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Eminent Hipsters by [Fagen, Donald]
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Eminent Hipsters Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Length: 177 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"Nerdishly clever, entertainingly original and even a moving reconfiguration of the memoir format." (Bernadette McNulty Sunday Telegraph)

"Fagen, as you might expect, is an elegant and erudite writer." (John Mulvey Uncut)

"If you're a Dan fan you should read this book. If you're not a Dan fan you should read it anyway." (The Afterword)

"Part memoir, part personal dissertation, and it makes for an enjoyable, if brief, read." (Dylan Jones GQ)

"A curious little autobiographical volume by another hero of long ago, Donald Fagen, once and again of Steely Dan." (Spectator)

Book Description

The life and times and cultural heroes of the musician and songwriter Donald Fagen, co-founder of Steely Dan

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 981 KB
  • Print Length: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EV5BJ0A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,856 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must-read for all Don (and Dan fans). He's not a happy man, for most of the time, and while he blames this on his age, you get the feeling that he's always been like this. There isn't a huge amount about Walter and Steely Dan in here, but that's fair enough: it's Don on Don. But here's hoping that the naughty pair will one day deliver the definitive Dan story. Anyway, this a great read, albeit a fairly short one. Do poor old hard-up Donald a favour and punt him a few cents. You won't regret it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a concentrated package of delight this is - everything I'd hoped for and more. A collection of essays which chart the esoteric territory of DF's 50s & 60s jazz, sci-fi, movie, literary and other cultural influences and then bring us up to date with his reflections on life on the road from a rather more seasoned perspective. Erudite, acute, and laugh out loud funny at times, this is a real gem from start to finish. He started out thinking he might become a journalist, and it's not hard to see why. But thank the Lord he followed the music.

There, I managed to write all that without saying "sardonic" once.
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Format: Hardcover
Donald Fagen is the co-founder of the band Steely Dan, of which I've been a fan for the past forty-plus years. In spite of the excellence of their music, and all the memories and messages it contains, you'd be excused for looking back over that period and thinking it patchy: seven albums between 1972 and 1980, then nothing for twenty years, then a couple more albums at the start of the noughties. Plus half a dozen solo albums from Fagen and his collaborator Walter Becker. And a live album. A fan such as I would tell you it's a neat illustration of the difference between quality and quantity, but it's perhaps understandable that our attention wanders every now and again. And, whilst my eye was off the ball, Fagen published this book (in Oct 2013). Not only has he never done such a thing before, but a musician writing a book is usually - in the words of Dr Johnson - "not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all". Getting his retaliation in first, Fagen introduces the book with "You may be thinking, oh no, another rock-and-roll geezer making a last desperate bid for mainstream integrity by putting out a book of belles lettres". So - how *has* he done?

To start with, he's a better writer than the average rock-and-roll geezer (who surely wouldn't know what the word "vitiate" (p4) means); he was originally an Eng. Lit. major and, during Steely Dan's wilderness years, wrote some articles for Premiere magazine. These are included in the first part of this book: a close appreciation of Henry Mancini, and an intense, unrevealing interview with Ennio Morricone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are amused by Fagen’s ironic song lyrics, you will have a good time reading this book. You will be taken back in time to get acquainted with the legends and medial currents that influenced mr Fagen musically during his formative teens and further into his successful years as songwriter and musician. He is an eminent observer of homo sapiens and the quirkiness of human nature is probably what saves his grumpy days. It’s a both interesting and entertaining narration and Fagen uses many humorous expressions that would fit as great song titles.

If you are a musician and/or frequent jazz club goer, some stories are hilarious and will put a wide smile on your face – like the "misplaced-girlfriend-in-a-jazz-club" scenario. In the tour diary section we get get to know a few downsides of maintaining stardoom on the road – dreary and slow hotel hours with TV, room service and solitude. Still, mr Fagen makes room for reflection on what made him tick musically in the first place and this is the core of the book. His ironic-cynical perspective of the world adds flavor to the story. While slowly sliding into the soon-to-be-60 grumpy existence myself, it is fun to discover you share quite a few of mr Fagen’s observations of the human species.

I notice that half of the book is diary notes from the Dukes of September tour. Would be a pretty slim book without these, so I understand why the publisher wanted to include this section. Perhaps mr Fagen is not that keen on writing books but still excels when he does.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An eminently readable, very engaging collection of pieces from Fagen. It's a slim volume, ideal for passing a train or plane journey. The first half is a series of stand-alone pieces covering things that have engaged the author's attention over the years, subjects ranging from the Boswell Sisters to Sci-Fi, as well as relating young Donald's first encounters with the jazz clubs of New York and the influences and lessons he drew from those he encountered there.

The second half of the book takes the form of a journal, written whilst on tour with the Dukes of September (Fagen, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and a full band and crew). Here we really get a glimpse into one of the the two minds that brought us some of the most obtuse lyrics, and sublime music, of the 20th century. This part of the book alone is worth the price of admission. Fagen has a wry, resigned take on life on the road. ADT (Acute Tour Disorder) is present throughout, along with his (often unsuccessful) attempts to ameliorate its effects. Along the way we learn that many celebrated concert halls are in fact acoustic hell-holes, and have our eyes opened to the methods that hotel pool-girls employ to maximise your lunch spend.

In short, the book is everything this Steely Dan fan had hoped for: well-written, laced with wry humour, and full of insights and stories that throw light onto what makes Donald tick.
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