M A R C H   2 0 0 4

A Serious Life by DM Mitchell

Publication: 10th May 2004
ISBN: 0 86730 114 5
RRP: £20
pp: 416

A Serious Life

• • • The main voices in A Serious Life belong to David M Mitchell—his evaluation of the books, records and comics produced by Savoy Books over the last thirty years—and the company’s founders, David Britton and Michael Butterworth, publishers of the eclectic, the maverick and the marginalised. Here they give their first ever extended interviews concerning the company’s history, and state their aims and intentions from Savoy’s inception in the early 1970s to the present day, most notably a disdain for anything occupying the middle ground and an insistent advocacy for the merging of High and Low culture.

Topics featured include their personal creations Lord Horror and Meng & Ecker, the 20-year confrontation of the company with the Greater Manchester Police Force, and the involvement of Index on Censorship and Geoffrey Robertson QC in the same, culminating in the defence of their works at the Royal Courts of Justice in 1996.

A Serious Life is an ironic title. It is a friendly book, and an informal read, to be dipped into at leisure by readers. It is hoped it will amuse as much as it will inform, entertain, irritate and confound.

This not-so-secret life of Savoy is designed by John Coulthart.

Assuredly our least commercial book, this illustrated, deluxe limited edition is a comprehensive history of Savoy. A chronicle of 30 years as publishing and creative entity and a compendium of our publishing and recording experiences, associations and liaisons with luminaries such as:

  • Gerald Scarfe
  • Jack Trevor Story
  • Burne Hogarth
  • Henry Treece
  • Joy Division/New Order
  • Colin Wilson
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Heathcote Williams
  • Michael Moorcock
  • William Burroughs
  • M John Harrison
  • John Coulthart
  • Fenella Fielding
  • PJ Proby
  • The Cramps
  • Jessie Matthews
  • Nik Cohn
  • Bernard Manning
  • David Bowie
  • BPI Bootleg Record Busts
  • Strangeways Prison
  • Morrissey
  • Geoffrey Robertson QC
  • Kris Guidio
  • JG Ballard
  • Kingsize Taylor
  • James Cawthorn
  • Harlan Ellison
  • Colin Greenland
  • Mike Harding
  • Ken Reid
  • Langdon Jones
  • Jim Leon
  • Samuel Delany
  • Charles Platt
  • Angela Carter
  • Chief Constable James Anderton

J A N U A R Y   2 0 0 4

Further web changes

• • • The Savoy site receives another upgrade for the beginning of the year, the front page now being designed to match the style of the forthcoming Savoy history by DM Mitchell, A Serious Life (see announcement below). As well as this cosmetic change, a number of minor updates have been made across the site and various coding errors, many of which had been lingering since the first site in 1998, have been rectified at last.

N O V E M B E R   2 0 0 3

More November news

• • • After the sad news of the death of artist Jim Leon (featured in The Savoy Book and Wordworks) in January 2002, it's good to be able to announce a dedicated website devoted to Leon's life and works has been launched by his family. This promises to be an excellent resource for people to discover more about his powerful and visionary work and make these rarely-seen pictures widely available for a world audience.


You wait ages for an announcement, then six come at once...

• • • 2004 promises to be a big year after the hiatus of 2003. The long awaited A Serious Life by DM Mitchell is complete, designed by John Coulthart to his inimitably high standards. A heavily illustrated life-story of Savoy covering all areas of their 30 year history, it includes everyone from Michael Moorcock, William Burroughs, Gerald Scarfe to PJ Proby, and is interspersed with interviews with Britton and Butterworth. At 424pp, it goes into the printers in January.

• Publication: April • Price: £20.00.

Left: DM Mitchell as portrayed by Kris Guidio

• • • Fuck Off and Diethe follow-up to The Adventures of Meng & Ecker—has also been completed. Due for publication in summer 2004 it contains all the usual favourites—Meng & Ecker, Lord Horror, La Squab—as well as new characters, and is probably David Britton and Kris Guidio's farewell volume of comic strips. All-new strips in b/w and full colour. Contains the complete run of the La Squab three-panel strips. FOAD stacks-up more fucking bad taste than a monkey can shake a stick at. The un-politically correct Daddy of comic books. Including an afterword by Dr Benjamin Noyse.

• Large size limited edition hardback, 160pp, £25.00.

• • • Seig Heil—Iconographers, Jon Farmer's parallel chronicle of Savoy—a more streetwise take on the ‘politics and pulp' that we have been championing throughout our publishing history—is now finished and about to enter design stage. This is Jon's first book, a beezer, that came to us quite unexpectedly. A genuine cultural gadfly's journey into the esoteric byways of rock'n'roll and literature of the disenfranchised.

Left: Fenella waxes lyrical

• • • Fenella Fielding's third reading for us has just been completed, this time from her own selection of Colette. The proposed reading of Crash, and filming of the same, has been put back to the new year. Fenella is currently rehearsing Michael Moorcock's book-in-progress, Love, a memoir of Maeve and Mervyn Peake's romantic relationship, which she will read next for us. Fenella is here pictured at the Strongroom Studios/Cafe Royal, during a break in reading The Pure and the Impure.

• • • Robert Meadley's Nicholas van Hoogstraten and the Mausoleum of Beelzebub, his follow-up to A Tea Dance at Savoy, is underway. The new court case relating to Mr Hoogstraten is pending, and sub judice, so we can't say too much, but the philosopher Meadley hopes to be in Hove and Brighton during January to further his researches. We believe a miscarriage of justice will be revealed at Hoogstraten's high-profile appeal. No date yet for Robert's book.

Left: A philosophical delineation by Baron Guidio

• • • Other projects still running are Reverbstorm #8, the final comic in the Reverbstorm series, the Savoy edition of William Hope Hodgson's House on the Borderland, a new edition of The Exploits of Engelbrecht, and The Adventures of Little Lou, a first novel from Lucy Swan featuring Meng & Ecker and Lucy's own character. The latter is the most ongoingly bizarre and inventive novel we've ever had submitted, and has some wonderfully poetic tough prose.

Left: Little Lou by John Coulthart

• • • Savoy have also recently contributed to new books on Jessie Matthews and Lord Haw-Haw, as well as a new projected biography of PJ Proby. These are all forthcoming from other publishers.

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