Wednesday, February 20, 2008


As part of our ongoing policy of providing cultural resources to our members, here's a book recommendation.
' SLAM' by NICK HORNBY, I just read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have everything by him.
You all know of course 'HIGH FIDELITY' which is our group biography, if not, 'get thee to a library!' And if you've got adolescent kids, count them in as well. Oh, and then there's '31 songs' another one written specifically for this audience, here's a brief comment:
Original, well written and wholly lacking in pretension … as good a book about pop music as I have read in many years and the most accomplished of Honby's books so far'
"'A book about the joy of listening to great pop songs, about the elusive genius of a catchy chorus ... what shines most is Hornby himself - his wry self-awareness, his disarming honesty. Effortlessly readable, every chapter reminds us how special an observer of human behaviour Hornby is"

here's a couple of links:


goneforeign said...

p.s. Oh, and he's also got one of these:

DarceysDad said...

"Wassup, yersel'!" How did you do that, Blimpy??

Anyway ... sorry gf, but Hornby has scared me off for life.

31 Songs is OK, but doesn't score anywhere near as highly as Fever Pitch. FP is a work of genius: it perfectly tapped into, and brilliantly dissected the mind of my generation. So much so I can almost forgive him for supporting the team who denied us the League title at the 1989 climax.

High Fidelity is also fantastic; I remember telling my mother that if she wanted an insight into her eldest son's life (she'd been complaining she didn't know me anymore), then she should read HF. She did; it didn't improve her mood!!

But About A Boy was disappointing, and worryingly for me missed its comic target so badly it read as passive misogeny. So I approached How To Be Good with caution, and I think it is vile: smug, patronising liberalism without any redeeming characteristics in the main protagonists. I REALLY wanted all their lives to fall apart, but quietly and away from my brain. I don't even know if it is meant to be read 'straight' or as a satire. My take is the former, but if it is the latter, it misses. Not once can I remember nodding or admiring any laser-guided skewering of the chattering classes. It's just awful.

But if SLAM is a return to early form, High Fidelity & particularly Fever Pitch are works that merit Hornby being given another chance. I'm not going to get there anytime soon - Steven Gerrard's (auto)biography and the latest from Willy Vlautin and Christopher Brookmyre are sitting on top of a bedroom pile I think will take me til late 2009 to catch up on - but if the subject matter and writing style are worth it, I'll add it to the Amazon wish list. Can I be convinced?

Blimey, who said we never post DISlike comments?!

[Ending with TWO questions there!]

Mnemonic said...

I liked the film of High Fidelity better than the book (could this be related to John Cusack being in it, I wonder?). But nothing else he's done has really appealed. On the other hand, that Willy Vlautin is at the top of my reading pile as well. Did you get the enclosed soundtrack disk with yours, DsD?

DarceysDad said...

Playing for the first time as I type, Mnemonic!

glasshalfempty said...

When is Alex Kapranos gonna write a novel? His pieces on food in the Guardian were brilliant, each a well crafted short story. It can only be a matter of time...

steenbeck said...

Thanks, Goneforeign, I like Nick Hornby, I'll definitely give it a try. And all this talk of high fidelity gives me a chance to mention how excited I am to see Michel Gondry's new film Be Kind Rewind. Well, it does involve Jack Black working in a store, so that wasn't as much of a non-sequitur as it might have seemed. Plus it has Mos Def!! I just saw the movie of Dave Chappelle's Block Party. It was directed by Michel Gondry! Who knew? It was really understated for a Gondry film--no cars falling out of the sky. I could have watched Chappelle and Mos Def playing on each other's words for hours. And it had a nice segment where Chappelle advises comedians to study Thelonious Monk to learn about timing.

Anonymous said...

High Fidelity is curretnly selling for one pee on amazon.

Mnemonic said...

Fever Pitch is on Film Four this evening at 10:45 if any of you loosers want to watch. (What is a looser, I wonder?)

goneforeign said...

I made a terrible mistake when I said "...enjoyed it, as I have everything by him". There's an implication there. There needs to be an 'I've read' in there somewhere. I haven't read the two that got DD so wound up and now I'm in a quandary, to read or not to read, that is etc. But regardless.

Bloody hell, but suppose I'd said something controversial and inflamatory, like "I don't like the Roadside Truckers' or something, he'd probably want me cashiered from t'spill! Tread cautiously here.

DD, this has been a hell of a week, had to withdraw my Doors post of "This is the End" when I realised it had words in it and now this, for you I'll withdraw Slam, I think you should go to the bookstore and get several fat ones to put on your bedroom pile, let this one sit awhile, it might actually not be your ideal cup of tea. Haven't heard of your trio but google makes 'em sound interesting.

I didn't think anybody could not like Nick Hornby, [I think it's the Arsenal thing you know.] Would it help if I told you I used to ride my bike to the Dunlop every morning past Penny Lane?

Currently reading one about a copper who lives in Edinburgh, perhaps I'll keep it close to the vest for a bit...

ps; thanks for all the other feedback, and anonymous, you should invest one pee.

DarceysDad said...

No problem, goneforeign, really.

I've never heard of SLAM, and didn't bother with that one about the suicide jumper, so I can't claim to be some sort of completist! I think I only get so wound up about How To Be Good because falling from such a massive earlier high is bound to hurt! Just look at my fave films on my profile for re-assurance that you've not waved a red rag at a bull.

I'll do you a deal: if we do come over to visit our friends in CA next year (how far is Gilroy from you?), I'll buy the first drink as a peace offering. OK?

Oh and is your Edinburgh detective courtesy of Rankin or Brookmyre? I can REALLY recommend the latter providing you have a strong constitution and a black sense of humour. The opening two chapters of Quite Ugly One Morning are the funniest thing I've read in twenty-odd years (since Alan Bleasedale's Scully, but that one's probably down to the Merseyside connection again).


DarceysDad said...

PS - I'm blaming the Appleton Estate for the errant 'e's in my authors' names.

goneforeign said...

Gilroy, a good walk; no I exagerate as usual, it's a reasonable drive and you're on and we have three bedrooms and you have TWO lots of friends in California..