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Customer Review

on 2 January 2002
dave cavanaugh has written what is easily the best-written non-fiction book about indie music ever. as a music obsessive myself, i've read them all (and most seem to have been written with some aplomb by the unofficial factory scribe mick middles) - the factory story, morrissey and marr, liverpool explodes - a shelf full. this one takes quite more than its share of cake.
starting with rough trade and postcard, it contains incredibly readable descriptions of the origins of most of the important british indie labels (of its time period - it rightly within context ignores such worthies as wurlitzer jukebox), even if only touching upon some of them, woven into a compelling, page-turning history. honestly, one tires of reading egregious errors, cobbeled-together pastiches of previously written pieces and self-important "i was there" dribble. cavanagh instead relies on solid research, reporting and, as the backbone of the story, the biography of one of the most frustrating and entertaining characters in indie music, alan mcgee.
in passing, we learn about geoff travis, alan horne, and even a little bit about those other two giants of frustratingly bizarre self-promotion, anthony h. wilson and bill drummond. in detail, you get histories of the creation bands, as their stories and particularly those of the young (and not so young) artists within frame mcgee's mad wanderings in a worthy context. we follow bobby gillespie from age 15 to the present, the reid brothers through their fame and subsequent infamy, kevin shields and guy chadwick and the gallaghers and all the rest of the creation madhouse. amazing.
its creation-focus necessarily means it won't go into detail on subjects such as the manchester and liverpool and bristol scenes - presumably cavanagh will treat those in due time? - but with writing like this, who cares! it's marvelous.
in short, a book so good it almost makes me want to give up writing - and certainly makes me want to encourage certain other music writers to put down their pens. cavanagh triumphs!
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4.1 out of 5 stars