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Dazed Short Story Competition: Freddie Jakes

Cocaine, tuna salads, bleached buttholes and memories of Faliraki collide in spectacular fashion

Back in July, Dazed launched the Feed Your Head competition to encourage young, unpublished writers to submit a short story inspired by their favorite song lyric. We received a huge number of entries and up-and-coming writer Freddie Jakes caught the eye of the judges with his story inspired by Peaches’ electroclash effort, 'Fuck the Pain Away'. Dazed Digital caught up with runner-up Freddie to find out more the origins of his story – a tale of hideously flawed businessman Vincent Stone whose his life falls apart in spectacular fashion one humid Soho morning.

Vincent Stone is basically an amalgamation of all the hideous bosses I have had throughout my short life - people who think that being in power and/or high on coke is a justification for being a tool. It isn't

Dazed Digital: Where did the idea for your story come from? Is Vincent based on someone you know?
Freddie Jakes:
The title of Peaches' song is so bleak that it made me want to write a story about someone who was totally numb, who saw other people's lives as disposable. A capitalist cretin. A drug addled dick. Vincent Stone is basically an amalgamation of all the hideous bosses I have had throughout my short life - people who think that being in power and/or high on coke is a justification for being a tool. It isn't.

DD: Your story touches on the human aspect of the recession, like trading in a flashy lifestyle and living hand-to-mouth. Was there a message you were trying to convey?
Freddie Jakes: 
 Don't bleach, or be, a butt hole. Stay away from Faliraki.

DD: Have you always had ambitions to become an author?
Freddie Jakes: 
 This is the first story I have ever written. I just wanted to give it a go to see if I could create something from nothing. I really enjoyed the process. If I could make this my job I would be happy, mainly because I wouldn't have to work with people like Vincent Stone anymore.

DD: How would you describe your writing style?
Freddie Jakes:
Darkly absurd.

DD: Is there a writer or book/text that has had a profound effect on you and the way you write?
Freddie Jakes: 
 Well, Dazed compared Fuck the Pain Away to Bret Easton Ellis and John Niven, but I'm not a fan of theirs. I do like a bit of David Foster Wallace, but I don't see him having much impact on my writing. I look to poets such as Rakim Mayers, Christopher Wallace and Shawn Carter for inspiration.

DD: Do you have any plans to continue writing? What's next?
Freddie Jakes: 
 We'll see. I definitely enjoy it. I'd love to write a screenplay.

--

Inspired by Peaches - “Fuck The Pain Away”
 
As CEO of Blanket, an agency specialising in “sustainable boutique beach hut vacations”, Vincent Stone had seized a lucrative slice of the city trader holiday market, relocated from Wigan to London, and dived headfirst into a dick-ish existence with reckless abandon. He wore Dior Homme suits, lived in a Dalston warehouse conversion, drove an Audio TT, and had friends with names like Anastasia, Barney and Pablo. Only a few months ago he had splashed four grand on three days with two Asian pros and a salad bowl of MDMA. “This sure beats a £5 blowy on the pier and a noseful of strawberry quick, eh girls!” he squealed as they took it in turns to lick his bleached butt-hole.
 
Sadly for Stone, his winning streak had recently come to an abrupt, bloody end. He blamed the banker who was skewered to death in Ischia after his shack collapsed. He blamed the grieving family and their lawsuit. He blamed the tidal wave of zero bookings that followed. But he never blamed himself. No one could prove the properties were done on the cheap, he told himself. As he sat leering over London, Stone’s Blackberry twitched away. It was a text from Franco, the scariest gay in Soho, landlord of his office block. RENT IS 3 MONTHS LATE BABE. CASH TOMORROW. IF YOU RUN I WILL BREAK YOUR LEGS. XOXO. He stared at the last four letters for a minute, grimaced at the lexicon, then pressed delete. His credit cards had already been stopped, which had created an embarrassing meltdown at The Wolseley, so extra finance wasn’t an option, or indeed any of their delicious Matjes Herrings. He had been sleeping at work for weeks now. Most nights he would cry himself unconscious. He couldn’t go to his flat. There would be bailiffs watching. Instead, each morning, he would wake up at 7am, do a bump, shower in his mock Thracian marble en-suite bathroom and spend 20 minutes roaring at the mirror. No one had keys but him. He had changed the locks at the start of June and rigged up a security monitor to his desk, Montana style. This was his kingdom. Fuck Franco. Fuck the banker.
 
His staff had no idea about any of this. They didn’t really have much of an idea at all. But they looked good, which was great. Becky Mance (account manager, Phuket) in particular could be relied on to fuck the pain away if needed. All it took was some yellow tail sashimi after work, a Mai Tai or two, and posh little Becky was bouncing. But today was Saturday and she was out of town. With Guy. Her boyfriend. Wanker. Bitch.
 
Unusually for Britain, it was a hot summer’s day. The heat wafted the stench of an uneaten three-day-old tuna nicoise salad up Stone’s battered nostrils. He looked at the cocaine trails and roached escort cards that littered his desk and sipped some wine from a chipped mug, a gift from a dubstep duo called Charlz n’ DickInz who had played at the launch party of his first resort, three years previously. As the rim touched his lips, the words Faliraki 4 Life came into view. Written on the outside in retro nightclub neon pink, it was printed upside down so every time you drank from it, all the memories of beige buffets and sloppy shags with sunburnt slags would come flooding back. The wine tasted like wood chips from the bottom of a children’s rope slide. He wished it would drown him.
 
Stone flicked on his 50” plasma TV. Black men with gang slogans inked across their stomachs shouted back at him. He contemplated getting “XOXO” tattooed in Futura Bold on his belly and texting a picture of it to Franco. The rappers kept shouting at him. He threw the tuna nicoise at them. On his laptop blinked a new message. There weren’t many these last few weeks worth reading. It was from his Mum. Delete. He then walked over to the window and looked down. Tourists ambled towards Shaftesbury Avenue. One of them took a picture of a tramp pissing against a wall. Surprised by the camera flash, the vagabond wheeled around and sprayed her from head to toe. He’d obviously been drinking more Kestral than usual to keep cool. She screamed. The tramp laughed. So did Stone.
 
His mobile rang. It was Becky.
“Vince?”
“Of course it fucking is.”
“Darling! You okay?”
“Sure.”
“You don’t sound it. Late night? Listen, can we meet? I’m near your place.”
“Sorry… snowed under.” Snort. Sniff. “… You know how it is.”
“Someone told Guy about us. I don’t know what to do.”
“Us? L.O.L. Get a grip. Do what you always do, deny it, suck him off and buy him something. Maybe some bollocks.”
“Fuck you Vincent! That’s...”
“See ya Monday.”
“But…”
 
Click. Snort. Sniff. Stone went back over to the window. He pressed his forehead against it, hoping it would be cold. It wasn’t. He saw the tramp was looking up at him. But instead of the tramp’s face, he saw the dead banker’s, laughing. Stone slid back the glass. The street pisser glugged down more booze and continued laughing. “YOU RUINED EVERYTHING! FUCKING SHUT IT!” Stone screamed. He reached for the nearest object and found the wood chip wine and threw it at the tramp’s head. “DIE ALREADY!” It landed on a rubbish bag, intact. A slurry Scottish voice came booming back, “Hahahaha, good shot, pal!” It was then that Vincent Stone did a thing. A very stupid thing. He launched himself at the tramp.
 
Four stories down and dying on Dean Street, Stone’s Raf Simons shirt started to change from green to red.
 
“Heeeelp me” he gargled. “Hel…”
 
The tramp stood over his crumpled body. “Y’areet, pal?” Stone glared up at him. He looked nothing like the banker. Fuck. He glanced left. Faliraki 4 Life stared back at him. He closed his eyes and tried to laugh. But no sound came out.

Interview by David Woode

Read our interview with the Feed Your Head winner, Jonathan Blake Fostar HERE, and the second runner up, Lisa Goldapple, HERE.