The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996 Paperback – 25 Apr 2010
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'John Robb spent a year shoving a recorder under the nose of seemingly everybody on the Manchester music scene. From these interviews he has pieced together an extraordinary history.' ****(Mojo)
'Manchester's musical heritage eulogised in its players own words.' ****(Q)
About the Author
John Robb is a leading music journalist and the author of a bestselling biography of the Stone Roses. His other books include Punk: An Oral History and The Charlatans…We Are Rock. He lives in Manchester.
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Its a good mix of stuff from the very famous..to the not very famous...which I think gives the book a nice balance
That said, it's a fine book. Great coverage of the highways (Joy Division, Smiths, etc) but also the byways (80s non-Hac club scene especially). Also quite a lot of what seems like new content.
For the next edition: a map of the centre showing where venues, studios, dwellings are; some decent pictures
Essential reading for anyone with an interest in British indie/punk/rock/dance. Forget London, it was Manchester that took up the baton of punk and ran with it. The greatest bands of a generation were spawned in the post-industrial wastelands of the North West.
All of the key players have their say, from musicians to djs, promoters to producers.
A fascinating insight into how disparate groups of punks, soulboys, hip-hop and rap fans, and old school rockers mixed influences to create, well, magic.
However, the book is let down, badly in my opinion, by the sloppy editing, which is all the poorer when considering that this is a book about 'pride' - ie. pride in the Manchester music scene. Where was the pride in producing this book? Personally my enjoyment has been hindered by the feeling it had been rushed through rapidly, to be ready and out for sale, without a final, thorough proofreading. OK, we all put up with typos from time to time and they are quickly forgotten about, but there was one incidence here which I thought was particularly poor. P.146, where Lindsay Reade (Tony Wilson's first wife) is stated to have said, in regard to the guilt Ian Curtis had felt over his divided loyalties between his wife and daughter and his love for Annik, that Wilson had had the same problem "at the time". Now correct me if I am wrong, but having just read Reade's autobiographical account of her relationship with Wilson and having learnt that he did indeed suffer similar feelings of guilt when wishing to leave his *second* wife Hilary and their children for Yvette, this does render the reported statement somewhat out of sync, time-wise, with what actually happened. Indeed Wilson was married to Reade, and they had no children, "at the time" of Curtis's death and it is well-documented that he had been staying with Tony & Lindsay in the period shortly beforehand.
Robb, or whoever was responsible for transcribing the interviews, has made an error here and it does make me wonder if there are any others; in fact because of it my interest in the book has waned and I am in no rush to finish it. It brings to mind a quote from John Lydon I remember reading as a young teen, with him explaining that the first rule of punk is to "do it yourself", with the second rule being to "do it properly!" The editor of this oral history would have done well to follow that advice, as, and while this criticism may sound a bit strong to some, the book smacks of shoddy workmanship. I mean, come on, how difficult is it to get a final and thorough proofreading of a work done before publication? A book to borrow rather than buy would be my conclusion.
Thanks for your time.