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Apathy for the Devil Paperback – 3 Feb 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571232868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571232864
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`Not just a biography but a thriller; a high-octane chase through a decade's musical history.' --NME Magazine

`Dispensed with a bleak wit and brutal candour ... this is a book for anyone that's ever read a music magazine from cover to cover but still wanted to know more.' --Q Magazine

'Celebrity drug addict and genius wordsmith, he is a man who has lived rock'n'roll to the full.' --Dylan Jones, GQ

Book Description

Apathy for the Devil: sixteen years after his seminal rock tome The Dark Stuff, Nick Kent produces a brilliant and very personal despatch: his memoir of the 1970s.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeremy Walton TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Along with Charles Shaar Murray and Ian MacDonald, Nick Kent was one of the finest writers contributing to the NME in the early/mid 70's, and the quality of their prose - opinionated, scathing, funny, knowledgeable - was the reason I would excitedly await the appearance of the paper every week. Of the three of them, Kent always stood out as the most extreme: authoritative in his pronouncements, vituperative in his put-downs and casually allusive in his references to obscure bands or albums. He also appeared to have an intriguing life away from the paper: I remember his emergence as a guitarist with his own band, just at about the same time as Chrissie Hynde - another NME writer - was putting The Pretenders together (the fact that his band immediately sank without trace did nothing to detract from the way in which the ultimate transition from writer to musician appeared to be apposite).

This memoir allows us to see just how intriguing that life really was. He describes his childhood, his early encounter with rock music and London's underground scene, being taken on by the NME (apparently, he was never on the staff, preferring to remain a freelancer) and meeting up with the stars of the day: the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Iggy Pop amongst others (including Chrissie Hynde, with whom he apparently had a brief romance). This is all good stuff (some of his articles have already appeared in his excellent collection The Dark Stuff), and he provides plenty of detailed anecdotes about his adventures (which continue into the latter part of the seventies, when he found himself briefly in an early line-up of the Sex Pistols).
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Format: Paperback
I finished this book in two sittings. Not because it's superficial, but because it's positively riveting, at least
to music lovers who came of age with the golden age of the NME. Nick Kent may not have the quirkiness of a Lester
Bangs, but he wields equal authority, as the inevitable --though always very welcome -- list of favourite albums
and tracks at the end confirms. He is also refreshingly honest and suitably circumspect about his personal trials
and tribulations. For those yet to discover the true delights of rock/popular music (Stooges, MC5, Beefheart, Can, Al Green,
Television, VU, etc.) this will be an education; for those who have, it will call them back to why they love it all so much.
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Nick Kent was an English journalist with the New Musical Express, a weekly publication that I used to devour in the 1970s when I first became enthralled by rock music, a passion that has remained with me till now. Together with Charles Shaar Murray, Paul Morley, Tony Parsons, Mick Farren and Julie Birchill, I lived on what Nick Kent wrote about music in his singular style and would go off and buy records purely on his recommendations, and almost always without regret. His compelling memoir took me back to that era, one which now I feel blessed to have lived through as a teenager. Nick Kent conceals nothing and writes with alarming honesty and self-deprecating humour about his rampant addiction to heroin over much of the 1970s, and how it ravaged his own life and that of so many others in the music industry. What remains, however, is the quality of the music that came out of that much maligned decade and about which he writes with such zest: Neil Young arguably at his peak; The Rolling Stones when they still made great music; Rod Stewart before he got lost in the US; the West Coast sound of Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills and Nash; the glam rock of David Bowie, Mott the Hoople and Roxy Music; and then halfway through the decade punk and new wave with The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Television, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello; and at the decade's end Bruce Springsteen.
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Enjoyable speedy read. I read this on holiday and it was perfect - being described as "a beach read" is a bit damning in faint praise but there you go. I agree with other reviews here that Nick Kent surpisingly veers into cringey cliches but at least he never gets pretentious. He also favours repeating the use of several words I was not familiar with like "glomming". But his use of the word "diaper" instead of nappy probably annoyed me the most! (Obv to appease his US readership). Its again one of those tales of a druggie's redemption; Junkie a***hole comes cleans and realises he was a c**t to many - see also Boy George, Danny Sugarman etc. So, its not original but flows well. Tales of Led Zep stand out most and his admiration of Bowie is spot on. I am surprised he can remember much though, the state he was in. Bitterness enters when he is 'rejected' by the punk fraternity and he I thought he unfairly laid into Jimmy Pursey who I think was much misunderstood at the time. The ending was a little hurried although I think he mentions he had another book in him, and the stuff about his father dying was moving. However his "seen the light" moment with the Smiths was a bit comical (esp when you remember he constantly ignored fan-boy Morrissey in the early days). Anyway - worth the read but wish there had been some photos!
Miss.P.
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