pains: family discomfort. All of it is best exemplified in a Q&A with Morley"s mother and his two sisters.
‘l‘d talked to people. the Stings of the world. whatever. about really intimate. private things. I'd never really done that with my family. I thought maybe it’s the only way I can get around this. so I stuck a tape recorder in front of them. I didn't really know what I was going to be asking. ljust vaguely knew that there were some things I didn‘t know
and needed to find out. People find it strange that I couldn‘t remember
the date or how old I was. but I actually couldn't. I seem to have done something very strange to the time of that couple of years..
There are some wonderful discrepancies in the accounts. '()ne of my sisters claimed she was at the funeral. but I've absolutely no memory that
she was there.‘ he says. 'It's a sort of Philip K. Dick thing. with four or
live different realities going on. each of us operating in our own little world. liven now. I wake up. thinking: “I‘ve got all this wrong".’
Up until the family interviews. Morley couldn‘t have told you when his father died. He'd an inkling it was l977. around the same time as Elvis and Marc Bolan died. but no more. Morley would’ve been twenty. then establishing himself with the New Musical [iv/Mess.
'I think the shock made me somehow want to honour my father.‘ he says. 'Suhconsciously. I wanted to achieve any ambitions he might have had for himself. His life wasn't a waste because the things he left behind were achieving something and doing something.‘
As an aside. it‘s interesting to note that Morley's younger sister. Carol. has just brought out her first film. The Alcohol Years. Comprising a series of interviews with folk who knew her back in the mid-80s. it‘s trailed as a ‘frank and intimate study of the person she once was‘.
Anyway. I can‘t let Paul Morley go without talking about pop. Morley and his NME colleagues didn't so much introduce me to pop. as affirm my love of it. articulate my love for it. They. more than anybody. made me want to be a writer: though. funnin enough. not a journalist.
Morley is still an avid record buyer. He raves about The Aphex Twin. somebody called Arvo Part. the new En Vogue CD and ‘an obscure Britney Spears 12in b-side. that sort of sounds like early Cabaret Voltaire'. l out-Fall him with a b-side question. But he comes back with a top anecdote. ‘I saw The Fall‘s first ever show. I thought Mark was singing “Gosh. You’re All A State". when he was singing “Industrial Estate".‘
lnevitably. we talk about Joy Division. the band whose singer. Ian Curtis. took his own life in 1980. Morley was their champion. their commentator. their friend. In Nut/ting. Morley goes on about the irony of writing extensively about Curtis‘ death while. at the same time. admitting to being totally clueless as to the circumstances of his own father's demise. The latter. of course. was private.
‘I guess there's an irony there as well: the fact that this is a private subject. and we‘ve kept it private for so long. and suddenly I've gone to the other extreme.‘ Equal parts (auto)biography and family mystery. Nothing is a wonderful book that strives to understand. to explain. through a set of experiences and wayward distractions. just what happened all those years ago. And. like I say. it's very funny. Yeah. Nothing really matters.
Paul Morley's Nothing is published by Faber priced £11.99. Gordon Legge's Near Neighbours is published by Vintage priced £6.99.
22 Jun—6 Jul 2000 THE lIST 11