I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music Paperback – 6 Jul 2017
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A roller-coaster memoir, which also works as a paean to a lost era, when pop (and pop journalism) was flush with cash and kudos (Sunday Times (Music Book of the Year))
Great journalism, and also written with a clear, unsentimental eye (The Times)
Patterson hilariously recounts life on Britain's Brightest Pop Magazine (TM). Funny, anecdote-packed, nostalgic but also very touching (The Pool)
Celebratory and elegiac, I'm Not with the Band documents the last three and half decades in pop and gives an honest account of an exhilarating and grueling life. Top read. (Guardian)
The frank, funny and fearless memoir of Sylvia Patterson - one of Britain's best-loved and most influential music writers. Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2016.See all Product description
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My teenage years revolved around the weekly music papers, they were an integral part of my life and I read, particularly Melody Maker, from cover to cover without fail. Journalism was on my list of potential careers and, fascinating and as exciting as I thought it might be, Sylvia's recollections paint a picture of extreme highs and crushing, almost unimaginable lows. I admired these scribes, this is exactly the kind of book I wanted to read and I have loved every single word. A must for anyone who lived through the 'glory year's of the printed music press.
Patterson is a music journalistic who has seen the music world transform from Wham in the 80s to Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran now. There are immense stories in here, pretty much every chapter dedicated to an interview with a different musician. If you have heard of them, she has interviewed and met them.
It moves from her early career in the 80s with Smash Hits covering Wham and Bros to the 90s with NME and Oasis (interviewed just after 9/11) and onto the 00s with the new celebrity driven musician world.
There are good things with each chapter being about one musician, it is easy to pick up and put down but also means that some of the flow of the book falls down.
You can get a glimpse of the world that has changed since Patterson joined to Smash Hits to her now freelance world.
At stages throughout the book, more so towards the latter half, Patterson gives an insight into the changing landscape of reporting and particularly music reporting. From the mergence of the celebrity culture and onto the social media trends of instant responses, and in the case of Warpaint, responses to stories, you see how a reporters life and work has changed, and to a degree is out of their control. Her comments on and her never sent resignation letter to the NME are so accurate and insightful it is great.
Patterson has led a roller coaster of a life across both her personal and professional career. It is a great story but I can’t help but but feel that this could be a superb read if that if rather than dedicating each chapter to a band/musician, it took the reader through her life, stage by stage.
A journey back to my teenage self and beyond.