By Anna Arnone

Can a forgotten book take revenge on an author who misappropriates its contents? Can a person be so repulsive that they deserve the resulting tide of woe and destruction that engulfs them? David Quantick certainly thinks so. At least he does in the story he tells in his new soon to be published book, a bleakly funny horror novel, “All My Colors” (Titan Books).

PICTURE: Anna Arnone

Quantick probably needs little introduction in Hastings, which he states is the “finest town in the world”. He made his home here around eight years ago when, eschewing Samuel Johnson’s aphorism, he became tired of London after three decades. Quantick found the choice easy, “Well, it was like, if I’m going to live somewhere I don’t know, I’d rather live somewhere I’ve got friends. And yeah, I like the people here. They’re a bit odd in Hastings but in a good way. And I like living by the sea. I like pretty much everything about Hastings to be honest.”

Quantick is deliciously funny, with a dry, sardonic wit, even when he doesn’t intend to be, “I know about being funny… but now it’s weird cos I’m trying to write serious things, All My Colors, I wrote that and some people have read it and they’re all going, it’s hilarious. But, you think, it’s not meant to be
funny. Sometimes I think if you’re a comedy writer for a hundred years then people assume that everything you do is meant to be funny.”

Quantick explains how All My Colors came about “I was thinking about this story I’d read years ago and I couldn’t find it and I still can’t. It was a science fiction story. And I got so obsessed with trying to remember it I thought I might as well just write it. Then I thought, well, that’s stupid. Then I thought, what if somebody did realise they could remember a book that no one had heard of and it was a successful book… and they wrote the book, and it was a big hit and they couldn’t believe no one could remember it. And they got away with it, then suddenly things changed and like
the book got revenge on them.

“It’s about a horrible man called Todd who is an arsehole. I wanted to write a book about someone who deserved to die. I thought that would be more fun and it’s all about what happens to him. How he writes this book and then he’s about to become successful and everything goes wrong. So it was a lot of fun to do because you didn’t have to worry about being nice and you didn’t have to worry about all his friends being nice and you didn’t have to worry about people being hurt. So it’s a bloodbath.”

Quantick is returning to fiction with All My Colors. His first foray into professional writing in the 1980’s was with a story published in the defunct left wing London listings magazine City Limits of which Quantick has fond memories, “City Limits gets kind of forgotten now but it was an amazing place and loads of people came through it. And, yeah, they let me publish a story when I’d never done anything. Then I did reviews of books and records. It was just a brilliant place. 

City Limits was exciting. That gave me the confidence to send stuff to the NME and other magazines. The fact that the first thing I had published was a short story was brilliant because, oh, you know when you just write reviews you often think, I’m not really a writer, I just like music or books. But cos I’d written a story it’s like maybe I can do other things. And then it took me 30, 40 years to write another story.”

Book launch of David Quantick’s new book, ‘All My Colors’. Wednesday 17th April. 6.00pm. Printed Matter Bookshop, 185 Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1RG. Free entry.

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