The Last Shot amps up the The Last Girl‘s post-apocalyptic action.
Here’s how it sounded in my head as I wrote the book. (With bonus Repo Man clip)
- Ana Ng – They Might Be Giants
There’s so much mysterious cause and effect here: a bullet pierces a desktop globe to make an exit wound in a foreign nation; from there the world is turned upside down; graffiti spells out “I don’t want the world, I just to want your half.” What does it mean? I don’t know but it’s fascinated me for over 25 years.
- Hounds Of Love – Kate Bush
“It’s in the trees, it’s coming!” – one of my favourite-ever samples, taken from the freaky 1957 British horror movie Night Of The Demon. I’ve always loved this song and Kate Bush’s imagery suits Danby’s trip through the Blue Mountains, which is simultaneously about her being hunter and hunted, having feelings for Jack and wanting to blow him away.
- Miss World – Hole
Rock-dog Jack leaves Danby a bunch of T-shirts. She chooses Hole’s Live Through This because it’s what she hopes to do. But Miss World is where she’s really at: lonely, ready to lie, ready to die in the bed she’s made.
- Welcome To The Jungle – Guns + Roses
Jack is next seen in a T-shirt for Guns + Roses’ album Appetite For Destruction. She’s reminded that her mum told her Guns + Roses were named for the misogynist man who’ll woo a woman with roses but resort to guns if he’s rejected—Jack, in other words. She really hopes he has an appetite for destruction because she intends to feed it with his.
- Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
This one’s supposedly about living in New York during the late 1970s. But it’s always struck me as a vision of urban peeps suddenly plunged into guerrilla warfare: eating rations, burning notebooks, evading roadblocks and whispering about trucks loaded with weapons.
- Dad’s Gonna Kill Me – Richard Thompson
I came to this one via Sons Of Anarchy because they used it in a season finale. Man, what an evocation of the mindset of the modern soldier, with the Dad of the title being Baghdad in this searing portrait of bloody wars where death comes as quickly via the enemy’s improvised bombs as via self-incineration with white phosphorus. Above it all, it’s the landscape that stalks—“It must be old Death a-walking”. I explicitly homaged this song in Danby’s later description of minions as “muzzle monkeys”.
- Fujiyama Mama – Wanda Jackson
The pioneering rockabilly chick is one killer woman and Danby encounters her in poster form as she prepares for battle. “I’m a Fujiyama Mama and I’m just about to blow my top/when I start erupting ain’t nobody’s gonna make me stop” and “Well, you can talk about me, say that I’m mean/But I’ll blow your head off, baby, with nitroglycerine.” Hell, yes.
- Let’s Have A War – Fear
This one’s referenced right at the start of The Last Girl, but it’s at the end of The Last Shot that it really fits. This pioneering LA punk band’s paean to humanity’s extermination isn’t for the faint-hearted—and it’s definitely not politically correct—but it’s what the war of all against all might sound like.
Bonus: I first heard it on the Repo Man soundtrack, which is a favourite film containing a very funny sequence where a character named Miller muses on telepathy by using plate of shrimp as a reference. I homaged it in the book because it fit the “cosmic unconsciousness” idea and reflects the telepathic connection that’s about to happen with the waiter.
That night Dad, Evan and I went to Rubber Thaime, Beautopia’s slow-food–Asian-fusion experience. Stephanie didn’t join us because she was catching up with an old schoolfriend who’d arrived in the city unexpectedly.
‘What’s everyone eating?’ Dad asked, eyes on his phone as it whooshed like a missile. Either he’d just sent a message or he was piloting an American drone bombing Iran.
‘Fririce!’ Evan squealed, chewing on his napkin.
Dad disappeared behind his menu. ‘Plate o’ shrimp and a Miller for me. Danby?’
- Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Fits the ending of The Last Shot perfectly. *emits unearthly howl*