SEB HUNTER Hell Bent for Leather (Fourth Estate) 0000
Subtitled ‘Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict'. this is a ramshackle histOry of the world's most extreme. comical and downright exhilarating music mixed with coming of age autobiography. Seb Hunter talks from a true fan's perspective (even if some of that has matured into embarrassment these days). capturing the passion of youth and the desperation to fit in and appear ‘cool'. There is true pathos in his first break fOr independence.
an attempted climb to fame and his often forlorn love life.
You may actually find that the sections on metal history stad getting in the way of his life st0ry to the point that you want to hear more about his latest woes in bedsit land far more than his discussions of the various elements of thrash. But like any true obsessive he can't help but revel in these details. pulling them apart and exposing their ludicrous underbelly. A truly human examination of passion and music. (Henry Northmore)
BLACK COMEDY LAURA MARNEY No Wonder I Take a Dnnk
(Black Swan) 0.
Laura Marney is one of a number of young Scottish writers being billed as ones to watch. which makes this debut novel a real disappointment. The plot. such as it is. of No Wonder / Take a Drink revolves around Trisha. a boozy. divorced mum
' (“(1.51 : Jéiki‘a'.
who moves from Glasgow to the Highlands when she unexpectedly inherits a house up nOrth.
The main problem is that. for a “black comedy'. this novel is neither very funny nor particularly dark. Instead we get a tame narrative on smalltown Highland life and a handful of cliched characters. none of whom does very much of interest. A couple of revelations are thrown into the plot. but are done in such a hackneyed way as to seem like something of an afterthought. Marney shows in places that she can write passany well. but overall this novel
seems almost half- baked in its planning and execution. (Doug Johnstone)
SOCIAL ANALYSIS DAVID STENHOUSE
On the Make: How the Scots Took Over London
DAVID 3? IN!“ it #5!
As ever. Wildean words hold true. If the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. then the most offensive thing the English can say of us is nothing. Just as well. therefore. that the right wing meeja Wapping- way have recently awoken to the Jockocracy that is running 'their' COuntry.
But not content with occupying Nos 10 and 1 1 and much of the cabinet. we have the tartan temerity to head
up the Fourth Estate. the
legal establishment and the arts.
Diligently detailed and felicitously phrased. David Stenhouse's book succeeds (in the view of this Anglo-Scot reader) in putting flesh to his thesis of a reverse colonial takeover fuelled by ambition and talent. As one Scots MP put it: ‘Why can't they just accept we're better?'. And history appears to support the view that the Act of Union — 1707 and all that — was indeed a case of the little fish eating the large. (Rodger Evans)
SOCIAL SATIRE JAY RAYMER The Apologist
It all starts when a chef roasts himself in his own oven after a particularly scathing review from vitriolic restaurant critic Marc Basset. Confronted with the
reality of what his poison
: pen is capable of.
i Basset does something he's never done before:
I apologises. Discovering that saying sorry
produces an intense emotional high. he embarks on a self-
' indulgent mission to apologise to everyone he's ever wronged. A series of far-fetched events later and Basset finds himself appointed Chief Apologist for the United Nations. smoothing ruffled feathers worldwide.
Celebrity soon follows — giving Jay Rayner the
perfect opportunity to
take a swipe at that too — but inevitably. things come crashing down, leaving Basset more
LAUGH YOUR HEAD OFF
with Mark Steel's hilarious account of the French Revolution
‘Steel mixes jokes ' and facts brilliantly’ THE TIMES
‘A great read’ OBSERVER
h.» 1m 9'
‘Terrific’ TIME OUT
no. a t on, m w.
“'"tnu a My...” ’1‘! wk 1m . u ‘"
Out now in paperback, from all good bookshops .
10—24 Jun 2004 THE LIST 105