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Last Orders at the Liars Bar: the Official Story of the Beautiful South Paperback – 8 Apr 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057506739X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575067394
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The Beautiful South, so the press release proclaims, are "the only 1 million-plus selling UK band not to have had a book written about them." It¹s that kind of perverse underdog pride which characterises The Beautiful South: a low-key, resolutely unstarry band, springing from the defunct Housemartins, who have nonetheless placed 19 singles in the charts, and a copy of their greatest hits album in one in every seven UK households. But at last music journalist Mike Pattenden has blown their cover, putting The Beautiful South in print with this intriguing portrait.

Pattenden was commissioned to "establish a different perspective of the Band"--to tell us more than what we already knew, that they came from Hull, they were partial to a drink or two, and they wrote funny, ironic pop songs (songwriters Dave Rotheray and Paul Heaton were particularly irked by that "ironic" label). As Pattenden follows the band from booze-drenched gig to, erm, booze-drenched gig, his readers might be forgiven for gleaning little more. Hull, to which the band remain firmly committed, is clearly an abiding inspiration; drink is a sine qua non; and as for irony--well, judge for yourself. Interspersing his adventures with the band with comment from Billy Bragg, Norman Cook and others, Pattenden provides an intimate, even loving account of a strangely uncommunicative pop tribe. --Alan Stewart

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
I have waited with baited breath for someone to write a no-holds-barred expose of arguably the finest band in England today. Finally, Mike Pattenden has written a full account of the Beautiful South. As a lifelong fan of Paul Heaton's I found the book extremely interesting. The author's obvious admiration of the leader shines through whenever he is mentioned, even when talking about hooliganism in a none too politically correct manner. I do feel that the book sometimes slips into hero-worship now and again, but such is Paul's personality, apparently! The most fascinating aspect of the book is the revelation of the mechanics of the band and the behaviour and attitude of it's leader when it comes to music. At the end of the day, they are a highly successful band and prone to the same pitfalls that other bands are. It's just that they don't look like they are! If the book has any flaw it is it's constant references to Hull. As a former resident of Hull (and in fact a former resident of Grafton Street) this didn't bother me as I could relate to it all. I know the difference in attitude between Beverley Road and Hessle Road. I know the impact of students to Cottingham Road etc.., but a lot of people don't, and as important as Hull is to the band and the story of the band, do so many readers need to be alienated? Ultimately, Pattenden has provided an investigation into the songwriter and what makes him tick without forgetting that there are other people to consider. A superb book, whether you like the band or not.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Mike Pattenden was given this assignment following an interview with, Heaton and Rotheray, The Beautiful South's writing partnership, for Vox magazine. Paul Heaton, king of the off-the-cuff comment and the flippant sound-bite, was overcome with self pity over his 'artistic failures' which he said had resulted in the band's declining record sales and critical roasting from the music press. He was going through a time of emotional upheaval with his long term girlfriend, he was abusing his body with drugs, booze and crisps, and he was looking for a deeper level of maturity in his work which was being shamefully neglected by the record buying public, "What people have to understand is that I'm ... I don't know how to control myself. I think I'm very sad character and they're going to take inspiration from a sad character and they ought to get it from someone else." With that he left the interview.
But that interview was prior to the (reluctant) release of 'Carry on up the Charts' which went on to become their first number one album and the third-fastest selling album in British chart history. According to Rotheray the key to its success is that they are everyone's second favourite band. Their blend of jaunty middle of the road music combined with witty, cruel and accessible lyrics have an almost universal appeal; Pattenden observes that their concerts have different strata of society marked in the audience: the teeny boppers in t-shirts at the front, loutish football supporters bouncing in the middle, couples clinging on to each other at the sides and the polite middle classes clapping to themselves at the back.
The Beautiful South was formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton following the end of his successful group The House Martins.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By on 20 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
Well what can i say an absolute must for any south fan especially if you were there before Carry On Up The Charts. At last an inside view into the very personal lives of what we mere mortals call The Beautiful South, a band that doesnt get alot of air play but can still outsell the biggest arenas in the land every time they tour on pure reputation alone, now to me that means superstars of music,none of you tin pan alley bands that are about today have quite the same effect on an audience as the South do and the reason for this is simply because many if not all of the true fans can relate to the trials and tribulations that are portrayed in the lyrics of messers Heaton and Rotheray. So at last comes a book that helps you to re-live precious concert moments that were swept to the back of your mind only to be recollected in the not to distantfuture when remembering your youth and adult life to your grandchildren,telling them of a time whilst at the Irish centre in Birmingham when the equipment fell off the stage or when Dave fell off the stage at the N.E.C and they had to do the encore without him. All in all a band that will live forever in the hearts of many devote fans, and thanks to this book in the hearts of many others for years to come. So lets pay homage to Mike Pattenden for writing the book setting the Beautiful south in littery concrete, but most of all lets not forget those who have made it all possible THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH! Never have so many owed so much to so few (Sir Winston Churchill)must have prophecied the coming of the SOUTH. Thank you.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
As rock journalism goes, it is hard to think of a less 'rock and roll' character to profile than Paul Heaton.
This was never going to be 'Hammer of the Gods' part 2. However, it is an honest attempt to profile the life and works of Heaton, whose personality has always made him the central figure in the bands he has formed.
The difficulty in writing a convincing biography of Heaton is in distilling the many published utterances that the man makes into something that is
a) intelligible and
b) convincing.
Mike Pattenden, as the author and a supposed long term freind of Heaton, gives him an easy ride on subjects like his well-known and rather eccentric political philosophy.
Heaton has always backed up his draconian form of socialism, in which he appears to approve any form of action including killing people, by relating his own 'working class' background. However, Pattenden fails to square this with the fact that Heaton actually enjoyed a comfortable middle-class upbringing.
Heaton is certainily a notable songwriter and a telented storyteller. Although collecting crisp packets is hardly in the same league as driving cars into swimming pools, Heaton's prediliction for the demon drink is given a central theme in the book - witness the title - and yet again there is the tendency by the author to gloss over the issue's more sinister side - namely that if Heaton is really such an extreme alcoholic, then he is heading for the same musical death-trip as the legions before him. Bland comments suggesting that Heaton could actually stop drinking tomorrow should he wish do not make a convining argument after the author has spent hundreds of pages describing a serious drinker.
In all an interesting and mostly believable account of a man who has made an art form out of inconsistency.
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