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Nileism: The Strange Course of the Blue Nile Hardcover – 1 Nov 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (1 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971389
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 801,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'The Blue Nile sound more like being in love than being in love does.' --Melody Maker

'There is something magnificent about the sheer doggedness of The Blue Nile's adherence to the unorthodox trajectory of their singular career.' --The Guardian

From the Publisher

`There is something magnificent about the sheer doggedness of The Blue Nile's adherence to the unorthodox trajectory of their singular career' RICHARD WILLIAMS, THE GUARDIAN
`The Blue who? Oh my God, I've never heard of them' CHRIS MARTIN, COLDPLAY

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ah, The Blue Nile. Loneliness and heartache, melancholy and ecstasy...they're like a secret club in the world of music, where once you've discovered them and taken them to your heart you can imagine exchanging masonic handshakes with "those in the know", those other sensitive souls who have also found the music of The Blue Nile.

This book by Allan Brown comes hot on the heels of From A Late Night Train, another book on the band published a few months ago. Who'd have thought it? Here we are, hunting and scrounging for every precious scrap of information on the group and their music, and nearly thirty years after they've formed we suddenly get what amounts to a deluge of text. Not that I'm complaining - the earlier book by Eliot Huntley and Edith Hall is definitely worth seeking out, but this new one from Allan Brown is the real deal.

First of all, the title. "Nileism: The Strange Course of The Blue Nile". It's perfect. A neologism and a nod to the indeed strange path through life taken by those three young graduates from Glasgow.

Second, the design of the book. It's been exquisitely put together, with the coloured text on the dust jacket echoing the cover of A Walk Across The Rooftops. It's printed on good quality paper, and features a host of beautiful photos of the band and the land they grew up in. A photo on the rear cover of the rain-soaked splendour of Dumbarton Road in Partick is breathtaking; it has an almost Stephen Shore quality in its atmospheric, angular composition and somehow manages to conjure up the band's songs perfectly. There's also a glossy section of black and white plates in the centre of the book with photos of the band and associates with some press clippings and photos of the early haunts of the band members.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a salutory tale for any potential entrant into the music industry, that's for sure. The Blue Nile are probably the only group in music history to maintain that distance and integrity from the 'machine' but it's come at a heck of a price. Whilst many of the Group's fans can retain the dream that the band didn't play by the rules and had a sufficiently high quality control to reduce output to one album every seven years, the reality is somewhat less glamourous. The protaganists, from band members to producers to managers all end up in the same bemused state around how things turned out. Paradoxically the one thing that becomes very clear throughout the book is that the Blue Nile (and particularly Paul Buchanan) are elusive beyond belief.

Any fan of the band will read and enjoy the book. Allan Brown captures the times well (and let's be honest, there are many different eras in the Blue Nile saga). His love of Glasgow and the band comes through on every page. In the end, I couldn't make up my mind whether this was a sad tale of lost opportunities or a grudging admittance that they produced what they did, because of the way they worked. Buy Mid Air as well and you'll have a complete picture.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Blue Nile are interesting. This book is about The Blue Nile. Ergo, this book is interesting. But it is not nearly as interesting as it should have been, and, as other reviewers have noted, it doesn't really tell us that much more than we already know.

Brown's writing is engaging, although his tone can be a little grating at times as he can be somewhat sniffy and dismissive, but he has an obvious passion for his subject and a real desire to lay bare his subjects. His, the book's, and ultimately our, problem is that he can't because Paul Moore and Robert Bell had nothing to do with the book and we therefore get no closer to really solving the enigma that the three men represent. This weakness is exposed at the moment the relationships really starts to fall apart (during the recording of 'Peace at Last) when all we learn is that the group recorded in a variety of locations around the world in an effort to create the sound they wanted. The whole episode is covered in about six pages, a lot of which are taken up with Beatles in '68 comparisons. All we learn about PJ Moore in this period is that he bought a big computer and Calum Malcom didn't like it.

The book raises a lot of questions - questions all fans of the band have - but really doesn't, or rather can't, answer them. These range from the big philosophical questions like why did Paul Moore get such a massive hump with Paul Buchanon? Why did Robert Bell drift away?, down to the more prosaic but still interesting questions about just what the hell Bell and Moore do with their time from day to day and just what do they live on? I would love to know if album sales provide for their daily comforts which would only be a fitting reward for the joy they have brought to me and thousands of others.
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Format: Hardcover
There is more than enough inside information to make this a compelling read for any Blue Nile fan, and let's face it that is who the majority of readers will be. Paul Buchanan's tortured reaction to some honest criticism and his subsequent enhanced productivity will make any observer wonder what firmer management could have achieved.

Given the readership the author Allan Brown could have done with more editorial input as his extended insights into the music will add little to the observations that most fans have in appreciating this deeply emotive music that strikes such a personal note.

However cutting the book back would have made more obvious what is missing.

Having clearly set out the painful fact that the relationship between Buchanan, Moore and Bell has broken down - an absence of input from the latter two left me wondering what a compelling read this would have been had Brown managed to answer the questions he can only skirt around.

As he puts it, these guys live in the same postcode and, in the case of Buchanan and Moore anyway, haven't spoken in years. I'd have forgiven any amount of typo's if he had been able to land that book...
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