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    Devouring Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards and Weep. Peter Hook wrote the foreword and is gushing with admiration - hardly a wonder, as it's a much, much better book than Hook's JD effort.

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      Like Tony C I have struggled with From Manchester With Love, despite also being a Paul Morley fan and finding Tony Wilson a compelling subject. Elsewhere in my tsundoku pile I now have Electronically Yours vol 1, the autobiog of Martyn Ware of The Human League and Heaven 17, plus Hungry Beat: The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement (1977-1984), which basically functions as a companion to Grant McPhee's film Big Gold Dream.

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        Originally posted by Tony C View Post
        I’m giving Paul Morley’s ‘From Manchester with love: the life and opinions of Tony Wilson’ a second (or maybe third) go and again finding it desperately hard work. I like Morley and Wilson is an interesting enough subject but even as a Mancunian I feel my sense of civic responsibility is being excessively challenged by having to continue with this. This book could be literally half the length and twice as good for it.
        Just realised whilst turning on my Kindle last night that I did in fact purchase this. I've got Liam Clancy's memoirs to read as well which I bought after a few too many drinks and a few too many listens to Hearty and Hellish!

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          I got a unexpectedly weird message from Amazon yesterday evening "Merry Christmas from... La Signora (!?) Your present has arrived!"* I opened the front door and sure enough there was the box with the familiar smile/tick on it. It contained a copy of Unrequited Infatuations, Stevie Van Zandt's autobiography. Much as I admire Miami Steve, I'd never have bought this myself but several pages of inordinately flattering reviews and testimonials, including about a three hundred word mini-essay from Bob Dylan, are intriguing. I'll get back to you.

          * Turns out she ordered it late last year, based on reviews of the hardback. The paperback wasn't published until this month.

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            In a bit of a struggle with Lanegan after it kicked off so well. Now, he was supremely honest and self-aware, but there's only so many stories about his self-confessedly asshole behaviour that you can take. Drugs, booze, blackouts, shagging women he can't even remember, fights and fights and fights... great, but by now (and I'm only about a third of the way in) I can't wait for him to leave the Screaming fucking Trees, get into rehab and start talking about his solo music.

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              On more positive note, my copy of Hungry Beat: The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement (1977-1984) by Douglas MacIntyre and Grant McPhee is apparently about to leave the UK for Germany, no doubt with a hefty customs and handling fee on top when it arrives.

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                Lanegan's unrelenting, it's all about him and his addiction and it's really self-obsessed and tedious (not to mention just downright mean the way he gets a kick out of mistreating some people), until the big pay-off - four pages of delightful invective aimed at one person alone, Liam Gallagher. It's all been worthwhile. Though I still wish he'd written much more about his music, though presumably he can't recall much of that because he was off his noggin the entire time. A very much over-praised book, though it's got me checking out his very early solo records I'd never heard before. And I've had an earworm of my favourite Lanegan song One Hundred Days for the past week, and that's more than okay as well.

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                  Originally posted by imp View Post
                  Lanegan's unrelenting, it's all about him and his addiction and it's really self-obsessed and tedious (not to mention just downright mean the way he gets a kick out of mistreating some people), until the big pay-off - four pages of delightful invective aimed at one person alone, Liam Gallagher. It's all been worthwhile. Though I still wish he'd written much more about his music, though presumably he can't recall much of that because he was off his noggin the entire time. A very much over-praised book, though it's got me checking out his very early solo records I'd never heard before. And I've had an earworm of my favourite Lanegan song One Hundred Days for the past week, and that's more than okay as well.
                  I interviewed him and Van just before Uncle Anesthesia came out. It was really fun. They were both funny and up for talking about a range of non-sense in addition to the recording of the record and the tour they were starting. But he wasn't big enough at that point to act like a true rock star.

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                    Steve Van Zandt's book (see above) is one of top three music bios I've read. There are a number of reasons why. He's worked in just about every facet of the music industry at some point in his career, without favouring one over another. He's also, more recently applied the same attitude to acting. And, based on this book, also to writing. It's genuine page-turner with no dead spots. Coherent, funny and, if it isn't totally honest, it gives a damned good impression of being so. I scoured the acknowledgements looking here for a ghost with no luck. Consequently, though chronological, the book doesn't follow the arc of many similar memoirs, every page is interesting. Van Zandt is evidently a massive auto-didact, and a quick study. He doesn't bear grudges, just talks honestly and entertainingly without belabouring people's negatives.

                    Clearly the "Bruce" connection will be the reason many will read this. They won't be disappointed, but it's only a recurring part of Stevie's trip. He's been in, and out, of the band on several occasions. He and Spingsteen have had three major falling-outs, one that lasted years, but always made up later. Again, no grudges. On several occasions he refers to himself as a consigliere. Always the honest advisor, never the boss. Jiminy Cricket never Pinnochio. Silvio, his character in The Sopranos was, consciously it seems, a theatrical but accurate illustration of how Van Zandt sees himself.
                    Last edited by Amor de Cosmos; 11-10-2022, 22:11.

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                      Bunnyman by Will Sargeant.
                      I’m the sort of reader that flicks through the early years chapters of biographies to put it mildly. That’d be difficult with the likeable Bunnymens lead guitarists autobiography which ends with the release of their debut single. It’s an enjoyable tale despite the grim circumstances of his childhood. I’ll be tuning in if there’s a follow up.

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                        I've mentioned it on the "Current Reading" to thread, but I'm a quarter through "Ten Thousand Apologies: Fat White Family and the miracle of Failure" by Lias Saoudi and Adele Stripe and it's utterly brilliant, so far. Really cleverly written, with the book narrated in the 3rd person by Stripe, with Saoudi interjecting in the first person. The story has focussed on his Libyan father and grandfather, whilst describing his very disrupted childhood, moving around England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and back to County Tyrone, where Saoudi was relentlessly bullied.

                        He's just escaped to London, where he is accepted at Slade school of fine art, but is in the process of making a massive failure of his studies.

                        Whether you like Fat White Family or not, this is just an amazing story so far, funny and tragic in equal doses.

                        Also bout the Lanegan book on Kindle for 99p, so will read that in due course, but also have the Alex Chilton biography to read.

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                          Originally posted by Tony C View Post
                          I’m giving Paul Morley’s ‘From Manchester with love: the life and opinions of Tony Wilson’ a second (or maybe third) go and again finding it desperately hard work. I like Morley and Wilson is an interesting enough subject but even as a Mancunian I feel my sense of civic responsibility is being excessively challenged by having to continue with this. This book could be literally half the length and twice as good for it.
                          I am up to the point where Factory Records is just about being founded. The bits about Wilson at university and Morley's relentless rabbiting on about situationists, Guy Debord and Raymond Williams does drag on. The bits about the history of Granada are a good read.

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                            Originally posted by Sunderporinostesta View Post
                            Bunnyman by Will Sargeant.
                            I’m the sort of reader that flicks through the early years chapters of biographies to put it mildly. That’d be difficult with the likeable Bunnymens lead guitarists autobiography which ends with the release of their debut single. It’s an enjoyable tale despite the grim circumstances of his childhood. I’ll be tuning in if there’s a follow up.
                            You said in a few sentences what took me almost a novel itself to say in Books thread last February

                            Bunnyman Memoir-Will Sergeant. A very good read. Will is engaging candid and self effacing. Covers his upbringing in council estate Liverpool from late 1950s-Outwardly it all boys high jinks and friends made for life. Inwardly he meets pals on doorstep rather inviting them inside and is far happier in other family homes. Yet although early lacerating towards an abusive father who natural environment is public house & bookie his mother leaving is treated as welcome relief-she has suitcase packed and going through door before as an afterthought she asks if her son wants to accompany her. He doesnst see her for another 8 years. In the meantime he does the necessary years at school from which he draws conclusion it far better to be at be at lower end of educational scale but not the actual remedial one. Music fills his life-his age means he into Quo & Led Zep so misses punk in its infancy though makes a claim to recognising the authenticity of Anarchy In UK played at a Dr Feelgood gig of the time.A biker in dress and musical taste he nevertheless by 1977 a member of Erics and embracing the culture if only on the fringes- name drops follow for Jayne Casey Pete Burns Holly Johnson and naturally Julian Cope. By end of memoir some two years on-the break being swapping the Echo drum machine for Pete de Freitas as actual drummer-Will is reflecting and bemused on how effortless the band has progressed-him and Macul spend a few months playing guitars together once a week without a lyric being written. Les Pattinson volunteers to join without ever playing a bass guitar-and when he does it only has three strings. Yet debut single Pictures On Wall is unanimous record of week in music press and they doing John Peel session . Second book eagerly awaited

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                              Originally posted by steveeeeeeeee View Post
                              I've mentioned it on the "Current Reading" to thread, but I'm a quarter through "Ten Thousand Apologies: Fat White Family and the miracle of Failure" by Lias Saoudi and Adele Stripe and it's utterly brilliant, so far. Really cleverly written, with the book narrated in the 3rd person by Stripe, with Saoudi interjecting in the first person. The story has focussed on his Libyan father and grandfather, whilst describing his very disrupted childhood, moving around England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and back to County Tyrone, where Saoudi was relentlessly bullied.

                              He's just escaped to London, where he is accepted at Slade school of fine art, but is in the process of making a massive failure of his studies.

                              Whether you like Fat White Family or not, this is just an amazing story so far, funny and tragic in equal doses.
                              Having sung its praises, the book has descended into fairly boring stories of getting wasted on drugs, living in squats and visiting brothels. The worst part is that the 3rd person sections now include dialogue, which is clunky and over exaggerated. Hoping things get better after a very strong start. Still very readable, but now treading familiar hedonistic musician territory.

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                                Originally posted by RobW View Post

                                I am up to the point where Factory Records is just about being founded. The bits about Wilson at university and Morley's relentless rabbiting on about situationists, Guy Debord and Raymond Williams does drag on. The bits about the history of Granada are a good read.
                                Finished yesterday and actually wasn't such a drag after all. Judging by the % counter on my kindle I thought I still had plenty to read, even though I was at the point of Wilson's death. Those photos take up an awful lot of space. Part of me wishes there was a little more about Wilson on the telly but I think overall the balance was right and there was enough.

                                Onto Liam Clancy's memoirs now.

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                                  Liam Clancy's book was good, but stops just after the band made their debut on Ed Sullivan. Could easily have read another volume. Fascinating insight into growing up in Ireland during 40s and 50s, his career as an actor and moving to the USA. Particularly interested by his relationship with Diane Hamilton (Diane Guggenheim), and the formation of Tradition Records. Incredible cast of characters he met whilst singing and acting during late 50s and early 60s. Odetta, a young Robert Redford, Dylan (obviously) and comic Professor Irwin Corey.

                                  Now started Phillip Norman's book on Buddy Holly.

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                                    Norman's a hack. The decent research in his Beatles book was done by Lewisohn.

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                                      Fingers Crossed, the memoir by Lush singer Miki Berenyi, deserves the praise that has come its way. The author engagingly tells the story of an unconventional childhood, marked by abuse, then the escape of getting into music and post-punk subcultures with likeminded friends. She is good on the bewilderment felt by someone who had come up through '80s indie at the regression and excesses of the Britpop era. Her own bad behaviour is treated unsparingly, while pointing out the sexist double standard that was consistently applied to belittle her and bandmate Emma Anderson. A coda in which she finds happiness and satisfaction in a long term relationship and a new career is touching given the previous turbulence.

                                      I've also been leafing through Made in Hollywood, by Gina Schock, the Go-Go's drummer. This is a large format hardback and the main draw is Schock's archive of photographs. She is a likeable narrator, and friends and contemporaries chip in. If you are interested in the Go-Go's, LA punk or early 80s pop in general it is worth a look and makes a good companion to Belinda Carlisle's and Kathy Valentine's more in-depth autobiographies.
                                      Last edited by Benjm; 23-11-2022, 10:34.

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