by the musician Joe Jackson
, an autobiography
of the first 24
years of his life, ending when his first album
It's a great book. Joe is funny, intelligent, and a very good writer (there is no ghost writer here.) The stories of him growing up in Portsmouth, his time at the Royal Academy of Music, and his evolution into new wave star through progressive rock, jazz, lounge music as well as cover bands is a dazzling story.
He also uses the book to talk about his theories of good music and why he looks at music the way he does.
It's a must for a Joe Jackson fan, of course, but anyone who appreciates popular music of the 20th century will probably find quite a bit in it as well. It's now out in paperback so you have no excuse (or you can check it out of the library.)
Here goes the hyperactive brain again. Who started music? Surely it was always there. In the Beginning was the Note. A deep, deep note it must have been, at least six octaves below middle C. Higher harmonics slowly came into being, until a vast chord of stars and planets hummed throughout the universe. Primitive creatures crawled out of swamps to listen, and pretty soon (we're talking in Cosmic Time here) they were walking on two legs and howling Cro-Magnon arias at the moon. And over that ever-present Note, a Greek plucked the strings of a lyre, a Chinaman bashed a cymbal, and so it goes across the ages, as musical empires rise and fall: Byzantium, Vienna, New Orleans ... Basingstoke.
I open my eyes. I'm sitting in a Transit van in Basingstoke, and I'm thinking: how the hell did I get mixed up in all this?