I'm Not with the Band

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

3.97 (673 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2016.

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 Beyonce, 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 186 x 248 x 38mm | 724g
  • Sphere
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 16pp photos b/w
  • 0751558680
  • 9780751558685
  • 259,062

Review Text

A roller-coaster memoir, which also works as a paean to a lost era, when pop (and pop journalism) was flush with cash and kudos Sunday Times (Music Book of the Year)
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Review quote

Very funny, very informative and indispensable reading for both pop lovers and pop anthropologists * Metro * The most warm, insightful and passionate book on music I have read in years. Starting with the innocent, joyful silliness of Smash Hits in the 80s, this memoir inevitably journeys into darker territory but always remains infectiously optimistic about music's capacity to inspire * Christopher Brookmyre, Glasgow Herald Books of the Year * Brilliant * Daily Telegraph * Gripping . . . [Patterson] writes with easy humour and an unrepentant honesty . . . It's a hilariously authentic love letter to youth and learning to grow up * Independent * Not to be missed . . . I'm Not With The Band has all the gossip you could possibly want, but what elevates this memoir is Sylvia's own personal story * Red * A great document of a lost moment in time . . . [Patterson's] depiction of the peak-era Smash Hits offices is ripe for screenplay -- Emma Warren * Caught by the River * Patterson has been a top music journo since the 1980s...here she recalls 30 years in the profession offering brilliant anecdote after brilliant anecdote * i * From stalking Mick Hucknall to an audience with Prince, there's chaos, heart-rending moments and hilarity * Sunday Mirror * A hugely entertaining, gossip-fuelled insight into some of the most influential artists of recent decades * Daily Express * I'm Not With The Band . . . is the best book about music writing you will ever read. 10 stars * Ian Fortnum, Classic Rock * I can't praise this book highly enough; so funny, brave, sad and wise. I totally adored it * Jenny Colgan * Sylvia Patterson is one of the best music writers of all time, an inspiration and a genius * David Quantick * It's absolutely hilarious - there were times I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard -- Barbara Ellen * Observer * This very funny, glowingly humane memoir . . . I'm Not With The Band is, ultimately, a thing of joy * Sunday Times * [A] mercilessly funny memoir...the riotous superstar profiles are only one of several threads in this gripping and multi-layered book -- Mark Ellen * Mail on Sunday *
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About Sylvia Patterson

Sylvia Patterson is one of pop journalism's best-known voices. She joined Smash Hits as Staff Writer aged 20 during its mid-late 80s heyday when it sold a million copies a fortnight. Life thereafter as an acclaimed freelancer has seen her sprinkle irreverence throughout NME, The Face, Guardian Guide, The Observer, Sunday Times, Interview, The Word, Q and Glamour. She's also the only writer to have penned sleeve-notes to the greatest hits of both Take That and Oasis. Because that's how she rolls (with it).
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Rating details

673 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 30% (205)
4 43% (292)
3 20% (136)
2 5% (31)
1 1% (9)
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