Sunday, July 15, 2018

That's Entertainment

I had a nice walk down memory lane today as I found a box of books in the garage that probably hadn't been opened since about four or five dwellings ago. Why do we hang on to these things? The book that stopped me in my tracks was 'The Jam: A Beat Concerto' by Paolo Hewitt. This was the first music book I ever bought not about either the Beach Boys or the Beatles, and I immediately flipped to a page I remembered vividly from reading it in my youth. There's a print of Paul Weller's report card from Sheerwater County Secondary School, circa 1971. His teachers and the administration didn't beat around the bush about his straight Cs or Ds in every subject. Here are a few keepers from the unanimous decision on Paul.

Senior master: "Settle down to work before it's too late."
Housemaster: "Must do better!"
Form Tutor: "This report is much worse than it ought to be for a boy of Paul's capabilities. His behaviour in class often leaves much to be desired. His work will not improve until his attitude does."
General Science Teacher: "Troublesome and destructive boy."

As a kid who was really hating school at the time of this purchase, you can see why I would have loved this page. You showed 'em, mate.

It's warm and sunny here, and I'm off to the hammock in the backyard to read and reminisce. Perhaps this post will sway you with your vote in the ICA World Cup final over at JC's place. Do you have a music book from your youth that has a special place in your heart?

That's Entertainment (demo from 'Snap!')
That's Entertainment (album track from 'Sound Affects')
That's Entertainment (live from 'Dig the New Breed')


Walter said...

It was difficult to get books like these in my very younger days in my language. So I started very late to grab me biographies or something like that almost 20 years ago. One of my first books was the biography about Ian Curtis written by his widow 'Touching From A Distance' that introduced me more to the music of Ian and Joy Division. It was also a present from my youngest brother to my birthday. I still love this book and from time to time I grab it and read it again. Knowing very well what this book means to you my friend

John Medd said...

George Tremlett's Bowie bio from '73 - if only because Ziggy had only just stood down at Hammersmith Odeon earlier in the year. I think I wrote a few words about this over at my place.

Pop Judge said...

I seem to almost exclusively read music auto-biographies this last year or so. I have to say that I enjoy them all but those by Dean Wareham (Black postcards) and Robert Forster (Grant & I) are really special. Seems I'm one of the few who who made it through to the end of Morrissey's and enjoyed it very much too.

I also owned Beat Concerto of course.

C said...

What a lovely post, Brian. A hammock and a Jam book sounds like a great combination!
The first couple of lines you quoted from Paul's school report remind me of one year's comments in mine too, the year when music and boys and going out became far more important than lessons (of course). "Needs to bring her attention back to the classroom" they said.
Re. books - I'm currently thoroughly enjoying Brett Anderson's autobiography 'Coal Black Mornings'. It's absolutely brilliant and the thing really stands out is how naturally and engagingly he writes - in fact it feels much like reading a blog. I'd highly recommend.

George said...

Not from my youth, Brian, but Giles Smith's Lost In Music, about growing up and being a bit obsessed with (pop) music, is great read. Not you or your readers are obsessed with music.

George said...

And the demo version is my favourite, by far, of the three.

Swiss Adam said...

I had this book- what happened to it I don't know. The Victor Bockris Velvet Underground book was an almost sacred tome in the late 80s.

Rol said...

Just had a quick glance at the bookshelf and one of the oldest music books on there is Let Me Take You Down by Jack Jones, which is all about Mark David Chapman. Not really a music book? It had a big impact on me nevertheless.

I second George's call on the Giles Smith book. Also Simon Armitage's Gig. But High Fidelity will always be my favourite.

George said...

......I remembered whilst walking the dogs yesterday that I read a biography of Mick Jagger, written by Anthony Scaduto, around about 1977. Not that it has a special place in my heart but it was interesting to read about Jagger's very middle-class upbringing.

Brian said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Walter, I know you love a good music book, and I recall you picking up a real keeper when we were in Glasgow.

John, I have read a bevy of Bowie books, especially since his death, and I would have been all over that book at the time too... searching for answers.

JP, Robert's book is the best one I have read in recent times. I think I told you I bought a signed copy through Stephen Pastel's place when he did a reading there. Worth every penny of the shipping.

C and George, I picked up Giles Smith's book earlier this year (on the recommendation of C, FoRW and others), and it instantly became one of my favorites. Thank you. Really special. Brett Anderson's book is on the list... now more than ever after reading these comments.

SA, I have never read a book on VU, which is just inexcusable. I'm going to look for this one. Still plenty of hammock time to go.

Rol, I rarely miss a Hornby read. As a former record store employee, that one in particular always had a special spot in my heart. I know that book on Chapman, but haven't read it. I do have a hardcover copy of Who Killed John Lennon, but I can't remember it well enough to say if it's worth your time. I don't think you'll find that glowing review on the back cover of the next edition.