June 12, 2022 · 7:18 pm
I don’t often learn many books about music in such a brief area of time, however I’ve learn some good non-fiction titles on the topic to this point this yr, which largely conclude that working within the music business isn’t superb on your well being.
A Seat on the Desk: Girls on the Frontline of Music by Amy Raphael is a set of 18 interviews with ladies who work within the music business. The interviews had been carried out in 2018-19 largely with singers and songwriters throughout completely different genres whereas composer Jessica Curry, producer Catherine Marks and DJ Clara Amfo all mirror on related points with sexism and racism inside the business. In some methods, Alison Moyet and Tracey Thorn’s experiences discovering fame within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties are a world away from these of the musicians who’re beginning out at present who face the pressures of social media, #MeToo and dwindling album gross sales as a result of rise of streaming, but there are additionally some irritating similarities akin to not being taken as severely as their male counterparts. Raphael has clearly put a whole lot of thought into the vary of interviewees on this assortment and it might be attention-grabbing to check this alongside her 1995 companion e-book ‘By no means Thoughts the Bollocks: Girls Rewrite Rock’ which incorporates interviews with the like of Debbie Harry, Courtney Love and Bjork.
Our bodies: Life and Dying in Music by Ian Winwood presents a compelling case concerning how habit and psychological well being points have develop into dangerously normalised within the music business. Winwood was a music journalist at Kerrang! journal for a number of years and has witnessed first-hand the toll this way of life takes on these concerned and paperwork his personal psychological well being and habit points. With artists extra reliant than ever on relentless touring for a secure earnings, ‘Our bodies’ lays naked how being on the highway is simply in regards to the worst doable atmosphere for anybody feeling remotely fragile. In addition to the numerous harrowing tales, Winwood rightly celebrates Biffy Clyro for defying the chances and avoiding the trail in the direction of burnout and self-destruction by taking outing from touring once they wanted to. Winwood’s strongly argued central thesis is written with actual candour.
Exit Stage Left: The Curious Afterlife of Popstars by Nick Duerden is one other assortment of snapshot interviews, this time with popstars who’re effectively previous the height of their fame, a type of “the place are they now?” compendium. Duerden covers a reasonably broad vary of pop and rock acts akin to David Grey, The Darkness, Shaun Ryder, Paul from S Membership 7, Chumbawumba, Suzanne Vega and Billy Bragg and profession trajectories embody hit wonders, victims of Tough Second Album syndrome, novelty acts and people who merely fell out of trend in a notoriously fickle business which is simply concerned with chasing after the following huge factor. A few of these interviewed look again fondly on their time within the highlight and are content material with engaged on the nostalgia circuit, whereas others are bitter or resentful about how they had been handled on the time or have tried to fully reinvent themselves since their first flush of fame. With over 30 artists and bands lined right here, the interviews themselves are pretty transient and bittersweet, and I can’t assist however surprise if probably the most attention-grabbing tales is likely to be advised by those that would by no means comply with be interviewed for a e-book like this.
Transferring away from the excesses of pop music, I’ve been dipping out and in of That Jealous Demon, My Wretched Well being: Illness, Dying and Composers by Jonathan Noble which examines the bodily and psychological well being of 70 composers. From Mozart’s quite a few illnesses all through his youth to Beethoven’s deafness and Schumann’s doable bipolar dysfunction, ‘That Jealous Demon’ is very detailed and likewise stuffed with the type of trivia which is likely to be often helpful for answering questions on College Problem. Noble is a retired surgeon and his medical experience permits him to contemplate how correct among the reported diagnoses had been and the way some may need fared with medical therapy at present. Dense however fascinating, this gives a singular perspective on the lives of nice composers and the way the state of their well being impacted their work.