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4.2 out of 5 stars46
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 10 August 2010
I've read too many books on pop, but this is straight into the top ten (with a bullet), not so much for its insights on the music, but for what it reveals about the trials, tribulations and downright horrors of being in a band. To be honest, I knew little about the Auteurs or Luke Haines before picking this up, having always casually (dis)regarded them as also-rans in a scene which itself never much interested me, whose ambition almost certainly outran their ability by several miles. Oddly, I come away from reading this book with those opinions not greatly changed, but with a tremendous sympathy for Haines himself, and the rapidity with which his vocation was crushed to powder and blown away by the relentless grinding machinery of the music business, with the album driving the tour, the tour schedule demanding the new album, the need for novelty demanding changes in production and playing personnel which Haines can barely control, in a never-ending cycle, until every last vestige of inspiration has been wrung from our hero. It's an old story of course (over which the shadow of Spinal Tap casts a lengthening shadow), but Haines tells it with savage, caustic and hugely readable wit. Mums, Dads - if your kids want to grow up to be pop stars, make them read this book...
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on 5 May 2009
I read Bad Vibes in one sitting. It's a real page-turner, unputdownable, etc...

It's a POV history of the bad old Britpop days by the former frontman of The Auteurs. It's a swingeing, whingeing, barking, snapping, curmudgeonly masterpiece of a memoir, with Haines' ego on overdrive and dripping with vemom at every perceived and real slight and grudge that he has absolutely no intention of forgetting or forgiving. I found it immensely funny and accurate, but then I was never a Britpop fan. He seems prone to the same sort of enthusiasms as me (anti-art, avant-garde, conspiracy theories, murder, terrorists, utopian movements...) so maybe that helped. It's a full-on rant with the charm of Niven, Stanshall, Mark E Smith or Ignatius J. Reilly.

Try it.
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on 18 February 2009
The best Rock Curmudgeon alive today. If you were even slightly a fan of all things Britpop - this is a must read. He hates everyone (except the drummer from Suede). His self-belief is unstoppable and his proclaimations of genius many. No one is safe from his scathing criticism,(yes, that includes YOU Justine Frishmann)and this book is all the more funny for it.
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on 4 February 2009
Excellent first book and very pleasing to find Luke Haines can keep up the vitriolic persona for 250 pages of memoirs. So very very funny too, a home for the jokes and witticisms that just can't work in song form. Really wish there was an index though, maybe in the reprint?
A must have for anyone who was into music in the 1990s.
Roll on Volume II please.
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on 5 January 2009
This is a, hate to say it, "must have" buy for all Luke Haines fans. That said, every release by the man has fallen into the category, but this, his first foray into print, is a real treat. It would work for both the devotee and the casual music fan, as a historical, completely biased treatise on that most diabolical of concepts, Britpop.

The book is disappointing in only one regard, and that is that we know little more about Haines the man than the public persona that he presents in his bitter, beautiful music. It's possible to feel some of his anger, and disappointment at his lack of commercial success, but he never makes it totally clear how he feels. Maybe I'm a little disappointed because last years amazing indie autobiography, Black Postcards by Dean Wareham was so candid that at times it felt intrustive, set an unrealistic benchmark for just how good any autobiography can be. Personally, I'd have liked to have learned a bit more about Haines as a person, and about the life experiences that have made him such a unique talent in music, and the forces and influence, on his person as much as his art, that made him write such brilliantly vitriolic and angry pop music whilst his contemporaries created such dirge and called it Britpop.

As this covers the period 92-97, I'd love to see a follow up. Arguably, Haines best work came after this - his solo efforts, and chart success with Black Box Recorder followed. It would be great to see this chronicled and laid bare.

Overall, a great book, but not as great as it could have been. As an aside, it is interesting to note the influence of his acquaintance David Peace, particularly GB84 on the style of the prose and structure of the book.
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on 10 April 2009
Old Haines does himself proud in this memoir, complete with David Peace puff on the cover. Which isn't that odd as Haines comes across as not unlike Brian Clough in his obsessions. You'll laugh out loud I promise.
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on 23 March 2009
I have happy memories of the Britpop era. Luke Haines doesn't. I'm not sure what musical landscape would have actually made him happier in the mid 90s, but it is hilarious reading this acidic critique of his contemporaries and where he fitted into the scheme of things. There are a few laugh out loud moments and the cynicism never turns the book too vitriolic. A great barbed read to get yourself in the mood for the Blur reunion.
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on 14 February 2009
Luke Haines is a genius. He almost certainly hates you. These two facts are not unrelated. Your only choice is to buy this book and restore balance to the universe. It is as funny, spiteful and true as his records. The prologue is entitled "Is it ever right to strike a dwarf?"; the postcript "as a nation we have truly lost our way". Between these two poles lurks the dark heart of an unsung hero adrift in a lost age. Treasure him now.
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on 23 April 2009
This is a must for any Auters fan. Without appreciating their music it will probably be a little bit lost on you. But if you havent heard the Auters you should look that up and buy a copy of the debut New Wave now. You wont regret it!
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'Bad Vibes' is Luke Haines at times brilliantly jaundiced, hopelessly partisan memoir on his 'career' in music in the 1990s. As has been noted elsewhere, Haines is determinedly outsiderist when it comes to his relations with the Music Business, and in 'Bad Vibes' he casts a bleary bloodshot eye over the Brit Pop circus that is going on around him, and it is entertaining stuff indeed. My main criticism, (and hence the docking of a star), is that it runs out of steam a little in the final thirty pages or so; I guess it's hard to maintain the level of bile and scabrous invective so masterfully manicured earlier on in the tome. Although I doubt very much whether Haines cares a jot whether you like him or not after having read the book, in the end, Haines comes across more as as a misanthropically disappointed individual than as a whingeing has-been that never quite was in the first place. He carefully describes the torturous treadmill of album recording / touring / promoting rigmarole, the often at times dire lot of the support band, bloated egos of some artists, daft decisions and awesome fickleness of fate. He also acknowledges his own failings (although not too often), but it's clear that Haines delights in being against just about everything, and if you read carefully, what he leaves out is the sense of what he is actually 'for'. A great book, with none of the kind of 'needless to say, I had the last laugh' tone of Alan Partridge's autobiography. I was never a fan of Britpop; reading this book reminds me why that was, and still is, the case!
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