What better way to celebrate than by turning the volume up and relaxing with some music? Unfortunately, much as we’d love to hear some music blaring out ourselves, even over the summer, normal Library noise restrictions have to be observed. But to make partial amends, we’ve delved into our collection to create a display featuring some of our favourite books about music and musicians that we hope will make for excellent summer reading. It may not be quite the same as chillaxing to this year’s Marbella sessions, but hopefully some of these titles may open your ears to some fabulous new sounds over the vacation.
Where better to start than with a book that takes its title from a line from a Ramones song? All hopped up and ready to go : music from the streets of New York, 1927-77 by Tony Fletcher is a fascinating overview of the musical history of the city that has nurtured such diverse talents as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Tito Puente, Bob Dylan, Blondie, The Strokes…we could go on. And on… Former NME stalwart Paul du Noyer has pulled off a similar stunt a for the musical history of our own capital city with In the city : a celebration of London music.
Even closer to home – well, the University gets a mention on page 428 – is another favourite. England’s dreaming : Sex Pistols and punk rock by Jon Savage is the first and last word on possibly the most famous band ever to have played in the Brunel Sports Bar. Savage was in the thick of the action for much of the punk story, so it’s a fabulously intimate and engaged account of an incredibly turbulent and creative moment ion British culture. Suitably inspired by the period, you can then pick through the glorious rubble left in the wake of the punk explosion by flicking through Simon Reynolds’ exhaustive survey of the punk aftermath, Rip it up and start again : post-punk 1978-84. I guarantee you’ll find something you hadn’t heard before and really like if you do.
Alex Ross writes superbly. Few writers could make a panoramic analysis of 20th century classical music both concise and readable, but that’s precisely what The rest is noise is. We also have Listen to this, a collection of articles by the same author.
‘Bored with the beguine? Samba isn’t your scene?’ Fine, you might prefer some more intimate biographical material too. The display features biographies of, among others, Miles Davis, Prince –written by Brunel lecturer, Matt Thorne, Paul McCartney and Bessie Smith.
So, stick some headphones, check out our Pinterest and grab a book from the display… “One, two, three, four…”