D.J. Taylor - 'Rock and Roll is Life' - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781472128812
    • Publication date:31 May 2018
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    • ISBN:9781472128829
    • Publication date:07 Mar 2019

'Rock and Roll is Life'

The True Story of the Helium Kids by One Who Was There: A Novel

By D.J. Taylor

  • Hardback
  • £18.99

'Rock and Roll is Life' is the new novel from the country's leading man of letters, D. J. Taylor.

'Taylor's magnificent new novel is Spinal Tap for literary types . . . thoroughly entertaining, knowledgeable romp through the fear and loathing of rock's golden age. Beautifully written and consistently funny, it is also a poignant account of one man's search for his own identity' Mail on Sunday

'A dazzling rollercoaster homage to an era both bacchanalian and oddly innocent' Guardian

You may remember the Helium Kids. Back in their late '60s and early '70s heyday they appeared on Top of the Tops on 27 separate occasions, released five Billboard-certified platinum albums, played sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and were nearly, but not quite, as big as the Beatles and the Stones.

Three decades later, in the big house on the outskirts of Norwich, Nick Du Pont is looking back on the rollercoaster years he spent as their publicist in a world of licensed excess and lurking tragedy.

What follows is not only the story of a rock band at a formative time in musical history, when America was opening up to English music and huge amounts of money and self-gratification were there for the taking. For the tale is also Nick's - the life and times of a war-baby born in a Norwich council house, the son of an absconding GI, whose career is a search for some of the advantages that his birth denied him. It is at once a worm's eye of British pop music's golden age and a bittersweet personal journey, with cameo appearances from everyone from Elvis and Her Majesty the Queen Mother to Andy Warhol.

'Rock and Roll is Life' is a vastly entertaining, picaresque and touching novel inspired by the excess and trajectories of the great '60s and '70s supergroups, and of the tales brought back from the front line by a very special breed of Englishmen who made it big in the States as the alchemists and enablers, as well as the old making way for the new in the era of the baby boomers. At its heart is one man's adventure, and the poignancy of the special relationships that dominate his life.

Biographical Notes

D.J. Taylor's novels include English Settlement (1996), which won a Grinzane Cavour Prize, Trespass (1998) and Derby Day (2011), both long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Kept: A Victorian Mystery (2006), a Publishers Weekly book of the year, and The Windsor Faction (2013), joint winner of the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including Orwell: The Life, winner of the 2003 Whitbread Prize for Biography and, most recently, The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England Since 1918 (2016). He lives in Norwich with his wife, the novelist Rachel Hore, and their three sons.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781472128843
  • Publication date: 31 May 2018
  • Page count: 480
  • Imprint: Constable
Taylor's magnificent new novel is Spinal Tap for literary types . . . thoroughly entertaining, knowledgeable romp through the fear and loathing of rock's golden age. Beautifully written and consistently funny, it is also a poignant account of one man's search for his own identity — Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday
Hugely entertaining . . . perceptive and sardonic . . . a dazzling rollercoaster homage to an era both bacchanalian and oddly innocent — Dermot Bolger, Guardian
A highly entertaining riff on the music business in the 1960s and 1970s . . . an immensely satisfying portrait of a creative and occasionally monstrous industry — Ian Critchley, Literary Review
An affectionate homage to a sub-genre of music journalism that has lost much of its cultural cachet in the internet age. Taylor skilfully combines nostalgic reverence and ironic distance in this genial romp, puncturing the mythology of the era while never quite repudiating its charms — Houman Barekat, Spectator
This tale of pop group excess cleverly slips fact into fiction . . . Taylor's wry, detached style and eye for detail is a pleasure to read — Will Hodgkinson, The Times
D. J. Taylor has a gift for rendering the defining details of a world . . . It might be said that the book depicts a world that comes with the satire built in, but for good or ill rock music and its successors have taken on a cultural and economic importance that no one could have predicted. The subject requires a powerful imaginative chronicler. In D. J. Taylor it finds a writer closer to Balzac than it may even deserve — Sean O'Brien, TLS
A literary version of Rob Reiner's hilarious mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, tragically narrated by a provincial depressive — Lewis Jones, Daily Telegraph
Entertaining . . . By the end, you'll almost be humming the music — Suzi Feay, The Tablet
Constable

The New Book of Snobs

D.J. Taylor
Authors:
D.J. Taylor

'Hugely enjoyable' AN Wilson, Sunday Times'Thoughtful, entertaining and enjoyable' Michael Gove, Book of the Week, The TimesInspired by William Makepeace Thackeray, the first great analyst of snobbery, and his trail-blazing The Book of Snobs (1848), D. J. Taylor brings us a field guide to the modern snob. Short of calling someone a racist or a paedophile, one of the worst charges you can lay at anybody's door in the early twenty-first century is to suggest that they happen to be a snob. But what constitutes snobbishness? Who are the snobs and where are they to be found? Are you a snob? Am I? What are the distinguishing marks? Snobbery is, in fact, one of the keys to contemporary British life, as vital to the backstreet family on benefits as the proprietor of the grandest stately home, and an essential element of their view of who of they are and what the world might be thought to owe them.The New Book of Snobs will take a marked interest in language, the vocabulary of snobbery - as exemplified in the 'U' and 'Non U' controversy of the 1950s - being a particular field in which the phenomenon consistently makes its presence felt, and alternate social analysis with sketches of groups and individuals on the Thackerayan principle. Prepare to meet the Political Snob, the City Snob, the Technology Snob, the Property Snob, the Rural Snob, the Literary Snob, the Working-class Snob, the Sporting Snob, the Popular Cultural Snob and the Food Snob.

Constable

What You Didn't Miss

D.J. Taylor
Authors:
D.J. Taylor

Since the late 1990s, Private Eye's 'What You Didn't Miss' column has trained a vigilant lens on some of the great literary reputations of our age. Highlights of this bumper selection include Martin Amis exploring the sexual revolution of the 1960s, A.S. Byatt rewriting the Norse myths and the late Anthony Powell reflecting on his death. There are verse contributions from such distinguished contemporary poets as Seamus Heaney, Clive James and Sir Andrew Motion and a host of biographical subjects ranging from Hugh Trevor-Roper to the Bloomsbury Group. Edited and introduced by D.J. Taylor, What You Didn't Miss Part 94 doubles up as both an hilarious collection of literary lampoons and an alternative history of modern English Literature.

Corsair

Secondhand Daylight

D.J. Taylor
Authors:
D.J. Taylor

Autumn 1933, and for once struggling writer James Ross seems to have fallen on his feet. Not only has the Labour Exchange fixed him up with a day-job collecting rents in Soho, but friendly Mr Samuelson is employing him front-of-house in the Toreador night-club. Even his melancholy love-life is looking up, thanks to a chance encounter with the alluring Gladys, enigmatic inhabitant of the Meard Street second-floor back.On the other hand, Soho looks an increasingly dangerous place in which to be at large. Not only are Mosley's Blackshirts on the prowl, but somebody is raiding the dirty bookshops and smashing night-club windows in a quest for moral decency. Fetched up in a police-cell in West End Central after an unfortunate incident outside the Toreador, and coerced into undercover work by the mysterious Inspector Haversham, James finds himself infiltrating the Blackshirts' Chelsea HQ , leafleting passers-by in the King's Road and spying on a top-secret dinner party attended by a highly important Royal guest. Meanwhile, the emotional consequences of this deception are set to come as a nasty shock.Praise for At the Chime of a City Clock:'Steeped in historical detail, the novel evokes the sleazy side of the Thirties so vividly that you can almost feel the grease and grime on your fingers.' Anthony Gardner, Mail on Sunday'Engaging, cheerful, opportunist James Ross. You won't forget him or the London he frequents for a long time after closing the book.' Susan Hill, Literary Review'A watchable, atmospheric black-and-white film in novel form' Sunday Express'Written with a splendid and captivating assurance' The Scotsman'Finely drawn ... Artful ... Masterly.' John Sutherland

Corsair

At the Chime of a City Clock

D.J. Taylor
Authors:
D.J. Taylor

Summer 1931 in seedy Bayswater and James Ross is on his uppers. An aspiring writer whose stories nobody will buy ('It's the slump'), with a landlady harassing him for unpaid rent and occasional sleepless nights spent in the waiting room at King's Cross Station, he is reduced to selling carpet-cleaning lotion door-to-door. His prospects brighten when he meets the glamorous Suzi ('the red hair and the tight jumper weren't a false card: she really was a looker and no mistake'), but their relationship turns out to be a source of increasing bafflement. Who is her boss, the mysterious Mr Rasmussen - whose face bears a startling resemblance to one of the portraits in Police News - and why he so interested in the abandoned premises above the Cornhill jeweller's shop?Worse, mysterious Mr Haversham from West End Central is starting to take an interest in his affairs. With a brief to keep an eye on Schmiegelow, James finds himself staying incognito at a grand Society weekend at a country house in Sussex, where the truth - about Suzi and her devious employer - comes as an unexpected shock. Set against a backdrop of the 1931 financial crisis and the abandonment of the Gold Standard, acted out in shabby bed-sitters and Lyons tea-shops, At the Chime of a City Clock is an authentic slice of Thirties comedy-noir.Praise for Kept: A Victorian Mystery:'Very entertaining and well done, with a sharp appreciation for the details' The Times'An ingenious tale of madness, murder and deception.' The Guardian'A stylish page-turner ... all done with humour and cunning.' Sunday Telegraph

Aimee Molloy

Aimee Molloy is the author of the New York Times non-fiction bestseller However Long the Night, as well as the co-author of several other books, including Rosewater, which was made into a movie by Jon Stewart. Film rights for The Perfect Mother have been optioned by Sony/Tri Star with Kerry Washington set to star in and produce the adaptation. Aimee lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman - who worked for many years as a theoretical physicist - is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, as well as The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of a memoir, three collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Nature, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.

Antonia White

Antonia White (1899-1980) was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton before going to St Paul's School for Girls and training for the stage at RADA. From 1924 until the Second World War she worked as a journalist. Among numerous volumes of short stories, fiction and autobiography, Antonia White published a celebrated quartet of novels linked by their heroine: Frost in May (1922), The Lost Traveller (1950), The Sugar House (1952) and Beyond the Glass (1954).

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky lives in Needham, Massachusetts. With thirty million copies of her novels in print, in twenty-five different languages, Delinsky is one of the world's most beloved and revered storytellers.A lifelong New Englander, she uses the area as settings in most of her stories. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys kayaking, aerobics, and needlepoint; in addition to spending time with family and friends. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and strives to be a positive role model for other women facing the disease.

Ben Fergusson

Ben Fergusson's debut novel The Spring of Kasper Meier, was selected for Waterstones Book Club, WH Smith Fresh Talent and the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. It was longlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2015 and shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2015. It won the 2015 Betty Trask Prize for an outstanding debut novel by a writer under 35 and the HWA Debut Crown 2015 for the best historical fiction debut of the year.

Caitlin Macy

Caitlin Macy is the author of The Fundamentals of Play and Spoiled. A graduate of Yale, she received her MFA from Columbia. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine and Slate, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Chris Brookmyre

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full-time novelist with the publication of his award-winning debut Quite Ugly One Morning, which established him as one of Britain's leading crime authors. His Jack Parlabane novels have sold more than one million copies in the UK alone, and Black Widow won both the McIlvanney Prize and the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award.

Christine Mangan

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize winner and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

Dale Brown

Dale Brown is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, starting with Flight of the Old Dog in 1987. A former U.S. Air Force captain, he often flies his own plane over the skies of the United States.

Deborah Rodriguez

Deborah Rodriguez spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. She also owned the Cabul Coffee House, and is now a hairdresser and a motivational speaker. Deborah currently lives in Mexico where she owns the Tippy Toes Salon. To learn more about her visit www.debbierodriguez.com

Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt lives in central Illinois with her husband, two children and three dogs. Visit her at www.elizabethhoyt.com

Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew and The Perfect Girl. She trained as an art historian and worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she's worked as a lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including The Little Shop of Happy Ever After and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter: @jennycolgan.

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

M.C. Beaton

M.C. Beaton is the author of both the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series, as well as numerous Regency romances. Her Agatha Raisin books are currently being turned into a TV series on Sky. She lives in Paris and in a Cotswold village that is very much like Agatha's beloved Carsely.