Nothing Paperback – 19 Jun 2000
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A deep and I guess heavy book but one that will strike a chord with many people about the complex working of our parents who or when we reflect on in later life. 10/10Published 7 months ago by Mr. I. Fawkes
IN GOOD CONDITION AND I KNOW IT WILL BE A GOOD READ, FROM A LOCAL LAD IN OUR CITY OF MANCHESTERPublished on 1 Jan. 2014 by dee melia
I'm really struggling. I read the first 6 pages today and already I think the thing I'd most like to do is garotte the author.
It's just his writing style. Read more
The review which you are about to read may or may not be true. In fact the book in question may not even really exist. Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2005 by M Keenaghan
I take it that the title emanates from the everything & nothing of Samuel Beckett-though I harbour a fantasy it comes from the depeche mode song... Read morePublished on 7 April 2002 by Jason Parkes
i bought this book because 1.i am a fan of paul morley's writing/tv programmes.2.i am suicidal.firstly,the cover. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2001
I have just finished this wonderful book and have been motivated to put pen to paper myself, which doesn't happen very often. Read morePublished on 17 Aug. 2000 by Mrs. J. A. Bier