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Powder: An Everyday Story of Rock'n'roll Folk Paperback – 25 May 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (25 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099289962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099289968
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Keva McCluskey, lead singer of Liverpool band The Grams, is convulsed with jealousy when their inferior rivals Sensira hit the headlines. But a fortuitous meeting with society Trustafarian Guy de Burret boots the unsuspecting Grams straight into the harsh limelight. The band's camaraderie is rent asunder, as a bewildering host of journalists, music moguls and parasites works its sinister magic. The Grams have to fight to save their minds, their bodies and their friendship. They win, lose and ultimately, win again in this bacchanalian tale of sex, drugs. And rock'n'roll.

Powder describes a world riddled with falsehoods in an entirely truthful voice. Sampson knows the business inside out, and the book teems with the sort of detail few music lovers could conceive of. Ordinary lads turned rock gods acquire some laughable foibles, and Sampson draws his characters, and their picaresque adventures, with laugh-out-loud wit and often moving warmth. (Keva's worst fear is turning 30, while drummer Beano only wants a nice girl to cook him stew). This is a breathless, adrenaline-fired tale-- whether you are a vinyl junkie or watch the pop world in fascinated horror, you will find Powder as bewitching as the world it depicts. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A code-red book... Drop what you're reading and read this immediately... A rip-snorting, rollicking ride from obscurity to rock 'n' roll debauchery and through the other side." (Alex James, Blur)

"Brilliant, funny, sharply-observed... The airport-busting novel of the summer" (Loaded)

"Powder is more essential to your well-being than 97 percent of the albums that'll come out this year." (Melody Maker)

"A pacey and hilarious catalogue of vanity, insecurities, bonhomie and belligerence... A portrait of the contemporary music industry that is almost uncanny in its accuracy." (Independent)

"Tells it like it is - Sampson is never better than when revelling in the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - All young bands should be made to read Powder; if it doesn't put them off, nothing will" (The Times)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Classic tale of rock and roll as an idealistic Liverpool band struggle to make the big time. In the first part of the book we get to know the band, their management and enjoy their rise to fame. At first everyone is along for a laugh but soon greed, ego's and excess take their toll. It is interesting that as the band become more and more cyncial it is the management that looks for the ideals they started with. Hilarious, witty and outrageous it's a great summer holiday read. Kevin Sampson's time as manager with 90s Liverpool band 'The Farm' means this is an authentic portrait of the music world. More importantly it's a great story with good characters.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book - it's an involving plot, and you're drawn in by the rise and fall of the band and the odd cast of characters, as well as by the author's genuine love for the subject. But there are a lot of wasted opportunities - incidents that are introduced but not fully explored, and a huge cast of characters that are not developed.

For example, at one point the band are involved in a car crash in Ibiza. One of the band is hoping that he'll be hurt and have to spend time in hospital so he can stay with a girl he's fallen in love with - a welcome attempt to develop his two-dimensional character. In the next paragraph, they're all back home and the crash and love affair are never mentioned again.

As a result, it feels like a tv miniseries, with short episode-like story arcs that are resolved in a few pages and add very little. A good editor could have picked up on this and trimmed out excess characters and plot points going nowhere.

If there is one more criticism, it is that all the references to the band's contemporaries mean the book has dated badly. Ocean Colour Scene, The Bluetones, Mansun, The Verve - all bands that had their chart success in the mid- to late '90s. There is even a cringe-making reference to playing the Smash Hits Poll Winner's Party - with Boyzone headlining.

It's a shame, as the timeless "band make it big, egos run riot" storyline would fit perfectly into the current indie/alt rock scene if the author had been less specific.

There are some fun moments, and I was gripped waiting to find out how the band would fall apart. It's not a 'big bang' ending, more left to your imagination and I would've appreciated an extra chapter (perhaps set a year down the line) to find out what happened to the characters. Overall, a decent holiday read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "aj_whitehead" on 21 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
There are a few really great characters just waiting to burst out of this book, but only Wheezer really gets a chance. The rest of the characters - mainly the band - are too much like conglemerations of our current headliners. There are way to many asides - the whole Guy thing dies half way through.
Some of the perverted stuff is interested and I expect Mr Sampson could write some good porn if he specialised!
Still, I would like to hear the Grams myself - can a first album be really that good? (Like Ride - remember them?)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
How often do you a buy a book of 500 pages and read it within a day? This is one I just could not put down. It came with me on the tube, in the bath and, erm...on the loo (highest accolade in my book!)The pop-arty cover gives a hint of the sex and laffs and joie de vivre of Powder, but what came as a real surprise is the depth of emotion and the real sense of journey for all the main characters. It's a savage, funny, brilliant book and anyone who's ever tuned into Radio One will absolutely love it. Can not recommend too highly.
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By A Customer on 10 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
I hate to be overly cynical or anything, but is Kevin Sampson peddling this over the top saga of the 'Best Band in the World Ever' to make up for the fact that his own band that he managed, the Farm, weren't, well, all that good? The Grams, Sampson's fictitious band of cheerful Scally minstrels, annoyingly manage to ascend to the pinnacle of rock greatness in record time, and for one short year become the toast of the world. Men love them, women adore them, etc. Ronan Keating tells them they are better than him and, one suspects, so would Slobadan Milosevic had they given him the chance. The lads, however, fail to get off the groovy train in time to avoid crashing headlong into almost every rock and roll cliché ever contrived. Almost every cliché - surprisingly they don't actually trash a hotel room. The guitarist is a sex and drugs addict, the singer a thoughtful, waif-like, delicate little flower who just wants to be understood. Their manager, a childhood friend, is an internet anorak not cool enough to be in the band itself, the record company boss is a well-meaning sloan. Powder offers you everything you would expect from a trashy music biz expose but unfortunately not a lot more. Personally, though, I loved it.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading the author's prevous books Awaydays and Leisure and being a big music fan I can't help but compare the book to real bands as Kevin Sampson has experience in that field with being a manager with Liverpool group the Farm.

Reading through the book the record company boss Guy you can't help but compare to Tony Wilson with ReHab being the fictional Factory records, with Wheezer was a good character as the bands manager who you'd think was being used or a user himself,Keva the vocalist and songwriter who often distance himself from the rest of the group, James I would say made me laugh at times by not giving toss about things by boozing,taking drugs,shagging nearly every woman he bumps into on tour even a girl with a false leg which he masturbates on the stump! theres Beano the drummer with a bit of an attitude and Tony who wants a bit of different direction with dance music.

An enjoyable book although the part where they tour the states can drag abit never the less well worth the read.
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