|Dimensions||240 × 162 × 44 mm|
Faber and Faber
Roots, Radicals and Rockers
Emerging from the jazz clubs of the early ’50s, skiffle – a uniquely British take on American folk and blues – caused a sensation among a generation of kids who had grown up during the dreary post-war years. These were Britain’s first teenagers, looking for a music of their own in a culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year, and – as with the punk rock that would flourish two decades later – all you needed to know were three chords to form your own group, with your mates accompanying on tea-chest bass and washboard.
Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive working-class youth, Billy Bragg charts – for the first time in depth – the history, impact and legacy of Britain’s original pop movement. It’s a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts, who between them sparked a revolution that shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.
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From the tip of Cornwall to the Isle of Mull, through rural communities and the inner-city, Amber Massie-Blomfield takes the road less travelled to discover Britain’s most astonishing and unexpected theatres. A ruined playhouse, haunted halls, a stage hewn from granite cliffs. Theatres on wheels, squeezed into a former public lavatory and rescued from fire. A theatre that is not there at all.
Making the case for radical, quirky and non-conforming performance spaces alongside iconic venues, this book is a celebration of thriving against the odds. It also tells a personal account of a life-long love affair with the places where ‘anything is possible’: from open-air fry-ups and an impromptu can-can to paranormal manifestations. An adventure through theatre, place and the people who make it happen, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die gives us reason to be hopeful.
Like many of Marina’s essay and poems, ‘Letter to the Amazon’ is addressed to another writer, in this case Natalie Clifford Barney, a wealthy American expatriate in Paris. Though written in 1932, Marina’s letter was in response to what Natalie said about lesbian relationships and motherhood in her 1920 ‘Pensées dune Amazone’ (Thoughts of an Amazon).
John Berger’s Ways of Seeing was first published in 1972. It looked at visual images and how they shape us. In Ways of Hearing Ben Thompson does a similar thing for music – albeit in a non-sociological, highly subjective, fairly irreverent and extremely entertaining manner. He explores the role of music in the mediums of radio, TV, film, literature and video, and interviews a wildly disparate bunch of musicians and djs, from Brian Eno, John Peel, Captain Beefheart and Neil Young, to Lee Perry, Sir Cliff Richard, the Chemical Brothers and Mercury Rev.
‘As a public airing of private pleasures delivered with a distinctive critical voice, it’s consistently engaging and infectiously readable’ Julian Cowley, The Wire
This is a son’s search for his father. A familiar theme, but one that, across the generations, can occasionally unearth something rather powerful. In The Distance Between Us that son is Renato Cisneros, a talented writer and a well-known journalist, and that father is the former Army General Luis Federico ‘El Gaucho’ Cisneros, one of the most important figures in the recent history of Peru.
Renato Cisneros digs into his own family history to understand and demystify the figure of ‘El Gaucho’: the controversial Secretary during the regime of Francisco Morales Bermúdez and, shortly after, the country’s Minister of War. In this book, the intimate perspective and the passage of time reveal the unknown truths about a man, a family and an entire country.
In 2015, Inua Ellams was poet in residence at the Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre in London. His #Afterhours project took him on a voyage of cultural translation and transposition through time and place, to the heart of the libraries archive collections, and through his own life s story as he selected poems published during each year of his life, from birth to the age of 18.
In return, Ellams opens up a captivating and potent dialogue between poems, writing a diary and intricately-crafted poems of his own in conversational response to the poems he selected from the library collections. Here, for the first time together, are the collected #Afterhours poems alongside the re-discovered poems which inspired them and the diary entries which follow this journey. In Ellams meticulous hands, this becomes an entire narrative in its own right, compelling and magnetic, drawing parallels of displacement, language and reclamation, and showing poetry’s great capacity to be a powerful amplifier of human experience.