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102 Dave Eggers, Sophie Dahl


104 Krazy Kat, Blab!


1 O4 Teenage Fanclub

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31 Songs (Vlkllig $712.99) 0...

love talking to I people about

songs. No, honestly, I really, really love it. Give me an unsuspecting ear and I’ll chatter away until it curls up at the edges on the visceral thrills of ‘Be Quiet and Drive’ by the Deftones, the vitriol and pain in Fiona Apple‘s ‘Get Gone’ or the raw emotion in ‘l've Been

Nick Hornby

Loving you Too Long' by Otis Redding.

Nick Hornby does too: he can’t get enough of it. He’s a fellow muso bore, hence why he set himself this project of collecting together essays about 31 songs that get him frothing at the turntable. Call it sad but at least we don’t dress up as Klingons or Darth Vader while we’re extolling the virtues of Teenage Fanclub. Though maybe we should.

If 31 Songs proves anything it's that music enters our lives and stays with us in the most peculiar ways. Hornby‘s love for the J Geils Band’s “First I Look at the Purse‘ is not so much a love for that song as it is the fact that the song signifies the blossoming of his love affair with the USA. Then there’s his autistic son responding with delight to Gregory lssacs' interpretation of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’, while his celebration of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’ is just that a bigging up of the Boss.

He could be mocked for his fondness for earnest, weather- beaten singer/songwriter types as there are plenty croaking, roaring and wailing their way through these pages, but as he states on multiple occasions, he is ‘44 after all'. He does, however, come across as eminently knowledgeable and the extremely personable style that makes his fiction such easy work is all apparent here.

Much of the music he cites has already flowed back into his fiction. He tells the story of Badly Drawn Boy soundtracking the movie adaptation of About a Boy and he unearths the origins of Rob's record shop in High Fidelity, and Rob sleeping with a singer/songwriter. And he successfully dispels and explains various myths surrounding the autobiographical nature of his fiction. Whether we care or not is a whole other thing, but at least he’s sharing honestly.

Few authors are able to convey their feelings for music in

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At least we don’t dress up as Klingons while extolling Teenage Fanclub

this long(ish) way without bandaging it up as a history lesson or social analysis. This does, however, say as much about the nature of book publishing as it does about the writer’s good intentions. In personalising this collection, Hornby comes across as neither judgmental nor academic, but just as a fan, one who has lived his life with, during and around great songs. This means even if you’ve never even heard of the artist, never mind heard the song, you can get off on his animated ramble.

People who are moved by music (and tragically, there must be some poor unfortunates out there who are not) are displaying the most human of emotions: passion. And while it may be a struggle to agree with some of his musical choices, Hornby’s passion cannot be denied. (Mark Robertson)

13—27 Fer: THE LIST 101