free hit counter code I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music

Availability: Ready to download

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 - while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyoncé, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (wi 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 - while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyoncé, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (with varying degrees of success). 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.


Compare
Ads Banner

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 - while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyoncé, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (wi 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 - while trying to make Prince laugh, startle Beyoncé, cheer Eminem up, annoy Madonna, drink with Shaun Ryder and finish off Westlife forever (with varying degrees of success). 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.

30 review for I'm Not with the Band: A Writer's Life Lost in Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    When it's good it's great but there were sections I found a little tedious and, by the end of the book, I was glad to have finished it. Part memoir; part deconstruction of how the music industry has moved from playful and irreverent to po-faced, micromanaged celebrity culture; part history of the music press; and a number of chapters of key artists who Sylvia had interviewed over her decades as a music journalist. The best chapters are those on Shaun Ryder, Bez and Kermit of Black Grape; Johnny C When it's good it's great but there were sections I found a little tedious and, by the end of the book, I was glad to have finished it. Part memoir; part deconstruction of how the music industry has moved from playful and irreverent to po-faced, micromanaged celebrity culture; part history of the music press; and a number of chapters of key artists who Sylvia had interviewed over her decades as a music journalist. The best chapters are those on Shaun Ryder, Bez and Kermit of Black Grape; Johnny Cash and Spike Milligan; and the final death throes of the NME. I also enjoyed tales of Sylvia's childhood and the hell that is an alcoholic mother. I could have done without the chapters on Beyoncé, Kylie, and Westlife. Definitely well worth a read though, Sylvia has had a heck of a life, both professionally and personally, and she's an engaging writer. 3/5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim Worthington

    We Are Very Quiet Persons Who Do Not Like To Brag Late in 1988, Smash Hits ran a typically swizzaway interview with short-lived Eurodance sensations Milli Vanilli. Gamefully chortling – or if you prefer ‘laughings’ – at their own absurdistly flawed battles with English as a second language, ‘Rob’ and ‘Fab’ gleefully informed listeners that they liked to eat ‘ananas’ and ‘mice’, recounted how ‘the nurses in the child-house’ had used them as ‘a football’, refused to be cast in any film that would We Are Very Quiet Persons Who Do Not Like To Brag Late in 1988, Smash Hits ran a typically swizzaway interview with short-lived Eurodance sensations Milli Vanilli. Gamefully chortling – or if you prefer ‘laughings’ – at their own absurdistly flawed battles with English as a second language, ‘Rob’ and ‘Fab’ gleefully informed listeners that they liked to eat ‘ananas’ and ‘mice’, recounted how ‘the nurses in the child-house’ had used them as ‘a football’, refused to be cast in any film that would depict them as ‘crocks’, and lamented the precarious physical condition of ‘the fat one’ from The Fat Boys. Although it would no doubt be looked on less fondly from this distance, it was a harmless bit of nonsense where the ‘victims’ were in on the joke, and gave rise to – as pretty much anything did to be fair – an affectionate if caustic running gag motif in Smash Hits. As it did with the Ver Hits-addicted youngsters in my family, who still send cards from, and attribute badly worded texts to, ‘Rob’ and ‘Fab’. It’s this interview that opens I’m Not With The Band, Sylvia Patterson’s searingly honest and indeed searingly funny account of her life in music journalism. In case you hadn’t quite picked up on it – which would be surprising, as it’s as obvious as spotting Marc Almond in Pervy ‘So’ho – Smash Hits in its mid-to-late eighties majesty had a huge influence on my writing style, not just in terms of twirly-wirly-‘spook’-plane-to-the-rescue-tacular maltreatment of language but also the ability to spot why certain people and reference points were inherently funny. So many throwaway bits of nonsense are drilled word-imperfect-perfect into my memory From The History Of Rock’n’Roll Part Three: Elvis Presley to The Upper Bubblington Village Fete, so you can blame Bitz, Mutterings and Reg ‘Reg’ Snipton And His Useless Toadstool for that business with that Michael Parkinson photo. More realistically, however, you can probably blame Sylvia and her anarchic approach to entertainment journalism, which I followed from Smash Hits into NME – where the still-striking cover photo, taken as part of her bizarre quest to pass herself off as Alex James from Blur for an evening, originally comes from – on to Loaded and Neon and beyond. It’s thrilling to find so many of those memorable interviews, features and encounters recounted with the benefit of hindsight and lashings of often hair-raising behind-the-scenes backstory, but I’m Not With The Band isn’t all laughs. Or even laughings. As well as covering her problematic upbringing and troubles in adult life with a commendable combination of wit, understanding and harrowingly relatable detail, Sylvia also knowingly charts the depressing rise of celebrity culture and the detrimental effect it has had on us all. At the start of the book, she’s able to ask even the most inaccessible of global megastars ludicrous questions just to see their reactions, and if they weren’t amused then the joke was on them. By the end, she’s being physically ejected – by men – from interview rooms after deviating by one word from a list of pre-approved banal prompts about nothing. There’s also room for rumination on Twitter outrage, following her own experiences after being left in the firing line by a pop star who refused to hold their hand up for an ill-advised thing that they’d said, and conversely a couple of occasions when owning your own words and admitting when you’d got it wrong was the best course of action for everyone. Well, apart from Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Throughout it all, Sylvia keeps returning to poor old Milli Vanilli, and the more innocent time when she could provoke them into an endless stream of gibberish about bikes with ‘big banana seats’ and everyone saw the funny side and they still kept on selling records – and Smash Hits kept on selling full stop – regardless. After all they had sold the most records on cassette single in the world but didn’t want anyone to know as they were very quiet persons who did not like to brag. Not long afterwards, for the hideous crime of not having sung on their own records, ‘Rob’ and ‘Fab’ became the victims of international outrage while the actual industry types who perpetrated the entire scam walked away unscathed. Their career was wrecked, and ‘Rob’ later took his own life, and that was 1990; one really does shudder to think what would happen to them now. There probably aren’t many places that you’ll find a good word said about Milli Vanilli now, but this fantastic book celebrates them and so many others from an era when even the most zzzzzzzzzzztastic of mainstream plank-spankers could seem, well, almost fun. And maybe, just maybe, the more we get to look back and see where we’ve got a bit lost, the more likely it is that everything might start to swing back in that direction. How’s about that then, ‘Albert’?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jo Coleman

    A friend told me to read this and she was quite right; it turns out that Sylvia Patterson is probably the most formative influence on my writing style, and responsible for me still starting every other sentence with "Jings!" or "Crikey!". It also turns out that she wrote a lot of the pop interviews that have stuck in my memory, like the Milli Vanilli interview about their favourite vegetables, the Housemartins being asked if they ever grew parsnips in a gumboot, and the joyful NME article about A friend told me to read this and she was quite right; it turns out that Sylvia Patterson is probably the most formative influence on my writing style, and responsible for me still starting every other sentence with "Jings!" or "Crikey!". It also turns out that she wrote a lot of the pop interviews that have stuck in my memory, like the Milli Vanilli interview about their favourite vegetables, the Housemartins being asked if they ever grew parsnips in a gumboot, and the joyful NME article about Spike Milligan that gets a whole chapter here. So this was all delightful, and at the same time I empathised a lot with the story of getting a bit stuck in a young person's job and forgetting to grow up. Topnotch!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Del

    A right good read, although it does end on a somewhat depressing note with regards to the soul-destroying rise and rise of celebrity culture; there's an early hint of how this all pans out during an interview with Lily Allen where she just puts the barriers up immediately, sensing that Patterson is trying to find an 'angle' for a cheap headline. At least Allen does self-censoring - the last couple of chapters of the book focus on how PR companies have become a suffocating firewall, meaning that A right good read, although it does end on a somewhat depressing note with regards to the soul-destroying rise and rise of celebrity culture; there's an early hint of how this all pans out during an interview with Lily Allen where she just puts the barriers up immediately, sensing that Patterson is trying to find an 'angle' for a cheap headline. At least Allen does self-censoring - the last couple of chapters of the book focus on how PR companies have become a suffocating firewall, meaning that the chance of getting an actual opinion out of anyone once they reach a certain level of fame is more or less impossible these days. Thank god then, for the first three quarters of the book, which are a riot. Following Patterson's career, moving down from Dundee to work at Smash Hits, which undoubtedly sounds like the happiest spell of her working life, and then on to her days working freelance for the likes of NME, which is where the really interesting (and often hilarious) interviews come. Highlights for me were chats with the likes of Oasis, Prince, Johnny Cash, Richey Edwards, Spike Milligan, Happy Mondays, U2, and oddly enough, Westlife. Plus, she doesn't speak well of Damon Albarn, which pleased me no end. Her interview with Madonna is pretty revealing - for a woman who seems to have come from another planet and who gives the impression of being in charge of EVERYTHING around her, she comes off as a bit insecure, sad, and pretty ordinary. And then come the later chapters where Patterson goes into great detail about The Fame Machine, where meetings with the likes of Beyonce, Kylie Minogue, David Beckham (and the chapter about Britney Spears which would be hilarious if it wasn't actually a bit scary) are revealing in how little they actually reveal about the individuals involved. But maybe they have the right idea in the age of social media - which is the point I think Patterson is making in the chapter about Amy Winehouse, and how the media and paparazzi, camped outside her door and offering to go and buy her vodka to get more pictures of her in a state for the next days front page, ate her up and spat her out. It's a sobering way to end the book, but it's essential reading for anyone who likes their music - and it's huge fun for the most part.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe O'Donnell

    “I’m not with the band” is partly a memoir, partly a compendium of interviews with the biggest pop stars of the last 30 years, but primarily an elegy for the slow decline of the British music papers and the death of music journalism. In this riveting book, Sylvia Patterson, veteran writer with Smash Hits, Q, NME and just about every music publication in the UK over the last 3 decades, recounts her adventures and encounters during the golden age of the music press. “I’m not with the band” is sup “I’m not with the band” is partly a memoir, partly a compendium of interviews with the biggest pop stars of the last 30 years, but primarily an elegy for the slow decline of the British music papers and the death of music journalism. In this riveting book, Sylvia Patterson, veteran writer with Smash Hits, Q, NME and just about every music publication in the UK over the last 3 decades, recounts her adventures and encounters during the golden age of the music press. “I’m not with the band” is superb at portraying the nerve-shredding precariousness of life as a freelance music hack, where within the space of a week you could go from interviewing a megastar like Prince or Mariah Carey to being turfed out of your bedsit hovel by a rapacious landlord. These paradoxes provide some of the most biting sections of the book, where Patterson recounts how the collapse of the music industry since 2000 – from the death of the music papers to the demise of so many of the record shops and record labels – has made it nigh on impossible for a generation of writers (and many musicians) to scrape anything approximating a living. As insightful as this analysis might be, it could make for a disheartening read … if it weren’t for the fact that “I’m not with the band” is so frequently uproariously funny. Sylvia Patterson is a gloriously irreverent writer and interviewer, determined to burst the pomposity of any pop star bore who takes themselves too seriously. However, she maintains a true fan’s belief in the transcendent power of music, and the right – nay, duty – of the rock and pop idol to be as outrageous, ridiculous or just plan mental as possible. The access that Patterson gets to the stars (at least during the first half of her career) is incredible. She gets to interview Prince one-on-one in his Paisley Park mansion – and ask him about his erections. She talks to Noel Gallagher the morning after 9/11 about Osama Bin Laden and Coldplay. She chats to Beyonce about vomit. She meets Madonna for an in-depth interview during the Material Girl diva’s blissed-out-of-her-chakras earth-mother phase. She inadvertently breaks up Frankie Goes to Hollywood. And another of her fractious encounters is possibly responsible for Bernard Sumner from New Order getting divorced. This is why “I’m not with the band” is also a lament for a time where pop stars seemed to be otherworldly beings beamed in from another dimension, and seemingly had the freedom to say anything as batshit crazy as they wanted to in interviews. Now, as Patterson despondingly notes towards the end of her book, most high-profile musicians era are too guarded or blandly careerist to say anything remotely interesting for fear that will fall foul of their PR handlers or be clobbered by the inevitable social media pile-on. Not only would Patterson no longer be able to get access to the rollcall of stars listed above; there are barely any (paying) music publications left to carry an such interviews. It’s not just the pop aristocracy or her industry that Patterson is unsparing towards; she is brutally frank when discussing her chaotic personal life (the parts of “I’m not with the band” where she discusses her relationship with her alcoholic mother are particularly harrowing). This kind of searing honesty counterbalances the hilarious rock ‘n’ roll japes recounted elsewhere, and add an extra layer of poignancy to “I’m not with the band”. This is a book which, when all is said and done, is a nostalgia-laden lament for a rapidly disappearing world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett O.H.

    What an honest book and a real good memoir. I really liked Sylvia's style of writing and it kept me interested until the end. Funny enough the parts about the musicians and the celebrities where less interesting than her own adventures and opinions on life. This was what you call an unexpected surprise; I started reading it for the sex, drugs and rock and roll and ended up with a book that gave me a touching reflection on the world, life and our role in it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Drake

    An exhilarating memoir from music journalist Sylvia Patterson. Her tales of the rollicking days of interviewing access all areas pop stars are gut-bustingly funny, as you'd expect from a writer for Smash Hits in its irreverant heyday. Patterson cares deeply about music - but not the earnest kind of 'cool' music that has to be taken seriously; it's the bright, sparkly, joyousness of pop she loves, and part of the charm of the book is the righteous anger she feels as pop stars become homogenised, An exhilarating memoir from music journalist Sylvia Patterson. Her tales of the rollicking days of interviewing access all areas pop stars are gut-bustingly funny, as you'd expect from a writer for Smash Hits in its irreverant heyday. Patterson cares deeply about music - but not the earnest kind of 'cool' music that has to be taken seriously; it's the bright, sparkly, joyousness of pop she loves, and part of the charm of the book is the righteous anger she feels as pop stars become homogenised, bland, and 'meeja-trained'. Her own voice -clever, bright and funny - shines through every anecdote, as she recounts quizzing the likes of Prince, Madonna, George Michael and Amy Winehouse. There are blows to the heart as well as the funny bone: painfully honest sections dealing with family deaths and her three miscarriages are powerful, brave and moving. In the words of 'Ver Hits' - I think this is 'Swingorilliant'. "So do I, mate,": Boris Becker.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katey Lovell

    An interesting look at music journalism written in an engaging fashion with lots of quips and tales about a variety of music acts from Bros to Manics to Oasis. A highly enjoyable memoir.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    As celebratory as it was, it was equally poignant reading the family stuff, life/work challenges and the slow decline of the music press (and industry). Considering the time that’d elapsed, I remembered a lot of the interview snippets included in the book (especially the NME and Q articles). What’s particularly sad is the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ page at the back where she leaves space for the ‘next lot’ of magazines consigned to the dumper, reading it and knowing that Q came to an end two mon As celebratory as it was, it was equally poignant reading the family stuff, life/work challenges and the slow decline of the music press (and industry). Considering the time that’d elapsed, I remembered a lot of the interview snippets included in the book (especially the NME and Q articles). What’s particularly sad is the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ page at the back where she leaves space for the ‘next lot’ of magazines consigned to the dumper, reading it and knowing that Q came to an end two months ago. I do hope Sylvia is doing alright.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Tipper

    Writing mainly for Smash Hits and NME, Sylvia has a career which sounds enviable apart from the financial insecurity and the rather scary situations you find yourself in if you’ve annoyed Cypress Hill and Eminem. Although some of the bands and musicians she talks about are not to my taste, a great many of them are (she’s actually a massive Goth, despite the Smash Hits job). Sylvia’s obsessive love of music chimes with my own so I loved this book. She has met some amazing personalities (and is on Writing mainly for Smash Hits and NME, Sylvia has a career which sounds enviable apart from the financial insecurity and the rather scary situations you find yourself in if you’ve annoyed Cypress Hill and Eminem. Although some of the bands and musicians she talks about are not to my taste, a great many of them are (she’s actually a massive Goth, despite the Smash Hits job). Sylvia’s obsessive love of music chimes with my own so I loved this book. She has met some amazing personalities (and is one herself I think). Just to whet your appetite, this book contains meetings with; Spike Milligan, David Attenborough, Noel Gallagher, Kylie, Bros, Shaun Ryder, Posh and Becks, Johnny Cash and many, many more (as those records made by K-Tel and sold in Woollies always used to say). Written with an emotional honesty that makes for a sad read at times this book is just wonderful. It’s full of musical nostalgia and at the end provides an interesting industry insiders view on the state of popular music today. Reading her book convinced me I wanted to be a music journalist in printed media and then at the end of the book she shows how that job has all but vanished as a viable career option.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kiran

    My favourite music book is 'Lost in Music' by Giles Smith which I've read 13 times. Nice to read a book which is similar but with a female voice. A crack up/break down account of being a music journalist for 'Smash Hits' during its heyday in the mid to late 80s (it actually sold a million copies a fortnight. Different media landscape then, eh?) from a working class Scottish lass. Elevates the rock memoir genre and is a good example of what a good music memoir can be - insight, personal experienc My favourite music book is 'Lost in Music' by Giles Smith which I've read 13 times. Nice to read a book which is similar but with a female voice. A crack up/break down account of being a music journalist for 'Smash Hits' during its heyday in the mid to late 80s (it actually sold a million copies a fortnight. Different media landscape then, eh?) from a working class Scottish lass. Elevates the rock memoir genre and is a good example of what a good music memoir can be - insight, personal experience, music writing, all in a singular voice which is very cynical and hilarious. I used to buy 'Smash Hits' with my pocket money for the Bros, John Farnham, Kylie & Jason lyrics and pull out posters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Half music journalism biography , half autobiography and an extra 10% (which makes an impossible total) about what went wrong / right with pop music and journalism (hint: celebrity culture and the fun-vacuum that is PR total control and a fear of Actual Opinions). Middle-aged pop kids will love this book. I did.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    Hugely enjoyable read. As a journalist for Smash Hits/NME/Q and more, Patterson is perfectly placed to chronicle the evolution of celebrity culture, and she does it really well (even if some of her sentences meander a bit). Filled with tales of the stars she's interviewed, from Milli Vanilli to David Attenborough, it's a pop culture lover's dream.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    The best non-fiction book of the year by a mile. I can't really articulate how meaningful it was to me and I hope Patterson wants to write more long-form work.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather Propes

    I happened upon Sylvia by way of Bernard Sumner, actually Peter Hook's book "Substance: Inside New Order". The terrible incident between Sylvia and NO left me not liking either, New Order a little less. I wanted to read her side of the story. Ironically Sylvia's side left me cheering for New Order. Maybe that proves how honest she is. Other readers have described the concept of this book, a history of Sylvia's journey through the British music press during the 80s, 90s and 2000s, interviewing ev I happened upon Sylvia by way of Bernard Sumner, actually Peter Hook's book "Substance: Inside New Order". The terrible incident between Sylvia and NO left me not liking either, New Order a little less. I wanted to read her side of the story. Ironically Sylvia's side left me cheering for New Order. Maybe that proves how honest she is. Other readers have described the concept of this book, a history of Sylvia's journey through the British music press during the 80s, 90s and 2000s, interviewing everyone from Shaun Ryder to Mariah Carey and Johnny Cash. At times (new order) I felt like Sylvia was too paparazzi. But her dedication to music and funny writing style ultimately won me over. Like one other reviewer pointed out, the contrasts between high and low her personal life, occupying unfit moldy apartments, while being whisked off in 1st class to interview David Beckham, is totally surreal. Her honesty is brutal and she's great at crafting a story or a letter. I loved her brilliant tell-off to NME, which she never hit "send" on. I'm so glad she published it here. I have to disagree with Sylvia on a couple of major points. Although we are the same age, I prefer the 80s while she prefers the 90s. This is probably a matter of taste. But the 80s, however plastic, were romantic and hopeful and smooth. New Order, and ABC and Roxy Music's Avalon. Even John Lydon grooved to a disco beat with "Live in Japan". The 90s were poor and draggy and druggy and reality-bitten - Portishead and Hole and then Radiohead. Gotta love the brutal intensity but I'll take optimism any day. Also I disagree with Sylvia that rock musicians should continue to be open and opinionated today. They can't in this era of hyper social media. She, if anyone, knows this. She witnessed first hand the exchange between Warpaint, Beyonce, Rihanna and a thousand trolls. The opinions expressed. The shaming. the threats. The backpedaling. Who needs it? I can't blame the Taylor Swifts or Ed Sheeran's from talking only about "safe" subjects or even not giving interviews. The music is the expressive part. Sylvia's book is a memory of a lost era of high jinx and expressive freedom in music. I'm glad she wrote it down.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Bentley

    As a one-time music reviewer, I was keen to read Sylvia Patterson’s book I’m Not With the Band – A Writer’s Life Lost in Music because if I’m truly honest it was all I’ve ever wanted; travelling around with bands, being there for the important things, the big events, the epic concerts. Sadly that wasn’t the life that I got. It is a shame but I had some good times with music. So I opted to live vicariously through Sylvia Patterson. What an interesting ride. Sylvia talks about these truly amazing ev As a one-time music reviewer, I was keen to read Sylvia Patterson’s book I’m Not With the Band – A Writer’s Life Lost in Music because if I’m truly honest it was all I’ve ever wanted; travelling around with bands, being there for the important things, the big events, the epic concerts. Sadly that wasn’t the life that I got. It is a shame but I had some good times with music. So I opted to live vicariously through Sylvia Patterson. What an interesting ride. Sylvia talks about these truly amazing events that she has seen, moments that she has been privy to with all the humility and humbleness of someone who just accepts this as the norm. For Patterson, it was. For this wide eyed reader I read each page with excitement…and admittedly, a little envy. I’m Not With the Band – A Writer’s Life Lost in Music is a brilliant memoir of not just a person but a history of music that each and every one of us can relate to in some way or another. There are moments when some of the writing feels a little self indulgent – especially with the insider lingo – but it doesn’t take away from the truly amazing experiences that are fascinating to read about. I’m Not With the Band – A Writer’s Life Lost in Music by Sylvia Patterson is available now. For more information regarding Sylvia Patterson (@SylvPatterson) please visit www.sylviapatterson.tumblr.com. For more information regarding Little Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve Jackson

    Sylvia must have been torn writing this. Give them the greatest hits - the interviews with the stars, or concentrate more on her story. It's her story that works best and ultimately what makes this a great read. There were bits that irritated. Why does anyone who has ever worked for Smash Hits tell the story like it was a student society? Complete with catchphrases. I guess you really did have to be there. Hepworth, Ellen and now Patterson, it is so boring. Not helped by being told repeatedly jus Sylvia must have been torn writing this. Give them the greatest hits - the interviews with the stars, or concentrate more on her story. It's her story that works best and ultimately what makes this a great read. There were bits that irritated. Why does anyone who has ever worked for Smash Hits tell the story like it was a student society? Complete with catchphrases. I guess you really did have to be there. Hepworth, Ellen and now Patterson, it is so boring. Not helped by being told repeatedly just how hilarious it was. Likewise, the celeb interviews must have seemed impossible to leave out and yet some added nothing. It got to the point where I was scanning the hip hop section. But the personal is heartwarming and very readable and it's what makes this book. Sylvia has a more interesting life story than anyone she's interviewed. Unlike them she never got rich but she's got stories and she has friends. Ultimately, you imagine she'll be more content than any of the millionaires she's interviewed. In the end, that's what makes this a very very good book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donald

    Although this is a book about music journalism, and it's decline from cheeky reportage into clickbait and trolling, often I found myself wanting more of her life to feature. Why, for instance, was she bankrupt and hiding on the floor from bailiffs? We never know, as it's a few throwaway paragraphs. Perhaps her lawyers advised against including the details of her many useless ex boyfriends. As an avid Smash Hits reader in the 80s and 90s (it was still delivered to my home after I left for Uni!) I Although this is a book about music journalism, and it's decline from cheeky reportage into clickbait and trolling, often I found myself wanting more of her life to feature. Why, for instance, was she bankrupt and hiding on the floor from bailiffs? We never know, as it's a few throwaway paragraphs. Perhaps her lawyers advised against including the details of her many useless ex boyfriends. As an avid Smash Hits reader in the 80s and 90s (it was still delivered to my home after I left for Uni!) I loved reading about her time there, and the slow downward spiral of print music journalism. All the big names are here, Prince, Madonna, anybody who was anybody during BritPop and she is terribly mean about pop princess Kylie, has a rollicking time with Page & Plant, and several difficult moments when her interviewees don't like the published article.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Reynolds

    As one of the millions who religiously bought and loved Smash Hits during the 80s and NME during the 90s, I've always enjoyed Sylvia Patterson's writing and really enjoyed this. The Smash Hits period in particular sounded like such a fun time and I'll be honest, I'd have loved her NME life when I was late teens/20s! The chapters on the increasingly depressing state of modern popstars, their inaccessibility and careerism bring us up to date with the carefully curated public persona's of the likes As one of the millions who religiously bought and loved Smash Hits during the 80s and NME during the 90s, I've always enjoyed Sylvia Patterson's writing and really enjoyed this. The Smash Hits period in particular sounded like such a fun time and I'll be honest, I'd have loved her NME life when I was late teens/20s! The chapters on the increasingly depressing state of modern popstars, their inaccessibility and careerism bring us up to date with the carefully curated public persona's of the likes of Beyonce and Kylie and the decline of freelance journalism, which has given over to bloggers and online Twitter tirades against any poor journo daring to make any critical comments. A '2 thumbs up' read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    The Alien Sex Fiend t-shirt is a character in her book or should be. I enjoyed reading this but as another reviewer wrote, I was glad to be done with it. Her best writing was when she was writing about her family or just her personal life. She clearly loved her brother. Her dad's passing devastated her. The relationship with her mom, though terrifying, is interesting no matter where mum was living. I was never a fan of Smash Hits and if I had read her writing in that publication, I probably wold The Alien Sex Fiend t-shirt is a character in her book or should be. I enjoyed reading this but as another reviewer wrote, I was glad to be done with it. Her best writing was when she was writing about her family or just her personal life. She clearly loved her brother. Her dad's passing devastated her. The relationship with her mom, though terrifying, is interesting no matter where mum was living. I was never a fan of Smash Hits and if I had read her writing in that publication, I probably wold not be interested in her. She must have been good at her job at the magazine, she stayed a long time and was able to get some interesting assignments, but even she would not hold it up as the pinnacle of great music journalism. She did the job without letting it sap her humor.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    A deeply moving and heartfelt recent history of music-journalism-cum-memoir masquerading as an irritating nostalgic paean to Smash Hits. I was equally enthralled and frustrated as Patterson hits many different notes but can’t quite seem to find her range - perhaps because she melds her personal life with journo reminiscences. She is best when writing about her family - would love this to be a separately fleshed out book - and when seriously considering the changing shape of the music industry an A deeply moving and heartfelt recent history of music-journalism-cum-memoir masquerading as an irritating nostalgic paean to Smash Hits. I was equally enthralled and frustrated as Patterson hits many different notes but can’t quite seem to find her range - perhaps because she melds her personal life with journo reminiscences. She is best when writing about her family - would love this to be a separately fleshed out book - and when seriously considering the changing shape of the music industry and what that means for creativity in society.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Hogg

    a tale of music journalism from the heady days of Smash Hits in the 80s to eking out a living as a freelancer as the world of magazines chsnges forever. The account of the press junket for the Beckhams' latest perfume range is as depressing and empty as it is bizarre and hilarious. The book also deals with her chaotic life: the flaky boyfriends, curiosity in chemical avenues and relationships with parents. The revelation at the end, while interviewing David Attenborough, will resonate with every a tale of music journalism from the heady days of Smash Hits in the 80s to eking out a living as a freelancer as the world of magazines chsnges forever. The account of the press junket for the Beckhams' latest perfume range is as depressing and empty as it is bizarre and hilarious. The book also deals with her chaotic life: the flaky boyfriends, curiosity in chemical avenues and relationships with parents. The revelation at the end, while interviewing David Attenborough, will resonate with everyone who's ever put too much faith in musicians, expecting them to reveal the Meaning Of Life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mat Davies

    Funny, wry, insightful and brilliantly written memoir of 30 years in the music business, from a singular and acute observer of a changing scene and industry. This is the type of book you can easily give to friends knowing they will thank you warmly for introducing them to Patterson and her recounting of some fantastic tales of a life well lived. I thought it was life affirmingly good and you should get yourself a copy. Right now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Dissertation research. I'm not going to use this as a primary text but I found it really valuable for my research. It was interesting to hear about the music industry from a female music journalist and her encounters with musicians across different genres. I found the chapters on Adele, Amy Winehouse and Beyonce particularly interesting when it comes to crafting a persona for the media and why that is needed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Felicity Lees-Price

    Great book. I liked that it was easy to read in bite sized reading sessions (particularly stressful time of year made my concentration lapse) as every chapter relates to an event or an artist. I appreciated the honesty and humour with which this was written. A great eclectic mixture of bands; some of which I wouldn’t much fancy trying to interview!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Loved this book, great tales of so many influential (and not-so-influential) pop and rock stars through the decades, alongside even better tales of Sylvia's life as a music journalist. That Sylvia can balance the comedy gold of her pop star encounters alongside genuinely moving stories of her family is a testament to her skills as a writer. Fantastic book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    peter hankey

    Top Bird Well they do say ,never meet your heroes ! The author is bang on about the demise of music culture ,if you can’t be arsed to seek it out and buy into it ,as we did back in the day you just get homogeneous generic crap and branding opportunities. Great book and really hope she earns some brownie points( cash would be better) for this book .

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ewan

    A great read. I'm a few years younger than the author, so I enjoyed reading the back stories behind some of the magazines and interviews I read growing up. Interspersed with touching details from the authors life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    This is a great read. Documenting Sylvia's career from Smash Hits through NME to freelance journalist. A behind the scene look at interviews with some of the biggest hitters of the last three decades. Some hilarious moments and some poignant ones. Highly recommended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Grimshaw

    Really enjoyable read from a writer of two of my former favourite music magazines. It seems she had my ideal life and, in the end, ended up with mine. I might write to her and ask if she wants to swap

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.