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on 23 April 2014
It was good to hear author Simon Goddard discussing "Simply Thrilled" recently on Marc Radcliffe's radio show recently: particularly since Goddard had the rare candour to admit that he decided not to use any kind of the so-called "logical" techniques of standard (yawn) journalism while he was sifting through the slightly conflicting stories about Postcard Records he had been hearing from those who were involved at the time. Whereas another writer may have decided that certain of those tales sounded credible, and others had the tang of self-serving "porkies," Goddard made the judgement-free decision to simply use everything he heard to concoct some entertaining yarns for fans of the label and its legend. The ever-enterprising Goddard has to be commended for being among the few journalists persistent enough to win an audience with the deeply-reclusive former Postcard majordomo Alan Horne--the author frankly admits to falling under Horne's legendary spell over the course of many hours, and together they have produced a giddy, Molesworthian account of the label's all-too-brief existence. Postcard may have only produced a dozen or so rough-hewn singles before falling (and laughing!) apart 33 years ago, but there are memorable moments galore from everybody's favourite proto-indie japesters Orange Juice, along with wacky, Ealing-style cameos from the likes of Josef K, Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera's prodigiously gifted young leader) and Australia's Go-Betweens, the lovably louche accidental tourists who briefly made the pilgrimage to Postcard's opulent premises in Glasgow's West Princes Street, adding a touch of cosmopolitan flavor to Alan Horne's proud and puckish "Sound of Young Scotland." This is a book that more than lives up to its own billing as a "Preposterous Tale"--and more!

Simon Goddard keeps the book skipping along rather nicely, electing not to get bogged down in endlessly grim tales about all the dull depredations that Orange Juice doubtless had to face in Glasgow circa 1980; nor does the author dwell on the oft-rehashed significance of how they managed to make the London music industry come to them as they merrily went about transforming their home town from a purveyor of fourth-rate, self-loathing blues-rock into the most vibrant, original music scene of the post-punk years. By pulling off this minor miracle, Horne and his unruly charges ended up not only giving a city its self-respect back, but setting in motion an economic boom that would generate millions of pounds over subsequent decades, as bands like Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub continued to improve upon Postcard's legacy and earn themselves the worldwide fame that eluded the label's founders. That is an oft-told tale, so Goddard is wise to "give it a body-swerve" (to borrow some local vernacular!) in this delightful soufflé of a little book. Anyone who feels the need for an extra-heavy dose of seriosity would be better advised to pick up a copy of Simon Reynolds' epic and definitive history of the post-punk era, Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984

As young Mr. Goddard made it clear on the aforementioned radio interview, he was born a few too late to know about Postcard while the label was extant; he eventually heard about it through a later generation of bands--equally exciting to the latecomer, and certainly valid in their own laggardly ways--that would eventually awaken his interest in indie-rock. Incidentally, do not be surprised if the eternally enthusiastic Mr. Goddard next turns his attention to a long-overdue reappraisal of his musical First Love: a largely forgotten Leeds combo called the Wedding Present, whose serious and anguished front man David Gedge was known on occasion to pound out a hearty Yorkshire take on a wee ditty entitled "Felicity"--originally recorded by none other than... Orange Juice!

Make no mistake, this is a book for indie-kids of all ages, written with all the wide-eyed "Hello trees, hello flowers!" optimism of the True Believer. Not that this is a fans-only affair, by any means: anyone who has ever enjoyed any of the classic St. Trinian's books/films will surely find themselves giggling helplessly at many of the ripping yarns contained within these handsomely-packaged pages. Even if Alan Horne and his wee laddies occasionally find the rough realities of Glasgow life getting a little to close for comfort. (I'll resist leaving any spoilers; but let's just say, if you pick up this laudable slice of literary shortbread, you may well discover the heretofore hidden connection between Showaddywaddy, a well intentioned little youth-club soirée for street urchins--and Altamont!)

One of Simon Goddard's great strengths is that... he knows his strengths! Not for him the tedious task of coming up with descriptions of what Postcard's various records sounded like, or what it was about them that has made their influence resonate down the decades. The world has more than enough competent rock scribes, and as Simon knows, time and time again these people end up missing out on the sheer whimsical fun that makes Postcard so special. Not to mention all the lovely, gossipy drama that Simon packs into his pages (sometimes giving the reader a knowing, cheeky wink just to remind them that he's taking just a wee bit of poetic license here and there). During some of these trying moments, the ever-patient Mr. Horne almost brings to mind the pre-Postcardian aura of none other than Miss Jean Brodie. And the author, presumably through little more than instinct, paints a ribald, touching, and just occasionally troubling picture of Horne's relationship with his very own star pupil: Orange Juice's hippest pip Edwyn Collins, for whom Postcard is but a brightly glimmering shard within the career of a supernova songsmith and stout survivor. (The latter aspect of Collins' life is the subject of an acclaimed documentary which will appear in theaters later this year.)

Of course, mention "Glasgow music mogul" to your average music-lover and they will assume that you're talking about Glaswegian multi-millionaire Alan McGee, a character who definitely learned a thing or two from "Horney" of Postcard before he went on to discover the likes of Oasis, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine. But Simon Goddard is to be lauded for never allowing "Simply Thrilled" to dwell on the relatively modest financial rewards that Alan Horne's incandescent genius produced during Postcard's mayfly-gadfly existence; or indeed the several sedate decades that came after that heady explosion of DIY creativity. This is a book that achieves exactly what it sets out to do: transport the reader to the long-ago time and place when a bunch of cock-eyed optimists in grey old Glasgow dared to say, "Anything is possible!"
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on 7 June 2014
Too short and lacking in depth, it does however seem to convey that Edwyn Collins rather than Alan Horne was the driving force behind the label.
There is a proper story to tell here but this isn't it, unlike Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records by James Nice .
And he's not very kind about Simply thrilled Honey which is one of my top Postcard tunes.
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on 20 January 2015
Mr. Goddard's facetious romp tickled by plaid-bedecked fancy, & then some.

Though his mulberry prose may irk drearily obedient mirth-starved puritans of rock-doc academism, it perfectly befits his waspish quarry - it's a laugh-a-minute cavort for post-punk quinquagenarians everywhere!

Three cheers for our side.
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on 29 May 2014
i suppose, bearing in mind the quite slight nature of the story at hand and the light touch of the main band, this was the only way this could be written...i read some reviews in press criticizing the fact that its not a more weighty tome, more 'record collector' or 'sound of the city' but how else could the ramshackle, sometimes witty and genuinely indie story of this label have been written!
I liked Orange Juice and saw them Josef K and Aztec Camera whenever they played in London. I actually saw Josef K by accident first supporting 'The Associates' in some odd venue , where i can't remember. They were my favourite of this label, so my only criticism is that there isn't more from the likes of Paul Haig in this book, but when you read the book, you realise why...
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on 12 March 2015
In the late 1970s a disparate group of young souls came together, bonded by their love of music. A record label was formed and the resulting releases defined 'the sound of young Scotland' for a few glorious months. Some individuals went on to greater success, others fell by the wayside but the influence of Postcard Records is widespread. This book tells the story of the creative talent and the man who brought it all together, Alan Horne.

Pinning my heart on my sleeve, this book was always going to appeal to me as I was an original fan of Postcard Records and, at age eighteen, I was beside myself when I managed to obtain a copy of 'Falling and Laughing' by Orange Juice, the debut release. Therefore I absolutely loved the stories about Glasgow and Edinburgh youth, recognising individuals and bands from the times but also the stereotypes of the people around the fringes. My only quibble with the book is the style of writing. It makes sense to write in an anecdotal, almost comedy-fiction style and Goddard does explain that this is because he got disparate versions of events from many protagonists. However I feel that at times it goes over the top with florid description. Nevertheless I was singing snatches of songs as they were mentioned as I went back to my 1980s indie-past.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 May 2014
This concise (200 pages + 'appendix') historical account by music journo Simon Goddard of the short-lived (and legendary) Scottish music label Postcard Records, founded by Alan Horne and Edwyn Collins, makes for an irresistible read for anyone interested in the subject. Indeed, even if you do not have a direct interest in the subject matter, Goddard's book, which is written in his typical 'semi-fictional' style (though with much input from the main protagonists) is an eccentric and entertaining (near) 'rags to riches' story of the struggling artist - in this case, of course, in the UK post-punk era of the late 1970s-early 1980s.

Goddard charts the history of Horne and Collins' struggle to coax local bands into being and into their 'project' - Collins' own The Nu-Sonics (later Orange Juice), Josef K and Aztec Camera, plus Aussies, The Go-Betweens - going 'against the grain' with their eccentric fashion sense (perhaps influenced by Collins' artistic heritage and his upbringing in 'posh Glasgow' i.e. Bearsden) and eclectic musical tastes (essentially a mix of the Velvet Underground, soul and punk). Along the way, Goddard's account is peppered with Horne's 'megalomaniac sense' and Collins' dry wit, as the pair antagonise all-and-sundry, including 'major players' John Peel, Geoff Travis at Rough Trade (following in the wake of the Morrissey autobiography, did no-one like the poor chap?) and Paul Morley. My favourite little snippet relates to the occasion after Orange Juice and The Fall had played the same all-dayer and Mark E Smith was going to put the band up in his house - but changed his mind having met Alan ('A weirdo' - according to Smith).

Simply Thrilled also contains a 40-page 'appendix', providing a comprehensive listing (with commentary) of all Postcard releases (plus near-things and related releases). Of course, the other thing that Goddard's book achieves (if necessary) is to rekindle one's interest in this marvellous music!
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on 2 June 2014
Great romp through the adventures of postcard records, stunning writing from Simon Goddard ...highly recommend you buy this brilliant book
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on 7 June 2014
OK, let's get this straight right from the start. ORANGE JUICE were, and still are, both the best and most important band to ever come out of Scotland. Back in 1980, they were arguably the most clued-up pop group on the planet. It gives me no great pleasure then to report that their story - and that of the incendiary POSTCARD label which housed them and set an entire youthquake in motion - has been ill-served by this risibly rococo effort from a writer who doesn't appear to be familiar, or remotely concerned, with basic narrative concepts like `context' or `critique'. Going by the, often-excruciating, purple prose he relentlessly serves up, this tiresome author's poetic `licence' should not just be endorsed, with penalty points, but summarily removed - with, I would urge, a lengthy concomitant stretch at Glasgow's notorious Barlinnie Prison. The fun four - and us readers - deserve a whole lot better.

'Preposterous' then, certainly. Perhaps better, though, to file this particular tome under 'infectious' - and bury at sea.
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on 6 September 2014
Cracking read, rips along well, and covers the whole shambolic story well. Well worth a look.
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on 8 February 2015
Good price, prompt service reccomended
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