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Bad Vibes: Britpop and my part in its downfall Paperback – 1 Jan 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434018465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434018468
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 724,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A compulsive read, part Oswald Spengler, part Spike Milligan, and very, very funny" (David Peace)

"'As acerbic and hilarious as you'd expect from a man who thought it completely reasonable to call a pop single "Unsolved Child Murder." Haines clearly relishes - and shines in - his role as the Ancient Mariner at the Britpop party.'" (John Niven, author of Kill Your Friends)

"A lavishly bitchy memoir packed with gripes, grievances and tall stories told at the expense of other more famous musicians...Haines has constructed a vivid literary persona for himself as the great, grumpy Nearly Man of 1990s rock...He pours endless scorn on his amiable peers, who bizarrely seem not to mind or even notice...Rock's misanthrope in excelsis." (Sunday Times)

"These recollections of a bitter former pop star could be mistaken for a great comic novel...Compelling...An entertaining read...Haines is as funny as he is grumpy...The formless unpredictable life of the minor rock musician, forever jetting about on unspecified "promotional" duties or being loaded on to a tour bus like cargo rather than talent, has rarely been captured so acutely...Bad Vibes, good book." (Independent on Sunday)

"Luke Haines was a delusional, cruel, pompous and arguably cloth-eared despot throughout the 90s. If he wasn't such a viciously funny writer, he'd have made an excellent music journalist...A beautifully acerbic and elegant portrayal of a committed misanthrope unleashing the titular bad vibes upon music business doofuses, from telling Chris Evans to fuck off to jumping off a 15-foot wall and breaking his ankles to get out of a European tour...What's not to love?" (Q Magazine (5 stars))

Review

'As acerbic and hilarious as you'd expect from a man who thought it completely reasonable to call a pop single "unsolved Child Murder". Haines clearly relishes - and shines in - his role as the Ancient Mariner at the Britpop party.'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
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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By Og Oggilby TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'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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Format: Paperback
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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