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. … Continue reading Kevin Avery: Everything Is An Afterthought: The Life And Writings Of Paul Nelson

Candice Millard: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Reviewed by Greg Houle Long relegated to history’s vast nether regions of obscurity, the twentieth president of the United States, James A. Garfield is best known for two things: he was the last of the American presidents to be born in a log cabin (in Ohio in 1831), and he was the second American president … Continue reading Candice Millard: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

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 … Continue reading Peter Morfoot: Burksey: The Autobiography of a Football God

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, … Continue reading David Nobakht: Suicide: No Compromise

Joshua Davis: The Underdog: How I Survived The World’s Most Outlandish Competitions

Chris Mitchell The Underdog: How I Survived The World’s Most Outlandish Competitions – Joshua Davis See all books by Joshua Davis at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com Joshua Davis set out to win. At anything. Living in a crappy apartment with a crappy job and a loving but long suffering wife, Davis set out to prove himself. … Continue reading Joshua Davis: The Underdog: How I Survived The World’s Most Outlandish Competitions

John Battelle – The Search: How Google And Its Rivals Rewrote The Rules Of Business And Transformed Our Culture

Chris Mitchell The Search: How Google And Its Rivals Rewrote The Rules Of Business And Transformed Our Culture – John Battelle See all books by John Battelle at Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com John Battelle’s The Search is more than just a potted history of Google, although that company looms large throughout his book; rather, it’s a … Continue reading John Battelle – The Search: How Google And Its Rivals Rewrote The Rules Of Business And Transformed Our Culture

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

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 … Continue reading Pamela Stephenson – Billy

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; … Continue reading Thomas Bernhard: The Making Of An Austrian and The Novels of Thomas Bernhard

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 … Continue reading Keith Altham – No More Mr Nice Guy!

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 … Continue reading Andrew Goodman: Gilbert and Sullivan’s London

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 … Continue reading Miranda Seymour: Mary Shelley

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 … Continue reading Richard Holland: Nero: The Man Behind The Myth

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 … Continue reading Bill Hicks : Bad Moon Rising – a tribute of sorts

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 … Continue reading Peter Ackroyd – London: The Biography

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 … Continue reading Jean-Yves Tadie: Marcel Proust

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 … Continue reading Barry Miles: The Beat Hotel

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 … Continue reading Paul Celan : After The Disaster

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

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 … Continue reading Arvo Pärt : Miserere : Miserere And Minimalism

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 … Continue reading John Steele: The Bird That Never Flew

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 … Continue reading John Baxter: George Lucas: A Biography

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 … Continue reading Chester Himes : Lesley Himes: A Life Of Absurdity : Life After Chester