By Tim Cundle
There have been innumerable attempts to write the definitive punk rock record, and a fair number to sum up the spirit of punk on celluloid. Far fewer attempts, however, have been made to sum up the spirit of the punk movement in a fictional novel.
Tim Cundle, editor of underground punk fanzine Mass Movement and veteran of numerous punk and hardcore bands, has thrown his hat into the ring to do just this with his debut novel Compression. It tells the tale of Flanagan, who having forged a successful music career in the US with the band he started with his mates as a teenager, returns to his hometown for his high school reunion. The familiar surroundings bring back some long-suppressed memories surrounding his involvement in the death of a homeless man as a teenager. His return coincides with the re-opening of the police investigation into the incident and. well, if I say any more I’ll ruin it for you!
Originally self-published (under the nom de plume Martin Crisis), the fact that Compression has been picked up by a commercial publishers demonstrates it’s quality. Immensely readable, with authentic characterizations informed by Cundle’s background in the scene, it is a compelling read. It is somewhat on the short side, and could perhaps have been improved somewhat with a little more fleshing out, but then that could have detracted from it’s impact. The Ramones never wrote any fifteen minute epics, after all.
Compression is a riveting and original read, just the right size to fit into a Christmas stocking for the be-mohawked one in your life. As for Cundle, I await his next work with great interest. Good stuff!