‘And now, meine damen und herren, prepare yourselves! Here at the end of this Periclean Age, feast your eyes on our main attraction!’
Berlin 1936. The Weimar Republic is crumbling. Darkness is on the rise. In the fading decadence of Club Zauber, the mysterious Von Hart puts on quite a show.
Through the smoke and the spotlights, will his assistant Milosh see the final curtain fall?
Kabaret und Gläs is a previously unpublished story by James Bennett, set in the world of his fantasy trilogy – Chasing Embers / Raising Fire / Burning Ashes – which is published by Orbit. James has kindly consented to let me perform it for you, and has even produced the artwork for this blog post. This story is not available anywhere else. We hope you enjoy it.
James Bennett is a British writer raised in Sussex and South Africa. His travels have furnished him with an abiding love of different cultures, history and mythology. His short fiction has appeared internationally and his debut novel CHASING EMBERS was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards 2017. James lives in Spain where he’s currently at work on a new Fantasy novel.
Feel free to follow him on Twitter: @Benjurigan
If you want to learn more about Von Hart and the events following this story, read THE BEN GARSTON NOVELS, available in all good bookshops worldwide.
Kabaret und Gläs is my ninth audio piece as ‘Fine-toothed Comb Productions’, and I’m proud of it. I’m still learning the ropes in terms of narration, audio editing, soundscaping, and the like, but I will be adding Narration and Audio Editing to the available Services here at The Fine-toothed Comb in 2022, along with Testimonials from these kind authors.
My plan is to release one new recording each month up to Jan 2022. I have one more story booked in by Laura Mauro. That leaves space for authors in December and January. If you have a tale you’d like me to narrate (between 4000 and 6000 words long) then please do drop me a line. All I ask is the flexibility to edit slightly for my ease of performance, and to be able to freely host the audio file on my website. You’ll get a copy of the file to host/use as you wish one month after release. I make no money from this run of test-pieces, but please do check with your publisher before volunteering; I don’t want to fall foul of any legal disputes.
Sound design and attribution:
Intro and Outro music are used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
My regular Intro music is called The Fifth Life, by Circus Marcus.
My regular Outro music is called Post Bellum, by Dee Yan-Key.
This month I also used additional snatches of music in between the stories. These all come from The Threepenny Opera. Lyrics are by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill.
The particular snippets I’ve used – to break up the story and add a touch of Weimar atmosphere to the piece – all come from the 2008 performance by the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, featuring Liane as Polly Peachum.
The tracks I’ve included are:
Polly’s Song of Jenny the Pirate
Ballad of Mack the Knife
Tango Ballad of Jenny the Courtesan and her Protector, Macheath
Macheath’s Ballad of the Easy Life
Love Duet of Macheath and Polly.
If you wish to listen to more, you can find Die Dreigroshenoper on Spotify, order it in at your local library, or purchase a copy wherever music is sold.
If you enjoyed Kabaret und Gläs, you may enjoy my other performed readings – available for free on my Audio page.
If you would like me to record some of your work, talk to me via my Contact page.
If you’re a podcaster who wants help editing the audio, I’d be happy to discuss rates and work out a schedule.