Quick Book Review: “Foreground Music: A Life in Fifteen Gigs” by Graham Duff
The author is a British screenwriter. He’s also a music fanatic, and has attended hundreds (possibly thousands) of concerts. In this unique memoir, he takes us through his life using concerts (15 in particular) that he’s attended. These concerts serve as touchstones in his life. He starts with a Cliff Richard concert that he attended at age 10, and stops with a Wire concert at age 50. Through it all, we meet his friends, his girlfriends, the breakups, the birth of his children, the death of his father, and other important life milestones. We also get to hear about some incredible concerts. You don’t have to be a fan of the concert bands, though it helps. I’ve heard of all the artists, am a fan of most, and a BIG fan of a few (Wire, Bowie, Velvet Underground, The Jam, Joy Division). The book is charming and funny. The author’s devotion to the artists is admirable (he goes on to become friends with members of some of the bands, most notably The Fall and Wire), and his memory is impressive. With is penchant for detail, you really feel like you’re there with him at these gigs. I enjoyed every page. For music fanatics like me, this book is gold.