Thursday, June 13, 2024

About indie reading

Anna Doble on being an indie music fan in the mostly-analogue 90s:

London Fields by Martin Amis sat on my shelf for at least a year in about 1997. Why? Because one of Blur once mentioned it in an interview. My copy wasn’t even mine – it was taken out on loan from my home-town library which led me to racking up a fine so insurmountable (£8-ish) that I eventually returned it under cover of darkness in a covert mission to the marketplace whereupon I shoved the book through the library’s awkward letterbox and ran panting for the hills. Other books on the curriculum in the School of Indie were Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and Douglas Coupland’s Generation X (which we all actually read).

Do musicians tell people what to read these days? I know the likes of Dolly Parton encourage kids to read, but where’s the equivalent of Graham (I bet it was Graham, he worse glasses) begging up Martin Amis? And the Manics doing the same for Mishima and many others, Radiohead for Chomsky and Naomi Klein, Paul Weller for Colin MacInnes, Edwyn Collins for Salinger, Morrissey for Wilde and Capote (less so Keats and Yeats). Is literary prescriptivism not A Thing any more?


Martin said...

Going back a bit further, and beyond Colin MacInnes, I think a lot of people also got to read 1984 because of Paul Weller. But these days? Not so much.

Brian Busby said...

You've reminded me of a regular segment - now dropped - of The Last Chapter, a CBC Radio 1 programme about Canadian writing and books. Each week would feature a different musician talking for a couple of minutes about the book they were currently reading. As might be expected, this would be followed by a piece of music by said musician. Not a bad idea. I'd be interested in hearing what was being read by A.C. Newman or Martha Wainwright. Sadly, nearly all musicians were those I'd only ever heard on the CBC. If memory serves, the books they talked about fell neatly into the "Self-Help" section. There was a lot of talk about "positive energy," "inspirational thoughts," and "unlocking creativity." I do remember three outliers, two of which being "how to" books on getting ahead in the music industry. The third was a collection of poetry. For obvious reasons, this one really stood out, so I made a point of jotting down the title. As it turned out, the book was written and self-published by the musician's friend.

How I wish I could have a peak at Joni Mitchell's library.