Chapter 05

Two weeks later he was sitting at a café on the upper floor of St. James, sipping hot chocolate, and waiting for the interviewer to arrive. He wished he had not come so early.

“Mr. Ferguson?” he heard a quiet voice suddenly, and looked up at its owner. He saw a girl in a stylish purple coat (it was still quite cold outside) and black jeans. She had straight short blond hair that she kept tucking behind her ears to stop it from falling into her face, and eyes of indeterminable colour, somewhere between grey and green. Her face bore no sign of make-up. And she looked barely sixteen. “I’m Ashley Seymour,” she said after a moment of hesitation and stretched out her hand.

Colin stood up and accepted it, but before he knew what he was doing, he asked: “How old are you?”

He realised his unforgivable mistake almost immediately, but the girl just laughed.

“How old do I look?” she asked curiously and started unbuttoning her coat.

“Sixteen,” he shrugged.

“Interesting,” she said, as if she had always wondered how old people thought she was that they never treated her like an adult, which was exactly the case. “I’ll be twenty-three in April.”

“I’m sorry, it was very rude to ask you that,” he apologised.

“No, that’s ok. You’ve actually helped me. At least something…” She took off her coat and placed it on the seat beside her. Beneath it she wore a white blouse with bead ornaments and a pale blue fleece jacket, combined with a silver necklace with little frosted pink balls and long earrings of the same kind. He did not pay much attention to anything else than her face, though. It looked familiar.

“Couldn’t I have met you somewhere before?” he asked.

She glanced at the ring in his nose and suggested: “Maybe downstairs at Claire’s?”

He laughed. “No, probably not.”

“So,” she said, “how does a werewolf get to start a band?”

Colin froze. “How do you know?” he managed after a long pause, never thinking of trying to convince her that he had no idea what she was talking about. His voice was merely a whisper.

She shrugged. “I feel it. Come on, don’t be so scared. I won’t tell anyone,” she promised him.

“How can you feel it?”

“I don’t know. Honestly.”

“Are you a not-totally-human creature?”

“In a way,” she admitted.

“What are you? How come I’ve never seen you in the pub?”

“I’m not going to tell you what I am, Colin Ferguson. And I’ve been to the pub already, only much earlier than you came here. I don’t have to go there, though, I’m closer to humans than any of the folk that gathers there. It’s funny, to tell you the truth, I guess they’d be more frightened of me than you if it came to telling them. But no one needs to know.”

“Why won’t you tell me?”

“You’ll find out.”

“Are you dangerous?”

Ash laughed. “No, no I’m not.”

“How can I trust you in that you won’t tell anyone what I am?”

“I suppose there’s nothing you can do about it anymore. I’m afraid my word will have to be enough.”

“You’re right,” Colin sighed.

“Why won’t you trust me?” her tone was almost reproachful. “If you can’t smell my honesty like any werewolf would be able to, can’t you use simple logic to know I just can’t tell anyone? I mean who would believe me? Even if they did believe there were werewolves in this world, who would believe you were one of them, with that thing in your nose?”

“It’s not that easy. It’s the first time I’ve met you. I have no way of knowing…”

She looked straight in his eyes. Hers were dark in the dim light of the café, almost cat-like, glittering, and full of urgency.

“You know perfectly well I’m telling the truth,” she said quietly. And then she suddenly smiled. “Come on. Let’s try again, shall we? I’m Ash and I want to be your friend. Will you let me?”

It felt as if every negative feeling just left his mind.

“Sure,” he nodded. “You’re not Scottish, are you?” he asked then.

“No, my dad’s English and my mum… Central European. I’ve only been here inEdinburgha few months. I won’t ask about your family, don’t worry,” she said as if she knew what he was thinking.

“Can you read minds?”

She smiled. “No. But eyes are a window to one’s soul, dear Colin, and yours reflected pain when I mentioned my parents.”

“I can see why people think you’re scary.”

“They would, if they knew,” she nodded. “But there’s no need to trouble them with the truth. They wouldn’t understand the concept of the whole thing.”

“Would I?”

“If you listened.”

“I would.”

“I know. But we shouldn’t talk about me now. I’m supposed to do this interview,” she reminded him of the original purpose of the meeting.

He shook his head. “What if I never see you again?”

“That’s hardly possible,” said she and reached for her handbag, from which she produced a small device and a few folded sheets of paper.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Your lyrics. There are some things I’d like to ask about them,” she explained and switched on the tiny recorder.

“Pity Mark’s not here. It was him who wrote the story.”

“How did the five of you meet, anyway?”

“Well, I went to this pub, and they were playing there. After they finished, they came inside again to have a beer and sat at the table beside me. We got to talk, and Harry and I had a little argument about his voice. He thought I underestimated him, so we ran this small karaoke contest. A few days later he knocked on my door and asked me to join the band. I didn’t want to at first, but they talked me into it.”

“When was that?”

“Last November.”

“Didn’t take you much to record your debut, then, did it?”

“That’s because they already had most of the music. I just wrote the lyrics, based on Mark’s story, and he helped me with them. Then the whole band worked on re-arranging the music, writing new bits and joining it all together. But we’d already had most of the material, so it went rather fast.”

“Maybe you could explain the concept a little, for those of our readers who are new to the SMPDM world…?”

“Sure. It’s a story about a fight for a better life. There’s this vampire, all alone in his cold homeland… He doesn’t know how he ended up there on his own, but knows he has to leave or he’ll die. He’s also weary because there’s no way he could quench his thirst. He can’t remember how he used to get blood, but suspects he’ll have to kill someone in the process, and he doesn’t want to do that. Feeling accordingly desperate, he calls for this legendary being called Faith. He’d heard others (when they were still there, that is) talk about her. She was supposed to be a saviour… So he’s calling her, and she eventually comes and takes him away from the place. She wants to lead him to her kingdom, but on the way they pass this village, and while she’s away to beg some food for them, the vampire meets a little child playing in the forest. By then his thirst is so great he grabs this child and wants to drink its blood, even though it would mean killing something so innocent. Then it suddenly seems the child has Faith’s eyes, and as he stares in them, he realises he’s doing a very evil thing and lets the child go. But for Faith it’s too late. She’s captured by the Unbelieving, and taken away. The vampire is supposed to find her and rescue her. He tries, and does find her, but in the end he dies.”

“Is Mark a vampire, then?”

“Hey! Didn’t you say you wouldn’t do this?”

“Relax, that recording’s just for me. We’re talking, nothing more. I’ll take what I need from this conversation later and send you the final version for authorisation. I’ll delete the recording afterwards. Or you can delete it yourself. Don’t worry and tell me.”

“Ok. He is. Satisfied?”

“Not yet. Anything particular he wanted to achieve by this story?”

“I guess he meant to create this allegory to point out the state of the modern society. He wanted to portray the vampire in the existential perspective, if you know what I mean. Vampires are evil, people think. But Mark’s telling the world not to take this for granted, he’s asking them to understand there’s no way anyone can choose what they are when they’re born. Vampires may need blood, but that doesn’t make them evil. If they had the choice, they would rather be like normal people, devoted citizens and good fathers and mothers to their families. But as it is they’re scared to have children, to even get married not to tempt themselves, because they don’t want their children to suffer, plus they don’t want to endanger the society, the very society that calls itself civilised so hypocritically, and when it comes to dealing with a potential threat, they just blindly call for physical elimination. This society is barbaric in every way, and we want to fight against it.”

“That’s very brave.”

“Not really. It’s all a matter of our own concern. We come from different subsocieties that the general society doesn’t accept. It’s either make a difference, or stay rejected. We don’t want to be rejected, because we know we don’t deserve it. The five of us were lucky enough to start the band, so we now have a number of people who actually like us, and we’re really grateful for that, but it’s nothing that has to last. We have to make a difference in the way people think, and then we can be accepted. No sooner than that.”

“I understand you belong to a different subsociety, as you call it, than the other members of SMPDM. How easy is it to be the spokesman for both groups that don’t really like each other?”

“First I’d like to make it clear that we don’t fight against each other. There might have been some skirmishes in the past, but not anymore. We’d realised we have a common goal. It’s true that we’re different and sometimes I’m afraid the others may not think I’m the right one to represent their interests, but they also chose me in the first place. It was their decision and I’m doing my best not to disappoint them.”

“But there’s something you’re not satisfied with as far as the band is concerned, isn’t it? I mean the direction it’s going…”

“That’s true. I’d thought we’d be more like a rock band with quite simple songs, no complicated concepts or anything, just songs. I also thought we wouldn’t be so political, but a wise man once said everything in life is politics anyway. I don’t want to say I don’t like what we’re doing, and I’m very grateful to Mark for that story, because it’s brilliant. Coming to think of it, maybe we could even try to get it published – it’s well worth reading, and if you look at what they waste paper on these days… So, to make myself clear, I like our first album and I like the idea of fighting against false beliefs, but I thought it would be different, that’s all.”

“I know I promised not to ask you about your family, but I guess this can’t hurt too badly… Anyway, how much did your parents influence your own beliefs?”

“My parents… They were American and as far as I can remember, they always had an American way of thinking about most things. They spent most of their lives in a state with death penalty in its legal system, and in a way they were in favour of that. My dad also had a gun because he was scared of potential criminals.

I was born inEurope- I’ve never even been to the States – and started to establish my own beliefs regarding the things I’ve mentioned long after my parents died. There’s a difference between the American and the European idea of liberalism – both have some things that are forbidden by public consensus, but these things are not the same. Still, I believe the systems were developed as the best solutions for their particular environments, only being a product ofEuropeI’m the kind of softie who’s terrified at the idea of guns for everyone and lethal punishments.”

“I suppose that probably makes you a pacifist as well, then?”

“Essentially. But it’s more like picturing the pain of war victims in your mind than anything else, really. I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys wars. Not these days, anyway. It does seem like it, sometimes, but I hope those people will grow tired of it sooner or later. I said the society was barbaric. Maybe wars are still essential for us to learn from them and prevent them in the future.”

“Have you talked with the rest of the band about what you should do in the future?”

“We haven’t. First we concentrated on the debut album, then the tour… I guess we’ll just take a few days off and then get together again and discuss our future plans.”

“Do you think it’s possible to get out of the concept-writing process once you’ve started it? Do you  think the band would agree to do it, anyway?”

“I wouldn’t like SMPDM to be labelled as a band producing just concept albums. I think we should do both, concepts and random collections of songs. If we ever get labelled, I wish it is as a good rock band.”

“Is SMPDM an acronym for something?”

“It is, actually. The band used to be called that, but the original statement ceased to be true long ago, so it’s a bit like your magazine: everyone knows it’s not just about the progressive genre anymore. Guys shortened the name when they realised the old one wasn’t appropriate, but when I joined in and Harry was filling me in on the history, we both found we liked the acronym more, so we changed it back.”

“What does it mean?”

“I’ll keep that a secret if you don’t mind.”

“I suppose I can’t force you,” Ashley shrugged.

“Can’t you?” he wondered. He was almost convinced she was capable of making him tell her anything she wanted to know.

“When I say ‘can’t’ I don’t mean I’m not able to, but that it wouldn’t be quite moral to do that,” she explained.

“So you could.”


“You know what is strange, Ash? I’m not afraid of you anymore. Those special abilities you have, whatever they are exactly, they don’t scare me anymore. What have you done to me?”

“I made you trust me,” she said simply.

“I’ve never…” he sought for words. “I mean… this is so weird. I don’t understand what’s happening. Technically speaking you’re a stranger, and we still talk as if we’d never seen each other before – which we haven’t – but it’s like we’re reading each other’s mind. It’s like discovering myself through you. Does it work the opposite way, too, or is it just me?”

“I’m rather enjoying myself. You’re interesting. But I know every corner of my mind too well to be able to discover anything new.”

“But we’re strangers…” he repeated. He still could not comprehend the situation.

“No, we’re not.”

Colin sighed helplessly. “Maybe,” he said, “we should just go on with the interview…”

Ash nodded.

“Well, since we’re still on the general level, what is your dream for the future? What do you expect from your life?”

Colin smiled. “I guess I just want our band to go on with what they’re doing, and spread the word. And maybe I’ll meet someone to receive my love one day. It’s a lot to wish, but basically I just hope everything goes well, whatever it is.”

“I suppose it wouldn’t be difficult to find a girl who’d love you. You already have a decent female fan base.”

“Hm… I think there’s only one thing I can say about that: I believe in love, and in finding a soul mate. Let everyone take what they need from this.”

She was silent for a while, and then said quietly: “I didn’t use to believe in soul mates. But that’s changed.”

Their eyes met. Two minutes later, she broke the contact.

“Excuse me,” she whispered and almost ran away.

Colin stared after her, until she was out of his sight. Then he reached for the recorder and aborted the recording.

“We’re not going to get very far like this,” he told her when she came back.

“We’re going to get where we need to,” she shook her head determinedly and sat down again. “You switched it off?” she asked, nodding towards the recorder.

“Didn’t want to waste precious megabytes.”

She switched the device on again, and asked:

“Is there any symbol in the vampire’s death? He was supposed to demonstrate how people are wrong in their judgement, so does his death mean this struggle is… I don’t want to say impossible, but so extremely difficult that one voice can’t accomplish the task?”

“I think Mark just didn’t want a happy ending,” Colin laughed. “No, I’m joking. But I don’t know, to be honest. I suspect he wanted the story to look realistic. If the vampire survived, it would be too sweet and incredible. Like you said, the struggle is more difficult than that. But if you want to look for symbols, you should start with Faith herself, because she is. She’s a real woman to the vampire, but the recipient is supposed to see her as a metaphor. Like when she comes to him, he just starts to hope he’ll make it, so he leaves that cold place, and when he meets the child, he’s having a blind moment, which is gone when he sees the child’s eyes. At that moment, of course, his faith comes back. He realises he’s violating his beliefs and stops. But his faith is already shattered, so he has to find it again. And it’s awfully difficult to start believing again once you encounter doubt. I think in a way he found Faith because he was dying. When you’re dying, everything is plainer, easier, because there’s hardly anything that matters.”

“But he’s scared of death, isn’t he?”

“He doesn’t want to die, of course. That’s why he left his birthplace, to survive. And when he realises he’s not going to survive, he’s not happy about it. But he can’t change his past, so he accepts this punishment.”

“That’s a cruel punishment – to die because of who you are. It’s not fair.”


“A writer once said that authors have no right to kill their characters. What do you think of that?”

“I think he’s right, in a way. Authors create a kind of alternate realities, and those characters live in that world. If the author decides to kill them, it’s a murder within those alternate realities. The author is a god for them, and don’t we beg our gods to be merciful?”


“So he never killed people in his stories?”

“He did, actually. But maybe he meant just the main characters.”

“That’s pretty cruel.”

She smiled. “It is. Now, do you think I want to know anything else? This seems quite long already.”

“Dunno. Maybe the general things, like how old I am, what’s my favourite colour, what music I listen to, who’s my greatest inspiration, and all that nonsense…” he suggested with a smile.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-five in May.”

“Thanks,” she said and aborted the recording once more.

“Your favourite colour is orange,” she continued while she put the folded lyrics and the little device in her handbag.

“Is it?”

“The colour of fire,” she added, as if she knew he was afraid of dark.

“I was never sure which one that was.”

“I know. It alters.”

“What music do I listen to?”

“I cannot read your mind like that, Colin.”

“How can you read my mind, then?”

“I sense your emotions and interpret them. That’s all. I cannot read your thoughts, and I wouldn’t even want to.”

“Tell me what you are,” he asked her again.

Ashley bit her lip. “No.”

“Why not?”

“You’d laugh.”

“Would I?”

“Yes, you would.”

“Well, tell me who you are, then.”

She glanced at her watch. “I have to go. I have a bus to catch.”

“Let me go with you, then. It’s getting late, anyway.”

“It’squarter to seven.”

“I see you’re more afraid of me than any potential criminals,” he remarked.

“Don’t try to provoke me. All you have to say is please.”

He did and she kept her word. They went toPrinces Streettogether, and got on number sixteen to Colinton.

“I’m afraid I won’t exactly be a pleasant companion, though,” she warned him as they settled on the front seat on the upper deck.

“And when have you been that?” he joked, but she answered him with a painful look and silence.

“Anything wrong?” he asked. He was sure she understood he did not mean it, so whatever troubled her, he knew it was not him.

“Nothing, really. Does it ever happen to you that you have a few days when you feel just about perfect, you’re happy and cheerful, and you wonder when you’re eventually going to run out of luck again – but it seems you’ll never do, until one day you just become tired from being so happy?”

“And then you’re so tired that you can’t keep smiling, and it somehow prevails until you become your serious self again…?”

She nodded.

“Are you in that phase?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Ash, you’re so much stronger than I am. You’ll be fine, I promise.”

She laughed.

“They’ll kill me when they find out,” he thought. “I mean the rest of the band. They won’t like me being friends with you.”

“Why not?”

“You’re a journalist.”

“No, I’m not. I just occasionally do an interview with someone. I don’t even have a contract with the Prog Society.”

“So what do you do for a living?”

“I translate books. And study literature,” she smiled.

“You translate books? From which language?”



“For a publisher in my mum’s home country. It’s not much of a job, but I like translating, and this could help me become a professional one day. I mean I’m just doing mirror texts at the moment, and I’d like to get to translate novels.”

“Well, I hope your wishes will come true.”

“Thanks. The same to you, of course. Can you speak any other language, by the way?”

“As a matter of fact, I can. I just don’t know which one it is.”

“How’s that?” she asked, rather perplexed.

“I was born in another country and lived there until I was eight. I can still speak the language, I just can’t remember where on Earth that was.”

“You seemed pretty sure it was inEurope.”

“Yeah, it most probably was. ‘Cause the journey to theUKdidn’t take too long.”

She laughed.

“Have you ever tried to find out?”

“No, not really. I haven’t thought much about this, to be honest.”

“You live a day-to-day life,” Ash nodded.

“Pretty much.”

They fell silent for a few minutes. The bus meanwhile passed Morningside and was on its way to Oxgangs.

“I love this part of the city,” Ashley said and pointed at a road on their right. “This is where I usually come here from when I walk from Colinton.”

“Why would you walk from Colinton to Morningside?”

“Just for my pleasure. But usually I walk all the way to the centre.”

“That’s got to take ages!”

“Not exactly. Just two hours. Of course I haven’t had the time for that lately,” she added. “Have you ever been here?” she asked then.

“Just once. I live at the other end of this bus route, so one day I got curious enough to take a trip here. Haven’t been to Hunter’s Tryst, though.”

“There’s not much to see there. Actually, if we weren’t turning right here, but instead turned right up there,” she pointed at a road ahead, “we’d be at Hunter’s Tryst. Thankfully we’re not, because I’d hate to walk all the way down the hill. So you live in Sil… you’re totally crazy, aren’t you? Don’t you think you’re getting just a bit too obsessed with the whole fighting against fate thing?” she laughed.

“As long as it amuses you, I’m prepared to do anything,” he promised her.

“Wow, how generous. Come on, we have to go,” she said then, and almost fell down the stairs as the bus turned left.

“Jesus, are you ok?” he asked, quite alarmed.

“My name’s Ashley,” she reminded him and hurried to press the “stop” button downstairs. The bus came to a halt. They got off by the front door and duly said goodbye to the driver.

Ash leaned against a garden wall of one of the houses in the street. She was laughing like mad.

“What’s the matter?” Colin asked, not able to help smiling himself.

“Nothing,” she shook her head. “But please stop me before I start to cry.”


“I don’t know!”

“Ok,” he said and got down on one knee before her. “Will you marry me?”

She burst out laughing even harder. “I told you to stop me,” she managed to protest.

“How can I tell what will make you stop laughing if you don’t even know yourself?” he wished to know, but then watched in horror as her laughter did smoothly change to crying, exactly as she had predicted.

“Ash,” he breathed out and took her in his arms.

“I’m insane,” she sobbed quietly. “I’m totally insane.”

“Nonsense, you’ll be fine,” he assured her.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have let you go with me. This is so totally embarrassing…” she went on.

“Would you have anyone else to hold you if I didn’t?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“Then I was right to come.”

“I’m not so weak, I just…”

“Ash, you don’t need to convince me about anything. Now, come on, where do you live?”

“There,” she nodded towards a house not far from them.

“Nobody’s at home?” he wondered when he saw no lights in the windows.

“There’s no one to be at home. The closest family I have is in Berwick.”

“Ok. Come on, let’s go home, then,” he said gently, took her by the hand and led her to the house.

Meowza was sitting at the front door, but at the sight of Colin fled in panic.

“I wonder if any cat will ever get to like me,” he remarked. “I love cats. But they’re terrified of me.”

“Well, fortunately Meowza is not my cat, or I’ll have a hard dilemma deciding which one of you to keep,” she said while unlocking the door.

“Do you intend to keep me?” he asked as he followed her into the house.

“After what you’ve seen of me today, I barely think you want to be my friend anymore. But I know you do. You can’t have had many friends in your life.”

“Ash, you’re not insane. You’re just tired.”

She nodded. “I am. I wish I could spend the whole of next week sleeping and only wake up when all the deadlines are over.”

“Maybe I could help you…?”

“You are.”

They found themselves in the kitchen.

“Will you have tea with me before you go?” she asked.

“Sure,” he nodded.

“You must look quite funny after you transform, with your fingernails painted black,” she said, glancing at his hands again. She reached into a cupboard and found a box of tea bags. She put it on the table and filled the kettle with fresh water. Then she found two mugs in another cupboard, and only when she turned to take two teabags from the box and throw them into the mugs did she notice the box was no longer on the table, but in Colin’s hands. He was studying it in disbelief. She put the mugs down and slowly asked:

“You don’t mean to tell me we were born in the same country, do you?”

Colin looked at her abruptly. “What?”

“That writing says ‘black tea’. If that’s what you thought it said, then you can understand Czech, and it’s probably the language you were looking for.”

He stared at her the same way he had previously stared at the box. “Can you speak that language?”

“I’m better at it than at English, to be honest,” she confessed.

“Do you ever go there?”

“I’ve spent a good third of my life in that country. Half of my family lives there. The last time I was there was around Christmas.”

“Did you… did you know that…”

“What? That you were born in formerCzechoslovakia? I didn’t.”

“This is an awful miracle. If it wasn’t so great I’d think it was scary.”

She smiled and took the box from his hands to finish making the tea.

“I have some photos from my childhood,” he said when they were already seated at the kitchen table with the tea in front of them. “I wonder if you could maybe have a look at them and tell me where exactly they were taken….?”

“I’d love that,” she nodded. “What were your parents doing in the Czech lands during the era of deep socialism, anyway?”

“I’ve no idea. I never thought of asking them about that – of course I never knew we were in a socialist country in the first place. And then we came here and they died and…”

“Why do you make yourself believe you don’t miss them?”

“I don’t have to make myself. Or would you prefer to have me more American than I already am?”

“American or not, you miss their love.”

“I’ll get it somewhere else,” he shook his head.

“You will. But no one will give you back the years you’ve already lost.”

“That’s all right, Ash. I don’t look back.”

“Because there’s nothing to look back for.”

“Of course not! But there’s nothing I can do about it!”

She put a finger on his lips to silence him. “I know you can’t,” she whispered. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t torture you like that.”

He took her hand in his and held it for a while. Then he remembered what she was saying before making the tea.

“I remove the nail polish before each transformation. And the ring in my nose. It’s ridiculous enough to be a monster, I don’t have to make matters worse by being a hard rock one,” he explained.

“So you do believe that silver kills you?”

“Not really. But I prefer not to take any chances.”

“Does it hurt when…”

He nodded. “It does,” he said, and her eyes seemed to reflect all the pain he had to endure each month.

“Have you ever done anything to anyone when you were transformed?”

“Not as far as I can remember.”

“What do you usually do?”

“I run to the seashore and hide in the scrubs. And then I wait till the sun comes up again.”


“Of course I have to do this alone. Who would you have me go with?” he asked, but almost immediately realised he knew the answer. She remained silent, though.

“Do you know when the next bus is due?”

“I don’t. But the Lothian Buses website does,” she said and got up from the table. She returned to the kitchen a minute later with her laptop. “One left ten minutes ago. Another one leaves fromWestgarth Avein twenty minutes. But you’d better go toRedford Road, that’s closer. And you’ll have two more minutes.”


“You’re welcome. Anyway, does anyone from SMPDM know you’ve done this interview with me today?”

“Are you joking? All of them know that! They think doing an interview with Ashley Seymour means you’re really famous. And I’ve convinced you to actually meet me, so everyone will be just dying to know how it went.”

“That’s ridiculous!” she protested. “How did they come to think something so stupid?”

“You’re doing the best interviews they’ve ever read, that’s why,” Colin suggested.

“I know I do. But I can hardly take any credit for that. The others are mostly using a general recipe – and by the way I used that today, too – questions that can never be inappropriate and everyone has their answer to. It can’t hurt, but is barely interesting, unless that particular person interviewed is interesting. I used that set of questions because you’re new on the scene and I wanted you to explain yourself and your message, but when we do an interview in a few years, it will be something very different.”


“The difference between myself and the others is that they hardly care to study the bands in greater detail. They barely know the name of the latest album, maybe a few more things, but not much else. I care about the bands. One year from now I’ll have known you perfectly. And that’s the difference.”

“But why didn’t you want to meet me?”

“I’m no good at improvising. I always make a fool of myself, and I have today, too.”

“Not enough,” he shook his head.

“What was it like, holding a girl for the first time in your life?”

He laughed. “I do have to take care not to tell the rest of the band about that.”

“So you do,” she agreed. “Unless you want me to do something nasty to you.”

“Like what?”

“Like telling you when you’ll die.”

“Can you tell that?”

She nodded. “Not that I like to.”

“I’ll tell them you’re old and ugly,” he winked at her.

“Good. Look, I’ll probably have to ask you a few more questions later. I’ll go through the recording during the weekend and try to arrange it and see if there’s anything more I’ll need. Would you have time for another session on Monday?”

“Monday… We’re actually doing a charity show on Monday, but if you come, I’ll give you a backstage pass, and we can talk then, how’s that?”

“Should be fine,” Ash nodded.

“And I should be going, right?” asked Colin, looking at his watch.

She nodded.

“Well, thanks for the tea and the conversation… and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again next week,” he said and got up from the table.

“Thanks for the patience.”

“You’re welcome.”


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