on 25 April 2012
Even though i have all the streets albums i was never a diehard fan. However, this is one of the very best books that i have ever read. I have gone through about 80-90 books over the past 2 years and this really stands out as the best.
Buy it today, support English talent at its finest.
on 17 April 2012
I enjoy Mike's work but wouldn't class myself as an avid fan or consumer of his output. I like his style.
Some of the tour stories were lost on me but there was a lot of well-put description of his creative process. The writing style is simple, conversational and definitely echoes the straight forward accuracy of his musical work.
Writing this, I realise that I've: relayed quite a few anecdotes, been inspired to find out a bit more about certain topics and generally had a good time reading it.
If you are interested in music production, the industry, Mike Skinner, song writing, creativity, partying (in moderation), epilepsy, ME and over-work/obsession the I can recommend you read this.
on 12 April 2012
A fantastic book. I was a huge Streets fan before reading this book and now I'm even more convinced that Mike is indeed a true genius. Mike was very open about himself, laying out what is a complex and at times heart-warming approach to life. Like his music the book is very honest and takes the reader on a journey - both a musical one and a narrative of what is going on in his head. He's very humble, trying to convince the reader that it's all about hard work rather than talent, which is surprising as one always believes a true genius must never have to work that hard! Mike shows that a single-minded approach to his music eventually pays off. He's very self-effacing at times, basically writing off album three as a disaster (it wasn't Mike - I loved it, and took the narrative as more playful than arrogant).
I read this book in two days - the style is witty, funny and to anyone who loves his music, the words once again appear in a poetic form.
In plain Helvetica............
on 9 May 2012
As a massive fan of the man Mike Skinner and of his music as The Streets i always had big expectations of what this book might hold. I was NOT dissapointed! Each and every page filled me with more and more insight into the life this amazing individul has lived. So many things that i didn't realise he had done and experienced.
The book is split into chapters using each title of his albums. And each chapter is split into seperated sections for ease of read. The way Mike speaks is clearly portrayed into words throughout every page.
For any fan of Mike Skinner and The Streets or even his latest project with Robert Harvey with The D.O.T it is a must buy and read. I cannot explain what his music means to me and how his music and the book have helped me with many things in life.
on 18 May 2012
I was always drawn to The Streets and Mike Skinner's music, especially his first two albums as I felt he vocalised things that were so commonplace to me that I stopped noticing them and that his words explained these to the people who didn't understand the complex nature of life as a suburban teenager.
This title is by no means an epilogue to The Streets, it is simply an extension of the project Skinner started with his first album and will carry on until he decides to retire completely. Beautifully written, insightful and inspiring - I can't wait to see what he does next...
on 28 December 2015
Well now, this was never going to get anything less than a ten, was it? Skinner is a bit of a character, you see – it seems like you either love him or you hate him, and if you’re reading this review then the odds are that you love him enough to be considering reading his book. Stop reading this review, and start reading The Story of the Streets instead.
It’s presented as ‘written with Ben Thompson‘, but you can tell that Skinner himself has done his fair share of the work – certainly more so than most ‘celebrity authors‘, and he’s left his personality stamped throughout the book like graffiti. It’s almost like another Streets record, and I’ll admit that when I finished reading the book, I was left with that same ‘end of an era‘ feeling I got at the end of Computers and Blues, or when I went to see them on their final tour.
The thing that a lot of casual music listeners don’t understand is that Mike Skinner is both intelligent and witty, which make for a deadly combination. You have to be pretty damn good to be able to turn your day-to-day existence in to a string of successful records, and he proves it beyond question here – everything that The Streets ever did, he did for a reason. Now you’ll be able to find out what those reasons were.
The actual structure of the book is pretty special, too – I’m not going to explain it, but it’s something for you to look out for, as well as the colour photographs that offer glimpses in to the life of the geezer, even if they don’t always necessarily show things that Mike refers to in his manuscript. I don’t think that’s why they’re there, though – they do a great job of putting the rest of the book in to perspective.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book, and I reckon you ought to read it whether you’re a fan of The Streets or not. So go out and buy yourself a copy.
on 3 May 2013
I just finished reading Mike Skinner's 10 year autobiography - The Story of The Streets which won the NME best book award in 2012. It's the first autobiography that i've read in about five years and I found it engaging, funny, honest and highly inspirational. I usually go for literary fiction, classics and non-fiction but I'm definitely going to be picking up more autobiographies from now on in hope that they will have a similar effect on me as this book did.
On the inside cover a quote from Skinner himself reads, `This book is going to try and get as close as possible to the full story of what informed the noise of The Streets. Obviously that's something I should be fairly well-qualified to know about, and I'm going to be as honest as the publisher's lawyers will allow.'
This modern day account from the man that the Guardian once dubbed "half Dostoevsky . . . half Samuel Pepys" gives a hilarious, witty and illuminating saga of how one talented and obsessive young man from Birmingham rose to fame and subsequently dealt with that across a ten year period. Skinner spins his tale about living in Bermingham and London, fleeing to Australia when he was 22 in pursuit of a secretary whom he had a fling with but ended up on a binge for a year and found himself in the process. Going on to make his first hit single "Has it come to this?" (which has always been a personal favorite...) on a laptop. He covers a lot of ground in this book and provides us with some good proverbs and life lessons too. He speaks freely about the hardships of growing up in gritty Birmingham, getting mugged on buses and beaten to a pulp in public parks, making rap beats for Jamaican guys from his neighbourhood, the Peak and fall of the UK Garage scene and the clubs that inspired Original Pirate Material. He delves deep into the world of music production and goes into great detail about a variety of techniques, but does so in a fashion that would engage even the most un-musical of people. He recalls the emergence of Grime, making his first album in a cupboard and the impending fear of the millenium bug. Among many things this book provides an excellent, informed account of how the music industry operates from the inside looking out. He speaks about his great admiration of artists like Burial and Daft Punk, his Idols Wu-Tang Clan and Nas and his strong distaste for Aphex Twin.
There are also two photograph sections with never before seen imagery included in the book. The first focuses Skinner as a child with his family and the very beginning of him musical career, with him decked out respectively in Fred Perry and Sovereigns. The second section is more career highlights, gigs infront of thousands of people with captions like "I have no memory of where or when this is, but it looks dangerous and I don't condone it. That polo shirt got a massive stain on it which is not in this photo, so it's a bit like looking at a picture of someone who died." and "This is what rock n' roll is all about" beside an ariel photograph a massive crop circle shaped like his face in a field next to glastonbury. And finally a few wedding and family photos, showing what a sensible chap he's grown to become today.
Skinner is quite an emotional person and the book definitely highlights that. He opens up and shares with us his personal accounts of dealing with epilepsy, which manifested when he was a child and progressed to become quite bad in his mid-teems with occasional relapses in later years. ie The first time he took an intercontinental flight to Australia while travelling alone. He woke up in first class with a pounding headache and had to be wheel-chaired off the plane. Not a great start to a new life! He gives a poignant insight into coping with the loss of his Father, and in more recent years developing ME (Chronic Fatigue System) from over working himself. From Drugs to tours, sneaker collections and a sponsorship with Reebok, robbing ice statues from Warner Brothers, bailing on awards shows and plain and simple smashing things for no reason other than finding it funny. In this book Skinner makes no excuses about succumbing to the cliches of fame and rockstar lifestyle and what it was like being subjected to it on both sides of the Atlantic.
The book is split into five sections, one for each of his five albums and what that particular period in his life was actually like whilst making that album. It's told mostly in chronological order and I found this format very engaging as a reader. His musical journey over ten years with The Streets was a meandering one with many bends in the river. The Story of The Streets is a highly inspirational page turner. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of motivation or even just a light-read and a laugh.
for full review and more content see my blog [...]
on 8 March 2013
Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly owing to Mike's talents as a lyricist), this book contains a good helping of insightful opinion into everyday philosophical questions, most about creativity and the creative process, but some about questions you might have pondered from time to time but not have expected to have seen touched on in a book like this. Keep your wits about you to find them!
The book wanders through Mike's life, having a good old stare at his formative years in Birmingham and his life as an adolescent in a very stable family home. Plunged into the world of electronics and music from a very early age, it is clear why Mike has become such an adept producer.
Drawing parallels/ differences with American Hip-Hop, UK Grime and Garage you begin to see how Mike's unique style came about and how his major influences guided him towards creating The Streets.
There is plenty of juicy information on each Streets album and why each one took the direction it did, how Mike has written each of his songs and his ups and downs while doing so.
Overall this is a enjoyable read, it will satisfy whatever you're longing for from The Streets and Mike Skinner, whether it be the MDMA, spread betting addictions, lyrical development, fame, birds or the prices of houses in Stockwell, you'll find what you're looking for.
The only thing that really bothered me was the American spelling of words in this book - a little odd considering Mike even has a song that laments the use of words in American English, ("The differences in language, are the bits you got wrong"). The book also contains a couple of typos. Great read!
on 12 April 2012
An honest, straight-forward, open, funny and warm look back on the life of Mike Skinner, and the phenomenon that was The Streets. An enjoyable read that has left me more enamoured to Mike than before reading the book. It manages to capture some of his charm, and cheeky wry grin.
on 8 May 2012
An excellent insight into the career of Mike Skinner in relation to The Streets.
Remarkable views on the art of song making, writing, promotions and the pressures the music industry put on one so young, but the book details Mike's fight to hang onto what he believed in, in relation to the Streets and how it should grow and ultimately end.
One of the best music biogs out there.