1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Just a Few Seconds is the first book that explores the adventures and misadventures of Derek Newark (stage name Nemo James). Like many kids, Derek became enamoured with music from a young age and decided he wanted to be a musician. At first, it wasn't much more than a daydream. After all, he had difficulty reading music and his musical repertoire was somewhat limited.
Over time, through short and longer term gigs playing an amazingly diverse range of music, Derek gained experience (and confidence). His sight reading improved to the point where he could back virtually anyone. In the process, he traveled the world and met more than a few interesting individuals.
Just a Few Seconds is an amazing story of perseverance and willingness to move forward even when the next step didn't seem obvious. I've read quite a few memoirs of rock stars and various bands as they worked to gain fame and fortune but I don't think I've read any stories about independent artists who pick up such a wide range of projects and essentially become jacks of all trades.
on 29 May 2011
As a classical musician myself, I am always intrigued by the experiences of my musical peers, which is why this book appealed to me so much. It is an autobiography that is touching in its honesty and charmingly ironic in its language.
It must be a daunting task to put all the major experiences of one's life into order, so that they make sense and is attractive to other people, especially when the life is not of someone that is universally famous. I feel this book succeeded immensely. I was entertained from the very first page up to the last sentence. The twists and turns of Derek's (or Nemo's) life are incredible, the near misses at stardom excruciating, the struggles he goes through heartbreaking in their honesty and reality. The reader can't help but cheer Nemo on when things seem to go well, and sigh as turn after turn leads him away from his music. I found his perseverance throughout all the years of musical dissatisfaction inspiring, something that takes much more strength and faith in the future than is the usual.
The writing itself is well structured, and although there are a few grammatical mistakes here and there (missing commas, some syntax issues) it is nothing major and nothing that would be a deterrent from reading it.
I truly enjoyed this book, not only as a look into the unforgiving world of independent musicians, but as a window into an extraordinary man's life.
on 29 March 2011
I didn't know quite what to expect from this biography of a talented musician most of us may not have heard of, although the tag line 'A story from the hidden world of music and beyond', which first attracted me to the book, gave a clue to the subject matter. The brief synopsis on the back cover reassured me I would find it interesting.
After the first few pages, I started to feel like I didn't want to put the book down, and that feeling continued throughout. The story is inspiring, amusing and tragic by turns. How often it is that life seems to build up our hopes only to dash them again, and this author's life has had more than its fair share of rides on that emotional rollercoaster. I couldn't help marvel at his perseverance in the face of so many let-downs and disappointments, and yet considering how much of the story comprises that sort of thing, the narrative's always compelling and ever hopeful, always managing to find some wry, wistful humour in whatever situation.
If you ever wanted to be a professional musician and regret you didn't get your lucky break despite your abilities, read Derek's story in 'Just A Few Seconds'. You will feel a kinship with this man, and you'll have a truly enjoyable read, too.
on 8 May 2011
This is a well written and concise account of a seemingly ordinary guy who grew up in the 50s & 60s and became a self-taught musician. The autobiography covers his life in an amusing way with short, very readable chapters. He went through many trials and tribulations, but shines out as having a strong personality with a great sense of humour, even when things were going belly-up. Along the way he became an accomplished sight reading session guitarist, singer and composer. He played gigs on ships, abroad, in grotty & great locations. If that were not enough, he later turned his hand to becoming a (very good) IT network manager. In this stage of his life I got to know him, and reading the oh so true account of one job he held made me want to cry and laugh at the same time. Now an author! I can't wait to buy his next book.
on 7 June 2015
As I am someone who has had to have security in life, it was fascinating to read of someone who was prepared to take so many risks and chances to enable them to follow the dream. A rollercoaster of events and emotions showed a person totally dedicated to their music. An excellent read from a very talented (and brave) man. Thank you Nemo!!