Wednesday 28 November 2018

The giddy carousel of pop

Rock Stars Stole My Life!Oh, the "Giddy Carousel of Pop"! Mark Ellen's amusing and nostalgic memoir brought back many happy music-based memories: Dad making annoying comments during Top of the Pops; sniggering with a chum over copies of Smash Hits; being in a band.

More seriously, the book traces the changing face of music journalism and the consumption of music since The Beatles. It also touches on what the life of a pop/rock star might be like.

Thank you too, Mark Ellen, for puncturing the pomposity of the music snob. I guffawed at the opposing descriptions of Frank Zappa: "a cryptic genius working at the coalface of the avant-garde", versus "a hideous dullard who upended groupies and wrote lewd songs about it." And I laughed even harder at Captain Beefheart: "a brave sonic explorer patrolling the outer limits of self-expression" versus "a crashing bore whose death-rattle vocal could curdle milk and whose music knotted the knees and brought dance-floors to a shuddering halt."

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