Coal Black Mornings
Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took him from a childhood as 'a snotty, sniffy, slightly maudlin sort of boy raised on Salad Cream and milky tea and cheap meat' to becoming founder and lead singer of Suede.
Anderson grew up in Hayward's Heath on the grubby fringes of the Home Counties. As a teenager he clashed with his eccentric taxi-driving father (who would parade around their council house dressed as Lawrence of Arabia, air-conducting his favourite composers) and adored his beautiful, artistic mother. He brilliantly evokes the seventies, the suffocating discomfort of a very English kind of poverty and the burning need for escape that it breeds. Anderson charts the shabby romance of creativity as he travelled the tube in search of inspiration, fuelled by Marmite and nicotine, and Suede's rise from rehearsals in bedrooms, squats and pubs. And he catalogues the intense relationships that make and break bands as well as the devastating loss of his mother.
Coal Black Mornings is profoundly moving, funny and intense - a book which stands alongside the most emotionally truthful of personal stories.
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On reading and hearing the preface (I have the print and audio versions) I was a bit worried, I thought Bretts reason for writing the book was somewhat false - there are now a little platoon of pop star auto's behind and in front of this books release . There's now a market/outlet for pop stars who still provide sell out tours but who's music sales are flagging due to digital streaming and black market downloads To pretend the book is merely because he wants to write it just for his son , although a worthy and lovely notion is ultimately dishonest. If it were true why not write it and leave it somewhere for his son to read in future years? Its art and commerce and thats just the way it goes. I suspect Brett read the book by his one time hero, Morrissey, and rightly saw all the truth , beauty, poetry and magic of "Autobiography" was in the first third , the childhood years - when I read the book I thought Morrissey really should have released the childhood years as a stand alone book , then released the rest later bit like Dirk Bogarde did with his. However, this book is rather good...Its a heart spin, memory thunder tale told about a certain English time , a certain English take and leave . A time before the internet , smart phones and idiot culture claimed the nation , making England post 2000 (nay post 1990) a million year universe ride away from pre 1990 . Its a story of family , death and love betrayed .. An attempt to come to terms with the haunting mishmash of youth , that never really leaves a man . Its also, of course, a portrait of an artist as a young man... Where one can see each ingredient gradually come together to form the main course. Brett , although at times using the words and language of a hip but somewhat cliched English teacher that uses imagery nicked straight from an episode of Grange Hill, written and directed by Mike Leigh, does still manage to deliver a book that sits nicely with his music - which is a wonderful feat in of itself . This long time Suede fan, I saw them first at The Camden Underworld pre first single release (not that anyone was asking) is extremely proud of Brett..I hope goes on to write more books.