, that’s usually a sign it’s all going swimmingly. (Ho ho.) It’s in part a list song, one that enumerates all the non-reasons we fall in love, I suppose.

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