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DARK LUSTRE: chapter notes

SPOILER ALERT: THESE NOTES GIVE A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE PLOT ETC IN DARK LUSTRE. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THE CHAPTER IN QUESTION, IMMEDIATELY AVERT YOUR EYES!

CHAPTER 1 Could there be Nazi gold in North Devon?… Tales of German U-boat crews on Devon shore during World War II… Young Ollie’s dead body found on rocks at bottom of Morte Point. A suicide? Maybe not… In past, Tommy Quantox has solved minor mysteries and disputes in the local Co-op… Tommy sees the band The Countess Marie-José de la Barre d’Erquelinnes Hextet live in concert, alongside Interfered With By Stone Age Man… Later, at night, Tommy finds a mass of dead seabirds on the coast at Morte Point; the birds are arranged to spell D E A D; adjacent sits the ominous presence of the Black Leather Bubble Car… Hextet singer Pamela Budeaux delivers antique books and paintings by means of motorbike/sidecar… Books etc delivered to arrogant and disturbing odd bod; the Black Leather Bubble Car is parked outside the man’s unsettling modernist house…

CHAPTER 2 In North Devon a bomb goes off in a lock-up on an industrial estate… Intimations of the Third Reich’s vast socio-cultural afterlife; so many people remain fascinated even in 21st century – across music, books, documentaries, video games etc etc… Hextet singer Pamela Budeaux is working for an antique dealer… Gideon Horncastle and the Badass Banter Babes website… The Hextet are about to release their first record, a limited-edition EP, featuring high-tension allusion to revolution and religion… Pamela is moving to Berlin to do a PhD… Tommy searches online for anything about Nazi gold in Devon; he begins posting on online ’history’ forums amid people with obsessive pseudo-scholarly interest in history of Third Reich… Tommy receives tantalising email from Germany, intimating the sender has info on Nazi Gold; Tommy is invited to Germany to learn more… Tommy takes train to Munich, reading about Nazi gold on the way… 

CHAPTER 3 In Munich, Tommy is directed to the home of one Herr Breitner who has a collection of vintage audio equipment, including the wartime Deutscher Kleinempfänger – the ‘Goebbels snout’. Also has the Scheewittchensarg, ‘Snow White’s coffin’; Herr Breitner talks of Kraftwerk, TE Lawrence and Nazi Germany… Tommy and Pamela both meditate on the subject of energy drinks, familiar and exotic: Monster Energy Mango Loco and Schwarze Eule… The Hextet play a wonderful show at Ilfracombe Tunnels Beach, supported by Social Exclusion Unit… In Munich, Tommy visits ‘Shirker’s Alley’ where, during the war, Munichers could take a diversion to avoid saluting SS guards… Tommy visits Dachau and sees Allach pottery and many other things…

CHAPTER 4 Hextet members are settling into life in Berlin… Bassist Ronny likes working at bar at Tempelhof… Tommy visits another Munich house he’s been directed to; encounters a puzzling collector of Allach porcelain; after collector exits room a porcelain deer smashes on floor; Tommy finds a piece of paper inside, somehow addressed to him… Pamela goes on fugue-state ramble, in the woods, past the currywurst van; finds a ten Euro note and an old Fanta bottle… Tommy goes to a Cobra Killer show in Munich and thinks he sees someone familiar in audience; the singer from the Hextet band from Devon… Notes on the paper from inside the smashed deer direct Tommy to Munich Hofbrauhaus, a beerhall once frequented by Hitler; there he again encounters radio-collector Herr Breitner, who suggests Tommy now has to travel to Bavaria – if Tommy is to find out why he’s been lured to Germany… 

CHAPTER 5 Tommy travels back to Devon… Idiosyncratic train names… Alluring German idioms.; Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof… Hextet think about producers for debut album… Pamela recalls her lost guitar… Tommy awash in memories of Lympstone Commando and South Devon coast…With Tommy now back in North Devon there is no news on Young Ollie’s death… Pamela meets possible love interest Franz on Museum Island in Berlin… A sinister German media company has been making disruptive films, portraying Brits as Nazi-obsessed nutters – distraction tactics, diverting from real far-right events etc?… Tommy goes walking by the River Taw, thinking about things – lampreys, walking boots, East German optics, Henry Williamson… Pamela thinks about Allach porcelain…Tommy thinks about animals going extinct because of human action… Appledore shipyard and James Joyce…

CHAPTER 6 Tommy in Devon; Sepp Löwe emailing him and asking him to return to Germany, to Bavaria… Mary Chain years… Paedo Tarzan…  Pamela learns Gideon Horncastle now works in world of right-wing lobbying and disinformation; Horncastle has possible connections to sinister Russian political operatives…More entreaties and summonses to Tommy from Herr Löwe… Tommy overwhelmed by wider world and his own puzzling dilemmas; has some kind of breakdown; finds solace at Appledore Men’s Group… Pamela thinking about the letter X, about the quincunx and Hextet plans… Tommy heads to Barnstaple Wetherspoons and starts big booze bender… Pamela working on Hextet lyrics but finds mind wandering to Caucuses and Valhalla Mush Magic… Tommy solo piss-up interrupted by German football on TV – intimations of Bavaria and peculiar nationalist manifestations…  Tommy returns to Morte Point where a kestrel and a strange German-linked observation aircraft both fly overhead… Tommy decides to go back to Germany, looking to solve mysteries but, this time, acting on his terms… 

CHAPTER 7: Hextet at Tempelhof getting ready to play show that night… Tommy takes train to Berlin where, on arrival, he goes to see Saxon play live… Tommy has sent Löwe email outlining what he’ll be doing in Berlin… Tommy visits Olympiastadion where he realises he’s being filmed by mystery camera man… Tommy visits Tempelhof for guided tour… Energy drinks, including HeavyWater brand… Tommy again filmed by camera man, this time at Tempelhof… Tommy follows the secret camera man out into surrounding area; Tommy mugs camera man, taking bag containing camera etc… In Tempelhof parkland Tommy sees poster for Hextet show, taking place the next night… After Hextet show, Tommy approaches Pamela and has conversation with Pamela and Franz… Timmy helplessly recounts his odd experiences in Germany: Nazi gold, U-boats, baffling emails from Löwe in Munich, Allach pottery, the certainty that people have been secretly filming him…  Tommy shows Pamela and Franz film from captured camera… Things click between Tommy / Pamela / Franz and the three form a kind of tacit alliance regarding future moves… Tommy’s film includes footage of Black Leather Bubble Car….

CHAPTER 8 Tommy wakes at Tempelhof  where he’s slept outside on airfield parkland… Tommy travels to Berchtesgaden… Hextet show reviewed in ZUIDERZEE ZUGZWANG, acclaiming “the Lionesses of Long Leads”… Tommy arrives in Berchtesgaden… Sally back story: used to make model aircraft to art-school designs; born “on the way to Battle”; in her teens competed in shooting competitions to high standard… Tommy meets Herr Löwe and his wife Elka in Berchtesgaden;  meeting with Löwe turns awkward, testy; Löwe and Elka unimpressed when Tommy tells them he’s planning to visit anti-Nazi information centre, the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg… Pamela plans Hextet show at Hexentanzplatz… Löwe encourages Tommy to go on tourist cruise on lake Königssee… Tommy sends a photo of Löwe to Pamela and Franz… Franz ascertains Löwe is really an ex-actor called Uwe Anders, who is involved with the media mogul Bastian Steinbach… Tommy goes on cruise on Königssee, where he’s filmed by new and muscular mystery camera man; Tommy sits alone by lake shore then goes for tea and cake in cafe; mystery camera man appears in cafe and taunts Tommy into following him; Tommy chases man through woods but loses him; Tommy follows noises to lakeside where he finds TOT (DEAD) spelled out on lake shore, the letters formed from many little dead fish…

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