Customer Review

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No business like..., 1 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Showbusiness: The Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Nobody (Paperback)
I was vaguely aware of Mark Radcliffe through his engaging and enthusiastic commentary on the BBC's Glastonbury festival coverage, and picked this book up wondering whether he writes as well as he speaks (like his radio colleague Stewart Maconie, whose Cider With Roadies I greatly enjoyed).

He tells the story of every band he's ever played in since the age of fourteen, his bandmates, and the highs and (mostly) lows of his musical career. In keeping with the book's subtitle, the style is relentlessly self-mocking, which can be funny, but I think the writing lacks the light touch which is required to keep things moving along (e.g. p65: "I'd managed to complete an academic record remarkable only for its lack of remarkability with three unremarkable A-level grades [...]"). The details about the personal habits of his bandmates - while intended to be amusing - also became tiresome after a while, since I think he was rather too successful in showing them in an unflattering light.

Matters improved towards the end of the book as he found some degree of success in the spoof band Shirehorses and, apart from that, the parts I liked best were his intermittent accounts of seeing bands that made a difference to him (such as Dr Feelgood, David Bowie and Madness); perhaps a book which was more focused on that sort of thing (like his Reelin' in the Years) would be more to my taste. Time will tell.
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Jeremy Walton
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Location: Sidmouth, UK

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