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Nick Hornby

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  • Keith Brown
    Hello I wonder how people on this list felt about Rob Young s acidic polemic against the writer Nick Hornby in this month s editorial of The Wire. The reason
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2003
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      Hello

      I wonder how people on this list felt about Rob Young's acidic polemic
      against the writer Nick Hornby in this month's editorial of The Wire.
      The reason for the attack was that Nick had published a book about 31
      records that he likes or used to like and attempted to say why he liked
      them or stopped liking them, and Rob disagreed with some of the things
      Nick has said. I believe Nick Hornby to be a writer who has no interest
      in the history of English literature, or at least that he has no
      interest in finding his place in it, or addressing the problems of
      literature, or more generally of dealing with the human condition. That
      is his choice as a writer, he writes the sort of commercially oriented,
      middle of the road books that sell well and get made into films starring
      Hugh Grant. There isn't anything wrong with that IMHO, its not Joyce or
      Proust but it doesn't intend to be.

      I feel Rob's attack, while initially exhilarating for me, was
      unwarranted and immature. The Wire is a precious cultural artefact, we
      would all be the poorer if it ceased to exist or was unable to pursue
      its current agenda. But Nick is simply making a case for the sort of
      music he likes, which would be typical both for him and for his readers.
      Of course a typical reader of Nick's work is unlikely to be the sort of
      person that reads The Wire, but to refer to them as 'sadsacks' sounds
      like the work of a man who never got what he wanted out of life, and
      feels an enormous amount of aggression as a result. Was it Rob's
      intention to polarise culture in terms of those who are for 'The Wire'
      and those who are not, and thereby to infer that everyone who expresses
      an opinion that might be contrary to that of 'The Wire' is somehow bent
      on our destruction? The idea that Nick has somehow ceased to exist as a
      human being because he no longer wishes to hear music made by a group
      called 'Suicide' strikes me as the most indefensible form of solipsism.
      His final criticism, which is slightly more measured, that list building
      is a 'quest for perfection' may be untrue. Thankfully he manages to pull
      himself towards the end to stick up for a true 'Wire' man, David Toop,
      but there is still time for one last dig at Nick.

      What would a new reader of 'The Wire' think of us on reading Rob's
      editorial? I would imagine most people who read a magazine read the
      editorial, and chances are they would have heard of Nick Hornby and
      Nelly Furtado, but not of David Toop. That's a known verses an unknown
      folks, and I don't think they will be buying our beloved mag anymore.
      Alternative music is not a religion, it is a valid and human choice, but
      that is all. At the end of the day we are all just people trying to make
      our way in life. Live and let live Rob.

      Regards, Keith
    • gradyfinklemyer <gradyfinklemyer@yahoo.c
      he writes the sort of commercially oriented, middle of the road books that sell well . Kind of like the Magnetic Fields try to do with music, but aren t
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 1, 2003
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        "he writes the sort of commercially oriented, middle of the road
        books that sell well". Kind of like the Magnetic Fields try to do
        with music, but aren't successful with? I guess the world isn't ready
        for retro-tin pan-brill building-classic pop-with a gay slant.

        --- In thewire@yahoogroups.com, Keith Brown <keith@j...> wrote:
        > Hello
        >
        > I wonder how people on this list felt about Rob Young's acidic
        polemic
        > against the writer Nick Hornby in this month's editorial of The
        Wire.
        > The reason for the attack was that Nick had published a book about
        31
        > records that he likes or used to like and attempted to say why he
        liked
        > them or stopped liking them, and Rob disagreed with some of the
        things
        > Nick has said. I believe Nick Hornby to be a writer who has no
        interest
        > in the history of English literature, or at least that he has no
        > interest in finding his place in it, or addressing the problems of
        > literature, or more generally of dealing with the human condition.
        That
        > is his choice as a writer, he writes the sort of commercially
        oriented,
        > middle of the road books that sell well and get made into films
        starring
        > Hugh Grant. There isn't anything wrong with that IMHO, its not
        Joyce or
        > Proust but it doesn't intend to be.
        >
        > I feel Rob's attack, while initially exhilarating for me, was
        > unwarranted and immature. The Wire is a precious cultural artefact,
        we
        > would all be the poorer if it ceased to exist or was unable to
        pursue
        > its current agenda. But Nick is simply making a case for the sort
        of
        > music he likes, which would be typical both for him and for his
        readers.
        > Of course a typical reader of Nick's work is unlikely to be the
        sort of
        > person that reads The Wire, but to refer to them as 'sadsacks'
        sounds
        > like the work of a man who never got what he wanted out of life,
        and
        > feels an enormous amount of aggression as a result. Was it Rob's
        > intention to polarise culture in terms of those who are for 'The
        Wire'
        > and those who are not, and thereby to infer that everyone who
        expresses
        > an opinion that might be contrary to that of 'The Wire' is somehow
        bent
        > on our destruction? The idea that Nick has somehow ceased to exist
        as a
        > human being because he no longer wishes to hear music made by a
        group
        > called 'Suicide' strikes me as the most indefensible form of
        solipsism.
        > His final criticism, which is slightly more measured, that list
        building
        > is a 'quest for perfection' may be untrue. Thankfully he manages to
        pull
        > himself towards the end to stick up for a true 'Wire' man, David
        Toop,
        > but there is still time for one last dig at Nick.
        >
        > What would a new reader of 'The Wire' think of us on reading Rob's
        > editorial? I would imagine most people who read a magazine read the
        > editorial, and chances are they would have heard of Nick Hornby and
        > Nelly Furtado, but not of David Toop. That's a known verses an
        unknown
        > folks, and I don't think they will be buying our beloved mag
        anymore.
        > Alternative music is not a religion, it is a valid and human
        choice, but
        > that is all. At the end of the day we are all just people trying to
        make
        > our way in life. Live and let live Rob.
        >
        > Regards, Keith
      • Fractured Music
        Being a long time Wire reader I wonder with anticipation what Rob s piece is all about. I have yet to get my latest issue but now I can t wait for it so I can
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 1, 2003
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          Being a long time Wire reader I wonder with anticipation what Rob's piece is all about. I have yet to get my latest issue but now I can't wait for it so I can actually read Rob's point of view. Reason being I've worked in record stores most of my life. Mostly stores like "Championship Vinyl" the store that as most folks know was the shop Rob, the main character, owned in "High Fidelity". Before that book came out I read several essays Nick wrote for British Esquire. One piece titled "Collecting Records is nothing to do with our sense of ourselves, but to do with the ageing process" (or at least this was a quote from the piece) particularly grabbed my attention since at the time I was years into a very deep obsession with Factory records. This essay pretty much hit home with me and the collector mentality. When I heard he was writing a story that revolves around a record store I was excited. Most of the stuff from that original essay went into the book in one way or another. It became my duty to hunt down copies of the book, only available in Britain at the time, to give to friends. They immediately saw me in the book as I saw some of the obsessed folks that came into our shop looking for those "original Zappa albums and not the re-issues". Collectors from all over the world I still see to this day in the small shop I manage now.
          Reading that his new book "Songbook (The US title with a bonus 11 track CD) was only available through mail-order I immediate ordered up a few to give to friends as holiday gifts. I found it an enjoyable read and there was allot that reminded me of the first time I read his essay on collecting records. Lots of stuff I was totally on board with. But then there were a few things I thought what the hell are you on? To me though that's what it's about anyway. You're always going disagree with certain things and agree with some as well as hopefully learn something new in the process. Kind of like when I read the Wire some stuff I feel like someone's reading my mind. Other times I think what the hell are they on. But I'm always learning something and feel like I'm part of that special club. Much like the record collector who thinks he's found the ideal shop nobody knows about. They always know they'll find something they didn't have before.
          Since I haven't read Rob's editorial yet I will not comment since I made that mistake, unintentionally of course, before and heard from Rob. I will only state my opinion that Nick's book is basically his recollection of songs that he loves or loved IE:Suicide. Something I would love to read from most of the Wire writers. Seems like a good idea Rob how about essays by some of the writers about their favorite tracks? I found it more interesting as a reflection on what was in Nick's head when he wrote some of the words I so highly endorsed to all my friends. Sure there is some stuff I just think ???? The Bible? I mean who likes the Bible? Well he does because his connection with someone in the band. That doesn't mean I'm going to run out and pick up their albums, though it would be tough since they're all out of print in the US anyway. Though I may say to myself some time let me see what Nick Hornbys on about with these Bible folks. But I should talk as I'm typing I'm listening to It's Immaterial's "Life's Hard and Then You Die" album I just found in a shop for $1.00. It was either pop songs that would bring me back to the late 80's or listen to the Elaine Radigue "Adnos" box I bought because of the review in the Wire. I chose the pop songs for Saturday night. I'll do my Table of the Elements day tomorrow and add my Tony Conrad "Early Minimalism" box set.

          Lastly I will say that the only thing that sticks out in my head is how happy I was when I first saw the film High Fidelity. In one of the first scenes in the record store we see the magazine rack next to the cash register and displayed prominently on the top row was the Wire. I felt I was part of such an exclusive club the writer who so captured my record store life had a copy of my musical bible in his fictional record store. And yes I know there are such things as "Set Decorators" but I believe if it's good enough for Rob Gordon's record store and myself then I was right about Nick Hornby all along.
          I wonder how the Wire felt about appearing in a Hollywood film? Any sales spike from the wanna be hipsters? Should we say sell out? I think not we'll save that for the Godspeed folks who even though they rail against the corporate world Danny Boyle got them to let him use a track in his 20th Century Fox film 28 Days Later. Now what war mongers does that align them with. Check your Yanqui albums boys and girls that would be part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. All I know is I don't care and I'll keep on being obsessed with the Constellation world and all thing Godspeed. I don't believe in the sell out it's the quality and getting the message/music out there.


          ---Varjak

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Keith Brown
          To: thewire@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 12:52 PM
          Subject: [thewire] Nick Hornby


          Hello

          I wonder how people on this list felt about Rob Young's acidic polemic
          against the writer Nick Hornby in this month's editorial of The Wire.
          The reason for the attack was that Nick had published a book about 31
          records that he likes or used to like and attempted to say why he liked
          them or stopped liking them, and Rob disagreed with some of the things
          Nick has said. I believe Nick Hornby to be a writer who has no interest
          in the history of English literature, or at least that he has no
          interest in finding his place in it, or addressing the problems of
          literature, or more generally of dealing with the human condition. That
          is his choice as a writer, he writes the sort of commercially oriented,
          middle of the road books that sell well and get made into films starring
          Hugh Grant. There isn't anything wrong with that IMHO, its not Joyce or
          Proust but it doesn't intend to be.

          I feel Rob's attack, while initially exhilarating for me, was
          unwarranted and immature. The Wire is a precious cultural artefact, we
          would all be the poorer if it ceased to exist or was unable to pursue
          its current agenda. But Nick is simply making a case for the sort of
          music he likes, which would be typical both for him and for his readers.
          Of course a typical reader of Nick's work is unlikely to be the sort of
          person that reads The Wire, but to refer to them as 'sadsacks' sounds
          like the work of a man who never got what he wanted out of life, and
          feels an enormous amount of aggression as a result. Was it Rob's
          intention to polarise culture in terms of those who are for 'The Wire'
          and those who are not, and thereby to infer that everyone who expresses
          an opinion that might be contrary to that of 'The Wire' is somehow bent
          on our destruction? The idea that Nick has somehow ceased to exist as a
          human being because he no longer wishes to hear music made by a group
          called 'Suicide' strikes me as the most indefensible form of solipsism.
          His final criticism, which is slightly more measured, that list building
          is a 'quest for perfection' may be untrue. Thankfully he manages to pull
          himself towards the end to stick up for a true 'Wire' man, David Toop,
          but there is still time for one last dig at Nick.

          What would a new reader of 'The Wire' think of us on reading Rob's
          editorial? I would imagine most people who read a magazine read the
          editorial, and chances are they would have heard of Nick Hornby and
          Nelly Furtado, but not of David Toop. That's a known verses an unknown
          folks, and I don't think they will be buying our beloved mag anymore.
          Alternative music is not a religion, it is a valid and human choice, but
          that is all. At the end of the day we are all just people trying to make
          our way in life. Live and let live Rob.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Keith Brown
          Well thats really constructive Grady, instead of addressing any point in my E mail you just slag off my favourite band. You got any more blinding insights for
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 2, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Well thats really constructive Grady, instead of addressing any point in
            my E mail you just slag off my favourite band. You got any more blinding
            insights for us?



            In message <b3r1pm+lib7@...>, "gradyfinklemyer
            <gradyfinklemyer@...>" <gradyfinklemyer@...> writes
            >"he writes the sort of commercially oriented, middle of the road
            >books that sell well". Kind of like the Magnetic Fields try to do
            >with music, but aren't successful with? I guess the world isn't ready
            >for retro-tin pan-brill building-classic pop-with a gay slant.
            >
            >--- In thewire@yahoogroups.com, Keith Brown <keith@j...> wrote:
            >> Hello
            >>
            >> I wonder how people on this list felt about Rob Young's acidic
            >polemic
            >> against the writer Nick Hornby in this month's editorial of The
            >Wire.
            >> The reason for the attack was that Nick had published a book about
            >31
            >> records that he likes or used to like and attempted to say why he
            >liked
            >> them or stopped liking them, and Rob disagreed with some of the
            >things
            >> Nick has said. I believe Nick Hornby to be a writer who has no
            >interest
            >> in the history of English literature, or at least that he has no
            >> interest in finding his place in it, or addressing the problems of
            >> literature, or more generally of dealing with the human condition.
            >That
            >> is his choice as a writer, he writes the sort of commercially
            >oriented,
            >> middle of the road books that sell well and get made into films
            >starring
            >> Hugh Grant. There isn't anything wrong with that IMHO, its not
            >Joyce or
            >> Proust but it doesn't intend to be.
            >>
            >> I feel Rob's attack, while initially exhilarating for me, was
            >> unwarranted and immature. The Wire is a precious cultural artefact,
            >we
            >> would all be the poorer if it ceased to exist or was unable to
            >pursue
            >> its current agenda. But Nick is simply making a case for the sort
            >of
            >> music he likes, which would be typical both for him and for his
            >readers.
            >> Of course a typical reader of Nick's work is unlikely to be the
            >sort of
            >> person that reads The Wire, but to refer to them as 'sadsacks'
            >sounds
            >> like the work of a man who never got what he wanted out of life,
            >and
            >> feels an enormous amount of aggression as a result. Was it Rob's
            >> intention to polarise culture in terms of those who are for 'The
            >Wire'
            >> and those who are not, and thereby to infer that everyone who
            >expresses
            >> an opinion that might be contrary to that of 'The Wire' is somehow
            >bent
            >> on our destruction? The idea that Nick has somehow ceased to exist
            >as a
            >> human being because he no longer wishes to hear music made by a
            >group
            >> called 'Suicide' strikes me as the most indefensible form of
            >solipsism.
            >> His final criticism, which is slightly more measured, that list
            >building
            >> is a 'quest for perfection' may be untrue. Thankfully he manages to
            >pull
            >> himself towards the end to stick up for a true 'Wire' man, David
            >Toop,
            >> but there is still time for one last dig at Nick.
            >>
            >> What would a new reader of 'The Wire' think of us on reading Rob's
            >> editorial? I would imagine most people who read a magazine read the
            >> editorial, and chances are they would have heard of Nick Hornby and
            >> Nelly Furtado, but not of David Toop. That's a known verses an
            >unknown
            >> folks, and I don't think they will be buying our beloved mag
            >anymore.
            >> Alternative music is not a religion, it is a valid and human
            >choice, but
            >> that is all. At the end of the day we are all just people trying to
            >make
            >> our way in life. Live and let live Rob.
            >>
            >> Regards, Keith
            >
            >
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            --
            Keith Brown
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