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A black comedy about love, loss, the death of dreams, failure, bad TV, bad jokes, brutalist buildings. And Birmingham.

"Grief is the price we pay for love" - Inscription on a building in Grosvenor Square, London

"Clare Middleton I Love You Will U Marry Me" - Graffiti at Park Hill, Sheffield

"Die Mauer im Kopf" - Saying in Germany in the 1990s

What's left when the dreams we had turn to dust?

The Wall in The Head is about two doomed lovers called Donald and Belinda.

It's about love and loss, and sadness and failure. It's about building and rebuilding. It's about how the grand plans we have for our lives, for our careers, for our cities never turn out the way we thought they would.

It's about Donald and Belinda's memories and the happiness they once had.

It's about the crappy TV shows Donald writes and the past that haunts him.

It's about the book Belinda wrote to save the brutalist architecture that she fell in love with, and the dreams of a modern future that fell apart before the concrete had set.

It's about music and art and photographs and videos and books - the reliquaries for our emotional memories.

The Wall in The Head is set around the iconic modernist buildings that are slowly being killed off in our cities. It's about how these places can be dystopias - even though they were meant to be utopias. It's about how buildings are the backdrops to our lives, and how weird places can be the settings for weird events as well as normal life, and even our romantic lives. Because brutalist buildings can be about love as well as hate.

It's about how Donald and his ragtag colleagues set out to make a programme about these great modern buildings - and help Belinda's dream to live on.

The Wall in The Head follows Donald's journey to Leeds, Sheffield, London... and Belinda's home town, Berlin. But the place at the centre of it all is Donald's home, Birmingham - the weirdest city of them all.

The Wall in The Head is the saddest thing I've ever written, but it's a comedy too. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you'll choose to become a supporter of my novel. Thanks for reading this far.

Chris, London, April 2016

Christopher Beanland writes journalism and fiction about architecture, cities, the arts, music and the media. He is based in London and tweets @ChrisBeanland

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Fragments. Everything is fragmentary, everything is fleeting. Cracked little shards sometimes coalesce into stories. But stories never end neatly. Dramas happen, from time to time, in half hour blocks - like cheap Television programmes. Then it's back to a bleak routine. Why bother trying to arrange things? Why bother trying to jam the jigsaw pieces together?

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September 1 2008. Monday. Belinda was gone. She'd been gone for weeks. So I tried to kill myself. And I meant it. God, I meant it. But something got in in the way. I'm still not entirely sure what.

The sky was burnt out black. But the darkness couldn't stretch itself, there was too much light fighting its way in, too much of an iridescent glow blasting from the awful offices and the takeaways. Electric citrus; a fake nocturnal sunrise. The city refused to be cloaked. It screamed back. It yelled and it kicked out. The buildings, the lights, the people. They all attacked the night. The yelps from 28 floors below. They put me off. People having fun? Pissed people. Drinkers. Revellers. Stag parties. Hen Parties. Broad Street piss artists. I just wanted to be with her, to be away from here. I just wanted to hold her cheek in my hand again, to sit at the kitchen table watching her whisk batter again, to hear her speaking to me, for me, again. The smell of her hair and the touch of her skin. I can't bear not owning her any more.

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Das Leben der Anderen

Thursday, 14 April 2016

I love the Ostalgie of Goodbye Lenin! but I was profoundly moved by The Lives of Others, which - like Anna Funder's Satsiland - shows the flipside of East Berlin. All of these things, plus many enjoyable visits to the city, convinced me that Belinda should be German. And that her life, and more especially her mother's, in the GDR would have to have been difficult.

Here Come The Brummies

Thursday, 14 April 2016

This is just such a beautiful film. I'll let it speak for itself. You might notice that the only programme Donald has written that he's actually proud of bears an uncanny resemblance to this one. Sublime stuff.

"This was the view that took my breath away!"

Thursday, 14 April 2016

No list of videos showing how weird Brum is would be complete without this Harold Baim gem narrated by Telly Savalas. If you've never seen it you should do.

Gangsters

Thursday, 14 April 2016

So here's one of those TV programmes. I was watching Gangsters while I wrote the book and although it is about crime and The Wall in The Head isn't, I loved the way Gangsters gave Brum an air of sleazy glamour. It was made by the Beeb at the now defunct Pebble Mill when Birmingham produced a lot of Television and I could imagine Mids TV making stuff like this in their fictional heyday. It's celebrating…

Gangsters

Thursday, 14 April 2016

So here's one of those TV programmes. I was watching Gangsters while I wrote the book and although it is about crime and The Wall in The Head isn't, I loved the way Gangsters gave Brum an air of sleazy glamour. It was made by the Beeb at the now defunct Pebble Mill when Birmingham produced a lot of Television and I could imagine Mids TV making stuff like this in their fictional heyday. It's celebrating…

Sex, Lies and Videotape

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Hi and thanks for dropping by. I'm going to use my 'Shed' as Unbound calls this area to share some little treats with you. The Wall in The Head is heavily inspired not just by architecture and many real life visits I've made to the cities featured, but also by things I've seen on screen. Many of the TV programmes, films, home videos etc are from before I was even alive and I think they bring Donald…

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