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on 19 March 2013
I've been reading Paul Morley since his first days as a NME scribe and have long had a bit of a love-hate relationship with his writing. On the one hand, I've always found his love of ideas, and bringing them to life through genuinely expressive writing, utterly inspiring. On the other, however, I've often found him just a bit too clever for his own good.

I take it all back having read this. It's a terrific little book that distills his passion, his wit, and his wonderful way with words into a short narrative that is, at once, about him, the history of the Bakerloo line, the experience of using the Tube, the thoughts that that experience can give rise to, the recent history of music, the impact of technology and, finally, the Krautrock group Can.

If that sounds off-putting then this is probably not the book for you. Personally, I love the way it makes unexpected connections. I could be pretentious and say it's a big Krautrock riff that simultaneously quotes and recomposes different styles of music - but in more straightforward terms it's simply a very carefully considered, well-written and charming book. And a great one, needless to say, to be read while travelling by Tube.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 October 2014
Earthbound is a rather nicely balanced account of the music that the author, then a writer for the NME, listened to and was influenced by as he used the Bakerloo Line.

While very little of the music described in this book is on high rotation on my play lists, this did not take much away from the book as whole. This is account of at least three journeys, a musical one, a physical on the train and technological one in the way that we listen to and ‘consume’ music. These three journeys blend rather well into a single narrative.

This book manages to combine trains and music in a rather more sensible way than the last book I reviewed in this series – Heads and Straights by Lucy Wadham.

A good balance of the history of the line, music and the author makes for an interesting read.

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on 24 November 2013
Paul Morley manages to cram an awful lot into this this small book celebrating London Underground's Bakerloo Line. Morley first encountered the London Underground in his teens, having moved down to London from Manchester to take up a job writing for the New Musical Express in the late 1970s, coinciding with the upsurge of punk and new wave music. As it happens, Morley managed to catch the final days of the "old" Bakerloo Line (i.e. before half of it was hived off to form the Jubilee Line), and he bemoans the way in which the old line had to retain the very old rolling stock (dating from the 1930s, and looking like it) while the Jubilee Line was given the benefit of newer (not exactly new, as they dated form the 1960s) carriages, and saw its stations given at least an attempt at a facelift.

As with several of the other books in this series, a description of the line is offered, but is used principally as a hook for enticing insights into the writer's life, and Morley gives us a real treat, with a brief history of the personal stereo (from his first Walkman, brought back from Japan by his girlfriend at a time when they were absolutely unknown in Britain, through to the iPod and MP3 players.

As one would expect, he also writes eloquently about the music he would listen to while travelling the few stops along the Line from Swiss Cottage or Finchley Road (now, of course, to be found on the usurping Jubilee Line) into the city centre), including a detailed history of the experimental rock band Can (whom I had never heard of before).

As it happens, despite having lived in London for thirty years now I have very few experiences of travelling on the Bakerloo Line, apart form the odd jaunt from Embankment to Paddington when rushing to get a train out West, but having enjoyed this informative and engaging little book I shall make a point of travelling on it much more often.
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on 13 May 2013
I bought this for my sister instead of a birthday card - but kept it. Brilliantly discursive and travels well beyond the Bakerloo line.
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on 23 April 2013
This book combines two of my favorite things in London - the tube and music with a little bit of history thrown in for good measure !
Paul Morley combines his early years in writing for the NME with the arrival of the Sony Walkman cassette player in this journey into adulthood (of sorts) .
A thoroughly enjoyable read !
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on 22 August 2013
I have read Paul Morley for years. This piece is a good way to get a grasp of his personal view on London, esoteric music and the ways in which we consume culture. That he mentions his contempt for The Jam is a major plus for me.
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on 23 February 2014
Having now read 5 of the series associated with different lines of the Underground this is definitely one of the better ones! And for a Kraftwerk fan, someone who has never heard of Can, a call to go and find out more about them!
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on 5 April 2013
Well written and amusing in places I wished this book had developed some of its promising chapter opening paragraphs about his life and times travelling the Bakerloo line.

Instead it's much more about the music that dominated the author's life, both on and off the tube. Since his encyclopaedic knowledge of 80s and 90s bands and genres was of little interest to me it was hard to make a connection.
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