MUSIC JOURNAL Bill Drummond 45 (Little, Brown £12.99)
’lt’s a book called 45 and in it are some of the feelings you get at the age of 45.’ Since Bill Drummond’s initial endeavours as boss of 200 Records — home to such indie luminaries as The Teardrop Explodes and Echo And The Bunnymen - to his chart topping excursions as the KLF and the spectacular, pranksterish japes of the K Foundation, Clydebank-born Drummond has been confounding people's opinions of himself for nigh on 25 years. Now, it would appear he is a writer.
’I don’t consider myself a writer,’ Drummond retorts. ’I just have a nervous tick. I can’t stop myself. I have done since I was about eighteen.’ 45 is not Drummond’s debut opus; in 1988 he published The Manual, the KLF’s guide on how to get a number one single and in 1996 collaborated with Mark Manning aka Zodiac Mindwarp on the amusingly obscene Bad Wisdom.
Drummond has a sporting analogy for the idea behind 45. ’I sat down and tried to make sense of what it was I had written and came up with it being half-time. I’m assessing the game so far. You’re both the manager and the team and you’re trying to work out what you should be doing for the second half.’
The book is culled from Drummond’s extensive scribblings and see him in Helsinki, extolling the virtues of obscure local rock music to adages about making soup, to tales of art fraud and running plant hire companies. To say he has had a varied life is just short of an astronomical understatement.
Drummond will be most readily credited as a true pop pioneer, alongside Jimmy Cauty, in The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu aka the Kopyright Liberation Front. The KLF were a music/art wonder; gimmicks, familiar hooks and
Born lippy: Bill Drummond
fashions of the day were used to breed a litter of pop puppies that chewed the ankle of the establishment for almost six years. Drummond is suitably glib about their place in music history. ’This might be being a bit idealistic, but pop is of the moment isn’t it? In my head, the KLF records were of the moment. None of them were great songs and that’s what usually lasts. You can’t go around singing "What Time Is Love?" can you?’
With most strands of Drummond’s career remaining unfinished, it would appear anything is still possible from him. ‘Plans are afoot, but they’re a lot more personal than the big scale stuff Jimmy and I did before. Your instinct, initially, is to top whatever you've done before. It’s a great release when you finally realise that you don’t have to and you don't have to justify it to anyone but yourself.’ Bill Drummond; justified but not quite ancient. (Mark Robertson)
I 45 is published on Thu 2 Mar
odd characters and overshadowed by a tangled and mysterious famin history. She spins her tale as part of a bargain with her mother, Nora; her own narrative in exchange for an explanation of her origins. Atkinson thus allows herself to toy With form, permitting Nora and Effie to pre-empt critiCIsm of the novel, deconstructing it even as it unfolds. ’You'll never make a crime writer,’ Nora complains. Effie retorts that ’This isn’t a crime story. This is a comic novel.’ And, Sure en0ugh, Emotional/y Weird is subtitled 'A Comic Novel’.
COMIC ADVENTURE Kate Atkinson
Emotionally Weird (Doubleday
Kate Atkinson speCIalises in warm,
eccentric, gently surreal sagas about
loopy folk. Family secrets lurk darkly,
but fuzzy, fumbling optimism
dominates and, by and large, the
world remains a happy conundrum. Like Atkinson’s preVIous novels — the
94 THE “ST 2— 16 Mar 2000
Weird and emotional: Kate Atkinson
Whitbread-winning Behind The Scenes At the Museum and Human Croquet —~ Emotional/y Weird is a loveable celebration of the oddness inherent in ordinary lives and it retains the exuberance and imaginative richness with which she has so captivated critics, previously.
Effie is a student at Dundee University whose studies are an unwelcome imposition upon a life crowded with
All of this self-referential tomfoolery could have proved irritating in the hands of a more self-important writer. But Atkinson's style is so irrepressiny generous and cheery that there’s no smugness, even in her flights of academic fancy. This is a meditation on the construction of narrative and truth, but it’s also screwball comedy of the most endearingly flippant and undemanding kind. (Hannah McGill)
I Emotionally Weird is published on Thi19 Mar
Putting debut novelists under the microscope. This issue: David Michie
Who he? DaVid Michie was born in Zimbabwe to Scottish parents. He moved to London in the 80s and worked in corporate public relations for fifteen years. His debut It's called Conflict Of Interest and focuses on Lombard, a fictional, all— powerful PR company whose biggest client is Starwear, the world's leading maker of sportswear. When Starwear's Chairman (all-round good guy Nathan Strauss) commits made, there are more than a few people both in, and on the periphery of, the business world who realise that all is not dude how it seems
Basically . . . Basically it’s a thriller played out against the background of a grasping and VlCIOUS PR world. A timely tome — nowadays in the public sphere, spin doctors, image and damage limitation is all ~ it highlights the less publiCised, corrupt practices in which the industry indulges. The novel also positively begs for reincarnation as a celluIOid blockbuster. First line test ’The businessman with the cheque for £5 million looked awkward. Despite being Chief Executive of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturer, and a revered business guru, Nathan Strauss had never been one for slick soundbites in front of rolling teleVi3ion cameras.’
Cast list Mike Cullen, head of Lombard; Jacob Strauss, inheritor of the Starwear throne, Judith Laing an investigative journalist, and Chris Treiger, recently headhunted new recrUit to Lombard. Grand claims corner Michie is being credited With inventing a spanking new genre: the PR thriller. Amazoncom have declared that 'John Grisham has a rival in the realm of corporate thriller’. Fellow City boy Nick Leeson, believes Michie 'brilliantly portrays the mounting panic and fear when caught in an impossible Situation With nowhere to run'. And he should know.
To whom the book is dedicated 'To Koala, With love'. (Dawn Kofiel
I Conflict Of Interest is published by Little, Brown on Thu 2 Mar, priced £10.