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I'm Not with the Band

Penderyn Music Book Prize, 2017

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780751558692

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 16th June 2016

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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‘Celebratory and elegiac’ Guardian

‘A roller-coaster memoir’ Sunday Times

‘Funny, anecdote-packed, nostalgic but also very touching’
The Pool

‘Patterson fillets out the pretentious bones of pop, leaving its glistening meat’ Observer

This is a three-decade survivor’s tale . . . a scenic search for elusive human happiness through music, magazines, silly jokes, stupid shoes, useless blokes, hopeless homes, booze, drugs, love, loss, A&E, death, disillusion and hope.

In 1986, Sylvia Patterson boarded a train to London armed with a tea-chest full of vinyl records, a peroxide quiff and a dream: to write about music, for ever. She got her wish.

Escaping a troubled home, Sylvia embarks on a lifelong quest to discover The Meaning of It All. The problem is she’s mostly hanging out with flaky pop stars, rock ‘n’ roll heroes and unreliable hip-hop legends. As she encounters music’s biggest names, she is confronted by glamour and tragedy; wisdom and lunacy; drink, drugs and disaster. And Bros.

Here is Madonna in her Earth Mother phase, flinging her hands up in horror at one of Sylv’s Very Stupid Questions. Prince compliments her shoes while Eminem threatens to kill her. She shares fruit with Johnny Cash, make-up with Amy Winehouse and several pints with the Manics’ lost soul-man Richey Edwards. She finds the Beckhams fragrant in LA, a Gallagher madferrit in her living room and Shaun Ryder and Bez as you’d expect, in Jamaica.

From the 80s to the present day, I’m Not with the Band is a funny, barmy, utterly gripping chronicle of the last thirty years in music and beyond. It is also the story of one woman’s wayward search for love, peace and a wonderful life. And whether, or not, she found them.


A roller-coaster memoir, which also works as a paean to a lost era, when pop (and pop journalism) was flush with cash and kudos
Sunday Times (Music Book of the Year)
[A] mercilessly funny memoir . . . I'm Not with the Band serves as an epitaph for the music press, too, now "standing like a polar bear on a tiny wedge of melting ice"
Mail on Sunday
The best book about music writing you will ever read
Classic Rock
Patterson has been a top music journo since the 1980s...here she recalls 30 years in the profession offering brilliant anecdote after brilliant anecdote
Not to be missed . . . I'm Not With The Band has all the gossip you could possibly want, but what elevates this memoir is Sylvia's own personal story
[A] mercilessly funny memoir...the riotous superstar profiles are only one of several threads in this gripping and multi-layered book
Mark Ellen, Mail on Sunday
The music journalist's account of her life and encounters with the stars is both angry and hilarious . . . Patterson fillets out the pretentious bones of pop, leaving its glistening meat
Sylvia Patterson is one of the best music writers of all time, an inspiration and a genius
David Quantick
A great document of a lost moment in time . . . [Patterson's] depiction of the peak-era Smash Hits offices is ripe for screenplay
Emma Warren, Caught by the River
From stalking Mick Hucknall to an audience with Prince, there's chaos, heart-rending moments and hilarity
Sunday Mirror
Celebratory and elegiac, I'm Not with the Band documents the last three and half decades in pop and gives an honest account of an exhilarating and grueling life. Top read.
A hilariously authentic love letter to youth and learning to grow up
Patterson hilariously recounts life on Britain's Brightest Pop Magazine (TM). Funny, anecdote-packed, nostalgic but also very touching
The Pool
It's absolutely hilarious - there were times I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard
Barbara Ellen, Observer
This very funny, glowingly humane memoir . . . I'm Not With The Band is, ultimately, a thing of joy
Sunday Times
I'm Not With The Band . . . is the best book about music writing you will ever read. 10 stars
Ian Fortnum, Classic Rock
I'm Not with the Band is, ultimately, a thing of joy
Sunday Times Culture
A hugely entertaining, gossip-fuelled insight into some of the most influential artists of recent decades
Daily Express
I can't praise this book highly enough; so funny, brave, sad and wise. I totally adored it
Jenny Colgan
Great journalism, and also written with a clear, unsentimental eye
The Times
There's no mistaking the writing of Sylvia Patterson, the author of this very funny, glowingly humane memoir about her 30 years as a music writer [...] While I'm Not with the Band features a dream cast of interview subjects, this is not a straightforward greatest hits. Alongside the story of Patterson's life, the losses of growing up handled with unflinching honesty, lies the story of a changing culture, one where "celebrity" has shouldered its way into pop music, magazines vanish and social media has pitched everyone, especially artists, into paranoia
Sunday Times