The Record Players – Bill Brewster
This was often a fascinating read – a collection of in depth interviews with some of the most important characters that there has ever been in the history of dance music.
I certainly felt a bit uncomfortable reading the first interview on the train – which was with Jimmy Savile. Love him or not (possibly the latter), I have to say that he came across as a bit of an arrogant twat.
Some of the early interviews were fascinating, such as with the late John Peel – others not so much – there were too many northern soul kind of interviewees for my liking.
The disco DJs were enlightening, such as David Mancuso – though the hip-hop section was a little difficult to get through, especially the thick cliche’d Kool Herc. Cannot say I found anything interesting about DJ Shadow…though Grandmaster Flash had a humbling story to tell.
Then it came into the soul of the book, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, then through techno originators such as Jeff Mills.
It then takes a UK-bias for the rest of the book, as we took over the running of the future of dance music – Terry Farley and Mike Pickering in particular had great stories to tell, even Paul Oakenfold was most readable.
Then it ends almost as lamentably as it begin, with Tiesto.
Many of the interviews were done 10 or more years ago, so it does read a little dated at times, and there are clearly so many modern heroes not featured But then again it is all about the origins of the dance music world and it’s scenes.
Often fascinating, occasionally a chore, 8/10.
The End of the Party – Andrew Rawnsley
I realised shortly into the book that I was reading the second book in a two part series – I guess it should have been obvious as it took the second half of new Labour from 9/11 onwards to the 2010 election when finally they fucked off.
Yes it is all about the New Labour project and it is so readable – I was hooked from the off.
The central tenet is the dysfunctionality of the relationship between Blair and Brown – there are so many quotes from those close to the pair that have surprised even a Brown-hater like myself as to just what a nasty, selfish and barbaric man he was.
This is such a brilliant account of what went on, and very illuminating as to how the government was run…or perhaps wasn’t run. I actually felt like I was in Downing Street as it all went on around me.
You’d probably have to be reasonably interested in politics to enjoy this, and be able to eat all 700 pages, but it is like a thriller, only you lived with the characters for much of your life.
A scary, thrilling addictive read, 8.5/10.
In It Together – Matthew D’Ancona
A book about the inner workings of the coalition. What a great idea.
Split into 24 chapters, with the last 3 chapters literally whacked on at the end. The chapters each deal with a separate area, such as health, education, Leveson…oh how dull Leveson was then and still is now.
Very few of the chapters provided any enlightenment to someone such as myself that follows politics studiously. Several of them were utterly boring, such as the aforementioned Leveson chapter.
It really was a case of getting through it.
Maybe if someone picks it up in 20 years they will find it enlightening. There was some limited background on the workings of the coalition and the friction – but it really was limited. Maybe friction itself was limited.
Apparently there will not be a better insider’s account of the coalition for years. There probably won’t be a worse.