The Sunday Times top ten bestselling memoir of Tracey Thorn's 30-year pop career with Marine Girls and Everything But The Girl, and her collaborations with Paul Weller, Massive Attack and Todd Terry.
'I was only sixteen when I bought an electric guitar and joined a band. A year later, I formed an all-girl band called the Marine Girls and played gigs, and signed to an indie label, and started releasing records. Then, for eighteen years, between 1982 and 2000, I was one half of the group Everything But the Girl. In that time, we released nine albums and sold nine million records. We went on countless tours, had hit singles and flop singles. I've seen myself described as an indie darling, a middle-of-the-road nobody and a disco diva. I haven't always fitted in, you see, and that's made me face up to the realities of a pop career.'
From post-punk teen-band rivalry in suburban Hertfordshire to international chart-topping success via a shared bedsit in Hull, and three decades of touring and making music, this is the funny, perceptive and candid true story of how Tracey Thorn grew up and tried to be a pop star.
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Everything but the juicy bits.
Lots about this book was fab. The early years, sticking out as odd in Suburbia, Popstar Tracy at Hull Uni, buying a guitar and signed a year later with the Marine Girls. But as with most celeb biogs it's the "missing" bits that are most felt. The whole story was overly padded out with verbatim reviews from various magazines such as NME and Q Magazine. I wanted to get inside her head rather than into the cuttings file.
I learnt lots about the Indie scene I hadn't really followed at the time and enjoyed the refreshing take on parenting while on tour. Milk and Haribo on the rider etc. The reviews and diary entries went too far though. It did feel a bit like an undergraduate overly quoting and foot-noting references in a first year essay. A lot of people will find this bit fine. Especially fans.
I enjoyed the bit where George Michael turns up in his Chelsea tractor on the school run. While Tracy felt embarrassed I couldn't help wondering what kind of school the ex-red wedge girl was sending her kids to. Strangely, finance is hardly discussed in the book - something that might be none of the reader's business. But how soundly does a millionaire bedsit disco queen sleep at night given her past principles??
Yes. The soundtrack would be amazing.
My review sounds a bit harsh, but I did really enjoy the listen. I was entertained, amused and informed. The musical interludes were a fantastic addition that really complemented each chapter. As with most autobiographies the writer seems like a closed book. Over reliance on old diary phrases and press cuttings and even quotes from her partner's book in place of genuine revelation from the heart. In the end, hugely listenable but not enough juicy bits.