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A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT: THE SAGA OF THE SMITHS
My next project is an extensive biography of The Smiths, to be published by William Heinemann in the UK and Crown Books in the USA. Though there are several books available about this greatest of British bands, there has not been a serious attempt at a biography other than Johnny Rogan’s “The Severed Alliance” back in 1992. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has any book on the Smiths ever been simultaneously commissioned by an American publisher. As someone very much of the Smiths generation, a devoted fan who saw the group in concert many times while also working in the thick of things as a music journalist/magazine editor, I’m trusting I can do my subjects the justice they deserve. I’m excited to be telling the Smiths’ story with the benefit of two decades’ hindsight; I’m looking forward to focusing on the music, which would appear to be more influential now than during the group’s intense five-year reign in the mid-80s; and I’m anticipating approaching this from more of an international perspective as well.
Over the last several months, I have been conducting interviews with a number of the major players, and I’ll be spending most of November in the UK doing further research. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has anything to say about the Smiths. The book is slated for publication in 2012.
BOY ABOUT TOWN
I mentioned this in my first and last full-on e-blast a year ago, and I’m pleased to say that, three drafts later, it’s finished (for now). Boy About Town tells the story, via a Top 50 countdown, of my childhood and teenage years in the pre-punk and post-punk music scenes around London, while also detailing the pubescent narrator’s equal obsessions with sex, the terraces and the pursuit of street credibility. I was fortunate to run a fanzine in the late 1970s that afforded me a ringside seat to one of the most creative periods in British cultural history, and the preservation of my interview manuscripts, notebooks, and diaries provided me with enough resource material to structure Boy About Town as a series of short stories that hopefully have the pace of a good novel. I can, hand on heart, say that I’m as happy with this book as anything I’ve ever written. A sample story from an earlier draft remains available online at my web site, here, though it was subsequently dropped from the final selection. I look forward to updating you on the book’s progress towards publication.