This Is Memorial Device

This Is Memorial Device

3.84 (412 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"Brilliant stuff. It captures the terrific, obsessive, ludicrous pomposity of every music fans youth in an utterly definitive way." Irvine Welsh "I wanted to live in this book." -- Kim Gordon

Ross Raymond and Johnny McLaughlin are two fanboys dedicated to the Airdrie post-punk scene of the early '80s - the glory years - when anything and everything seemed possible. Looking back on that time - the people, the bands, the underground legends - they piece together a story which has at its core Memorial Device, the greatest band you've never heard of. Featuring a cast of misfits, artists, drop-outs, small-town visionaries and musicians, This Is Memorial Device is a dark, witty novel depicting a moment where art and the demands it makes are as serious as life itself.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 147 x 208 x 25mm | 363g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0571340172
  • 9780571340170

Back cover copy

The story of a cast of misfits, drop-outs, small town visionaries and would-be artists and musicians through a period of time where anything seemed possible. This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small working class towns in western Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock. At its core is the story of Memorial Device, a mythic post-punk group that could have gone all the way were it not for the visionary excess and uncompromising bloody-minded belief that served to confirm them as underground legends. Written in a series of hallucinatory first-person eye-witness accounts that capture the prosaic madness of the time and place, heady with the magic of youth recalled, This Is Memorial Device combines the formal experimentation of David Foster Wallace at his peak circa Brief Interviews With Hideous Men with moments of delirious psychedelic modernism, laugh out loud bathos, and tender poignancy.
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Review quote

The untrue story of the greatest post-punk band in rural Scotland circa 1984.In this stunning debut novel, longtime music journalist Keenan (England's Hidden Reverse, 2017) uses hallucinatory imagery and a hint of magic to memorialize the intense, self-defining experience of going through adolescence, that shattering moment between childhood and adulthood. The core of the novel is the band Memorial Device, a bunch of hard-partying, hard-playing degenerates trying to live up to the examples set by idols like Iggy Pop and Johnny Thunders; readers may see shades of Trainspotting's punk-rock ethos. The book is constructed as an oral history assembled by two superfans who interview band members, lovers, hangers-on and other wasted youth who fall into the band's orbit. The approach allows Keenan to capture lots of very different voices in interviews and monologues that run the gamut from poetic to hilarious to profoundly profane. "The thing about the music scene was it fostered belief," explains the doomed lead singer's girlfriend. "It encouraged you to take the music and the lifestyle at its word. So there were all these people, living it, probably living it harder than their role models. After all, it isn't easy being Iggy Pop in a small town in the west of Scotland. It takes some kind of commitment." In the end, it's the story of all the indie bands that pass on into legend: "The thing about Memorial Device was that you always had the feeling that it was their last gig ever, like they could fall apart at any moment." A noble addition to the pantheon of rock novels about those who play from their hearts."
--Kirkus Reviews "The untrue story of the greatest post-punk band in rural Scotland circa 1984. In this stunning debut novel, longtime music journalist Keenan (England's Hidden Reverse, 2017) uses hallucinatory imagery and a hint of magic to memorialize the intense, self-defining experience of going through adolescence, that shattering moment between childhood and adulthood. The core of the novel is the band Memorial Device, a bunch of hard-partying, hard-playing degenerates trying to live up to the examples set by idols like Iggy Pop and Johnny Thunders; readers may see shades of Trainspotting's punk-rock ethos. The book is constructed as an oral history assembled by two superfans who interview band members, lovers, hangers-on and other wasted youth who fall into the band's orbit. The approach allows Keenan to capture lots of very different voices in interviews and monologues that run the gamut from poetic to hilarious to profoundly profane. "The thing about the music scene was it fostered belief," explains the doomed lead singer's girlfriend. "It encouraged you to take the music and the lifestyle at its word. So there were all these people, living it, probably living it harder than their role models. After all, it isn't easy being Iggy Pop in a small town in the west of Scotland. It takes some kind of commitment." In the end, it's the story of all the indie bands that pass on into legend: "The thing about Memorial Device was that you always had the feeling that it was their last gig ever, like they could fall apart at any moment." A noble addition to the pantheon of rock novels about those who play from their hearts."
-- Kirkus Reviews "To say I enjoyed it would be a massive understatement; it's an incredible book, savage and tender and poignant and mad." - Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies
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About David Keenan

David Keenan grew up in Airdrie in the late '70s and early 1980s. He is a senior critic on The Wire This Is Memorial Device is his debut novel.
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Rating details

412 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 29% (120)
4 41% (167)
3 19% (80)
2 8% (33)
1 3% (12)
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