Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop

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Read 05/04/2021-18/04/2021

Rating 3 stars

Hit Factories is a curious and eclectic book. The title and the flyleaf blurb suggest a social history of pop in industrial cities – how the industrial landscape influenced the music and vice versa. It’s not that, though. It’s more personal, built around an attempt by author Karl Whitney, a Dubliner transplanted to the North East of England, to understand Britain differently.

Whitney has drawn on a travel writing approach of exploring the relationship between landscape and community, finding the out of the ordinary and drawing on the voices of those involved in the story. The book examines why certain industrial cities developed, or didn’t, distinctive music scenes and represents the condensed musical histories of 11 cities across just over 300 pages. Continue reading

Record Play Pause: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist

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Read 15/02/2020-23/02/2020

Rating 4 stars

Record Play Pause is the first volume in Stephen Morris’s two-part autobiography. Although Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook have both written memoirs, I haven’t read them. I’ve read plenty else about Factory Records over the years, though, including Jon Savage’s recent oral history of Joy Division, which whetted my appetite to read more about the band’s members, in both its incarnations.

Record Play Pause is very Stephen. Continue reading