Published by Omnibus Press, July 2003. Available at all good British book stores for £9.95 Available at Barnes and Noble and select New York City stores in the States for $20.

HEDONISM is available mail order in the USA from Barnes&Noble.com. It's available mail order in the UK from amazon.co.uk or musicroom.com.

American residents can also receive signed copies direct from iJamming! for just $20 including shipping and handling. Click on the PayPal button below. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.

THE COVER SAYS...

"New York, the early 1990s. In a city that has spiraled out of control, megaclub Hedonism attracts the abandoned and the abused, kids who flock to Manhattan to invent themselves anew. When DJ Skippy, the club's rising star, is shot in mysterious circumstances, his best friend Holy decides to solve the crime himself.

Hedonism is a fast action trip through a hard core underworld of pounding dance music, S&M sex and mountains of illegal drugs. It's a world populated by glamorous models, body-pierced dancers and heartless villains, a world where no-one sleeps and everyone is a suspect."

THE PRESS SAYS...

"An impressive thriller…(A) scarily accurate portrayal of club people in all their gore and glory."
Matthew Duffield, DJ

"Captures, vividly, a hedonistic scene that is by turns beautiful and downright fucked-up...The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Ruth Saxelby, Jockey Slut

"...An impressive accomplishment. Fletcher elucidates a time and place in NYC's clubbing world - the still-debauched, pre-Guiliani Limelight of the early '90s - with a you are there exactness that could only come from experience. "
Bruce Tantum, Time Out New York

"A portrayal of Dionysian excess with a contemporary twist... Fletcher's prose is good and the deconstruction of DJ scenes, love and art is engaging."
Ali MacQueen, Record Collector

"Part thriller, part black comedy, part voyeuristic excursion into the seedy realms of S&M sex and heavy drug use, Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed."
Russell Deeks, International DJ

OTHER WRITERS SAY...

"Witty, dirty and totally engrossing. Tony Fletcher's done his time in the techno trenches and it shows. Hedonism is a sparkling portrait of 90s New York club culture."
Chris Niles, Hell's Kitchen

"Tony Fletcher's descriptions of the intertwined strands of culture and sound that led to electronica are worth the price of admission."
Douglas Rushkoff. Bull, Ecstasy Club

"A whirlwind tour of New York City as the guide books never intended. For those who like their sex and drugs with plenty of droll."
Jemma Kennedy, Skywalking

"Blew me away. A gripping tale of the New York underground club scene and the fascinating characters that operate therein. It's funny, outrageous, gritty but without pretention."
Piper Terrett, Bedroom DJ

READ CHAPTER 1
WITH AUDIO/VIDEO
(for fast connections)
WITHOUT (for dial-ups)

READ CHAPTER 15
WITH AUDIO/VIDEO

June 2005: 'Memory Of A Free Party' by Chris Coco from the album Heavy Mellow includes an excerpt from Hedonism as read by Anthony Roman of Radio 4.

READ INTERVIEWS

with Tony Fletcher about Hedonism at these web sites:

Space Ibiza

Suicide Girls

Time Out New York

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WHAT IS HEDONISM?

Since before penning the Keith Moon biography, I wanted to write a story, or series of stories, about New York nightlife as I knew it and experienced it in the early 1990s - a time that the city was, on the surface, being decimated by AIDS, crack, the spiraling crime rate and a recession, and yet was unbelievably vibrant and exciting for those who dared live in it. Because of my involvement in that scene, there was no way I could approach this project as non-fiction and be subjective - but then I didn’t really want to be. The colorful characters that populated club land, their culture of excess and their alternately hilarious and tragic adventures all screamed out to be caricatured and turned into fiction: they deserved a novel.

So was born Hedonism, set in and around a Manhattan nightclub of the same name over two weeks of a summer heatwave in the early 1990s. The story follows the (mis)fortunes of its narrator Holy, a bus boy who achieves his dream of becoming a successful artist in the most bloody and perverse of circumstances. The worlds of media, art and fashion form as much a part of the plot as music and nightlife; Manhattan itself is a lead character. The story is consciously comic, deliberately dark, and unapologetically sexual. If books carried Parental Advisory stickers, Hedonism would have one.

WHERE IS HEDONISM?

You can find HEDONISM at most good book stores in the UK, including Borders, Waterstones, Blackwell's, Foyles, HMV, Virgin Records and Books Etc. You can also purchase it online at amazon.co.uk here, or through Omnibus directly here.

In New York, HEDONISM is available at Sonic Groove Records, Shakespeare & Co., Somethin' Else, Partners and Crime, and Black Orchid. It's also available at select NYC Barnes and Noble stores, including Greenwich Village, and by mail order from Barnes&Noble.com. You can also purchase signed books by mail order in the States for just $20 direct from iJamming!.

Follow links at the left to read sample chapters.

WHY IS HEDONISM?

(AND WHY DO NOVELS TAKE SO DAMN LONG? A PRIMER.)

I've been asked quite often why someone known as a music journalist and rock biographer would want to dive into fiction, let alone compose a novel about dance music and New York nightlife. My answer is, essentially, Why not? But it's not quite as glib as that. And Hedonism is certainly not the work of a dilettante.

When I moved to New York from London in 1988, I immediately noticed the socio-cultural restraints of a middle-class British upbringing fall away from me as I embraced the city's famed culture of optimism, ambition and, most importantly, creativity. I loved the sense that in New York, you could strive to be whatever you wanted to be – and that those around you would encourage you to succeed and applaud you if you did.

Through my journalism, I found myself meeting and interviewing people like Allen Ginsberg, Joe Coleman, Annie Sprinkle, Andres Serrano, John Waters, and others whose art was explicit; I was invigorated by their fearlessness. I read people like Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski for the first time, and I attended plays, art openings, multi-media exhibitions, nightclubs and after-hours joints - not so much because these options had never been available in Britain, but because in New York, they all fell into the same cultural milieu.

As a result of all this new experience I began to embrace projects I never would have contemplated in the UK. I remember spending one Saturday afternoon in the late 1980s walking around the Lower East Side soaking up the atmosphere and taking pictures of my new habitat; I then wrote up my observations, laid the text out as an 8-page booklet, printed up as many copies as I had taken photos, attached a different 4x6 to each, and sent them to select friends back in England. It was a typically pretentious New York thing to do – and it was liberating.

At the end of 1989, I was asked by the New York Press to join other contributors in writing about one year from the previous decade; I chose 1980, when I left school, was invited to run a record label and lost my virginity – all in the same week. The story, naked in its honesty as well as its detail, was a great success, inspiring me to further first person accounts for that paper – and to pen semi-fictionalized sexual memoirs I then had the audacity to send back to friends in England as Christmas cards.

This new-found creative freedom also led me, in 1990, to start a weekly club night with my room mate, at which I took on the task of DJing, despite no previous experience of playing records in clubs. The night was a roaring success, and for the next three years I was a semi-'professional' DJ and fully reluctant promoter, during which time I also became acquainted with the kind of colorful characters that populate New York nightlife: club kids, drag queens, drug dealers, gangsters, pornographers, strippers, artists of all shapes and sizes, and the thousands of mostly lovable (if emotionally lost) suburban kids looking only to have a dance, have a drink, take some drugs and maybe get laid at the end of it.

I stopped running the night after getting married in 1993, primarily because my first creative love – writing - was suffering. I also felt that our weekly residency had achieved more than we ever dreamed of and as much as it could possibly hope to: now, as a new generation of extremely young New York kids began aggressively promoting American rave culture, I was happy to leave them to it. Success with the Bunnymen and R.E.M. biographies aside, I was determined to write "proper" books.

My first attempt was a noble but flawed mixture of memoir and fiction, from which I learned a number of things - most notably that the two are almost impossible to mix. I subsequently took a couple of fiction courses, and continued to work on honing my style. In the meantime, the New York club world, that which had given me some of my richest life experiences, grew ever darker and druggier, culminating in the arrest and prosecution of a former promoter associate for another former promoter associate's murder, along with the prosecution of a well-known club owner on various charges that didn't stick. I was glad to have gotten out while the going was good. Then, as crack cocaine finally ran its course, the crime rate started to plummet, and Mayor Giuliani went about cleaning up the city in part by closing the clubs, I realized that I should write about this dangerous, decadent – but exhilarating – period of New York's cultural history while I still remembered it.

After completing the Keith Moon biography, in 1998, I finally got the chance. My original plan for Hedonism was simply to write a short, snappy and comic (if still dark and depraved) novel while waiting for the Moon biography to be published. This proved hopelessly naïve: I only got a few chapters through before discovering what most fiction writers already know - that characters have a habit of wondering off to do something entirely unexpected. It's an amazing sensation to experience as a writer, but it's also frustrating for obvious reasons, and as my characters got themselves into ever tighter situations I could see that Hedonism was not going to be a short piece of pulp fiction, but a big beast of a novel. Publication of the Moon book came and went, demanding a fair amount of my time in the process, and I was still hard at work writing Hedonism.

I'd allowed myself other creative distractions too. For the first time since my band playing days of the early '80s, I'd devoted some quality time to making music, building up a small home studio around my computer, software and Midi equipment. This dovetailed in and out of occasional 'jazz gigs' (essentially, live improv on electronic gear) with two friends from the early 90s club days, Kevin Wilson and Jon Davies, as the Kingston Project. As I alternated between making music and writing fiction, I saw a way to draw them together within Hedonism; if movies can have soundtracks, I figured, why shouldn't books?

I finally finished a first draft of Hedonism late in 1999 and almost immediately set up a "reading" at the coffee bar/record store Halcyon, which had just opened in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill. I selected three suitable chapters, and Kevin and Jon helped assemble accompanying music - some entirely original, some of it vinyl from the era, and a couple of period pieces re-edited or remixed to suit our needs. Thomas Gallagher, another friend from that early '90s period, edited some video footage he'd shot from ‘back in the day,’ to create impressive background loops. A novel that had been 18 months in first-draft writing came together as an hour-long multi-media performance in just three weeks...

Click here to read more about WHY IS HEDONISM? (And why do novels take so long? A Primer.)


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2003.