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Nothing Paperback – 19 Jun 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (19 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571177999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571177998
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Paul Morley had his 15 minutes of true glory with the sudden and short-lived flowering of talent at ZTT Records in the early 1980s, with the brilliance that was Frankie Goes To Hollywood and The Art of Noise. Now that he's an all-purpose journalist and media pundit, few would stop to credit him with an inner life. But with Nothing he corrects that picture. And how. Morley's life story provides the perfect recipe for long-term angst. Born on the Isle of Wight, son of a prison guard, raised in a stifling Stockport, apparently tortured throughout his adolescence and beyond by a complete absence of self-worth, he tracks most of his problems to the suicide--unexplained, perhaps unexplainable--of his father in the summer of 1977. Nothing is not always an easy read--the first dozen pages comprise Morley's meditation on a dead body, and that dense pondering fairly much sets the tone. For father was not alone-Morley explores his obsessed, obsessive reaction to the deaths of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, Marc Bolan, Elvis and it's clear that this tragedy has structured his entire life. On virtually every page there's a reference to Morley's previous attempts to write this book--with its myriad working titles (Sing A Song of Suicide, Death In The Family, you get the idea)--you soon realise that this is a life project. Of course there's a blacker-than-black comedy at work here too--from his father's orgasm in 1956 ("after the war and just before rock and roll") to the suicide-friendly discography he thoughtfully provides to help readers along. Self-indulgent? Yes. Fancy an evening down the pub with him? Not unless you come. But it is a sincere, intensely personal self-exploration that--oddly--speaks for a generation of angst-ridden, and borderline-suicidal, young men. --Alan Stewart

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Paul Morley's outstanding book which I found magical and unputdownable. It made me laugh out loud and I have to admit cry in a way no other book has done. It has many layers and digressions and on the surface it is about the author confronting the shattering suicide of his father. However it is also "about" pop culture, inspiration and the coming together of the family that survive .It manages to be both very very funny and very very tragic, you have to read it to understand why. This must be a classic of the 2000s on mortality, families, memory and music. For myself I've never read anything like it and the vividness and honesty of the writing will live with me for a very long time. And guess what, the first thing I did after reaching "the end" was to ring my father. A brilliant book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By stoibee on 9 July 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1977 I first bought the New Musical Express as a twelve year who felt the need to boost my punk rock credentials. Over the next few years I was to become a great fan of the writings of Paul Morley, an NME regular. Morley took full advantage of the anarchy that punk provoked within the music industry to play around with music journalism etiquette and wrote about anybody who took his fancy rather than just the usual approved subjects.
In 1977, Paul Morley's father committed suicide, an event which has been ever present in his mind but in a kind of unacknowledged way. "Nothing" is an attempt to come to terms with such a major life/death event, which, until recently, Morley had blocked-out to the degree that he couldn't quite remember in which year the suicide took place.
With his Manchester base, Paul Morley championed Joy Division, whose singer Ian Curtis also committed suicide. The book begins with a lengthy description of Curtis' dead body as Tony Wilson, boss of Joy Division's label, Factory Records invited Morley to do this. The book also touches upon the deaths of other singers such as Marc Bolan and Elvis Presley, deaths which were better remembered and more effectively grieved for by the author than the death of his father.
The book gives an intimate insight into a real family, although Morley's mother and two sisters take bit parts until the latter stages of the book. A lengthy interview with these women fills in many of the factual gaps in the whys, whens an hows of Morley's father and his life and death.
Paul Morley still has the need to play around with words and narrative. The book is entertaining, sobering, funny and sad. It explores all the contradictions of the taboo of suicide and deals with a whole lot more besides.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By midflight on 31 July 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the funniest, saddest, cleverest, most brilliantly honest book I have ever had the pleasure of reading... Truly an experience to savour - I found myself wanting to read every sentence at least twice, and I now plan to read the book again and highlight my favourite bits - yes, it's THAT good! Paul Morley has revealed/confirmed himself to be the most humbe, sincere, insightful & thoughtful genius of the 20th Century. Even if you've never heard of him - don't worry - because it really doesn't matter. Buy the book if you're a Joy Division fan - you'll love it. Buy the book if you're NOT a Joy Division fan - you soon will be. Buy the book if you read the NME - you never will again. Buy the book if you're alive - it contains thoughts that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Buy this book if you're happy - it will make you feel very lucky. Buy this book if you're sad - it will cheer you up. Buy this book at all costs! NOTE: If anyone has ANY Paul Morley articles (by or about him) please email me - I'm desperate to read more by this man.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. A. Bier on 17 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
I have just finished this wonderful book and have been motivated to put pen to paper myself, which doesn't happen very often. By reading this book, I feel like I actually know Paul Morley, and more than that, I feel I know his father - his writing is so open and honest. Writing like a real person about this god awful thing that happened to his father and his family, encompassing all the thoughts that run through your head in times of disaster, the things that you're not supposed to think, the things that you are not suppoesd to say, are all here in this stunning piece of writing.
Morley takes you on a journey into the extraordinary things that happen in our ordinary lives, the fascinating occurences that happen day to day that make us who we are.
Stunning. It is a book I will read again and again. I wish I could say thank you to him.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 July 2000
Format: Paperback
If you've never been able to read Samuel Beckett but would like to listen to someone who has swallowed and digested the Irish playwright hook, line and stinker, read 'Nothing.' Paul Morley was famous in the early 80s for championing bands like The Associates and using the pages of NME to flaunt Haircut 100 in the faces of the grim, dim music press. Reading 'Nothing' sent me back to a pile of press cuttings I'd kept from Morley's late NME period, 1981-83. A spiritual treatise on David Sylvian here. A vicious savaging of Bauhaus there. A tribute to Todd Rundgren. A black eye to Phil Collins. The lauding of Stimulin and 23 Skidoo. Where are they now? Where is Paul Morley? He's right here. Others have listed the content, told the story. I won't. I'll just say that nobody has ever been able to describe the music of Joy Division like Paul Morley. Few others have been able to communicate the space between the sounds. To use the death of Ian Curtis as a platform to investigate the suicide of your own father is an act of outrageous enormity that only Morley could carry off. He has carried it off, with the impact of a dawn raid. I went out and bought 'Heart and Soul', the full Joy Division back catalogue to provide myself with a suitable soundtrack to 'Nothing.' When I finally got to the end of 'Nothing' I found Morley's own soundtrack - one that I could have written myself. Though only one person could have written 'Nothing.' Anyone who has ever read Paul Morley knows that here is a man who wears his inner life on his sleeve. I've missed that, these past, post-NME decades. I won't forget 'Nothing.'
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