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Renegade

£10.99

Unutterably funny… a riot of aimings and blamings and score-settlings. Smith manages to have a right laff, and reveal himself as a figure of dazzling sociological import’ – Independent on Sunday

 

The Fall are one of the most distinctive British bands ever, their music – odd, spare, cranky and repetitious – an acknowledged influence on The Smiths, The Happy Mondays, Nirvana and Franz Ferdinand. And Mark E. Smith IS The Fall – 66 members came and went over the years yet he remained its charismatic leader until his death in 2018.

 

‘If it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s The Fall.’ – Mark E. Smith

 

Mark was a professional outsider and all-round enemy of compromise, a true enigma. There have been a number of biographies of the legendary Smith, but this is the first time he opened up in a full autobiography. For the first time we hear his full, candid take on the ups and downs of a band as notorious for its in-house fighting as for its great music; and on a life that endured prison in America, drugs, bankruptcy, divorce, and the often bleak results of a legendary thirst.

The Seeker King

£11.50

A woman in the audience once handed Elvis a crown saying, “You’re the King.” “No, honey,” Elvis replied. “There is only one king — Jesus Christ. I’m just a singer.” Gary Tillery presents a coherent view of Elvis’s thoughts through such anecdotes and other recorded facts.

 

We learn, for instance, that Elvis read thousands of books on religion; that his crisis over making bimbo movies like Girl Happy led him to writers such as Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, and Helena Blavatsky; and that, while driving in Arizona, an epiphany he had inspired him to learn Hindu practice. Elvis came to believe that the Christ shines in everyone and that God wanted him to use his light to uplift people. And so he did. Elvis’s excesses were as legendary as his generosity, yet, despite his lethal reliance on drugs, he remained ever spiritually curious. When he died, he was reading “A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus.” This intimate, objective portrait inspires new admiration for the flawed but exceptional man who said, “All I want is to know and experience God. I’m a searcher, that’s what I’m all about.”

Shout! The True Story of the Beatles

£6.50

The first and best Beatles biography, Norman had close working relationships with each of the Fab Four, having interviewed them many times since 1965 and observed first hand the events that led to the split during 1969-70. The resulting book contained unique insights into the rise of the Beatles, their final years, the chaos of Apple and the collapse of hippy idealism.

 

Now fully updated, and written with all of Norman’s trademark verve and skill, this is an essential book for anyone with an interest in pop music, the Sixties and the pleasures and perils of god-like fame.

Kitch

£10.99

Combining life-writing with poetic prose, Anthony Joseph gets to the heart of the man behind the music and the myth, reaching behind the sobriquet to present a holistic portrait of the calypso icon Lord Kitchener.

 

The poet and musician Anthony Joseph met and spoke to Lord Kitchener just once, in 1984, when he found the calypso icon standing alone for a moment in the heat of Port of Spain s Queen’s Park Savannah, one Carnival Monday afternoon. It was a pivotal meeting in which the great calypsonian, outlined his musical vision, an event which forms a moving epilogue to Kitch, Joseph’s unique biography of the Grandmaster.

 

Lord Kitchener (1922 – 2000) was one of the most iconic and prolific calypso artists of the 20th century. He was one of calypso’s most loved exponents, an always elegantly dressed troubadour with old time male charisma and the ability to tap into the musical and cultural consciousness of the Caribbean experience. Born into colonial Trinidad in 1922, he emerged in the 1950s, at the forefront of multicultural Britain, acting as an intermediary between the growing Caribbean community, the islands they had left behind, and the often hostile conditions of life in post War Britain. In the process Kitch, as he was affectionally called, single handedly popularised the calypso in Britain.

James Kelman (Writers and their Work)

£4.99

One of the most powerful and provocative writers to have emerged in Britain in recent years, James Kelman has engendered a good deal of controversy over his widely reported, but often misconceived use of `bad’ language words. This introduction to the whole range of his works, from the early short stories through the plays and essays to the Booker Prize winning novel How Late it Was, How Late and the latest experimental fiction, examines the embattled Kelman’s literary politics. H. Gustav Klaus pays close attention to the Scottish culture in which Kelman’s writing was nurtured, to the uncompromising treatment of the `underclass’, the intricacies of the narrative voice and the existentialist anguish behind it. A writer of international reputation now, Kelman’s principled anti-authoritarianism raises uncomfortable questions about the continuing reality of class, dominant social and literary values and the role of writers in our time.

Lou Reed: A Life

£12.00

The essential biography of one of music’s most influential icons: Lou Reed

 

As lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once a source of transcendent beauty and coruscating noise, violated all definitions of genre while speaking to millions of fans and inspiring generations of musicians.

 

But while his iconic status may be fixed, the man himself was anything but. Lou Reed’s life was a transformer’s odyssey. Eternally restless and endlessly hungry for new experiences, Reed reinvented his persona, his sound, even his sexuality time and again. A man of contradictions and extremes, he was fiercely independent yet afraid of being alone, artistically fearless yet deeply paranoid, eager for commercial success yet disdainful of his own triumphs. Channeling his jagged energy and literary sensibility into classic songs – like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Sweet Jane” – and radically experimental albums alike, Reed remained desperately true to his artistic vision, wherever it led him.

 

Now, just a few years after Reed’s death, Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, who knew Reed and interviewed him extensively, tells the provocative story of his complex and chameleonic life. With unparalleled access to dozens of Reed’s friends, family, and collaborators, DeCurtis tracks Reed’s five-decade career through the accounts of those who knew him and through Reed’s most revealing testimony, his music. We travel deep into his defiantly subterranean world, enter the studio as the Velvet Underground record their groundbreaking work, and revel in Reed’s relationships with such legendary figures as Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Laurie Anderson. Gritty, intimate, and unflinching, Lou Reed is an illuminating tribute to one of the most incendiary artists of our time.

My House of Sky

£20.00

Showcases some of the most compelling parts of the J. A. Baker Archive, containing previously unknown details of Baker’s life as well as extracts from his own personal writing. It provides an invaluable new insight into both the sensitive, passionate character of J. A. Baker, and the state of late twentieth-century Britain, a country experiencing the throes of agricultural and environmental revolutions.

 

Hetty Saunders was first introduced to J. A. Baker and the Baker Archive as a literature postgraduate at the University of Cambridge. She was instantly captivated by the astounding prose of Baker’s first book, The Peregrine, and the mysterious life of its author.

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Our Newest Arrivals

James Yorkston at Wrecking Ball Music & Books (15/12/2021)

£13.50

James Yorkston

 

Wrecking Ball Music & Books
Wednesday 15th December, 2021
Time: 8pm (doors 7pm)
Tickets: £13.50 (includes booking fee)

 

James Yorkston is a singer-songwriter and author from the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Since signing to Domino Records in 2001, James has released a steady flow of highly acclaimed albums, leading to him touring his music worldwide.

 

James’ 2021 album ‘The Wide, Wide River’ was called “Another fascinating, curious contribution to the Scottish musician’s constantly eddying catalogue” by The Guardian, “A beautiful experience” by Clash and “Another career highlight” by The Scotsman

 

With his Yorkston / Thorne / Khan project, James explores his love of traditional and experimental music, mixing them with Indian Classical music. Y/T/K’s 2020 release, Navarasa, was The Guardian’s Folk Album of the Year.

 

James also runs a diverse club night ‘Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer’ and hosts the music podcast 46-30, which explores “Quality Music of no fixed Abode”. James has had published two books – the novel ‘3 Craws’, and the memoir ‘It’s Lovely to be Here – The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent’

Deep Purple: Stormbringer

£15.00

In 1974, Stormbringer was a pivotal album for Deep Purple. The second one made by the Mk3 lineup of Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale, it was ultimately the album that would see Blackmore call it a day with Deep Purple until the Mk2 line-up reformed in 1984. Blending a range of styles across heavy rock, funk and soul, Stormbringer is a very unique Deep Purple album and there is a lot to be said about the story behind it.

 

In this book, music author Laura Shenton MA LLCM DipRSL offers an in depth perspective on Stormbringer from a range of angles including how the album came to be, how it was presented and received at the time (live as well as on record), and what it means in terms of Deep Purple’s legacy today. As the author explains: “Basically, the book covers how the album was made, what was going on with the music in terms of the artist’s intentions, how it did musically and commercially and what happened next.” The narrative is essentially driven by contemporary interviews with the artists with small bits of music theory where relevant… in some cases they delve into the structure / key signatures / time signatures, based on the original sheet music without straying away from being an engaging read for non-musicians.

Not Far From the Junction

£5.99

Will Ashon spent the day of Tuesday May 21st 2019 hitching around the motorways and ‘A’ roads of England, chatting to whoever picked him up about their lives, dreams, aspirations, fears and favourite foods. The resulting transcripts, presented here edited and cross-cut through one another into a collage of voices, form a work in which generosity plays a far greater role than hate, reminding us of our nation’s better self. Sitting somewhere between Svetlana Alexievich and Rachel Cusk, Not Far From the Junction is a fresh, funny, moving and quietly radical work of non-fiction, exploring who we are and how we see the world.

You Ruin It When You Talk

£5.99

Forget how do we find lasting happiness in a quick-swipe dating world. How do we find just a few moments of it? The quest for love – or a pleasant evening – is captured here in a series of flickering anecdotes that are sometimes darkly humorous, often deftly poignant. Manvel’s debut is as disarming as it is funny and insightful. This brutal account of modern manners skewers the chicken fillets of romantic literature with stiletto-sharp heels.

Nappy Rash

£10.95

Think Harry Potter with no magical powers, or friends, living in south london, doing a job he hates, stressed, paranoid and lonely. I loved Mark Kottings bleak, funny and poetic tale of a london cab driver…

 

Like Travis Bickle sedated by the Tindersticks, a man simmering on the edge…

 

A funny and moving tale of a man working too hard, for too long, for too little  –Sean Lock

The Earl Slick Band at Wrecking Ball Music & Books (13/11/2021)

£25.00

The Earl Slick Band – Fist Full of Devils Tour

 

Wrecking Ball Music & Books
Saturday 13th November, 2021
Time: 8pm (doors 7pm)
Tickets: £25 

 

Guitarist Earl Slick never had a Plan B. Still doesn’t. In fact, he doesn’t believe in backup plans. 

 

“If you have a backup plan,” said the guitarist who for decades worked alongside rock royalty including David Bowie and John Lennon among others, “then eventually you become the backup plan.” 

 

Which explains – and fuels – Slick’s new album, “Fist Full of Devils.” Harnessing his musical roots as a child of the 60s when blue-based rock pushed its way to the front of the line and incorporating his decades as one of the most sought-after touring musicians in the business, Fistful is Slick as he’s been from the start: an artist who fully mines the depths of the blues and guitar by drawing on a toolkit assembled from blues to glam to punk to rockabilly.

 

Released 2 July 2021, the 11-track instrumental album is no retread retrospective of Slick’s run of 40 years as a professional guitarist; it’s an audible demonstration of a virtuoso still pushing deep into rock and roll’s blues roots.  

 

The album, Slick says, is acrobatics without a net. He’d have it no other way. From the moment he picked up a guitar, “I’ve never wanted to do anything else.” 

 

What better way to celebrate the album release than a tour of intimate rock n roll shows around the UK? Featuring a set list of new and old material (including Bowie & Lennon) and an all-star band including vocalist Jesse Smith (The Classic Rock Show, Romances), Ben Ellis & Seamus Beaghen (Iggy Pop) and Slick’s son Lee Madeloni on drums; these shows promise to be a post Covid rock n roll shot in the arm.

The Sea, the 70s and the Passage

£12.00

Yearning for a life at sea from the age of 13, the author couldn’t wait to leave home and join the British Merchant Navy. But to do that was harder than he’d thought.

 

Profound dyslexia (undiagnosed in the 1960s) offered him little prospect of getting qualifications and in 1968 he left school at 15, just after his parents’ marriage had broken up. But perseverance in hardship, plus a chance meeting on a train, launched him on a round-the-world odyssey, sailing on many different ships out of the Royal Docks, London.

 

It was a real education – in more ways than you’d ever imagine.

Triksta

£5.00

Signed copies

 

What lunacy would cause a 55-year-old white male, neither lean nor hungry, to embroil himself in the world of New Orleans rap, not merely as an observer, but as an active participant – ideas man, talent-spotter, lyricist, and would-be producer? And why did his experience, after many tribulations, end up so profoundly joyous and fulfilling?

 

Nik Cohn has loved (and hated) hip-hop since its birth, thirty years ago, and loved (and hated) New Orleans for even longer. The city has haunted him from childhood, an addiction he’s never wanted to kick. But nothing prepared him for the experience of being pitched, more or less by accident, into the role of Triksta, rap impressario.

 

A white alien in a black world, with no funding or qualifications, and not a clue what he was doing, he had to rethink himself from scratch.Surrounded by a cast-list that included such names as Choppa and Soulja Slim, Big Ramp and Lil T, Bass Heavy, Fifth Ward Weebie, and Shorty Brown Hustle, he entered a world of tiny backstreet studios, broken-down slums and gun turfs, almost unimaginable to those who know New Orleans only as the touristic Big Easy.

 

Triksta is the story of a three-year odyssey that became all-consuming – a journey to the heart of rap, and New Orleans, and self-knowledge. Hilarious, tragic, startling, and exhilirating, sometimes all at once, it is Nik Cohn’s greatest book.

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