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Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie
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Cider with Roadies (2004)

by Stuart Maconie

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As amusing and likeable as Maconie's books always are. I don't much share his musical taste, but he is quite refreshingly honest (for a music journo) about liking and having liked some very uncool stuff. Perhaps most interesting in what is not said: there are several people he worked with on the NME who are mentioned, but not described or dealt with at all. Read into this what you will. Usual crop of badly researched mistakes .. really, is even 5 minutes on Wikipedia too much, Stuart? ( )
  sloopjonb | May 24, 2014 |
I admit to being biased, I love Stuart Maconie. When he moved from radio 2 to 6 music, I pestered my husband for a DB radio, so I could continue to listen to him. And this manages to be him, but in print. Some books you can almost hear them being read - and this is one of them. I love the wry humour, the little jokes, the erudite references and the observational quality of the writing. Never short of a good anecdote this book tells of his encounters in music, from attending a Beetles concert (aged 3) to leaving NME as a assistant editor in the early 90s.It takes in all sorts of music along the way, some if it memorable, others less so. I can't say that I remember a lot of the bands mentioned - he's about 10 years older than me and clearly wasn't a teenage girl in the 80s who worshiped at the shrine of the New Romantics - but then we all make musical choices we come to regret in later years. But even not being fans of the same thing doesn't stop this being highly entertaining. I imagine it might not have the widest appeal of any book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a good giggle at it. ( )
  Helenliz | May 7, 2014 |
I have never really come across Stuart Maconie very often - he started writing for the New Musical Express after I stopped reading it regularly, and over the last twenty or thirty years I have very rarely listened to music radio, where he has carved out his own niche. I had seen him a few times in talking head role on music documentaries, and had always found him amusing, and had also noticed that his judgement on whatever artist was being discussed seemed close to my own.

Then I read his book, Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North, which I enjoyed - in this he managed to eulogise many aspects of living in the northern part of England without falling into the easy option of simply slagging off those in the "poncey south". I also appreciated his wry, observant humour.

I was, therefore, looking forward to this music-based memoir, though I was also conscious that too often recently I have found myself disappointed after allowing myself high expectations. Happily, that was not the case here. This book is very amusing yet also informative. I think that Maconie is perhaps a couple of years older than I am, and I identified very closely with his own story, and could claim many shared perspectives. He grew up in Wigan, often seen as something as a backwater by people from the south of England, though it should be remembered that the Wigan Casino was voted the world's best nightclub during the Northern Soul era in the late 1970s (and that was up in competition with venues as widely-lauded as New York's Studio 54). I grew up in North Leicestershire which was then (and is now, to be honest) a bit of a musical backwater, too, with Kasabian the only local band to make it big in any worthwhile manner (well, I am NOT going to dwell on Showaddywaddy!), so I could appreciate his feeling that he was sometimes away from the main flow. Both of us encountered bands and artists that would become firm favourites through the medium of John Peel's show.

Maconie seemed to have had an early start to his music-listening career. One of his earliest memories was of hearing The Beatles on the radio, and he even went to see the Fab Four while still not more than a toddler when they played a gig in Wigan shortly after their first tour of America in 1964. in fact, they played two gigs - in those days bands generally did two shows each night! That is two more Beatles gigs than Loughborough can claim!

I was surprised to read that he had gone through a progressive rock phase early on. I … or, rather, "a friend of mine" … may have dwelt in Yesland or Camelville for a while too, before passing through punk and new wave to a clearer understanding of the multiplicity of rock and roll genres.

Maconie writes very engagingly and laconically, and when he pronounces judgement on musicians he does so from an informed perspective. He has been a professional journalist for many years now, and writes with an economy that does not impinge upon his message. I was particularly intrigued to learn that it was Maconie who started the now endemic urban myth that Bob Holness played saxophone on "Baker Street". Holness seemed to take this in good part - I once saw him asked about this in an interview. Staring straight at the camera Bob denied it, adding, with a wry grin, "… but I did play lead guitar on Layla!"

All in all this was a very enjoyable read, perhaps of particular interest to those born in the early 1960s. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Feb 15, 2014 |
(08 May 2004)

A jaunt through Maconie’s early life up until his leap from journalism to radio broadcasting. Extremely amusing of course, and I also enjoyed a lot of the points about dealing with interviewing music people which are even more interesting for me now that I transcribe a lot of these (not for Maconie, I hasten to add). His sheer joy in music and bands shines through the humour of course … and also, I have to say, shines through the typos with which the text is littered. But a good, fun read. I can’t find my original review of this at the moment, as I would have read it about a year before I started book blogging online, but will dig it out of my notebooks and add it. ( )
  LyzzyBee | Aug 3, 2013 |
A highly entertaining and colourful memoir written with tongue firmly in cheek (apologies for the slightly mixed metaphor). ( )
  ten_floors_up | Jun 26, 2012 |
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According to an opening gambit much better than this one, Laurie Lee tells us he was 'set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three.'
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The story of a boy's obsessive relationship with pop. A life lived through music from Stuart's audience with the Beatles (aged 3); his confessions as a pubescent prog-rocker; a youthful gymnastic dalliance with northern soul; the radical effects of punk on his politics, homework and trouser dimensions; playing in crap bands and failing to impress girls; writing for the NME by accident; living the sex, drugs (chiefly lager in a plastic glass) and rock and roll lifestyle; discovering the tawdry truth behind the glamour and knowing when to ditch it all for what really matters. From his four minutes in a leisure centre with MC Hammer to four days in a small van with Napalm Death, it's a life-affirming journey through the land where ordinary life and pop come together to make music.

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