Monday, 29 November 2010
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Richard got a great review in The Times yesterday, as one of Bob Stanley's Music Books of 2010 (alongside, amongst others, Keith Richards' Life and Rob Young's Electric Eden - see below)
There's an interesting discussion on The Guardian about readers' favourite books of 2010.
Off the top of my head some of my most enjoyable reads include:
Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
The Canal by Lee Rourke
Children Of The Sun by Max Schaefer
Sick City by Tony O'Neill
Electric Eden by Rob Young
More on this to follow.
Other news: it is snowing. I just had to snap my dog off a lamp-post.
Friday, 26 November 2010
I bought some new music.
The Gun Club - Death Party
Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Nick Cave And Warren Ellis - The Road Soundtrack
Elliot Smith - An Introduction To...
The Dils - Dils, Dils, Dils
Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros - ...The X-Ray Style
Rudimentary Peni - No More Pain EP
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Monday, 22 November 2010
Sunday, 21 November 2010
My favourite strange American Mike Topp
has written a book called Sasquatch Stories.
I've not read it yet, but if I did I think I would
like it. Tao Lin did the cover and David Berman
from the Silver Jews did an illustration too.
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
This week I've been listening to lots of the old punk and hardcore music that I enjoyed when I was 14/15 and, actually, never really went off in the first place. There's something very anti-intellectual, non-commercial and unambiguous about this music. It's so lean, unpretentious and fat-free that it leaves little room for analysis. You just have to sit back and feel it.
Here's a new young band who remind me of that time - New Yorker's Cerebral Ballzy.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Here is an article I wrote about the Manic Street Preachers, Richey Edwards, Castro, communism and my novel Richard for my music journalist pal John Robb's newly-launched music website Louder Than War.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Pack your moonboots and extra oxygen tanks for the latest Finders Keepers trip, taking the class for a daytrip to the big rock to celebrate 40 years since man first landed there (or did he?). Andy Votel is at the controls for this mix, taking in 22 "Sonic depictions of space from the vaults of the Finders Keepers family 1969-2009", which means a selection of your favourite interstellar FK selections from the likes of The Science Fiction Corporation, Gong, The Vampires Of Dartmoor, and J.P Massiera, plus tracks from Chrome Hoof, Sun-Ra And His Solar Myth Orchestra, Toolshed (aka Graham Massey), Krzysztof Sadowski and even a Spanish comedy version of Bowie on Hermanos Calatrava's 'Space Oddity'. Far, far out there.
Friday, 12 November 2010
Domino is proud to announce the release of Black Hole, a compilation celebrating the first wave of California Punk that briefly flourished between 1976 and 1980. Compiled by esteemed writer Jon Savage, Black Hole will be released on November 15th 2010.
This compilation contains ideas, anti-establishment rants, sharp comments about the world, attempts at transcendence and plenty of savage wit. Featuring The Dead Kennedys, The Germs and The Zeros, the collection of tracks on this album sound as fresh as the day they were recorded.
Jon Savage is a leading UK based writer and cultural historian. He has written widely for British and American newspapers and magazines on music, pop culture and social history. His book England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock (1993) won the Ralph J. Gleason Book Award and his film and television credits include the BAFTA award-winning documentary The Brian Epstein Story (1998) and Joy Division (2007), a history of group, time and place.
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Clash Magazine are running a competition to win 5 copies of what they call "arguably the most talked-about music book of the year".
Please go here to enter.
Hello to all the students who recreated the spirit of May '68 in Whitehall, London yesterday.
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Monday, 8 November 2010
I must confess, I had neither seen nor heard of the art of Austin Osman Spare until it was featured on The Culture Show last week. But now I keep finding myself thinking about it. It turns out he lived and worked on or around the Walworth Road in my old South London manor too, which somehow increases his appeal further.
Here is another art legend, Alan Moore, discussing the man.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Thursday, 4 November 2010
Nikesh Shukla intervewed me for Booktrust...
Ben Myers, an already well-known music journalist for NME, The Quietus, Melody Maker and more, has courted controversy with his second novel, Richard - a fictionalised imagining of the final days of tragic Manic Street Preachers lyricist, Richey Edwards. What the controversy around the novel has missed seems to be the tenderness with which Myers treats his main protagonist. Obviously a fan of the man and the period, Myers paints Edwards as sensitive and passionate, almost as revered as a French philosopher. It's certainly a brave premise. We caught up with Ben Myers to talk about his favourite books, his writing process and why his shoes are a bit whiffy.
Hello Ben how are you?
I’m well thanks. I just took my dog for a walk and it stood in some dog excrement. I think that’s what is called irony.
If your writing was an inanimate object what would it be?
A dead fly, on a windowsill, on its back, next to a cup of cold black coffee. It’s raining outside, for all of eternity.
Tell us about Richard. What was the writing process involved in writing it?
Richard is a novel about the life, final known days and subsequent disappearance of Richey Edwards, guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers. It also takes in the British music scene of the late 80s and early 1990s and considers themes such as depression, friendship, success and so forth.
What was your inspiration for writing the book?
The story itself is so poignant and emotive and the symbolism of someone walking away from their entire so strong that I thought it could justifiably be placed in a semi-fictional setting in order to explore these themes at greater depth and also to reflect Richey Edwards’ own literary tastes. I saw parallels between him and some of the existential protagonists in the work of European writers such as Satre, Dostoesvsky and Celine and was also inspired by the sparse, clipped prose of contemporary writer such as Cormac McCarthy and David Peace.
Was it hard to separate fact and fiction? What was the biggest leap of faith you took with the
If we look around us, the merging of fact and fiction seems to be taking place everywhere: in newspapers, in television and most of all via the internet. This isn’t necessarily a good thing of course – facts seems to have been devalued of late - but so long as the reader knows that you are not presenting the definitive, literal truth but merely an individual take on it, then I think the grey areas that a work such as mine inhabits is acceptable. I think the biggest leap of faith was presuming to tell the story from the perspective of someone I have never met.
Did you have dialogue with the Manics or anyone else in that camp for research?
The simple answer to this is no, though I spoke to many people who knew Richey Edwards – some of them quite intimately. None of this was used directly in the book, but did serve to paint a wider portrait of him when writing the book.
Did you expect their reaction?
I’m not entirely sure what their reaction is actually. But I understand and accept the possibility that they do not want to read such a novel. It’s a strange concept to digest.
What are you working on at the moment? What's next for you?
I’ve written another novel since Richard which explores notions of violence, prejudice and persecution amongst the travelling community. I’m not sure whether this will be published or not.
I’m also currently writing a fairly pornographic novel about capitalism.
Who is your favourite author of all time?
I have many favourites for various reasons but I never seem to tire of reading Bret Easton Ellis or the late Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun. Yukio Mishima too.
What was your favourite book as a child and why?
Both Danny The Champion Of The World and The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl really captured my imagination at the age of seven or eight. I suppose I always preferred book that were grounded in reality – stories that were plausible rather than fantastical. I also enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock’s short stories when I was about ten. And, possibly oddly, the books of Judy Blume, which gave me a rare insight into a whole other world of periods and training bras.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Here is some more recent press coverage of Richard - a review by Owen Hatherley for The New Humanist and an interview that I did for The Big Issue In The North.
You can click on the images to enlarge them.
Monday, 1 November 2010
The Big Issue did a nice interview piece with me about Richard in this week's issue.
The Independent did a less lovely review in today issue.
I see no reason not to link to the bad reviews as well as the good. It only seems fair.
Peanut porridge for breakfast.