Horses and Trouble Dogs

I discovered Patti Smith while at school, in the late 1980s. I’d been into the Velvet Underground for a couple of years, and I was just discovering and getting into all these cool American bands, like the Ramones and The Doors. I picked up a vinyl copy of her first album, Horses (1975), at a record store in Bristol, at the top of Park Street, opposite the museum. It was produced by John Cale, whose early albums I really liked, and Smith looked amazing on the sleeve, like some sort of hip androgynous alien, with this fuck-you attitude. I looked at it all the way home on the bus, turning it over and over in my hands. When I finally got it back to my room and put it on the turntable, it blew me away. It was arty and passionate and perfect, and it took no prisoners. It mixed reggae and punk rock with this spectacularly demented poetry; and Smith had this incredible voice that sounded beautiful and ugly all at the same time. I was 17 years old, and I played it over and over again.

And I guess that iconic cover image has stayed with me, because I used it as the basis for my description of the starship Trouble Dog‘s human-shaped avatar in my new novel, Embers of War.

To find out more about the book, click here.

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Author: Gareth L Powell