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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2000
I bought this book thinking it would be your standard record label history. Beware: it's incredibly long, incredibly detailed, and fairly heavy. That said, it's incredibly readable. Cavanagh does a great job setting the scene, introducing the players, and establishing what happened. Not just a history of Creation, this is a great snapshot of a certain period in music and culture. If you're interested in any of these things, buy this book. Just know in advance that you'll spend a lot of time reading it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2001
This is an excellent and compelling book. I managed to read it's 570 pages in 24 hours. A magnificent insight into the workings of one of the UK's most influential labels. An invaluable text to anyone who might be in a band themselves.
David Cavanagh kept up a thrilling narrative peopled with some truly amazing characters.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2002
dave cavanaugh has written what is easily the best-written non-fiction book about indie music ever. as a music obsessive myself, i've read them all (and most seem to have been written with some aplomb by the unofficial factory scribe mick middles) - the factory story, morrissey and marr, liverpool explodes - a shelf full. this one takes quite more than its share of cake.
starting with rough trade and postcard, it contains incredibly readable descriptions of the origins of most of the important british indie labels (of its time period - it rightly within context ignores such worthies as wurlitzer jukebox), even if only touching upon some of them, woven into a compelling, page-turning history. honestly, one tires of reading egregious errors, cobbeled-together pastiches of previously written pieces and self-important "i was there" dribble. cavanagh instead relies on solid research, reporting and, as the backbone of the story, the biography of one of the most frustrating and entertaining characters in indie music, alan mcgee.
in passing, we learn about geoff travis, alan horne, and even a little bit about those other two giants of frustratingly bizarre self-promotion, anthony h. wilson and bill drummond. in detail, you get histories of the creation bands, as their stories and particularly those of the young (and not so young) artists within frame mcgee's mad wanderings in a worthy context. we follow bobby gillespie from age 15 to the present, the reid brothers through their fame and subsequent infamy, kevin shields and guy chadwick and the gallaghers and all the rest of the creation madhouse. amazing.
its creation-focus necessarily means it won't go into detail on subjects such as the manchester and liverpool and bristol scenes - presumably cavanagh will treat those in due time? - but with writing like this, who cares! it's marvelous.
in short, a book so good it almost makes me want to give up writing - and certainly makes me want to encourage certain other music writers to put down their pens. cavanagh triumphs!
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on 5 September 2012
The size of a house brick, this book was a labour of love in the reading and, no doubt, in the writing.
I'm no major fan of Creation, nor of the majority of its bands, but I lap up music history and have been an admirer of David Cavanagh's writing since his days on Sounds. So I burdened Postie and ordered a copy. And had a job putting it down.
This is a chronological account of the label's genesis-to-demise, veering off willfully on tangents to present back-stories. It's packed with anecdote - who knew that the House of Love's Guy Chadwick had a thing for getting naked at parties? - and interview, with band members, Creation staff and interested parties, while maintaining an authoritative air. Incredibly, given its near 800 pages, it's not exhaustive. Tim Vass, for instance, who is quoted often as having been an early mover on the scene, formed a band, Razorcuts, who were signed to Creation - who fail to get a mention. A lesser author would have slavishly documented each and every act in writing *The* Creation Records Story. My Magpie Eyes... is more of a soap opera, played out for real.
Neither is the book sensationalist - whatever that appallingly designed cover might suggest - the heavy cocaine use being documented rather than drooled over, with Oasis appearing only two-thirds in. (Neither Noel nor Liam provided original quotes and you wonder why.)
Forensic in its detail, vibrant in its colour, featuring a cast of trailblazers and madmen, this is a must-read for any budding music historian.
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on 30 August 2009
So many of the bands in this book my brother and I saw, bought their records or followed them passionately through the dark nights that is England. In the case of Felt, that band and their music changed my life.

That Cavanaugh has worked so hard to collect this detail is amazing. I dont care about the end of Creation when McGee is taking drugs (I just couldn't ever sympathise with him, he seems so unlikeable) and selling out to Sony.

The first half of the book though is fantastic starting with impact of punk on the scottish music scene and how that got McGee going and starting the Living Room down in London.

I had a chance to join a Creation band but turned it down. Well we all make mistakes.

If you like the music that was "indie" from 1980 to 1995, and you've survived all those late night gigs and enduring the awful train lines of England, I would recommend this book, a huge huge YES.
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on 28 November 2013
Seeing as Alan McGee's book has just come out I thought I'd give a heads-up to this book. I found it a great read, detailed about the bands relationships with the label and how the office politics changed at Creation (more interesting than that sounds - honest). The great thing about Cavanagh is his objectivity something missing from the awful Hewitt/McGee book put out at the same time. I'm hoping the new McGee book gives a better insight than the previous one.
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3 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2003
Mr Cavannagh has never really understood music. He can string a few colourful words together and certainly sounds plausible. But when it comes to actually understanding what makes good music, he is illiterate. This book graphically demonstrates that fact.
It seems important to him, for example, that a band remains as "popular" as possible; perhaps he needs to be able to pigeon-hole them. Any hint of creativity, or out-of-the-box thinking musically, is generally denigrated by this author.
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