Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 02 August 2011

Author Suzie Tullett Weaves An All-Too-True Tale Of Middle-Aged Mods Returning To Brighton

The first rule of middle-age is that all you've learnt in the transition from youth to adulthood is about to be cast into the murky depths of stupidity. Therefore, the second rule of middle-age is that the said implosion makes for great reading!

Take one of Suzie Tullett's central characters in her highly entertaining debut novel, Going Underground.

Jonathon is the arcitypal reliable forty-something husband who's about to become a first-time father. He is a man of property, but nagging away at his happy little suburban scene is .. a long held secret. One his wife is determined to unearth.

Suzie said: "It's a very human tale, primarily about a guy (Jonathan) who is forced to return to his past in order to get on with his future and in his case that means returning to the Mod scene that played a heavy part in his youth."



Though Suzie is not a Mod herself, she knows a man who is: "Going Underground is my first novel and its setting was inspired by my observations of the Mod scene, having been married to a Mod for quite some time."

Going Underground opens at a funeral. Jonathon's wife, Tracey, soon shows her true colours as someone who sees her life and expectations as above those of her fellow greying feather-cut mourners.

The funeral itself is for a friend of her husband and his one-time youthful compatriots. They, minus their better halves, feel compelled to give their friend the send off they feel he deserves; scattering his ashes off of the end of Brighton Pier.



So begins an epic journey of misunderstandings, fall-outs and not just a few surfacing home-truths. All this is conveyed with humour and pace from the pen of Suzie.

"It's a fusion of comedy and tragedy that demonstrates how very often one stems from the other, with musical chapters that reflect what's going on either lyrically or in tone, as the protagonists" stories progress (and I use the plural because the reader is also given Jonathan's long suffering wife's point of view, in her desire to uncover his long held secret)."

Ah yes, the musical themed chapters. Seventy-five short 'n' sharp chapters that have many a Mod-scene classic filling your senses as you board the fabled Lambrettas and Vespas as they tear up the tarmac on their way to the South Coast.



"The dated playlist was a conscious decision; I wanted it to represent just how much Jonathan's mindset is stuck in the past.

"And it's only when we get to the epilogue that the song choice jumps on a few years, letting the reader know he has, at last, moved forward in his life – albeit him still having someway to go."


Though it's an all guys nostalgic ride to Brighton, it wouldn't be half the fun to read if it wasn't for the women who are in hot pursuit .. all crammed into a mini (one of them, Jonathon's wife. being 8 ¾ months pregnant).

But there's more, much more, though to spill the beans would be to ruin the readers' main-dish. Going Underground is best served as a whole, and with the mental soundtrack as a side helping.

Suzie concludes: "With regards to my hopes for the book, I just hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

"There's something for everyone – from my descriptions of the comradeship given within the Mod scene, the scooter ride outs and rallies – to the distinctive iconography; as well as the very human story that I've tried to tell, inter-twining both laughter and pathos throughout.

"I also think in the future it would make an ideal film project. It's very visual read from start to finish and in my view, would make for a great Brit Flick adaptation."



Suzie Tullett's debut novel, Going Underground, is available now and can be purchased by CLICKING HERE.


by: Mike Cobley




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credit Andy Willsher

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(c) The Unthanks 2018

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle is a new work commissioned by the Brontë Society, written and recorded using Emily Brontë’s piano in her home, by composer, pianist and producer Adrian McNally of the band The Unthanks, and performed with sisters Rachel & Becky Unthank.

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