FUQ ME!

I thought I’d start this year off with a blog full of FUQs – Frequently Un-asked Questions.

As a writer there are many questions you are frequently asked, not least the least of which are: ‘Do you actually get paid for this?’ and ‘When are you going to get a proper job?’ Occasionally, in the course of being interviewed, I am asked questions that no sane or decent person should ever have to answer, which is most probably why they were levelled at me.

The following is a compendium of some of the most interesting or outlandish questions/answers from the interviews I’ve done over the past couple of years for various magazines and websites, including questions about my new collection Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts. If this is your first exposure to me or my work then God help you, but I’m ashamed to say, for my sins, it’s probably quite a fair representation.




Stuck On You And Other Prime Cuts - A Review

The lovely Matthew Fryer had this to say about my latest collection over on his blog ‘Welcome to the Hellforge’:

“I adored the earlier single release of “Stuck On You”, so when it became the title story of a new collection from Crystal Lake Publishing, I was at the front of the queue. Jasper Bark has since become one of my favourite writers. As well as being a master of character and stage, he merges extremes of nastiness with dark humour to a degree that made me feel guilty for enjoying it so much. But not enough to stop reading, obviously. No, you never stop because Mr Bark doesn’t let you.


A Remembrance of Halloweens Past - TIH Column

My latest column for those lovely folks at This Is Horror

“A few years back I won an award for a short story collection. So proud was I of this achievement that I made sure the award was prominently displayed in my downstairs toilet.

At about the same time we were having some work done on our cottage. A local builder was taking up the floorboards in the front room. After using our downstairs loo he mentioned, with some apprehension, while I was making him yet another cup of tea, that he’d spotted the award.

“So you’re err … you’re into that, err … that sort of thing then Jasper?” he said in his broad West Country accent. I admitted that I liked horror and had written rather a lot of it over the years.

“Tell you what Jasper,” he said, eyeing the floorboards as though he was wondering if he shouldn’t give me a little more time to re-hide whatever I’d left under them. “I’ll have one of my lads come round and finish this up in the morning, if you don’t mind.”

The hasty retreat our builder subsequently beat, is not an uncommon occurrence to those of us who work in the horror field, nor to those who consider themselves a fan. Though, on the whole, you couldn’t hope to meet a nicer, gentler and more well-rounded group of individuals than horror writers and horror enthusiasts, people tend to view you with distinct suspicion if you spend a lot of your time wondering just how much of the front of your house you could festoon with human innards before you were forced to butcher another corpse. Or how long it would take a dismembered body to decompose if the various parts were artfully gaffer taped to the gnomes in your front garden?

Except on Halloween of course. On Halloween your neighbours will all come round and praise you for the creativity and imagination of your house decorations. If it’s a slow news day the local newspaper might even send someone down to take photos. It would only be a week or so later, when the pumpkins and plastic witches had all been packed away, and the smell of decaying flesh was making your neighbour’s prize azaleas wilt, that anyone would think to call the police.

That’s because Halloween is the one time of the year when everyone shares and celebrates our dark and twisted obsessions. When Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are welcomed into homes all over the world like weird Anti-Santas who take away presents of candy, chocolates and other tooth rotting treats without leaving a thing in return. Halloween is the national holiday of the international tribe of loners and misfits who spend the rest of the year in darkened rooms listening to Slayer and poring over their lifetime collections of Fangoria …”

Dare you click the link and Read More


Great Review of Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts

Just read this from the charming Bruce Blanchard:

“*Posted with apologies to The Talking Heads and David Byrne and with warnings the stories you encounter here are disturbing, sexual, maniac, and the stuff of nightmares. This is a review of Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts by Jasper Bark. Beware, gang, once seen and read,all are going to stick with you. The warning is given, read on!*

The head is aching and demanding how you came to be here and where is here? The bright lights of where dazzle in your eyes as you try to recall where you’ve been. Some vague recollection about a book, but, man, no book could do that to you or could it. Your body pulls you up grasping for supports. When in doubt, check out what’s around you. Awake or dreaming, you seem to be in an underground train wherever. The advertisements on the wall above the handholds seem to advertise a book, Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts by Jasper Bark announcing its publication by Crystal Lake Publishing. Let your eyes wander on a line of a visual intestines artistically drawn in a realistic way. Damn!, the drawing seems almost too real. They bounce along and rise with a flashing sign alternating between announced titles and disturbing pictures. Caught in this attention the train lurches forward with a red light announcing its first destination. Stuck On You. The underground train stops, apparently moving all the while you were exploring your surroundings. Your destination awaits~~~~~step outside.
* Ricardo, the philandering husband, of his wife Ellen is sent south of the order to acquire crafts for sale. Along comes the bountiful Consuela asking for a ride to drop point across the border. She’s a mule; she looks good; she is good; he’s at with her. Storm clouds gather above. Lightning strikes and the two of them are at one, he in her and her wound around him. She’s dead and he’s stuck with her in the worst way.
*Next vision on your scheduled stops is the King’s Arms Pub with a dude talking to someone in men’s room. The someone is a total douche who in a daze of reality took out the anguish of his pathetic life on another and now pays the price by drinking it all down …”

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Look Out For Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts

The delightful James Everington just wrote me a lovely plug:

“It’s safe to say that Jasper Bark occupies a unique position amongst British horror writers; his work is by turns scary, funny and gleefully taboo-breaking. Stuck On You And Other Prime Cuts is a collection of Bark’s short fiction, giving the reader ten peeks into his uniquely twisted view of the world. The collection begins with the title story (an erotic-horror novella which you won’t forget in a hurry) and before it ends it encompasses an economist in Hell, sentient blood creatures, Shakespearian lust and love, and a frankly disgusting story about a urinal. There’s sex and violence aplenty here, but Bark has the writing chops to ensure that whilst it’s never pointless it’s never the_whole_ point, either. Behind the gleeful mayhem there’s the work of an old school horror writer here; Bark can do chilling as well as bloody (a story like the fantastic How The Dark Bleeds, included here, being proof of that). In the end, we’re not excited about this book due to the X-rated stuff, but because it’s by a talented horror writer at the top of his game …”

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Let's Put An End to this Right Now - TIH Column

After a brief sabbatical here is the latest This Is Horror Column, I know you missed me:

“I’m going to start this month’s column with a little joke:

“A guy walks into a bar with a midget riding a crocodile and a seven foot nun with a ring through her nose. He orders a pint glass full of pickled eggs for the midget, a shot glass full of pork scratchings for the nun and a vodka martini for himself.

The midget begins stuffing all the eggs into his ears. The nun blesses the pork scratching and then sets light to them with a blowtorch. The man drinks his martini then orders another round of the same for all of them. This carries on all night until, half an hour before closing time, the barman leans over and says: “Hey buddy, what’s with the midget and the nun then?”

“Ah,” says the the guy. “Well you see my wife is a big fan of the Dalai Lama and for some time now she’s been trying to get pregnant. Tonight is her birthday and I want to do something really special for her.”

“So this is all for her benefit?”

“Yes it is.”

“But how is this going to help her get pregnant?”

“You my friend,” says the guy. “Have never read A Universal History of Infamy!”

Then the guy finishes his drink and leaves. The midget smashes his forehead against the bar five times while the nun gives him a withering look.

B-DUM TISH!

Didya get it? Didya, didya, didya? Wasn’t that like the funniest thing ever?

WADDAYA MEAN NO!

Didn’t you get the subtle Freudian imagery? Or the obscure reference to Jorge Luis Borges? What about the spiritual subtext that was brought to the fore by mentioning Tibetan Buddhism? Come on people, didn’t it give you a creeping sense of amusement? Haven’t you ever heard of Quiet Humour?!? …”

I know you can’t wait to click the link and Read More



Less Is Never More, More or Less – TIH Column

More This Is Horror Column Goodness:

“About a decade and a half ago Keith Tyson, a conceptual artist and childhood friend of mine (who would later go on to win the Turner Prize), invited me to one of his shows. It was in a boutique gallery in a trendy part of West London and the place was filled with just the sort of preening, pseudish individuals you’d imagine attending these sort of events. Many were artists themselves and paraded about the gallery with a sense of overweening entitlement and a desperate need for attention.

After admiring Keith’s work for about half an hour and drinking a little too much of the complimentary wine, I fell into a conversation with a group of people. It was one of those earnest, self regarding conversations about the nature of art and the role it plays in every day life. The sort of conversation I’d had with many first year art students back when I used to hang out on campuses to score free drugs and sex. Frankly it was boring me rigid (and in all the wrong places).

To liven up the conversation I decided to change the topic. Cutting a floppy haired public school boy off mid-sentence I blurted: “Never mind all that, what do you reckon to Arsenal’s chances next week?” The young man looked down at the ground, shifted from foot to foot and sheepishly admitted that he didn’t know anything about football. The other people standing around in our little circle looked uneasy and confessed to knowing nothing about the sport either.

At that point there was a lull in the general hubbub of conversation and I heard a loud, boorish and rather drunken voice shout: “Don’t know anything about Football? Don’t Know Anything About Football?! What are you QUEER?!!” As the Gallery Owner escorted me to the door, under the glaring displeasure of everyone else present, I realised the voice had been mine.

As I wended my way back to the tube station it occurred to me that, as a then bisexual man who knew less about football than Amanda Knox knows about being a considerate flatmate, my utterance made me, without any doubt, the single most pretentious person in that gallery. If not the whole of West London. I can never be accused of not taking things to their excess …”

Read more – you know you can’t help yourself


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