Don’t Panic

Neil Gaiman

In this highly entertaining biography (a young) Neil Gaiman profiles the life of Douglas Adams with a particular emphasis on the many versions of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
Features interviews with Adams himself and many of his collaborators over the years. Also includes unused snippets of TV and radio scripts, the original pitches for Hitch-Hiker’s and more.
Gently aping Adam’s style Gaiman manages to make all of this into a very enjoyable package.
I wouldn’t recommend buying it at anything more than cover price but it’s worth the read.

Rating: B+


Good Night and Good Riddance

David Cavanagh

good night and good riddanceCavanagh is a music writer famed for his extensive research (and how much of it ends up on the page).
I read his authoritative book on Creation records a few years back. That book went into so much depth that it basically covers the entirety of the UK indie music business in the UK from the 70s to the turn of the millenium.
This book is a look at the career of the much missed BBC DJ John Peel. Rather than write a traditional biography Cavanagh has listened to hundreds of Peel shows from across his thirty-odd year UK broadcasting career.
He uses the context of a few shows each year to draw a picture of what was happening in the news, what music Peel was playing and goes into certain aspects of the DJ’s behind the scenes life – both personally and professionally.
It’s a startling piece of work revealing not only Peel’s impact on UK cultural life but also how much has changed (and indeed not changed) in Britain since the late 1960s.
If you’re at all interested in Peel, pop history, pop radio or UK society in general during the time period covered then this is a must-read.
Very highly recommended.

Rating: A


Dave Gorman Vs the Rest of the World

Dave Gorman

What do you do when you get bored and have time to kill? Dave Gorman asked his followers on twitter if they fancied playing a game.
This book chronicles his travels all over the UK to play strangers, acquaintances and friends at various games from Monopoly to Darts with odd pub and board games thrown in.
Gorman has previous when it comes to taking on insane challenges – see Are You Dave Gorman? and Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure which are both very funny books (I’ve read them but they escaped being reviewed on the blog).
Gorman has a pleasing style and the book is genuinely funny but there’s just something tired and bored underlying the adventures.
Something screams “I want to stop doing crazy stuff and to settle down!”
Recommended if you liked his earlier books.

Rating: B+


Good Morning Nantwich

Phill Jupitus

I got a cheap ebook of this as I use the 6music breakfast show as my alarm clock and this book is mainly about his time presenting the show.
To be honest it’s not a great book and it’s not that revealing.
It’s a book with limited appeal and not worth the bother unless you really like Phill Jupitus or were a fan of his radio show.

Rating: B


The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry for the Prize

David Cavanagh

creation records storyThis book is not only a comprehensive account of Creation records but also manages to place everything in the context of the fortunes and transformations of the british record industry over the course of a couple of decades.
Alan McGee reportedly hates it, which is a good indication of just how close to the truth the author has managed to get. Indeed it is a deeply impressive piece of research before you even consider it’s other merits.
It is authoritative and intelligent, thorough and thought-provoking. It’s single great flaw is that reading another page on the breakdown of the relationships in The House of Love or another page on the umpteenth studio that My Bloody Valentine spent two hours in before Kevin Shields decided it wasn’t good enough kills much of the momentum of the story and you can start to get bogged down bored with it and it can become a chore to get to the next interesting bit.
I think that you really have to be keen to know everything about Creation before even thinking about picking this one up. If you are you’ll find that you couldn’t wish for better overview.

Rating: B+