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Nileism: The Strange Course of the Blue Nile [Hardcover]

Allan Brown
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Nov 2010
Next year sees the 30th anniversary of The Blue Nile's first work together. Four albums - containing a total of just 33 songs - have followed since. Yet scarcity has served only to intensify love for the band's intensely romantic songs. Reclusive and enigmatic, The Blue Nile are one of modern music's greatest mysteries, as secretive about their plans and status as they are about their painstaking methods. For the first time Allan Brown, a fan from the time of the band's first album in 1983 and friend of the band's composer Paul Buchanan, gets behind the veil to analyse the band's agonisingly slow progress through personal memoir, critical study, access to unreleased recordings and encounters with those who have been central to the strange and elusive mythology of The Blue Nile.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (1 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971389
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 17.1 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'The Blue Nile sound more like being in love than being in love does.' --Melody Maker

'There is something magnificent about the sheer doggedness of The Blue Nile's adherence to the unorthodox trajectory of their singular career.' --The Guardian

From the Publisher

`There is something magnificent about the sheer doggedness of The Blue Nile's adherence to the unorthodox trajectory of their singular career' RICHARD WILLIAMS, THE GUARDIAN
`The Blue who? Oh my God, I've never heard of them' CHRIS MARTIN, COLDPLAY

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chimney tops and trumpets... 24 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ah, The Blue Nile. Loneliness and heartache, melancholy and ecstasy...they're like a secret club in the world of music, where once you've discovered them and taken them to your heart you can imagine exchanging masonic handshakes with "those in the know", those other sensitive souls who have also found the music of The Blue Nile.

This book by Allan Brown comes hot on the heels of From A Late Night Train, another book on the band published a few months ago. Who'd have thought it? Here we are, hunting and scrounging for every precious scrap of information on the group and their music, and nearly thirty years after they've formed we suddenly get what amounts to a deluge of text. Not that I'm complaining - the earlier book by Eliot Huntley and Edith Hall is definitely worth seeking out, but this new one from Allan Brown is the real deal.

First of all, the title. "Nileism: The Strange Course of The Blue Nile". It's perfect. A neologism and a nod to the indeed strange path through life taken by those three young graduates from Glasgow.

Second, the design of the book. It's been exquisitely put together, with the coloured text on the dust jacket echoing the cover of A Walk Across The Rooftops. It's printed on good quality paper, and features a host of beautiful photos of the band and the land they grew up in. A photo on the rear cover of the rain-soaked splendour of Dumbarton Road in Partick is breathtaking; it has an almost Stephen Shore quality in its atmospheric, angular composition and somehow manages to conjure up the band's songs perfectly. There's also a glossy section of black and white plates in the centre of the book with photos of the band and associates with some press clippings and photos of the early haunts of the band members.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Take off those blue tinted specs ... 26 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have bought this book, if you are thinking about buying this book, or if you've received this book as a gift then you are probably, like myself, a dyed-in-the-wool fan already. This simple fact should not get in the way of recognising that this is a very average book. The author spends the opening pages explaining that the band did not actively involve themselves in the content of this book, thus the "insight" into the band is questionable. What the author does not say is that since the band did not help out here he has had to make a patchwork potted history of 'The Blue Nile' by sewing together reviews, fan comments, superfluous footnotes and any old interview - most of which we have read through the years I'm sure - he could dig out. The book has many typos throughout and this in itself should point out the level of care taken in producing this book. In saying all that, writings on 'The Blue Nile' are so few and far between that we should be grateful that many of them have been brought together here no matter the flaws. There are also interesting insights given through quotes from the American record label executives but very little beyond that. So do buy it, do enjoy the little gems that appear infrequently and do be sad that we may never hear another new 'The Blue Nile' album again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it should have been. 25 April 2011
By D. Izod
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Blue Nile are interesting. This book is about The Blue Nile. Ergo, this book is interesting. But it is not nearly as interesting as it should have been, and, as other reviewers have noted, it doesn't really tell us that much more than we already know.

Brown's writing is engaging, although his tone can be a little grating at times as he can be somewhat sniffy and dismissive, but he has an obvious passion for his subject and a real desire to lay bare his subjects. His, the book's, and ultimately our, problem is that he can't because Paul Moore and Robert Bell had nothing to do with the book and we therefore get no closer to really solving the enigma that the three men represent. This weakness is exposed at the moment the relationships really starts to fall apart (during the recording of 'Peace at Last) when all we learn is that the group recorded in a variety of locations around the world in an effort to create the sound they wanted. The whole episode is covered in about six pages, a lot of which are taken up with Beatles in '68 comparisons. All we learn about PJ Moore in this period is that he bought a big computer and Calum Malcom didn't like it.

The book raises a lot of questions - questions all fans of the band have - but really doesn't, or rather can't, answer them. These range from the big philosophical questions like why did Paul Moore get such a massive hump with Paul Buchanon? Why did Robert Bell drift away?, down to the more prosaic but still interesting questions about just what the hell Bell and Moore do with their time from day to day and just what do they live on? I would love to know if album sales provide for their daily comforts which would only be a fitting reward for the joy they have brought to me and thousands of others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity 14 Feb 2011
There is more than enough inside information to make this a compelling read for any Blue Nile fan, and let's face it that is who the majority of readers will be. Paul Buchanan's tortured reaction to some honest criticism and his subsequent enhanced productivity will make any observer wonder what firmer management could have achieved.

Given the readership the author Allan Brown could have done with more editorial input as his extended insights into the music will add little to the observations that most fans have in appreciating this deeply emotive music that strikes such a personal note.

However cutting the book back would have made more obvious what is missing.

Having clearly set out the painful fact that the relationship between Buchanan, Moore and Bell has broken down - an absence of input from the latter two left me wondering what a compelling read this would have been had Brown managed to answer the questions he can only skirt around.

As he puts it, these guys live in the same postcode and, in the case of Buchanan and Moore anyway, haven't spoken in years. I'd have forgiven any amount of typo's if he had been able to land that book...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Well, even though I've been a fan since the early days (I bought AWATR on the basis of that NME review. Haven't looked back) I learnt plenty. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by Chris Brooks
3.0 out of 5 stars It's alright
The Blue Nile keep surprising me. I heard Tinseltown in the Rain on the radio in '84 and thought it was brilliantly different, but never thought to do more than buy the single. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by schlockhorror
5.0 out of 5 stars nearly all you ever need to know...
Given the long gaps between releases by The Blue Nile none of their fans thought there was anything particularly remiss about the fact that we hadn't heard any new material from... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2011 by Dulwich Kev
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
For anyone who has read the odd newspaper or magazine article around the time of a new release, concert or any other event, you will already know as much about the Blue Nile as... Read more
Published on 17 May 2011 by Danny O'D
5.0 out of 5 stars nileism
oh but i were young again and golden in the heyday of his means . this book is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, burning with a need to be passed on to a younger soul as an... Read more
Published on 5 May 2011 by A. Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars By The Rivers Of Glasgow
As a relatively late arrival to the music of the Blue Nile there was much I did not know about their early days despite being a Scot and this book certainly filled in the gaps in... Read more
Published on 2 May 2011 by Colin Inverarity
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good "read". Im pleased!!
First of all, im an addict of the band. But also one that DOES`NT know everything about them. Ive found this book very insightful. Read more
Published on 1 Mar 2011 by Mr. S. G. Mccusker
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New
I was really disappointed with this book. I am a big fan, and I bought it thinking it would bring many interesting stories. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2011 by Gavesson
5.0 out of 5 stars The blue Nile story finally revealed
I would never have imagined a book of this size and quality about such an extravagant and "small" band as The blue nile. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2011 by Durand
4.0 out of 5 stars A Revealing Look At An Enigma
Given the band's customary shyness, the fact that the three members seem practically estranged now and the refusal of two to participate, the reader could be expected to doubt just... Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2011 by N. Fuller
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