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Former music journalist takes first steps into fiction writing

PUBLISHED: 17:15 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 29 August 2018

Author Barry Cain was born in Islington and moved to Muswell Hill in 1983

Author Barry Cain was born in Islington and moved to Muswell Hill in 1983


Born and raised in Islington, the revered music journalist Barry Cain is also a real talent when it comes to fiction writing. His first novel – The Types of Wrath – is available now.

Barry Cain is one of the country’s leading authorities on punk. His job as a rock journalist took him all over the world covering the escapades of bands like The Jam, The Clash and The Stranglers at the height of their powers.

He founded the disruptive Flexipop! magazine in the 80s, ghost wrote Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren’s autobiography and his book 77 Sulphate Strip – which documents his experiences – is about to be reprinted for the third time.

Despite this decorated career in music writing, Barry cites having his first novel – called The Types of Wrath – published as his proudest achievement to date.

“I had to give up work and look after my parents a few years ago, as they had both fallen ill at the same time,” he tells me.

“I was writing the novel in that extra spare time I had, but unfortunately they both died within a week of each other, shortly after they had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

“After that, I was determined to get this book out as a kind of tribute. I thought there was no point sending it to an agent, so I taught myself how to format a book for Kindle.

“I uploaded it and got a few good reviews, and I was happy that I had done it for them. In 2017 – about five years later – a publisher got in touch out of the blue, saying they had seen it on Kindle and wanted to publish it.

“Taking that call from the publisher was the most exciting moment of my life!”

Barry’s debut foray into fiction is a psychological thriller encompassing murder, love, depravity, revenge and jealousy. The Tapes of Wrath centres on Tom Evans – a rookie policeman based in Islington - and the story of Adam Tate, a critically acclaimed author whose life implodes after he becomes infatuated with a woman.

“Much of the research for the book came from conversations with my Dad,” he continues.

“He was brought up in the 20s and 30s, living in London all throughout the war. I took all those memories from him and my mum, describing places like King’s Cross in the 30s. Having the book published means more to me than anything because of this connection with my parents.”

The launch party for The Tapes of Wrath was held only recently, but Barry is already working on his second novel – which he typically writes during the twilight hours.

“I can’t start writing until everyone is in bed and it’s dark.

I don’t usually start writing until 11pm or midnight, and then I work through to 4 or 5 in the morning. I just sit down, I don’t know what I’m going to write, and that’s the excitement of fiction for me – you never know what’s going to come of it.”

The Tapes of Wrath by Barry Cain is out now. Click here for more information

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