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Gig: The Life and Times of a Rock-star Fantasist Paperback – 28 May 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141021241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021249
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Engaging, eccentric, hilarious, incredibly good company. A wonderwall of moments and memories... one of our most entertaining authors' Independent 'Armitage is incapable of writing anything that is not wry, warm, witty and layered with meaning. Poignant and extraordinary' Metro 'Witty, terrific, stupendously funny' Daily Telegraph 'Profoundly affecting... probably the greatest joy I'll find on a page all year... reads like a transcript of the funniest stand-up you'll never hear' Herald 'I read this book in one sitting. It moved me to tears, to shouts of laughter, and made me look at even the most mundane things in a different way' Sunday Times

Metro

"Dry, deadpan and pant-wettingly funny...Armitage is not capable of writing anything that is not wry, warm, witty and layered with meaning" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This really shouldn't work. A series of ramblings connected only by the love of music theme, mentioning a large number of bands I have never heard of and being, at times so personal that it could be hard to connect with. Also there are strange decisions about how to deal with or write about people in his life- his wife, only referred to as speedy Sue and a range of other "characters". So- does it work? Triumphantly yes. Armitage has a wonderful droll tone as he describes his early musical influences and his kneejerk progression through punk, mod and new romantic as he fell in love with all aspects of the ever changing scene. There are Alan Bennettesque riffs on booksignings; poetry readings (gigs); writing projects and inevitably his family. The list of possible names for his own band is worth the price of the book alone, as are the short dialogues of remembered exchanges between him and the grouchy reading public. This is laugh out loud funny and brilliant writing deserving the cliche "heartwarming" and hilarious at the same time. His habit of going off on a tangent is not irritating but wonderfully unpredictable- just as you think you are reading an article on the Artic Monkeys it becomes one on the Comsat Angels and you are beguiled by his ability to riff and stream of consciousness to his hearts desire. Buy and smile and laugh and read again. He's a poet and he does know it- but by god his prose is magical as well.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. Simon Armitage is a natural writer. He does wander about a bit but only in good way and always with a purpose, even if it's only a roundabout route to a cracking punch line. I found myself nodding in agreement with several parts of the book, especially when he's describing the yell/shriek at the beginning of The Damned's "New Rose". It's a very funny book. I read it on a long coach journey while listening to my ipod and my fiancé kept prodding me and saying "You're laughing very loudly". To which I replied "I know". It also has its disturbing and quite frankly harrowing moments. None more so than when Armitage describes the murky goings on in a Travel Lodge near you. If you've never really understood the attraction of bands such as Simply Red or UB40 read this book and you'll laugh like a drain. If you think the aforementioned bands are some kind of musical colossus read this book, you might learn something. Five stars and no mistake.
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Format: Paperback
As Simon Armitage's stock rises ever higher - surely he'll be the next Poet Laureate..? - it seems curmudgeonly to criticise him, however, as witty and droll as this 'autobiography' is - and it is - there is a whiff of smugness about it that grates, and for anyone who's read previous works such as the excellent All Points North there's a fair bit of crossover.
These grumbles aside, there is plenty of charm here, and descriptions of some of the gigs Armitage has attended are brilliant - the Morrissey one in particular.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not a rock-star fantasist myself, knowing very little about the bands that Simon Armitage writes about in Gig. I normally read PC magazines and technical books as a way of relaxing. I bought this book for my daughter and decided to read it before giving it to her. I was captivated by it from the first laugh to the last, throughout the book. I like the way Simon opens the door on his early life and his family life in the north of England. I cannot admit to being a dedicated reader of Simon Armitage's poetry but I have very much enjoyed and been moved by hearing him read his work live on the few occasions I have had the chance. Being treated to many laughs, sometimes at Simon's expense, throughout Gig is well worth the four stars in my opinion especially as I get the chance of passing that pleasure on to someone else. I feel I know Simon a little better and I am more able to appreciate his work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a random download for holiday reading after reading reviews of his latest. Loved it, just a wonderful read, light but with many depths. Perfect for a child of the 80s but as good as perfect for a child of the 70s.
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Format: Hardcover
Simon Armitage occupies a fairly unique cultural position. On one hand he is one of the nation's best-known poets; tipped for the Poet Laureate and known to students across the land from their GCSE anthologies (it speaks highly of his work that he is known and liked by said GCSE students, according to some very rough polling by your reviewer). Simultaneously he is something of a counter-cultural icon; many will have first come across his work in the halcyon days of Mark and Lard's Radio 1 show in the early 1990s and he has a passion for post-punk groups such as the Fall and Young Marble Giants.

Gig is Armitage's second collection of memoirs, alongside 1998's equally excellent All Points North, and as with the previous volume this is a varied collection of recollections, poems, anecdotes and gig reviews. These, in part at least, have a common theme in exploring Armitage's forty-something reflections on his career as a poet and frustrated rock-star, including the formation of the band The Scaremongers (I know, but it's better than Fantastic Gammon; Armitage's father wryly suggests Midlife Crisis), through which he lives out some of his adolescent dreams of rock stardom.

The book is infused with his usual self-deprecating humour, as well as Armitage's genuine passion for rock music, poetry and that corner of West Yorkshire that "begins where the goalpost of the M1 meets the crossbar of the M62". At times, it's also a moving account; Armitage reflects thoughtfully on the condition of the forty-something male, and on the events and individuals who have influenced him in a touching, sensitive way. As a (nearly) forty-something frustrated rock-star myself, I enjoyed every page of this; and if you are contemplating a mid-life crisis, buy this before you spend thousands of pounds on a powerful sports car you don't need!
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