Black is the Color by Liz Davinci

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Elizabeth Everts

“Black is the Color” is a folk song that is said to originate in Scotland.  I have always loved this song and wanted to do my own version of it. One day it hit me that the version I would create of this lovely song would be nostalgic, a bit intense – to explore the dark side of vulnerability.

As I worked on the song, it made me start thinking about how love can create such a vulnerability that it can lead to destruction.  This destruction can occur in multiple places, even all at once, or in its simplest form of one individual suffering in the beauty of love.

I tried to capture these ideas in the video – when light exists, darkness must also exist and that is sometimes difficult to manage emotionally.  And in my experience, the lighter the light, the darker the dark.

The video was primarily filmed in Munich, Germany and I created the video myself.  I hope you enjoy it.

Black is the color of my true love’s hair
His lips are something wondrous fair
The sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground on which he stands

I love my love and well he knows
I love the ground on which he goes
If him on earth no more I see
My life will simply fade away

Black is the color of my true love’s hair



Liz Davinci was born and raised in California and currently lives in Munich, Germany. Her energetic and dynamic songs, honest voice and soft lyrical touch culminate to achieve an intimacy in her music.

Her voice has been called “haunting and beautiful”.

Her first album, “Obstruction Destruction”, was released in 2017, followed closely by the release of an EP entitled “EEEEP”.

In 2018 Elizabeth released a series of singles followed by her most professionally produced and musically daring release yet, the EP “Contraband”, which was released in May of 2019.  She is currently working on a second album.

For Elizabeth, songwriting is a necessity, an expression and an attempt to evoke affinity in listeners.


Short Story in a Song: Peter Gabriel’s Family Snapshot, by Paul Matts

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Peter Gabriel is one of the most innovative of solo artists in music. He was originally the singer with Genesis, his swansong album for the band being The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It hinted at the slightly more edgy, disturbing sound his solo material would ultimately take.

It was five years after leaving Genesis before ‘Family Snapshot’ emerged. The song was inspired by the book An Assassin’s Diary, by Arthur Bremer. Bremer attempted to assassinate a politician who supported racial segregation. It is on his third solo record, Peter Gabriel. Famously, the first four solo albums were all called Peter Gabriel. Hardly helps for casual identification purposes. Some term the album Melt, due to the cover art.

Very few things grab news headlines quite like the assassination of a public figure. Even in this age of instant, throw away content. The reports describe the event. Contemporaries, colleagues and officials clamber to get their responses in. The public is stunned, unable to believe what has happened.

The event is, of course, tragic. A life is taken, often in its prime. Millions are saddened instantly. The family are broken. The world seems to turn on its axis. It is certainly in shock. There is no more famous film footage than that of JFK’s assassination, one of the major news events of the 20th century. It is known to all, and people can often remember what they were doing at the time it happened.

There is often a political angle to it. The victim is killed for a purpose. Often to further the cause of a political opponent. Events such as these are littered throughout history.

But what of the direct relationship between the victim, and his killer? The victim is wiped out by a single person, invariably. Strip away the political, ideological dressing, and you are left with two individuals. Apparently, made for each other.

‘Family Snapshot’ deals with such a relationship. Two individuals made for each other.

One is known to millions. He is one of the world’s most famous people;

‘The streets are lined with camera crews,

Everywhere he goes is news.’

He is a person. As is the assassin, too. Human beings, the same species. But something triggered vastly different lives for the two of them. The assassin has chosen not to accept his. He wants his moment of fame. His fifteen minutes.

The assassin narrates the story. His thoughts, plans and feelings are articulated as the day of the assassination begins.

‘Today is different, today is not the same.

Today I make the action.

Take snapshot into the light, snapshot into the light.’

The assassin wants the world to notice him. He wants some action, too. The early stages of the song give his intentions. Not merely to shoot someone. But to make news himself. He cannot really do this by merely shooting a regular person. He needs to shoot a famous figure. A really, famous figure.

‘All you people in TV land,

I will wake up your empty shells.

Peak time viewing blown in a flash,

As I burn into your memory cells.’

He has done his homework. He is listening to the radio. His tension builds as the victim approaches. He knows what is pending. What is imminent. The listener gets a real sense of the parade as the song gets into its stride. Flags waving, crowds cheering. The excitement of it all.

Tension builds in the music. Tempo rises in the music. The listener’s heart rate begins to increase. Lord knows what the assassin’s heart rate must be reading.

‘They’re coming round the corner with the bikers at the front,

I’m wiping the sweat from my eyes.

It’s a matter of time, a matter of will.’

p gabrielThe narration is crucial. It’s a commentary, punctuated with hints of the assassin’s feelings. Music continues to build, almost to a crescendo. And then a momentary drop. As if the assassin is having a small doubt. However, he reveals his justification for what he’s about to do;

‘I don’t really hate you. I don’t care what you do.

We were made for each other, me and you.

I wanna be somebody. You were like that too.

If you don’t get given you learn to take,

And I will take you.’

Back to business. A darkness falls over the music. Until now it has almost been full of vigour and excitement. But these adjectives describe evil too. The moment of destiny arrives. It’s now or never.

It’s now. The shot is fired. The bullet flies.

And now the listener is now taken to another dimension. An empty, hopeless, suspended state. Knowing it is too late. Knowing things will change for good. But, apparently, the assassin has no remorse.

Just an explanation…

‘All turns quiet, I’ve been here before.

A lonely boy, hiding behind the front door.

My friends have all gone home, there’s my toy gun on the floor.

Come back Mum and Dad.

You’re growing apart, you know that I’m growing up sad.

I need some attention,

I shoot into the light.’

The assassin’s motives are revealed. Jealousy, a broken home and a lack of happiness, love and attention. Every day human emotions and events. That effect so many of us. But thankfully, with a different outcome for most.

Sympathy with the assassin is one emotion left with the listener. It makes sense. It just cannot be excused.

The music is stark and full of pathos at this point. It tells the story itself. It leaves the listener numb. The same numb feeling you get when you hear of an assassination. However how many of us put ourselves in the shoes of the assassin, and really get inside the person and ask, ‘Why did they really do it?’

No political justification, in this case. Just two people, made for each other.

Bio: Paul Matts is a writer from Leicester, England. His debut novel ‘Toy Guitars’ is due to be published in 2019, and he is the author of the short stories ‘Revenge can be Sweet, ‘The Bench’ and ‘One More season’. He also writes flash fiction, including ‘Hollow Love’ and ‘Family Guy?’ His work has been featured in Punk Noir Magazine, WeAreCult and Unlawful Acts. A further novella, ‘Donny Jackal’ is currently being edited. He previously promoted live shows as 101 Productions and owned The Attik night club from 2001-2007. He was also a songwriter and guitarist in The Incurables.

Paul runs a music blog and has recently started a series entitled 101 Significant Figures. This focuses on under-appreciated individuals in the punk and new wave movement. See for more details.

Paul Matts


Short Story in a Song— The Kinks’ “Picture Book” by S W Lauden

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After countless thousands of hours spent thinking about rock and roll, I’ve decided The Kinks are the common denominator for most of my favorite music. Something Else by The Kinks (1967) was a go-to for years, but in the past decade I’ve spent more time with their misunderstood 1968 masterpiece The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (read the 33 1/3 book about the album—it’s excellent). My favorite song on Village Green is “Picture Book.” It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is old for his age. In the prime of his life, he’s overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia that has him prematurely reflecting on his recent childhood and distant demise. He turns the pages of an old family photo album taking in the images with a heavy heart. There’s an innocent happiness there that he’s lost touch with in early adulthood, fueling his maudlin melancholia. It’s likely that he’s got another 50 or 60 years ahead of him, but it might feel twice as long if he doesn’t learn to find happiness in the moment. There’s a part of him that never will.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.


Short Story in a Song—Fountains Of Wayne’s “Little Red Light” by SW Lauden

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There’s nothing quite like falling down a musical rabbit hole. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Fountains Of Wayne. I got hooked on the band’s slacker power pop after hearing their self-titled debut in 1996, sticking with them all the way through their 2003 hit, “Stacy’s Mom.” That single lands them on a lot of “One Hit Wonder” lists these days, which is too bad since it’s definitely not their best song. Hell, it’s not even the best song on the album Welcome Interstate Managers. That honor goes to “Little Red Light.” It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is another lost soul among the hordes of New York. Reeling from a recent break up, he goes through the motions at work and suffers through his daily commute. The rain pours down and the car radio might be broken, but it’s the tiny in-between moments throughout his days that truly test him. Desperate to hear from his ex, he repeatedly checks his various inboxes for non-existent messages. They say time will heal a broken heart, but for now he relies on the bottle hidden in his desk to kill the pain. It helps him feel numb, but doesn’t bring her back. It’s starting to seem like nothing will.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.
s w lauden


Films, Fox Spirit, Graham Wynd, International Noir, K A Laity, Music, Noir, Noir Songs, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Story In A Song



Libby Holman (1904 – 1971) by Sarony New York, ca. 1928.

The torch singer Libby Holman had a life so wild there have been at least two films inspired by it. In 1904 she was born to what had been a well-to-do Jewish family in Ohio—that is until her uncle embezzled all their money. Young Elizabeth graduated from the University of Cincinnati but she soon headed to Broadway to pursue the glitter. She became pals with actor Clifton Webb (noiristas know him as Lyle Waldecker in Laura), who dubbed her ‘The Statue of Libby’ (witty guy).


They both appeared in the revue The Little Show in 1929, which proved to be her big break. Her torchy rendition of the bluesy ‘Moanin’ Low’ struck a chord and she had curtain calls every night to hear her sing it again.


Soon everyone on Broadway was gaga for her sexy delivery and her signature style: she has been credited as the inventor of the strapless dress. Holman lived up to the reputation with an eclectic love life including lovers included DuPont heiress Louisa d’Andelot Carpenter (who stood by her through a lot), actress Jeanne Eagels, and the writer Jane Bowles, as well as Montgomery Clift.


The real drama that inspired the films, however, was her marriage with tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds. Seven years her junior he was nonetheless completely obsessed and used his wealth to fly around after Holman until she agreed to marry him and give up her career. That lasted a year: she was a born performer. His snooty family hated her theatrical friends visiting the estate in Winston-Salem. At a party where she told her husband she was pregnant—rumour had it, by Albert Bailey ‘Ab’ Walker and not by Reynolds—yet another argument flared and then a shot rang out. Reynolds was found shot in the head.


While authorities accepted the death was suicide, a coroner’s inquiry suggested murder. Holman and Walker were charged. Then some weird things happened. Local gawkers saw the heavily-veiled Holman at court and a rumour that she was ‘mixed race’ stirred up the hand-wringers. Holman biographer Milt Machlin also suggests that anti-Semitism played a role. All the controversy riled up the Reynolds family who pressured the DA to drop all the charges. Libby was free and gave birth in 1933 to her son Christopher Smith “Topper” Reynolds.


The films, not surprisingly, focus on this time. Reckless (1935) stars Jean Harlow, William Powell and Franchot Tone. Harlow’s Mona Leslie is a stage star, William Powell the gambler/manager who loves her but won’t admit it and Tone is the wealthy playboy who drinks too much and convinces her to marry him one night when they’re both drunk. Regrets and a hangover ensue.


Sing, Sinner, Sing! (1933) is an odd little film that clearly capitalises on the notoriety of Reynold’s death without really going into any of the details. Sad torch singer and drunken impulsive rich guy leads to tragedy. But there’s screwball humour too, which is part of what makes the film so odd. As it’s out of copyright, we remixed clips from it to create a music video for the theme song to LOVE IS A GRIFT, because Libby Holman is the kind of torch singer we hoped to evoke. Leila Hyams gives the singer Lela a wistful air even in the few happy moments.


Later in life Libby Holman devoted a lot of her time and money to environment concerns and fighting for civil rights, but her life was also hounded by tragedy, including the death of her son. Eventually she succumbed to suicide in 1971. Her Connecticut estate Treetops has been preserved environmentally by joining it to the Mianus River State Park and her manor has become the home of the Treetops Chamber Music Society. It’s a lovely legacy for the singer.

A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. Publications include LOVE IS A GRIFT and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, SATAN’S SORORITY from Fahrenheit 13 Press,  as well as tales in the 2016 Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes . Wynd’s stories have been translated into German, Italian, Polish and Slovene. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here. Find Wynd on Facebook and Twitter.


Short Story in a Song— The Go-Go’s “Vacation” by S W Lauden

Crime Fiction, Music, Noir Songs, post punk, punk, Punk Noir Magazine, S.W. Lauden, Short Stories, Short Story In A Song, The Go-Go's

I usually write about songs that would make a great short story, but this time I actually did it. My take on “Vacation” is included in the new anthology, MURDER-A-GO-GO’S, out this week from Down & Out Books. Having lived through the band’s meteoric rise in the 80s, I always thought of this New Wave hit in terms of the kitschy water-skiing music video that got played ad nauseam on MTV. Listening to this track with a modern crime writer’s ear, however, changed my mind about the possible meaning of the lyrics.

The first verse opens with a love sick narrator who’s reeling from a recent break up. My perception of those lyrics hadn’t changed much over the years, but things shift in the second verse. This is where our protagonist admits that she should have run after first meeting her ex. It might simply be an over-dramatization of their failed relationship, but it could also hint at something much darker. If so, it would explain why she has to “get away.” I took that theme and ran with it for my short story based on “Vacation,” which is set in a psychiatric hospital.

I really challenged myself with the structure and voice of this short story, so I hope you’ll check it out. Click to find out more about MURDER-A-GO-GO’S and my short story, “Vacation.”

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.


Short Story in a Song/ Noir Songs: Richard Harris—MacArthur Park by Graham Wynd

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For some, the opening notes of ‘MacArthur Park’ provoke joy—for others panic, especially if it’s on a tinny car radio and there’s no escape for the next seven minutes. Songwriter Jimmy Webb has said many times that he’s given misleading answers to the perpetual question of just what the hell this mock epic pop song is all about.


‘My fallback position after all these years is I will tell you that I’ve told deliberately false stories to people.’


One of the reasons for his coyness on the question might be the murderous history behind it. Inspired by reading too many Jim Thompson novels (always a bad idea) after a bad break up, Webb sought to put himself into the mind of a serial killer. He chose MacArthur for its association with gruesome murders, but the more direct inspiration came from the so-called ‘trash-bag murders’ (never mind that the victims were all young men and boys) making headlines in mid-60s Los Angeles.


Instead Webb imagined a killer desperate to control an elusive woman and unable to do so, killing her. In spring—a time of renewal—he was burning ‘in love’s hot fevered iron’ as she ‘ran one step ahead’ or if she was wise, many steps. But he catches her. He keeps her ‘yellow cotton dress’ as a memento, remembers the life he squeezes out of her like the chirps of birds, ‘tender babies in your hands’—transferring the act of murder to her hands instead of his own. The old men playing checkers offers a winking nod to Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal (of course death and the crusader play chess but that doesn’t scan).


It’s his first murder and he is sentimentally attached to its memory: ‘there will be another song’ for him, another dream, another murder, but this one will remain important: ‘after all the loves of my life / You’ll still be the one.’ Cold comfort for her after he has drunk the wine while it was warm (a hint of cannibalism or at least haematophagy). For the narrator his power grows with each murderous thought: ‘I will take my life into my hands and I will use it’ seems to suggest that the lives he lusts for belong to him. By killing he ‘win[s] worship in their eyes’ and yet as he extinguishes the life his sorrow returns, for ‘I will lose it’. He has to repeat the act, vowing ‘I will have the things that I desire’ completing his rendering of the women into mere objects that he will claim.


The famous surreal chorus is the moment of his psychic break. All reality slips sideways. The grass melts. The cake (his sanity) dissolves in the rain, a repetition of the moment when he decided murder was the only way to keep her forever. The knowledge of his horrible act returns (‘I don’t think that I can take it’) and just as fiercely gets thrust away (‘Oh no!’) again and again.


The orchestration and Richard Harris’ impassioned delivery sell the morbid tale with all the trappings of romance and heartbreak (rather like the film version of Hughes’ In a Lonely Place), building sympathy for a cold-hearted killer. Or I just dreamed it.

Find out more about GRAHAM WYND here.


Short Story in a Song: ‘Lola’ by the Kinks By Paul Matts

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It’s happened to all of us hasn’t it? To the best, to the worst.

In a club or pub. In ‘North Soho’ possibly? Maybe elsewhere? Or some other public place, even. There are others I suppose.

Minding our own business, or maybe interrupting somebody else’s. And bang. An attraction to another human. A connection.

The attraction is often one way. Not reciprocated.

Sometimes it is very definitely mutual, though.

More often than not ends in disappointment. Frustration. Anger. With two souls heading off in different directions.

This can be down to any number of reasons. Wrong place, wrong time. Right place, wrong time. Wrong place – you’ve guessed it – right time.

One is a bastard. The other a bitch. One is a liar. The other is a little too promiscuous. One is ugly. The other is spotty. One thin. One thick.

Or it could be as simple as getting genders mixed up. And not being able to get passed this in spite of the attraction. Such as here. Not that it HAS to be a problem.


The couple behind the storyline to ‘Lola’ are comical pair. Like all of us, mind.

Too much champagne, a hedonistic atmosphere. Things possibly not as they seem.

A darkened room. Music blaring out. A busy room, heaving with revellers.

Our hero enters the club. ‘In North Soho’. A bit naïve, having only recently left home a week ago. And ‘never having kissed a woman before.’ Ripe for the plucking, quite possibly.

He is soon on the receiving end of attention by a fellow club dweller. They meet up. They get to know each other a little.

He discovers her name is Lola. L-O-L-A. Lola. All seems to be going swimmingly. The champagne even tastes of cherry cola (or Coca Cola, if you listen to the album version of the song).

However, our hero soon begins to experience confusion. Doubt even.

Number one, Lola’s ‘dark brown voice’ is unusual. Not just DEEP, but deep in the manner of a male. Not what our hero expects.

‘She walk like a woman but talk like a man.’

Not being the world’s most physical guy he is not exactly expecting to sling her over his shoulder and go get a room. Caveman style. However he certainly didn’t expect her to inflict him a bodily injury when she held him tight.

‘She squeezed me tight and nearly broke my spine.’

Ouch. Doubt number two.

In spite of these ‘doubts’ the attraction remains. Our hero looks into her eyes and nearly falls for Lola. She wants him to come home with her. Out of the frying pan…

Ultimately, our hero bails out. He doesn’t want to go home with Lola, to be ‘made a man’.

‘Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola.’

Lola isn’t crazy. Lola is very focused and confident.

But the world is crazy. Maybe for having traditional strict meanings of sexuality? That are just TOO well defined? And maybe too readily accepted by too many?

Our hero is what he is and decides against an night with an apparent transvestite. Too much for him maybe? He is what he is and wants what he wants and that’s the way it will be in HIS world. For now, at least, the world’s conventions remain.

Lola came close though. Maybe lit a candle inside our hero? Not that, for now anyway, the flame got any higher.

‘Now I’m not the world’s most masculine man

But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man.

So is Lola.’

Who knows what came of our hero? And Lola?

Happiness, I hope.

Bio:  Paul Matts is the author short stories such as ‘Donny Jackal’, ‘One More Season’ and ‘Revenge can be sweet’. His debut novel ‘Toy Guitars’ is to be published in 2019. He promoted live Punk rock shows under the name 101 Productions and has been the guitarist and songwriter for the Incurables. He has also been a grass roots football coach for all his adult life. He lives in Leicester, England with his wife and children. He has recently started work on his second novel. See for more information. And to subscribe to his mailing list and blog,


Short Story in a Song— Suprgrass’ “Caught by the Fuzz” by S W Lauden

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Britpop. Bands that defined this ad hoc 90s musical genre took their inspiration from previous decades—60s pop, 70s glam and punk, 80s new wave—blending them together into a vibe-y cultural cocktail. The best songs from the era delivered melodies, hooks and plenty of snotty attitude from the likes of Oasis, Blur, Elastica, Pulp and many others. Two decades later, I Should Coco, the debut album from Supergrass, still stands out as a high point of the form. Their first single, “Caught by the Fuzz,” sounds like The Kinks force-filtered through Buzzcocks. It would make a great short story.


Our protagonist is fifteen-year-old kid who has just been arrested for drug possession. Still high, he’s in the police van trying to keep it together. Desperate to free himself, he dreams of his brother coming to rescue him while the police put him through the ringer. But his legal troubles are nothing compared to his mother’s disappointment when she finally comes to spring him. Is this the beginning of a life in crime, or an embarrassing story that he’ll share with friends over pints in his forties? The beautiful thing about teenage hi jinx is that the possibilities are truly infinite. Until they aren’t.


S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

s w lauden

Short Story in a Song—Jawbreaker’s “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault” by S W Lauden

Music, Non-fiction, punk, Punk Noir Magazine, S.W. Lauden, Short Story In A Song, Writing


I recently read the 33 1/3 book about Jawbreaker’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. That album was definitely my gateway drug to Bivouac and Unfun. These days my favorite Jawbreaker album is probably the least popular with hardcore fans—Dear You. It was their major label debut (demise?) and features slicker production than its three predecessors, but it also has some of my favorite Jawbreaker songs including “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault.” That one would make a great short story.


If you partied your way through high school and college the way my friends and I did, you probably have a few memories like the one so perfectly described here. Our narrator is at a house party commiserating with a heartbroken friend over beers. Led Zeppelin’s blasting on the stereo when they spot the friend’s ex happily making out with another guy. The narrator watches as the friend and his ex get into an argument that only lasts until the cops show up, bringing the whole pathetic scene to a screeching halt.

s w lauden

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

short story in a song—graphic