Kevin Avery: Everything Is An Afterthought: The Life And Writings Of Paul Nelson

Reviewed by Robert O’Connor Frank Zappa once said “most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.” However true that might be, Paul Nelson was one who most definitely could write. And he interviewed people who could talk, and plenty of people read what he wrote. […]

Sir Oswald Mosley: Blackshirt – Stephen Dorril

“… Mosley is inexorably entwined with the story of twentieth century politics as a whole, mirroring the highs and the lows, ricocheting from the machinations of high society to the violent desperation of the underclass, and taking in every major Parliamentary player in between… ”

Peter Morfoot: Burksey: The Autobiography of a Football God

Chris Hall Burksey: The Autobiography of a Football God – Peter Morfoot See all books byPeter Morfoot at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com This has got cult classic written all over it. Burksey is the spoof autobiography of Tristan Stephen Burkes, a world-class footballing genius and monstrous idiot. Although a fair amount of football knowledge over the […]

David Nobakht: Suicide: No Compromise

Chris Mitchell Suicide: No Compromise – David Nobakht See all music by Suicide at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Just finished the top notch hardback edition of David Nobakht’s biography of synth-rock pioneers Suicide. I would have loved to have written this book. Very much a band biography rather than a personal history of Suicide’s two members, […]

Mark Andresen – Field Of Vision: The Broadcast Life Of Kenneth Allsop

Chris Mitchell Field Of Vision: The Broadcast Life Of Kenneth Allsop – Mark Andresen See all books by Mark Andresen at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Biography is often the most satisfying of all literary genres; other people’s lives frequently prove more fascinating than most fiction and the palpable, if inevitable, sense of beginning, middle and end […]

Pamela Stephenson – Billy

Kevin Walsh Billy – Pamela Stephenson See all books by Pamela Stephenson at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Pamela Stephenson faced a real challenge in the writing of this book: the viewpoint. She came to public attention as the peroxide-blonde Australian comedienne in ‘Not The 9 O’ Clock News,’ famous for its off-the-wall sketches. So should it […]

Thomas Bernhard: The Making Of An Austrian and The Novels of Thomas Bernhard

Stephen Mitchelmore finds Thomas Bernhard to be elusive within two studies of the Austrian writer What if everything we can be depends on playing a role? Where would that leave us? Well, first of all, it would mean that the public self, the one presented to the world, is not “a mask” but the original; […]

Keith Altham – No More Mr Nice Guy!

Robin Askew At home with Sting. The in-no-way-narcissistic rainforest dwellers’ friend and tantric sex enthusiast is looking for a space in his sitting room to hang a giant self-portrait. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that this will not match the decor. Eventually, Mrs Sting, Trudie Styler, suggests that it should go in the bathroom in […]

Andrew Goodman: Gilbert and Sullivan’s London

Budge Burgess Gilbert and Sullivan’s London – Andrew Goodman See all books by Andrew Goodman at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com When General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, complained that ‘the devil has the best tunes’, he meant the sensual, drunken pleasures of the working class pub and music hall, not the elegant appeal of Gilbert […]

Miranda Seymour: Mary Shelley

Budge Burgess Mary Shelley – Miranda Seymour See all books by Miranda Seymour at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com The story of Mary Shelley and her invention, Frankenstein, is one of the great romantic tales of literature. At 16, she ran off with the poet, Shelley. At 18, she was challenged to write a chilling story during […]

Richard Holland: Nero: The Man Behind The Myth

Budge Burgess The Man Behind the Myth – Richard Holland See all books by Richard Holland at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Interest in Roman history is an ironic perennial, blossoming with each Hollywood blockbuster – Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, Gladiator. Romans appreciated the mass appeal of the spectacle, now available on celluloid with reassurance that no […]

Bill Hicks : Bad Moon Rising – a tribute of sorts

Even though he’s been dead for seven years, the savage political satire of Bill Hicks makes more sense than ever. Chris Hall spreads the word. If you mention to any intelligent individual under the age of 25 that you saw Nirvana and The Pixies live you’ll get a response along the lines of “you lucky […]

Peter Ackroyd – London: The Biography

Chris Hall London – Peter Ackroyd See all books by Peter Ackroyd at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Those who have read Peter Ackroyd’s Dan Leno and The Limehouse Golem will recall that the word golem comes from the medieval Jewish for an artificial human being brought to life by supernatural means, a “thing without form”. Ackroyd’s […]

Gitta Sereny : The German Trauma

With the publication of her new 75 year study The German Trauma, Eugene Byrne talks to Gitta Sereny Eugene Byrne For someone who’s spent most of her adult life staring into the abyss, Gitta Sereny laughs a heck of a lot. “I love to laugh. I laugh a great deal. I think because of my […]

Jean-Yves Tadie: Marcel Proust

Stephen Mitchelmore Marcel Proust – Jean-Yves Tadie See all books by Jean-Yves Tadie at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com For a short time, I used to stay up most of the night. In the long summer months between school years there was no all-night radio let alone all-night television. To pass time, I would listen to the […]

Barry Miles: The Beat Hotel

Nathan Cain The Beat Hotel – Barry Miles See all books by Barry Miles at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com 9 rue Git-le-Coeur is an address that looms large in the literary landscape of the last half of the twentieth century. It was, until 1963, the site of an anonymous, low-rent flophouse on the traditionally bohemian Left […]

Paul Celan : After The Disaster

Stephen Mitchelmore explores the post-Holocaust poetry of Paul Celan “With a variable key you unlock the house in which drifts the snow of that left unspoken. Always what key you choose depends on the blood that spurts from your eye or your mouth or your ear. You vary the key, you vary the word that […]

Paul Stump – Unknown Pleasures: A Cultural Biography of Roxy Music

Stephen Harper Unknown Pleasures – Paul Stump See all books by Paul Stump at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Yesterday, Bryan Ferry nearly killed me. Lost in the music on my car stereo, I took a sharp corner on the A7 south of Edinburgh at a foolish speed. Unable to turn quickly enough, I lost control of […]

Arvo Pärt : Miserere : Miserere And Minimalism

Lewis Owens meets composer Arvo Pärt A few months ago, I contacted the composer Arvo Pärt through his publisher in Vienna. I informed Mr Pärt that I was interested in writing a book on his life and music. After reading my proposal, Mr Pärt suggested that we met to discuss things further. The first meeting […]

John Steele: The Bird That Never Flew

Stephen Harper The Bird That Never Flew is a crude but extraordinary autobiography. With a minimum of literary fuss, John Steele describes his unimaginably brutal life, which began in the gritty Glasgow estates of Carntyne and Garthamlock, continued in remand homes and approved schools, and culminated in stretches in the infamous "big houses" of Barlinnie […]

John Baxter: George Lucas: A Biography

Chris Mitchell Throughout his film-making career, George Lucas has continually pushed back the boundaries of technology in order to realise his ideas on the silver screen. John Baxter’s biography of the man is not only an account of Lucas’ personal history but also the transformative effect Lucas’ fascination with technology has had on the entire […]

Chester Himes : Lesley Himes: A Life Of Absurdity : Life After Chester

Mark Ostrowski meets Lesley Himes, widow of the late, great Chester Himes Women without men: María survived Borges; Linda Lee, Bukowski; Mary, Hemingway; and Lesley, Himes. Women who dealt with their husbands’ blindness, alcoholism, mental disorders, strokes. Women who now control the reproduction of their late husbands’ work, their copyright. I was ruminating on the […]