Faber & Faber publish new books by DBC Pierre and Michael Smith as special editions, fusing literary talent with art, film – and music from DJ Andrew Weatherall.
With a property portfolio consisting of a beach hut in Kent, and a career as evanescent as it is unprofitable, the narrator of Unreal City is a flaneur fallen on hard times, a creative bewildered by the slick speed of the digital age, watching as the sculptors and painters and bon viveurs begin to slip away and the advertising hipsters take over old stomping grounds. Unreal City is a nostalgic love song to the drifters, the artists, the glamorous misfits, the degenerate waifs and the barmaid-enchantresses of the capital’s backstreets and shadowy corners.
The pages of Michael Smith’s prose in this special edition are unbound, gathered in a sleeve, and annotated by the legendary producer and DJ Andrew Weatherall. Accompanying the pages are a six-track original CD soundtrack composed by Andrew, a 10-inch record containing a remix. This edition, costing £35 will also be signed by Michael Smith and Andrew Weatherall. The book will also be published in a format for ibooks Author, bringing together Michael Smith’s prose, an original soundtrack by Andrew Weatherall, and a beautiful film-scape by director Wojciech Duczmal.
Petit Mal is a collection of short fictions, philosophical vignettes, and aphoristic interludes from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre. Drawing on memoir and a life lived in pursuit of sensation, but always ignited by the flame of fiction, Petit Mal takes us further into the imagination of one of the most radically original prose stylists of the past decade.
Accompanied by dozens of full-colour illustrations and photographic ‘evidence’, the stories here inhabit worlds defined by appetite, excess and transcendence. Whether through food, drink, sex, drugs, or a fantastic cocktail of all four, the impulse in this book is towards epiphany. And the inevitable hangover that follows. But even that (or those) in the world of DBC Pierre can be nourishing.
This special edition is slip-cased and comes with an exclusive print signed by DBC Pierre and will cost £25. It will also be available to download as a £9.99 ebook.
Of the collaboration, Faber Social Creative Director Lee Brackstone says:
‘A perhaps inevitable meeting of minds in the fertile landscape where music and literature intersect, Andrew Weatherall’s soundtrack to Unreal City brings Michael Smith’s book vividly to life in another, sonic dimension.’
Rough Trade, Festival Number 6 & Edinburgh Events
To celebrate publication DBC Pierre, Michael Smith and Andrew Weatherall will be reading and performing at Rough Trade East on Thursday 5 September, 7pm; Faber Social / Caught By The River Stage at Festival Number 6 on 13-15 September; and Faber Social’s event for Jura Unbound at Edinburgh Book Festival on 22 August 9-11pm.
The first third of Autobiography is finely honed and lyrical, with Manchester’s red brick walls the constant backdrop. It will remind everyone, and not in a nostalgic way, why they liked Morrissey so much in the first place. His education was “illumination by violence”, in school buildings with “air from 1947′. He gets whacked in the face by a “sporty Welsh girl” because he hasn’t noticed that she fancies him. Young Stephen is often chased by girls as he is famously not ugly, though looking at the photos of his mum and dad he might actually have been short-changed.
Food and the New York Dolls are recurring themes for him. As an adolescent, his palate has “the inability to expand beyond the spartan. Somewhere, Tin Tin sing Toast And Marmalade For Tea – which certainly suits me.” Life is mapped by pop music; it has all the references and language that he needs, and his love of it seeps into descriptions of almost everything. The gothic horror of his school is wrapped up in the sound of Barry Ryan’s Eloise and its “cliff-bound sirens”; front doors open to release “putrid smells… the malodorous hallmarks of the humans within – no scented candles yet,” accompanied by “the lost strangeness of I Will Return by Springwater.” He is happy to archive such forgotten songs, sights and smells, evoking 1971 completely. He discovers Roxy Music, who are “Agatha Christie queer”, but they fall from favour once Bryan Ferry mentions his fondness for veal.
In the mid seventies he becomes fascinated by some of the most cloistered English poets and their “monumental loneliness”: the “black horizon” of the unknowable AE Housman; the wisdom of WH Auden; John Betjeman’s lack of ego; Stevie Smith’s self-imposed exile in deeply suburban Palmers Green, a life which he describes as “50% blotting paper and 50% loose tea.” Getting his bearings, his aesthetic now unveiling itself, Morrissey realises that Oscar Wilde was “the world’s first pop figure”. He decides to “blend noise and words and save the world.”
A brief stint in a record shop at 19, an interview with Sounds editor Alan Lewis which sadly comes to nothing (how different everything might have been if he’d got the job – maybe Dave McCullough would have become the pop star in his place. Or… Gary Bushell. As you were, then). He’s pre-fame, on the cusp, and I wish this was end of volume one of his memoirs. It’s rumoured that he delivered 200,000 words to Penguin – they should have split into two books.
Quite precisely, at page 150, the tone changes; I can only assume the first section was written, with considerable care, some time before the final 300 pages. Out come the knives for “meat-fed” Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, and a baffling critique of pre-Smiths Rough Trade runs for several pages. A “lugubrious historian” Geoff Travis may be, but he had previously signed Scritti Politti and Aztec Camera who hardly fit Morrissey’s dismissal of the label as “anti-listenable”. “Suddenly the smell of money replaced the smell of overcooked rice in the Rough Trade cloisters.” Well, at least those cloisters didn’t smell of overcooked veal. By page 153 he is saying, of Robert Wyatt, “certainly there could be no shame attached to wheelchairs, but there aren’t many in the Top 40.” It’s doubly unpleasant coming from someone who used a hearing aid and NHS specs as an affectation.
Various fictional characters spring to mind. The better bitchier lines are best read out loud in Matt Berry’s Toast Of London voice. As he settles petty scores with Tony Wilson, photographer Juergen Teller, and Michael Stipe (who apparently goes on stage without brushing his teeth), I think of the Father Ted prize-giving episode. Other slices of revenge are humourless, tasteless and extraordinarily horrible, beyond the realm of Partridge: “When Neil Aspinall dies in 2008, I think to myself, well that’s what you get for being so nasty”.
The final two thirds of the book do have their illuminating moments and well-turned phrases. Morrissey adores Al Martino, while both Morrissey and Marr “quite like” A-Ha. He loves Al Martino – who knew? He is all humility and foppish shyness in the presence of Eartha Kitt and James Baldwin (he seems less cowed by Morten Harket). In New York he is introduced to Gregory Corso, “which doesn’t make sense, since I am certain he is dead.” Quite beautifully, he explains the Smiths’ split as “wanting to live yet longing for sleep.”
“Anything is forgiven of anyone who makes us laugh” says Morrissey, quite aware of his own, often well-deployed, comic talent. Yet Autobiography feels as if it were written in two, or possibly three, different sittings, and the laughs come hard the longer it goes on. It’s hard to believe that the man who sees the giddy daftness of accidentally starting an LA riot by singing You’re the One For Me Fatty – “hardly an Altamont rallying cry to the social underbelly” – would expend any energy on trying to take down “little pinched Irish madam” Henry Kelly. Yes, that Henry Kelly, the one from Going For Gold and Classic FM. The schizophrenic nature of the book prevents it from being the classic he presumably thinks it is.
This event is now sold out, thanks folks!
Much-loved pop trio Saint Etienne invite you to celebrate Christmas with them in style at their only event of the season – and the season’s only event worth being at – the Saint Etienne Christmas Party 2013. Join Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley as they DJ their favourite pop records from across the years, in chronological order, starting in 1952 and playing a record from each year up to 2000.
Spend the evening dancing and listening to the very best records spanning fifty years – those you love and those you’d forgotten about but want to remember. The records played will thread together to tell the story of pop music as covered in Bob Stanley’s definitive new book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop.
Tickets are now on sale:
And to get you in the Christmas mood, watch this:
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop by Bob Stanley is out now, published by Faber.
This November, Faber Social and Tatty Devine join forces to celebrate women’s voices.
As a female led company, Tatty Devine believe in being an individual, expressing yourself and equality in all areas of life. This month sees the launch of Tatty Devine’s ‘Women With Something to Say’ campaign, featuring women from a variety of creative backgrounds. From writers, artists and musicians to comediennes, actresses and film makers, each contributor reveals what it means to be a woman in today’s society, leading with a single powerful phrase on a specially commissioned Tatty Devine name necklace.
Faber contributors include: Viv Albertine, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Julia Copus, Alev Scott, Emily Berry, Aleks Krotoski, Louise Doughty, Anne Putnam, Gemma Elwin Harris, Jane Harris, Chibundu Onuzo, Emma Brockes and Sarah Hall. Read more about the campaign on the Tatty Devine blog in the next coming weeks.
Inspired by Viv Albertine’s brilliant phrase Life’s too short to be shy, our November Faber Social will include a glorious mix of stories, music and performance from Viv Albertine, Emily Berry, Kate Tempest, Marawa the Amazing and Bryony Kimmings, curated in collaboration with the wonderful Rosie and Harriet of Tatty Devine.
Where: The Social, 5 Little Portland St, London W1W 7JD
When: Monday 11th November 2013
Doors open at 7pm, event starts at 8pm
Tickets cost £7 in advance / £9 on the door and are available to buy here.
Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah tells the chronological story of the modern pop era, from its beginnings in the fifties with the dawn of the charts, vinyl, and the music press, to pop’s digital switchover in the year 2000, from Rock Around the Clock to Crazy In Love.
For your listening pleasure, Bob Stanley has curated the perfect modern pop playlist:
Catfish Boogie – Tennessee Ernie Ford
Susie Q – Dale Hawkins
I’m Shakin’ – Little Willie John
Too Much – Elvis Presley
Wild Weekend – Rockin’ Rebels
Mama Said – The Shirelles
Just Like Eddie – Heinz
It Won’t Be Long – The Beatles
Baby I Love You – The Ronettes
Keep Searchin’ – Del Shannon
One More Heartache – Marvin Gaye
Great Airplane Strike – Paul Revere & the Raiders
Lucifer Sam – Pink Floyd
Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin
Hey Willy – The Hollies
ABC – Jackson Five
Penny Gold – Lindy Stevens
All The Way From Memphis – Mott The Hoople
Here In Heaven – Sparks
It’s Been So Long – George McCrae
Shake Some Action – Flamin’ Groovies
Action Time Vision – Alternative TV
Rock n Roll – Human League
Angel Eyes – Roxy Music
Looking For Clues – Robert Palmer
Walkin’ On Sunshine – Rockers Revenge
Age of Consent – New Order
Touch Me – Fonda Rae
I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On – Cherelle
Left To My Own Devices – Pet Shop Boys
A Day In The Life – Black Riot
Doowutchyalike – Digital Underground
Wrote For Luck – Happy Mondays
Youth Against Fascism – Sonic Youth
She’s a Lady – Pulp
Let Me Be Your Fantasy – Baby D
Tease Me – Chaka Demus & Pliers
Regulate – Warren G & Nate Dogg
The Boy Is Mine – Brandy & Monica
Flowers – Sweet Female Attitude