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This Is Memorial Device - David Keenan

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Title
This Is Memorial Device - A Novel
Author
David Keenan
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Faber & Faber
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20180206

"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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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.

"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

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

Type
BOOK
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
304

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