Books and Music at the Heart of Independent Publishing

We’re excited to announce our first Faber Social for 2017, taking place on February 8th at our spiritual home The Social, 5 Litte Portland Street.

GO AHEAD AND DROP the BOMB is the name of a mythical post-punk fanzine that features in the writer/rock critic David Keenan’s forthcoming novel This Is Memorial Device (published by Faber on February 2nd. Pre-order here). The book is a fictional oral history of a local scene that never existed in Airdrie in the west coast of Scotland in the late 70s/early 80s, consisting of eyewitness accounts of the passion, madness, successes and failures of a bunch of serious-as-your-life musicians and artists who outdo even their own heroes in terms of visionary excess. After all, it isn’t easy being Iggy Pop in a small town in Scotland.

Performing on the night we have:

Bruce Russell (The Dead C et al – Live solo set)
Bruce Russell is the peerless New Zealand experimental musician and writer, best know as founding member of Experimental rock heroes The Dead C, alongside Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats. We’re lucky to have Bruce join us to play an extremely rare solo set on an equally rare trip to the UK. We highly recommend the documentary about Bruce ’27 minutes with Mr. Noisy’ which can be seen here.

‘The Dead C might just be the best rock act currently active’ – The Quietus

Richard Youngs (live Chinese Moon tribute)
Legendary UK-based folk spirit and underground hero Richard Youngs presents a tribute to one of the mythic constellations in the This Is Memorial Device universe, Airdrie’s Chinese Moon, with an ambitious restaging of the all-night tape loop performances that took place in a shop front in Shettleston in 1983. Metal Machine Music-styled Fripp & Eno sorcery meets Terror of the Autons in a total immersion environment.

‘His music has a rare ability to communicate lucidly from the heart’ – Red Bull Music Acadamy

David Keenan (reading from ‘This Is Memorial Device‘)
This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock. David Keenan is the author of England’s Hidden Reverse: A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground and a senior critic at The Wire.

‘It captures the terrific, obsessive, ludicrous pomposity of every music fans youth in an utterly definitive way’ – Irvine Welsh

Michael Pedersen (Neu! Reekie! / Poetry)

Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Neu! Reekie!, Michael Pedersen is a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship winner; a John Mathers Trust Rising Star of Literature Award winner; a Canongate Future 40; a Callum McDonald Memorial award finalist; and many more things, with fans ranging from Irvine Welsh and Liz Lochhead to Stephen Fry and Young Fathers. Michael has written short plays for National Theatre of Scotland (FMT) and Edinburgh Art Festival, pop songs for the band Jesus, Baby! and is currently working on a feature film screenplay.

‘Scotland’s favourite avant-garde noisemakers…Neu! Reekie! dismantle the structures and snobberies dividing high and low art – art is for everyone.’ – The Skinny

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DJ Andrew Weatherall
The Guv’nor

Date: Wednesday 8th February
Time: Doors 19:00, event starts 19:30
Address: The Social, 5 Little Portland St, London, W1W 7JD

Eventbrite - Faber Social Presents Go Ahead And Drop the Bomb

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Following on from publication of A Lover Sings in 2015, Billy Bragg, the bard of Barking, returns with Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World on June 1st 2017.

Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive generation of working-class youth, the songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg charts the history, impact and legacy of skiffle – Britain’s first indigenous pop movement.

Roots, Radicals & Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World is the first book to explore this phenomenon in depth – a meticulously researched and joyous account that explains how skiffle sparked a revolution that shaped pop music as we have come to know it.

It’s a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffeebar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts. Billy traces how the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK and led directly to the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s.

Emerging from Soho jazz clubs in the early ’50s, skiffle was adopted by kids who grew up during the dreary years of post-war rationing. These were Britain’s first teenagers, looking for a music of their own in a pop culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Lonnie Donegan hit the charts in 1956 with a version of ‘Rock Island Line’ and soon sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year.

Like the punk rock scene that would flourish two decades later, skiffle was a do-it-yourself music. All you needed was the ability to play three chords on a cheap guitar and you could form a group, with mates playing tea-chest bass and washboard as a rhythm section.

This is the story of how the first generation of British teenagers changed our pop music from being jazz-based to guitar-led.

To get you in the mood here’s ‘Rock Island Line’ by Lonnie Donegan.