With The Blind Accordionist, C. D. Rose's latest collection of fiction to feature "C.D. Rose" the kinda literary detective, the search for the long-lost manuscript of the somewhat obscure Maxim Guyavitch, which commenced in Rose's previous critically acclaimed title, Who's Who When Everyone Is Someone Else, comes to fruition... Mmmmm, possibly. The Guyavitch manuscript consists of nine incredible short stories and they are published here with notes and details about the mysterious Maxim Guyavitch himself.
Immersive and wildly funny, The Blind Accordionist is available now from Melville House, you can get a better idea about it here.
For a while there, the C. D. Rose we knew also taught the next generation of creative writers in Birmingham and that makes for a very exciting future. Meanwhile he still puts up with our BS questions because, I don't know.
OL: Chris, a-ha, you thought you’d probably seen the last of us when you fell into the real life Ted Chippington-style joke, What’s the only good thing to come out of Birmingham? The M6...
C. D. Rose: A-ha! I love Chippington. I saw him once, sometime in the mid 80s, at the MAC. He was surrounded by half a dozen people who looked exactly like he did. (Looking back on it, I suspect one of them was Stewart Lee.)
OL: Let’s get down to the important business of this country. What was the final score in the final game of the Euros, 2021?
C. D. Rose: I’m taking the Baudrillard line on this one: The Euros never happened. It was a frenzied Covidian fever dream, a collective hallucination triggered by the spectre of the last five years.
OL: And what percentage of the fans will die as a result?
C. D. Rose: See above: it never happened they will say. It wasn’t us. And the fuckers responsible will get away with it.
OL: I can imagine it must have been a wrench to leave Birmingham behind. You’d put so much of yourself into the city. Your work with aspiring writers was the talk of this town… You truly taught and inspired so many people to be better writers.
C. D. Rose: That is very kind (if perhaps somewhat inaccurate) of you to say. I’ll miss the place, I know. The canals, bits of Digbeth, the Ikon, the BMAG. Mostly, though, the people.
OL: Where did you go to, (my lovely)? And how is life different for you now?
C. D. Rose: Like a spawning salmon, I am slowly making my way back to where I was born. I am now in Hebden Bridge, West Yorks, North England. There are hills.
OL: The Blind Accordionist, can you talk about how that came together…
C. D. Rose: Of the many potential stories I could tell here, the many versions of the truth, I shall go with this one: after the modest success of my previous book, Who’s Who When Everyone is Someone Else, my publisher approached me with the idea of putting out a new edition of Maxim Guyavitch’s only known published stories (which are referenced in said book.) I then had to reconstruct the stories from their various corrupt sources, dodgy translations, obscure lit mags. I like to think that, in the years to come, my version will remain the definitive one.
OL: I wonder, do you play the accordion? I was talking to Cassis B. Staudt, the film music composer and we might have agreed, or disagreed, although I cannot for the life of me imagine me being disagreeable, that Hollywood couldn’t allow a movie located in France to pass the inverse censors without adding a scene featuring an accordion.
C. D. Rose: There is an old – and cruel – joke that the definition of a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the accordion, but doesn’t. (You can substitute ‘accordion’ for bagpipes, banjo, or bassoon, as appropriate.) I am no gentleman.
OL: And more generally, jeez… Those accordions. I can’t pass the Dudley/City Road intersection in the afternoons without seeing that accordion guy there, easing his way through the stalled traffic. I want to get him to come over to the house to record but I don’t want him to know where I live. I want to say to him, until more cars feature start-stop technology that junction must be one of the most polluted places in the city… With me so far? Could there be a worse environment for an accordion? Is it going to last? Black lung? What…
C. D. Rose: The accordion was sometimes – again, uncharitably – called ‘the asthmatic worm.’ One its great advantages as an instrument, I guess, is that it doesn’t require the player to have lungs of brass.
During the first summer of lockdown, I spent hours walking or cycling around the canal loops in Birmingham. At once point, guided by who knows what invisible hand, I decided to take the little slip path out from under the bridge and surface back into the world. I wasn’t even really sure where I was, but on emerging, I bumped straight into this place:
It may look inauspicious, but it is the Birmingham Accordion Centre.
Sadly it was closed at the time, and I was unable to visit before I left town. But it was definitely a sign.
OL: What about, and I know this is sort of unrelated but you do have a photo of you with what could be presumed to be a glass of wine in your hand. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with The Thirsty Muse, by Tom Darden, I don’t know how well known it is here, widely maybe, drinking, writers, they are almost the legendary holy drinkers, but does it really help?
C. D. Rose: It doesn’t help, and it does too. Here is a picture of me which would need a novel to tell.
OL: If it helps would shouldn’t writers be drunk in class?
C. D. Rose: No. Absolutely not. Good god, no. The myth of the drunk writer/teacher is a particularly pernicious one.
OL: I don’t know about all of this. I just suddenly wanted a drink, it’s three am, or so and I am not driving anywhere tomorrow what would work well at this hour?
C. D. Rose: Three am is a bugger, isn’t it? Always too early or too late to do anything. I would say it’s the right kind of moment to finally drain that weird bottle of strange liqueur that someone (you’ve long forgotten who) gave you, years ago, when you thought you knew a thing or two about how the world works.
The Blind Accordionist is out now...
CD Rose's The Blind Accordionist
Published by Melville House
See also CD Rose Week in Outsideleft