In a nutshell: this is what would have happened if Umberto Eco and Woody Allen had written the Matrix. And if that doesn’t float your fancy, then I don’t know what will…
When Phil Met Bill tells the story of a disillusioned call centre worker who meets the Devil and is given all the musical talent and the entire back catalogue of his favourite musician to claim as his own. On the surface this might seem like a traditional Faustian pact, but there’s a new villain in town and against this kind of monster even the Gods need a little help!
Don’t miss the chance to read this contemporary, relevant and addictive page turner! Read the opening below or get your copy now…
It opens like this:
Phil Davidson’s parents were from Bristol, though a shortage of beds in the local maternity ward meant he was born in the nearby town of Barnstable.
That night, in dim, distant void of space, Haley’s Comet was visible, crossing the skies above the maternity ward.
Sadly, no wise men arrived bearing gifts for the baby or his parents. It was rumoured they were killed in a war over oil, though this fact was never confirmed.
As a child, Phil was painfully reserved and spent hours locked in his room dreaming up worlds for himself while doodling on sheets of paper.
As an adult he recalled being shaped by parents who seemed as detached from their lives as they were from their only son.
In one story he shared with a journalist years later, Phil was taken to London to see some friends of his father’s perform in a band. After the gig, his parents – who were constantly at odds – left the venue and their twelve year old son behind, only noticing him gone as they drove down the M4 and headed for home.
They returned in the early hours of the morning to find Phil propping up the bar and talking to the staff about John Lennon after the Beatles.
The barman was so impressed with Phil’s knowledge of the legend’s solo career, that he could still recount details of the event to journalists eighteen years later.
Phil’s parents both worked hard and earned good money, and Phil was never in want of material goods.
The combination of emotional starvation and material wealth created a profoundly introspective young man who walked everywhere and explored himself en route.
As a teenager he would arrange to visit a friend’s house, walk there, and only when arriving decide that he preferred his thoughts, and turn back.
In most cases he would walk back again and apologise for being late, but sometimes he’d find himself, hours later, sitting on the Portway or in Leigh Woods and staring down the Avon Gorge to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and dreaming of a war between the natural world and the steel and smoke of industry.
In his mind it was a Tolkienesque battle where trees uprooted themselves to confront concrete tower blocks, while animals uniformly turned on their human overlords.
As he grew older, Phil became more comfortable with his desire for solitude and began to seek out spaces where he could be alone.
His favourite was the Arnos Vale cemetary, a one hundred and seventy year old burial ground where bracken grew in thick, twisted, skeletal arms and, if you listened closely enough, and dreamt deeply enough, you could hear the dead breathe in their sleep.
And it was here, on his eighteenth birthday, that Phil met someone who would one day return to change his life.
At first Phil had thought he was homeless: he was ragged and wore no shoes; he was clearly drunk and his hair was matted; his face was unshaven and his were eyes bloodshot. But he was well spoken and passionate, though he veered between drive and despair.
“No-one even remembers me!” He barked, pacing in front of the bench Phil sat on. “But I am inside you all…”
Then he leant forward and growled through spit and clenched teeth: “I am Graham fucking Hall!
Then he grew paranoid and barked: “So you left me to rot! Buried in some filthy graveyard lot! But I’m coming back…” He didn’t make a lot of sense but his energy was hypnotising. “I’ll see you through, and what you’ll do will be remembered from now until forever more!”
Then he raised his fingers and pointed at the sky. “You can’t forget me Philip, son of David… father of a people.”
Then he stepped forward and, before he could be stopped, he placed his palms around the back of Phil’s head and pulled his face deep into his stomach and mumbled:
“I am Graham Hall; I am the pain that lives within you all. Never forget. I’ll see you through.”
And then he was gone.
Like all of the strangest incidents that happen to us, Philip Adam Davidson pushed Graham Hall far from his mind, though when he returned home that evening he wrote his first lines of verse:
Somewhere below the noise of the world
is a gentle, silent sound;
like a river flowing underground…