What you (may have) missed on 3:AM recently:
Fiction: ‘A Bird in the Hand’ by Richard Thomas, ‘Pink’ by Steve Young, ‘Ever After’ by Nicholas Hogg
Poetry: from Jenni Fagan
Reviewed: Mat Colegate on Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #1 (”1910″), Lee Rourke on Ellen Kennedy’s sometimes my heart pushes my ribs, Beth Harrington on Denis Johnson’s Nobody Move, Max Dunbar on Amanda Craig’s Hearts and Minds
Music: Cathi Unsworth on John Robb’s The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996:
Armed with the sharpest hair and biggest brothel creepers in rock, John Robb crashed his way into music journalism firing off Robb’s Reports for Sounds while gigging with The Membranes in the late Eighties. Having always been a musician himself – he currently fronts Gold Blade – and being possessed of a rapid-fire wit and a thirst for pop culture, he made the ideal frontline reporter, picking up every new movement as it happened and coining phrases for them that have passed into the lexicon. At the London launch for this book at The Boogaloo on 13 May, interviewer Ann Scanlon, a former Sounds staffer herself, pointed out that it was John who not only invented ‘Britpop’ (“For the La’s,” John explained, “it was a play on the Britcore cover we’d had the week before, but it was where I thought we were headed next…”) but also ‘Grunge’ (“I used that word so much you kept having to sub it out of my copy…”).
A Blackpool native, John came of age in the Manchester of Buzzcocks and Joy Division, and his love for his adopted home city shines forth in this tome with a passion to rival Peter Ackroyd’s for London. “If Johnny Marr was wearing a certain coloured sock in a certain year,” he told the Boogaloo audience, “I want to know why.” This is his second oral history, the first being a blockbuster tome on punk to rival Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s classic US odyssey Please Kill Me, but charting the sonic progress of Manchester has done nothing to narrow his vision. Here is a book as brimming with enthusiasm and knowledge as the man himself – not to mention all the names you’d hope to hear from and plenty more who were crucial players but never got to have their say before.