:: Article

Music for Reading and Posing: a Soundtrack Guide to This Brutal House

By Niven Govinden.

The obvious thing would be to create a Spotify playlist, but I’m not a basic bitch.

I wasn’t writing This Brutal House with one particular track in mind, more a mash-up of the street styles of that era: rare groove, electro, hip hop and Chicago. So the titular Nitro Deluxe classic captures the rawness and intensity of the vogue balls I wrote about; while something like Liz Torres’s “Payback Is A Bitch” is a nod to its ferocity. Ditto Junior Vasquez’s “X” (Sound Factory Mix).

If you read this book playing anything made for the dance floor between 88-91 you’re in my psychic ballpark: Marshall Jefferson, Jamie Principle, Kym Mazelle, Adeva circa the second album, Deee-Lite/MAW dubs. Anything by Shep Pettibone — literally anything. Drop his ten minute mix of Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” and pose til you’re gagged.

This is all about the life of the book once it’s written: all I’ve imagined for it, along with the grey areas that only a reader can fill. I hope something in these tunes will allow the book to resonate even more strongly; for while This Brutal House is a story of protest, chosen family, silence and redemption, its fierceness should be undeniable.

Turn these up and flex.

Niven Govinden is the author of four previous novels, most recently All the Days and Nights which was longlisted for the Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. His third novel Black Bread White Beer won the 2013 Fiction Uncovered Prize. He was a judge for the 2017 4th Estate/Guardian B4ME Prize.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, May 29th, 2019.