The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Honest, you've got to listen to this. It's genius (not mine).

I had this great idea. Get my pals to record lines of dialogue from Backstreets and make a mash-up for my vid. Which they did. And we did. 

Thing is, I know every word of the 130 thousand words that make up Backstreets. I know who says what to who and why. I know where the characters are, who is in the room with them, what they had for breakfast that morning. I know if they haven’t washed their undies or they are secretly lusting after their BFF.

So when I heard the recordings my pals had made, it was like the characters were clawing at the pages of the book. Backstreets was coming to life, or at least Finn, Tuesday, Rob, Maurice and Lizzi were. Hearing the lines exactly as I had imagined them, with the accent as I had heard, with the emphases and stresses as I'd hoped, was extraordinary. None of my actors (pals) had read the manuscript. I gave them more or less info on their characters depending on their artistic requirements (ie mainly none; my friends are not demanding). Of course, there were times when the interpretation was different to what I'd expected. But even then, it was bizarre, troubling, thrilling. To hear words spoken that had been going around in my head for so long.

I laughed out loud. With astonishment, appreciation and because I was slightly freaking out. I was already dreaming about Finn and Tuesday and Mo, stressing about their troubles, losing the distinction between my real life and the imaginary lives in Backstreets (this is actually quite sad but true). I wanted all the recordings to go in the main video but the mash-up didn’t work. For the folk who didn’t know the book, the relevance of the lines that I’d chosen wasn’t apparent. No one but me knew who was saying what and why, or how they related to the story or my interview. So in the end, most of the lines were cut. Except for Finn’s opening salvo and his masterpiece of disdain at the end.

But I have to share them. Even if they don’t make sense detached from the novel. Even mashed up and overlapped. If nothing else, they will give you a taster of the tone of Backstreets. And I promised my pals that Hollywood beckoned so I can’t go back on that.

Being technologically impeded, I may not have done their skills justice, so for that I beg their pardon. Otherwise, I’m prepared to act as an agent if anyone out there is looking for a Tuesday McLaughlin.

I present the first Backstreets Production (drum roll): MASHED.


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Anne Ardica
 Anne Ardica says:

Brilliant!!! I am on the edge of my seat awaiting the release of your novel!

posted 27th July 2016

Helen Taylor
 Helen Taylor says:

Thanks Anne. I can't take the credit though. It was my brilliant friends.

posted 30th July 2016

Ana Lili
 Ana Lili says:

thank you

posted 19th September 2022

Ana Lili
 Ana Lili says:

thank you so much

posted 21st September 2022

Ana Lili
 Ana Lili says:

This is a really cool idea. Have a nice day ^^
1v1 battle

posted 21st September 2022

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