Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Reading Program

This is the hammock my family got me for Father's Day a few years ago. What a beaut! It's a double tucked in a quiet corner of the backyard between two 100-foot evergreen trees. I don't use it nearly enough. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we only get 90 days of sunshine a year. Finally, this week, it's beginning to feel like summer. I have resolved to spend 30 minutes on my hammock with a good book every day that I can for the rest of the season. It won't surprise you my favorite books are about music. I recently took a trip to the discount book shop and picked up Alan McGee's 'Creation Stories,' Simon Reynolds' 'Rip It Up and Start Again' and Elvis Costello's 'Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink'. I also got the trivia book 'Don't Dream It's Over: The '80s Music Party Game' for our road trip to Yellowstone coming up in a few weeks. In this area, I'm a savant, and Mrs. LTL will be cursing my name before we get through the first mountain pass.

One book that, it seems, will just miss my summer reading program but will be on my shelf as soon as it's available is Robert Forster's 'Grant & I'. The jacket above tells all you need to know... This is sure to be a must-read for fans of the Go-Betweens. Forster recently gave an update on his literary endeavor via his Facebook page:

Here in this post is the cover of my book 'Grant & I'. Seven years in the writing, to be released in Australia and New Zealand on Penguin/Random House at the end of August. I hasten to add it is currently on prospective publishing house desks around the world, and I hope it will be taken up and available everywhere. The book has been a massive undertaking - to tell the story and learn how to tell it over 87,000 words. I have little idea how it will be received, as only a few people involved with its production have read it, and I am in the days before reviews appear and the opinion of friends around the world arrive. So I am nervous. Knowing though that I gave it my best and when I read some of its pages, I always want to read more. A good sign. I look forward to it being in shops and in people's hands and hearing reactions. My final word on it for now, is that it is a book about a friendship, and one that existed almost as much in the years when we weren't in the band, as when we were.

Let's listen to the last joint composition by Forster and McLennan. The song was released on Forster's melancholy album 'The Evangelist'. At the time of the release, in 2008, two years after McLennan's death, Forster told the Independent that McLennan had the melody, song structure and the first five lines of the lyric. Forster finished it. "Demon Days" is stunning in it's beauty. As we hear in the refrain, "something's gone wrong, something's not right". Indeed. Grant, you are missed.

"Demon Days"


Anonymous said...

Reynolds' book is excellent. And like any great book on music, it makes you go back to the records, or seek out the ones you missed.
Looking forward to Robert's book!

Charity Chic said...

Elvis' book is excellent and while Alan McGhee's is not particularly highbrow it is quite entertaining

The Swede said...

A friend of mine who manages a bookshop scolded me recently, 'You should read more...'. I actually see him incredibly rarely, probably not in the last 5 or 6 years, though we keep in contact online. 'I read all the time' I countered, not unreasonably. 'I'm not including music biographies' he replied bluntly. He knows me so well for someone I see so infrequently.
Robert Forster talked at some length about 'Grant & I' with Marc Riley during his recent excellent 6Music session and it's certainly high on my list too. I've read the Costello and the Reynolds, both of which I enjoyed and am currently reading '1971: Never a Dull Moment' by David Hepworth, which is really excellent. The greatest compliment one can ever give a book about music is that it makes you want to go away and play the records. In this, Hepworth's book is an unending delight.
Your hammock, and indeed that little stretch of garden, looks idyllic. If I had that particular option as a reading spot, perhaps I'd get more 'proper' reading done, which would no doubt please my bookshop managing chum no end.

C said...

That hammock and its location look wonderful. As a kid I always wanted to lie in a hammock - as well as sleep in a bunk bed and have one of those swinging garden chairs with a stripy canopy. Haven't done any of those things yet so I'd better get a move on.
Music biographies/autobiographies nearly always make great reading, don't they? I also find you don't even have to like the music concerned sometimes; just something about the ups and downs, the relationships, the scenes... the things we identify with and the things we don't.
Enjoy your reading time and don't fall out the hammock!

kevinpat said...

Two beautiful songwriters. One cut short. The other left to wonder. I got a hammock for father's day as well. It can be the ultimate spot. Tucked behind a stand of trees way back. I'm always feeling guilty that I can't just lie...the grass needs cutting, did I water the garden, gotta work on that project and because I don't read I don't have a good excuse. And I was a reading teacher. Last book I read was Just Kids by Patti Smith. Gorgeous. Absolutely. I tend to never finish the books I read. When I'm in, I don't want it to end. I knew how Just Kids was going to end, and I know Patti would tell it like no one can...but I couldn't. Nope. So I didn't. It waits. Like the hammock. Maybe.

George said...

Brian, looking at that photo, I am wondering what's on the other side of the fence? A steep drop? Another garden with a big dog in it? A field with a donkey? A slaughterhouse? (OK, that last one's a bit unlikely)

Brian said...

You were warm, George. Not a slaughterhouse... a school. Actually, there is a pond between our yard and the school, which is about 100 yards away, but the school district owns everything on the other side of the fence. Where I grew up in Illinois, the evenings were filled with the sound of crickets and locusts. I haven't heard that for many years. Feeling nostalgic. Now I hear thousands of frogs from the pond. They all sing together like crickets, stopping and starting in unison as the crickets did. I have grown to love it.

I know what you mean about not wanting a good book to end, Kevinpat. I absolutely feel myself slow down as the conclusion nears. Since I have a few to read right now, I may not have that issue this summer, but I'm with you.

C, Great to hear from you. Hope you're having a great summer. You may have a tough time justifying a bunk bed at this point (perhaps your better half should have something to say about that!), but it's never too late for a swinging garden chair or hammock. Go for it.

Swede, Right on! Finding myself listening to the bands from Reynolds' book this week. Sounds like you have a great read going right now. I imagine most book shop owners pull out the line "you should read more" several times a day. I always thought I would like a pal with a book shop... but maybe not.

CC, I'm into lowbrow.

Anonymous said...

Scarily just reading RFs 12 rules of rock and roll. Didn't know about this one so thanks for the heads up. If you can find it this is not cool is a great read , gets you to relisten to songs you know you don't like . Fear of music repeats the trick with LPs instead of singles