Every so often you come across a song which can demolish you; take you down in slow-mo, floor by floor like an old hotel, ending in a puff of plaster and dust.

New Zealand writer Maria Majsa has written a baker’s dozen of Stereo Stories, all of them cooked to perfection.

She doesn’t shy from the hardness of life (especially a troubled childhood, courtesy of a very troubled father). But Maria also writes with lightness, with a wry humour about, for example, youthful infatuation. She has a keen eye for detail and looks after every word.

Her first story, in 2015, was based on Jeane by The Smiths, followed by stories inspired by The Fall, Fleet Foxes, Sex Pistols, Bowie, Elliot Smith, Joy Division…

Maria narrated stories, with our band, at the Geelong Library in November 2016 and at Williamstown Literary Festival in 2017.

She is currently working on an extended memoir, with more than a few references to music.

 

Here are quotes from some of Maria’s stories

You can fall in love with songs just like you can fall in love with people and because I discovered Elliott Smith after he’d died, it was like falling in love and breaking up at the same time.

Every so often you come across a song which can demolish you; take you down in slow-mo, floor by floor like an old hotel, ending in a puff of plaster and dust.

It was right after the funeral that things began to happen… the lights cut out and the music drained away like water leaving a sink.

Under all the fairy floss, trouble is lurking. There are wrong turns, regrets, situations that are easier to run from than face. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is about escape.

I held the popsicle to my left ear while my brother stabbed away at my right. It was a warm day and I could feel the popsicle oozing down my neck. Blood and raspberry, an indistinguishable mess.

There is a radio in a brown leather case on the bench. My mother turns it on during the day when my father has left for work and the house feels different.

He smiled, stared at his shoes and said Hello. He looked so pale and young. I said Hi in a voice I didn’t recognise.

I used to go for rides with a friend who was a fellow Smiths fan. We stopped at a riverside pub called The Old Ship to order drinks and compare favourite lines and I fell momentarily in love with him.

Maria’s stories in full.

 

Originally from NZ, I spent the 80s in London working at Penguin Books [editorial assistant], living in squats and seeing loads of bands. Back home I was a scriptwriter for a local soap, Shortland Street, and have written features for blogs and magazines.