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Frankie Poullain's Dancing in the Darkness

The ex-bassist of The Darkness has penned a self-help guide that advises people to reach for the unreachable. E.g. How To Be A Bass Player With No Sense Of Rhythm.

When Dazed first featured The Darkness they were unsigned and an unlikely proposition for world domination, however, within just a few months they had become the most overblown rock act of the noughties, and were touring the globe on a white line super highway. Sadly, their taste for the high life was unsustainable and, as their enthusiasm for Bolivian marching powder reached heroic proportions and drummer Ed Graham’s predilection for Dr Pepper turned into one for Jack Daniels-drenched cornflakes, cracks in the cock rock quartet’s unity began to appear.

Along for the ride on Hell’s highway was quiet, self-deprecating intellectual-type Frankie Poullain, who played bass in the band despite being in possession of a uniquely flawed sense of rhythm. That fundamental flaw, however, is something Poullain would argue helped him to succeed. He's a firm believer in the philosophy that you should get stuck into whatever you are worst at in life and see where it takes you, and this twisted notion is precisely what his forthcoming book Dancing in The Darkness is all about. It’s a self-help guide based upon “disaster theory” which postulates that the most unlikely seeming propositions life has to offer are the only ones that are really worth pursuing. Incidentally, all of this reminds me of a drunken early hours conversation I had with Ed Graham many years ago in a shit-hole off Kilburn High Road.

“I'm in a band...” he said quietly.
“Oh really? What are you called?”
“...The Darkness.”
“Oh...  well, y’know... it's really hard to think of good band names isn’t it?”


DazedDigital: What is “disaster theory” Frankie and what inspired you to write an illustrated self-help book based on it?
Frankie Poullain: My family and friends are all aware of the “Frankie faux pas”, or ruder words to that effect. Things always seem to malfunction or break after I use them – that's why I don't like possessions any more, as the repair bills are staggering. I found this to my cost when I bought a rambling 16th century chateau several years back – it just ate up money, and scared people. The transatlantic drug run with my crazy father also featured cock-ups aplenty. Ditto my adventures with The Darkness.
The fact remains however that I didn't go to jail for drug smuggling and I got out before Le Vieux Chateau and The Darkness began to really deteriorate. That's why the book suggests how to do things that are seemingly wrong or disastrous, as things seem to correct themselves in time. There must be a bounce effect when they hit the bottom. Besides, if you're a stuttering scatterbrained neurotic with no actual skills who’s magnetically drawn to mistakes, you haven’t got much choice.

DD: What kind of examples can we expect to find in there?
FP: It starts of as a baby: “How To Eat Shit”, then growing up: “How To Talk To People Nobody Talks To"”, before moving on to the disasters mentioned above: “How To Go From Chateau To Shit-hole” etc – there's 43 of them, all with drawings. The book's essentially a Freudian journey into the psyche of a cock rocker.

DD: Do you think the book will inspire any other aspiring self-confessed "bassists without a sense of rhythm"?
FP: The book is specifically aimed at curly-brained creatures like myself, and I'm convinced it will make sense to them, if no one else.

DD: Was it really edited by your Polish cleaner?
FP: Yes, a Polish cleaner came to the chateau and one day I discovered her drawings in a cupboard. They were based on this chain of disasters. We decided to plan a book and philosophy around them – “everything the world has to offer is best experienced with an inappropriate mindset.” It's all explained in her intro: "Mindsweeper – An Introduction By My Polish Cleaner".

DD: Are any members of The Darkness going to have steam coming out of their ears after reading it?
FP: The book’s a lot of hot air so that would be quite apt. Not if they read it, no… surely not?

Dancing In The Darkness is published by Blake Publishing on the 17th November.