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Espedair Street Audio Download – Unabridged

4.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 38 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 23 Jan. 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HSCQS1S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 2 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
Banks is incredibly versatile as an author. Each of his books manages to deal with a wide array of subjects. Yet the commonailty of his books is the way the reader is completely drawn in to the characters.
Espedair Street - about an ex rock-star - is moving, and at the same time hilarious. It genuinely had me laughing out loud (on the Tube, not the done thing).
For once, a Scottish author has managed to portray dingy life and the struggle of a disadvantaged background, in a non-depressing manner. Congratulations.
I've found some of the reviews critical of this book as it is unrealistic. It may well be. I'm not an ex rock star, so I don't know. Don't buy it perhaps if you want a book about a rock-star. But as a book about the human being - from no-hope misery, to success and back - this is outstanding. Read this book.
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By A Customer on 11 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
Espedair Street is presumably a novel Iain Banks had planned from his youth - Being lyric writer for a mega-successful rock band is an obvious fantasy for any talented writer since the 1950's - (and for many non-talented writers too, no doubt). It is also a novel that had been on my to-read list since I first started reading Banks' work a few years ago, spurred on by the enticing back-of-book notes. In common some of his later novels, noticeably Whit, Espedair Street is told in two different timeframes. The narrator, Daniel Weir, gives scenes of his current life amongst the have-nots of Glasgow, holed up in a disused Church, interspersed with the details of his career in Music that lead him to this point. Then a man from his past turns up in his present with news that creates a crisis of conscience, the resolution of which takes us through the closing chapters. As in all his work, Banks' words flow well off the page, and the novel is laced with plenty of imagination and wit, and a good pace is maintained throughout helped by a constant shifting of scene. The background to Weir's home provide an interesting fore-runner to the religion in Whit, and there are memorable scenes with a drunk dog and a pigeon, and in an aeroplane around Kent. The fight scene in the night club is skilfully choreographed, and the accidents that befall his friends are also well thought out. However, on completing the book I was left feeling that the sum of the novel added up to less than sum of the parts. The characterisations were fine as far as they went but I felt they lacked depth. In this his latter friends were better drawn than the fellow band members.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
'Espedair Street' is the story of Daniel Weir - 'Weird' - the songwriter of (fictional) scotish rock band Frozen Gold. The novel depicts in alternating chapters Weird's current life -in 1987- as a 31 year old ex rock star and his journey as a 17 year old in 1973 to become one. Frozen Gold are a mid seventies supergroup - think Pink Floyd meets Fleetwood Mac, with all the ego,excess, drugs, sex and booze you could wish for!

The story is pure teenage boy wish fulfillment - beautifully and poetically rendered. The yearnings Weird has for love, sex and success along with the drab wet world of early 70's scotland he wishes to escape from are very well written. Equally well written are the stories of rock success and massive excess! Weird retains our sympathy because he is enriched by success yet scarred by it and because he retains most of his teenage insecurities.

I first read 'Espedair Street' 20 years ago when I was 17 years old myself. Then the story of Daniel Weir, the stuttering loser managing to become a rock star struck a powerful chord, 'Espedair Street' was my 'Catcher In The Rye'. Reading it recently as a 37 year old was akin to rereading an old diary. I was transported back to the late 80's and had the joy of reading a much loved story all over again.

Reading it now I see 'Espedair Street' as a wonderful teenage self indulgence. I would be fascintated to know what a 17 year old from 2008 makes of it - now that the late 80's 'now' the book is set in is now so long ago!

One section made me chuckle, (pages 128 -129), Wes MacKinnon, Frozen Gold's keyboard player buys a mainframe computer,transfers their studio music recordings onto discs so he can play them on his computer...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Espedair Street is narrated by retired songwriter Daniel Weir, as he looks back on his wild days as a member of the world famous rock band Liquid Gold. When we meet him he is living as an eccentric recluse in Glasgow, doing what he can to stay unrecognised and only keeping a few friends who do not know of his past. He tells us of the life of excess, folly and unbridled indulgence, the loneliness and the wild parties. Weir is the odd one out, carrying his ugliness sometimes like a burden, other times like a trump card of comedy. The swirling mess of the incestuous relationships within the band, the drugs, the stadium-sized pyrotechnics contrast sharply with Weir's present-time quiet life, whilst all the time his retrospective wisdom makes the messy end seem inevitable.

And then, in the midst of what you might think is a story of a tired man at the end of his life regretting what has passed, it becomes clear that Weir is only thirty, and that he might get a chance of a new beginning.

This is an uplifting book with a good mix of melancholy and hope. The time of Liquid Gold's heyday sounds electric and destructive, whilst the Weir's current life is dull and grey in comparison, but no less destructive. And all the way through Weir's narration is funny, touching and entertaining. There is a certain something lacking that stops this book delivering a punch that is remembered after you put it down, but a good read none the less.
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