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Eminent Hipsters Hardcover – 24 Oct 2013
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"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)
The life and times and cultural heroes of the musician and songwriter Donald Fagen, co-founder of Steely DanSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
This is the nature of the writing: a series of essays on subjects that have interested or influenced him. Sci-fi books and magazines; jazz; television programmes that are meaningless to me because I wasn’t around in fifties America. Cars; the usual. You can see where the lyrics and chords of My Old School came from. It’s completely different to the closely detailed writing of Knausggaard that I wrote about a few weeks ago. He doesn’t attempt to examine his younger self or his friends and feelings. If his father almost twisted his ear off, he isn’t going to address the issue now. On the other hand, he is sixty-eight . . . maybe he doesn’t remember.
If you are interested in this period of American music or how these major players became the original musicians they seemed to be at the time, then give it a go. It helps if you actually like Steely Dan because he is a little acerbic and as a reader I found myself frequently giving him a lot of latitude. Fortunately, I am a fan so it was an interesting read for me although his American hipster vernacular [‘I don’t want to be no jive turkey’ – eek!] became hard to take after a bit.
Quick postscript: I saw them live once; got the Steely Dan t-shirt to prove it.
Quick postscript: the cover of my copy has the genuflecting, This book is a piece of pure bliss – GUARDIAN on the cover which is absolutely hilarious since as everyone knows, the Guardian music department notoriously loathes and detests Steel Dan and all their works. Obviously the books department doesn’t talk to the music department.
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