The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall

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Read 02/12/2016-09/12/2016

Rating: 5 stars

From Albert Camus’s The Fall to the autobiography of a man who spent 18 years as a member of the band named after that book.

The book begins in 1973. Even though for most of that year I was only two years old, Steve Hanley describes the Manchester I remember from my childhood. The weird pet shops on Tib Street. The fact that the Northern Quarter wasn’t. It was just Tib Street and Band on the Wall. The rest was run down and called Smithfield. You only went to Tib Street for Army & Navy surplus, bootleg recordings, second hand tapes, and lizards. Even into the 80s.

Hanley spins a good tale. There’s no embellishment. His writing voice is as frank and deadpan as the way most of us speak round here. It helps with accepting the more bizarre elements of his story as truth. Continue reading

Re-read: The Fall

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Read 01/12/2016

Rating: 4 stars

I first read Camus’s The Fall in sixth form. I took General Studies as an extra A-Level because I’d had to give up some subjects I loved and GS gave me the chance to pretend I was still studying them. We had time with teachers from a range of subjects, and our English teacher came armed with a list of authors that I’m ever grateful for meeting. Margaret Atwood, Anita Brookner, Julian Barnes, Michael Frayn. Her aim was to make us read widely and contemporarily.

The Fall was less contemporary and while I enjoyed it, I’d say that aged 17, I didn’t have the life experience I needed to understand it. Continue reading