on life, music etc beyond mainstream


David Mitchell: Utopia Avenue





In his new novel  David Mitchell turns his eye on the dark end of the 1960s, a story of music, dreams, drugs and madness, love and grief, stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact. There’s Gene Clark of The Byrds, for example, who admires a guitar figure of Jasper’s (“So that’s an F major seventh? … I call it F Demented”). Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Syd Barrett, Jackson Browne, and Jerry Garcia turn up (as does, decades later, the brilliant band Talk Talk, acknowledging a debt to the Utopians). There’s even a highly learned if tossed-aside reference to how the Stones’ album Let It Bleed earned its name. Bone spurs and all, it’s realistic indeed and just the thing for pop music fans of a bygone era that’s still very much with us. So, don’t think twice: this seems to be the book some Manafonistas, ex-Manas (like G., „The Vanishing Man“) and regular readers will dive into, no matter if they had been part of the ancient journey or not. Might be the right time for a parallel reading adventure, guys! On the other side, no doubt about it, this book will be celebrated in regards to its „dance on architecture“ and get its thumbs-down for its myriads of cameos. Too much for its own good? Or just a challenge for a psychedelic approach of reading? 




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