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Nothing Paperback – 19 Jun 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (19 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571177999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571177998
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Paul Morley had his 15 minutes of true glory with the sudden and short-lived flowering of talent at ZTT Records in the early 1980s, with the brilliance that was Frankie Goes To Hollywood and The Art of Noise. Now that he's an all-purpose journalist and media pundit, few would stop to credit him with an inner life. But with Nothing he corrects that picture. And how. Morley's life story provides the perfect recipe for long-term angst. Born on the Isle of Wight, son of a prison guard, raised in a stifling Stockport, apparently tortured throughout his adolescence and beyond by a complete absence of self-worth, he tracks most of his problems to the suicide--unexplained, perhaps unexplainable--of his father in the summer of 1977. Nothing is not always an easy read--the first dozen pages comprise Morley's meditation on a dead body, and that dense pondering fairly much sets the tone. For father was not alone-Morley explores his obsessed, obsessive reaction to the deaths of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, Marc Bolan, Elvis and it's clear that this tragedy has structured his entire life. On virtually every page there's a reference to Morley's previous attempts to write this book--with its myriad working titles (Sing A Song of Suicide, Death In The Family, you get the idea)--you soon realise that this is a life project. Of course there's a blacker-than-black comedy at work here too--from his father's orgasm in 1956 ("after the war and just before rock and roll") to the suicide-friendly discography he thoughtfully provides to help readers along. Self-indulgent? Yes. Fancy an evening down the pub with him? Not unless you come. But it is a sincere, intensely personal self-exploration that--oddly--speaks for a generation of angst-ridden, and borderline-suicidal, young men. --Alan Stewart


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Paul Morley's outstanding book which I found magical and unputdownable. It made me laugh out loud and I have to admit cry in a way no other book has done. It has many layers and digressions and on the surface it is about the author confronting the shattering suicide of his father. However it is also "about" pop culture, inspiration and the coming together of the family that survive .It manages to be both very very funny and very very tragic, you have to read it to understand why. This must be a classic of the 2000s on mortality, families, memory and music. For myself I've never read anything like it and the vividness and honesty of the writing will live with me for a very long time. And guess what, the first thing I did after reaching "the end" was to ring my father. A brilliant book.
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Format: Paperback
In 1977 I first bought the New Musical Express as a twelve year who felt the need to boost my punk rock credentials. Over the next few years I was to become a great fan of the writings of Paul Morley, an NME regular. Morley took full advantage of the anarchy that punk provoked within the music industry to play around with music journalism etiquette and wrote about anybody who took his fancy rather than just the usual approved subjects.
In 1977, Paul Morley's father committed suicide, an event which has been ever present in his mind but in a kind of unacknowledged way. "Nothing" is an attempt to come to terms with such a major life/death event, which, until recently, Morley had blocked-out to the degree that he couldn't quite remember in which year the suicide took place.
With his Manchester base, Paul Morley championed Joy Division, whose singer Ian Curtis also committed suicide. The book begins with a lengthy description of Curtis' dead body as Tony Wilson, boss of Joy Division's label, Factory Records invited Morley to do this. The book also touches upon the deaths of other singers such as Marc Bolan and Elvis Presley, deaths which were better remembered and more effectively grieved for by the author than the death of his father.
The book gives an intimate insight into a real family, although Morley's mother and two sisters take bit parts until the latter stages of the book. A lengthy interview with these women fills in many of the factual gaps in the whys, whens an hows of Morley's father and his life and death.
Paul Morley still has the need to play around with words and narrative. The book is entertaining, sobering, funny and sad. It explores all the contradictions of the taboo of suicide and deals with a whole lot more besides.
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Format: Paperback
I ended a relationship last night. I’m grieving. Like the best relationships we had so much in common, we laughed at the same things, and when we thought about the hopelessness, and the sadness of so many people around us, we wept together.
Like the most powerful relationships we were meant to be together. Two people on this planet destined to be together, and, against all the odds, we discovered each other. We weren’t even together for very long. Just a couple of weeks. Sometimes I felt completely out of my depth. Sometimes I wondered what he saw in me. His mind was so open, too open, his mind sucked you in, consumed you, but it didn’t want to devour you. It wanted to show you so many things, in so many ways. It wanted to explain why it needed you; it wanted to explain so much. But it had to be sure you understood. So it couldn’t explain something once. If there were twenty-five different ways to see something it would have to describe to you all twenty-five ways. And possibly a twenty-sixth.
So I grieve. The relationship has finished. And I’ll never forget it. My relationship with ‘Nothing’ by Paul Morley has ended. The last page is turned. The book replaced on the shelf.
Never has a book affected me in such a glorious way. This is a beautiful book. Ostensibly about the suicide of Paul Morley’s father, it is also an autobiography. Key areas of Paul Morley’s life are examined, dissected and studied. Schooldays, trips to Casualty, the death of Ian Curtis, depression, trousers, Marc Bolan, Paddington Station, taxi drivers, and cleaning ovens. This is a work that despite its subject matter never, ever dissolves into sentimentalism. A book about loss that never loses its way.
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Format: Paperback
This is the funniest, saddest, cleverest, most brilliantly honest book I have ever had the pleasure of reading... Truly an experience to savour - I found myself wanting to read every sentence at least twice, and I now plan to read the book again and highlight my favourite bits - yes, it's THAT good! Paul Morley has revealed/confirmed himself to be the most humbe, sincere, insightful & thoughtful genius of the 20th Century. Even if you've never heard of him - don't worry - because it really doesn't matter. Buy the book if you're a Joy Division fan - you'll love it. Buy the book if you're NOT a Joy Division fan - you soon will be. Buy the book if you read the NME - you never will again. Buy the book if you're alive - it contains thoughts that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Buy this book if you're happy - it will make you feel very lucky. Buy this book if you're sad - it will cheer you up. Buy this book at all costs! NOTE: If anyone has ANY Paul Morley articles (by or about him) please email me - I'm desperate to read more by this man.
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