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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Stories We Could Tell
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on 18 April 2006
The novel is set during the punk era, and significantly and symbolically at the time when Elvis dies. It follows three young writers working for a music paper (the NME!) at the most exciting music era since Beatlemania. Great music references for those of you around in the 70's. - A book about self discovery by looking at your past.
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on 17 May 2006
Being a proper music fan, and taking into account Tony Parson's NME background AND his other great books, I was, dare I say it, slightly disappointed. Parson's does have the ability to use a clever mix of emotional and descriptive language that as a reader just makes his books worthier than other authors . This book however, seemed to lack the potential to invoke empathy with some of the central characters.

I honestly started to have trouble separating Terry from Leon and then from Ray, but I do like the format of a character's story per sub-chapter, as Parson's demonstrated with his last novel.

Another drawback is just having Misty as the only main female, a strong woman, but no chance for me to have any empathy with her. It's Terry I feel for when she sneaks off with another character. I loved the music/band references and Leon's disco awakening was moderately amusing, coupled with the Red Mist Fanzine sub-plot.

I just remember feeling more sympathy with the characters from 'The Family Way' when compared to this novel, but nevertheless there are some highlights.

Any Zep fans who then found themselves seduced by three-chord nonsense and pogo-ing when punk reared its spitting head will find some things to relate to here. Not bad Tony, but see me after school. I'm off to meet Dag.
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on 25 October 2006
Having enjoyed the previous "Man and ..." books, I had high expectations which unfortunately were not met.

The various 'adventures' of the 3 characters were so similiar that I lost track of who was who. Thinking back now, it's all a bit of a blur.

The author had lightly sprinkled the earlier books with a number of references to the music and clothing of the time (usually 1980's) which I had all but forgotten and found pleasantly nostalgic. This book however tried to make up for a poor story with an overdose of nostalgia and didn't do it for me.
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on 19 July 2006
Tony Parsons background as a music journalist on the NME certainly qualifies him to write this novel about the music scene / culture of the late 70s (1977) through the eyes of 3 young music reporters, and although it is well-written, the central characters were indifferent and almost interchangeable.

Maybe I was born a few years too late to really get into the story, but I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as I had his previous books.
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on 13 February 2006
I approached this from the camp of a confirmed fan, having read his other stuff. However, I got this sinking feeling a few pages in - the realisation that I'd have to finish it, since it would be compulsive in a trashy, pulp fiction type way, but that I would not ultimately feel edified by the experience. I read a quote (on the cover I think) about TP having a "broadsheet mind and a tabloid voice". The more I ploughed on through this, though, the more I felt that it was the latter that came to the fore. As a child of punk, I could relate to all the cultural references here, but it just seemed to unfold in an oh-so-obvious narrative that was short on the unexpected, short on character depth and short on any genuine insigth. The sense of transience is a constant theme throughout this novel, but you feel that it's rather beaten into you with the subtelty of a steam hammer; "lightness of touch" isn't really a phrase that lends itself readily to The Stories We Could Tell. All in all, then, my least favourite TP novel - and all the more shame since, from its subject matter, it promised to be the most enjoyable.
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on 13 July 2006
Stories We Could Tell - Tony Parsons new book. It is quite different from his previous ones. This time it is about three about twenty-nothing years old guys, that are all music journalist at The Paper. It is 16th August 1977 - the day Elvis died. So basically it's about the rock music culture of the late 70s (when everything is changing) and three confused guys who need to grow up.

I was very dissapointed with this book, cos it isn't nearly as good as Parsons's previous ones. Okay, TP kind of managed to make me interested in the music culture of the late 70s, but... Well, just but. This wasn't really the book for me. The characters were kind of symphatetic (like TP's alway are), but... I don't think TP managed to get that deep into them this time, and they were also too much alike. It was sometimes even hard to keep trakt of who was who. I didn't really feel very deeply for any of them. And the end then. It wasn't sugar sweet (TP's never are in my opinion), but it was an end that pretended to be a good ending, even thou to me it felt all wrong.
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on 9 March 2009
Tony Parsons' previous four novels have been a case of gradually diminishing returns for me though thankfully Stories We Could Tell bucks the trend and is something of a departure. It is also in many ways his most personal novel to date.

Stories is a rites of passage for three young music journalists working for a weekly music paper. It is set in 1977 amidst the exciting rise of "the new music" with most of the action taking place around the watershed night of Elvis Presley's death and is clearly influenced by the teenage Parsons' own experiences at the NME.

The novel mentions real players in the punk movement though some of the lead characters in the story are given fictional names. I've got a good idea who the "Godfather of Punk" Dag Wood and wild super-journalist Skip Jones are largely based on and anyone who's' seen any documentaries from the period should be able to guess the real identity of deranged fan Brainiac.

The prose in SWCT is arguably not as free-flowing as in Tony Parsons' previous novels though this is countered by a more interesting, less sentimental period piece story. A thought-provoking and sensitive though not overtly nostalgic novel about the punk years by an author who was really there. Well worth reading.
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on 24 October 2012
Set in the Silver Jubilee year the story follows Terry, Ray & Leon.
All three are 20 years old and work in the same music newspaper as writers/critics.

It is a fast paced story of, essentially, one night. The night Elvis died in August 1977.
It follows the lads through a fast paced, drug fuelled, anarchic, punked up couple days in london.
There are fights, drugs, booze & music all the way through. It works quite well.
The author weaves nostalgia into the action, with London landmarks & political landmarks that I remember.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book was the nostalgia. i was there and can remember most of it, especially when my memory
was nudged by the author.
The other reason is his excellent descriptive & emotional writing.
The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is I found it difficult to seperate the 3 characters sometimes, maybe it is me getting old,
maybe the characterisation was a bit close.

I must quote a paragraph i found particularly apt
"A regular girl bored you, but a wild one made you miserable. One made you feel like a prisoner, and the other made you feel like nothing".

P.s buy books secondhand from Amazon. they are a good deal.
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on 20 August 2009
A fabulous book for anyone who was young and 'out there' in the 70's. The characters are not always pleasant but are certainly colourful and I identified quite strongly with their exploits.

If you have no interest in music, youth, bad behaviour or alcohol and drug abuse you may still enjoy the sheer anarchic enthusiasm of the decade and the young people that helped shape it.

I loved it!
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on 30 May 2006
I didn't enjoy this book and its difficult to know why because it is well written with great detail of the new music scene in 1977.

My problem was a growing restlessness with the 3 main characters. I'd guessed working on a music paper in the late 70's would be pretty edgy but this is a story of a nerd-like trio of bedwetting music journos.

If I could have given the 3 main characters a good slap and finish the book before the end I would have done.
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