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on 28 December 2002
Giles Smith's 'Lost in Music' is an incredible book. Sure, it's not Crime and Punishment, but it is the funniest, wittiest, and even most touching book written about pop music. If you remotely enjoyed Nick Hornsby's "High Fidelity," you'll flip over this book. It's a shame more people aren't aware of it.
The book is half Smith's autobiography as a music lover, and half incisive ruminations on various aspects of music (cd vs. vinyl, should or shouldn't one shag with the stereo on, etc.). And it's all golden. Anyone who's been in a band will laugh his ass off; this is like observational comedy for musicians.
Yet there is a true heart to the tale, and Smith has a knack for finding the truly meaningful in such minor events as Damon Albarn singing Christmas carols with his mother, meeting Ni(c)k Kershaw, or lip synching in the garage with friends who just don't get it ("That's NOT how they do it.").
I've been rambling, but do yourself a favor and buy this book. If you've ever put a musician's photo on your wall, contemplated speaker stands, or lied about what the first record you bought was, you'll read this book over and over again. I have.
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on 3 August 2004
I first read Lost In Music years ago - around 1997, I think - and loved it then, recognising my own life on every other page in Giles Smith's attitude to music-loving.
Re-reading the book while on holiday this year just reaffirmed to me how brilliant it is. Not just funny, but poignant in places and superbly observed all over.
Giles Smith is a big favourite of mine - his column on sport on TV in The Times (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) is essential reading, as are his columns in The Guardian (cars on Tuesday) and on TV in The Sunday Telegraph. Do yourself a favour and read Lost In Music followed by Midnight in the Garden of Evel Knievel. Both hugely uplifting.
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on 30 December 2001
Anyone who has ever really loved pop music will read this book and recognise themselves in the pages. Even if you don't like the bands or singers that Giles Smith lost so much sleep over, its definitely worth reading. I keep a copy of it as a 'comfort' book, as it bears repeated readings, and always cheers me up!
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on 18 October 2001
What I want to know is what Giles Smith was doing living large parts of my life for me. Okay, I wasn't in a bizarrly-named pop group (Cleaners from Venus?) but those were the bands I listened to, slavishly dissected, obessively absorbed, and spent all my money on. 'Lost in Music' is exactly how I grew up, and my love for it is not just because of the recognition on every page, but because he writes in a way which shows that he, too, loved every minute of that Pop Odyssey.
'Lost in Music' is much fuller and encompassing than his newspaper articles on Sport in 'Midnight in the Garden of Evil Kineval' but the humour, the sharp observation, the intimate arcane knowledge of the subject matter shine through.
You must excuse me now, I have to go to a darkened bedroom and listen to "Dark Side of the Moon" with my headphones on....
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on 20 August 1999
I bought this book about three and a half years ago and I just accidentally came across the above two reviews whilst searching for another title. Yes the book is very stylish, but above all it is very funny. If, like myself, you like your music (but feel a tad embarrassed about being a bit of muso-head boring the hell out of friends with news about the Thompson Twins for instance)you will laugh and definitely connect with the sometimes pretty pathetic things you have done like Mr Smith has, all because of your passion for it. At least Giles actually got to make music. Dont we all wish we were that lucky? Anyway if you get the chance, just read it. Its not drawn out and it wont take long. Ive read hundreds of books about bands and so on and this really was one of the most enjoyable. (Pity I lost my copy wasnt it!)
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Wonderful to see that this book, in print for many years now, is still available. It probably is the best book ever written on what it is to love music- to really love music, to have music set your moods, to love a tune so much you will do almost anything to buy it.

The book also introduced me to the wonderful Martyn Newell, and I suspect it was instrumental in getting his talent rightly recognised - he became resident poet at the Independent. Newell plays a big part in this book, and is indirectly responsible for a large chunk of its charm.

A must - buy and a book I will never part with.
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on 2 October 2010
I first read this book soon after it came out in 1995 and have just re-read it with equal pleasure. But let's be clear, 'Lost in Music' in unlikely to score with every reader unless (like me) they (a) were born in the 1960s (and therefore grew up in the 70s), (b) are pop/rock music obsessed and (c) have 'had a go' at making it in the music business, even if that meant fumbling around on a guitar in a band. The best bits for me were those that resonated with my experience. Yes, I admit I've gone through an XTC phase as well, though unlike Smith I haven't had the pleasure of sitting in Andy Partridge's shed watching an erstwhile colleague (Martin Newell) having AP produce his album.

Strangely some of the funniest moments aren't directly related to Smith's abortive pop career. He recalls how the piano at home had to be regularly tuned, but thanks to central heating sounded like a hawaiian guitar within hours. He also dissects Tony Blair's choice of 'favourite artists' when interviewed in 1994/5, and detects, with great prescience, a suspiciously 'catch all' selection (REM, Seal, Annie Lennox) doubtless chosen by his spin doctors to cause least offence (US band, black male singer, white female singer). How would he have been perceived if his response had been Slipknot, Henry Cow and Crass (selecting a few at random!).

The thing I particularly like about the book is Smith's honesty. He admits to owning albums (perhaps all) by 10cc and Nik Kershaw; that of all the LPs he took to university he played only 6 (either by Stevie Wonder or XTC); and recalls the drudgery of recording with the Cleaners From Venus in a grotty Denmark Street basement. It's a cautionary tale of getting close but no cigar.
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on 21 April 1999
This book had me in stitches. I consider myself to be a mega pop fan and I was amazed at how similar our tastes were. I am also a fan of XTC, Todd Rundgren, The Bible, Stevie Wonder, etc. Imagine my surprise when as I read further into the book, I found I owned records by Giles Smith! Cleaners From Venus records! I am a fan of Martin Newell but I had bought this without realising the connection.
This book tells the story of Giles and Martin's aborted quest for rock stardom, punctuated with the records Giles is buying at the time.
It is a touching and extremely funny account of a fans obsession (looking in the shops for records by his favourite artists that he knows do not exist. I've done that to!) and living with that obsession.
Giles writes for the Mail on Sunday's pop section, and is always brilliant. He is also the editor of the Telegraphs sports section. I give this book as many crowns as will fit on the page.
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on 14 December 2003
I loved this book. If you are looking for a definitive history of music in the 1970s then look elsewhere. This is about fashioning our record collections - warts and all and about our individual tastes and prejudices. It's more than affectionate -it's loving, passionate and obsessive - just like many record collectors. A treasure and extremely funny. I passed it on to my daughter who liked it so much I had to get another copy because she didn't want to (refused!) give it back.
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on 6 September 2001
WOW!! I was in my early teens at the time most of the events described occur but it really brought back some classic musical memories. The best bits - well the comment on women buying hi-fi's is a classic and as for Nick Kershaw (with the C) well I nearly died laughing. If you were there, check this out. If you're too young, find out what the fuss was all about and if you're too old.... actually, don't bother.
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