New and forthcoming
From an early age, there was something different about Tommy and David Nutter. Growing up above an Edgware café, the boys seemed destined to lead humble lives in post-war London yet the strength of their imagination transformed them instead into unlikely protagonists of a swinging cultural revolution.
In 1969, at the age of twenty-six, Tommy opened an unusual new boutique on the ‘golden mile’ of bespoke tailoring. While shocking a haughty establishment resistant to change, ‘Nutters of Savile Row’ became an immediate sensation among the young, rich, and beautiful, beguiling everyone from Bianca Jagger to the Beatles – who immortalised Tommy’s designs on the album cover of Abbey Road. Meanwhile, David’s talent with a camera vaulted him across the Atlantic to New York City, where he found himself amongst a parallel constellation of stars (including Freddie Mercury and Elton John) who enjoyed his dry wit almost as much as his photography.
House of Nutter tells the glamorous true story of two gay men who influenced some of the most iconic styles and pop images of the twentieth century. Drawing on interviews with more than seventy people – and taking advantage of unparalleled access to never-before-seen pictures, letters, sketches, and diaries – Lance Richardson presents a dual portrait of brothers improvising their way through five decades of extraordinary events, their personal struggles playing out against vivid backdrops of the Blitz, the birth of disco and the devastation of the AIDS crisis.
A propulsive, deftly-plotted narrative filled with surprising details and near-operatic twists, House of Nutter takes readers on a wild ride into the minds and times of two brilliant dreamers.
A centenary collection of the best BBC Radio programmes about the legendary Spike Milligan – including brand new documentary Spike Milligan: Inside Out
Named for Spike’s explanation of his sense of humour – ‘I’m Irish – we think sideways’ – this BBC radio anthology, published to celebrate the centenary of his birth, provides unique insight into his genius.
Spike Milligan: Inside Out sees Milligan admirer Michael Palin and Spike’s daughter, Jane, chat through some of Spike’s many audio recordings. Also included in this compilation is a wealth of archive material, much of it from 2012’s The Spike Show: Milligan Remembered, presented by Spike’s agent and friend Norma Farnes.
In Milligan Chota Sahib, Spike recalls the excitement of his early life in India. Denis Norden pays tribute to his friend in Vivat Milligna: A Twenty-One Goon Salute, while In the Psychiatrist’s Chair: Spike Milligan finds Spike telling Professor Anthony Clare about the profound impact of shellshock on his mental health.
Plus, we hear Spike’s favourite Goon Show episode, Fear of Wages, and some magical poems from both Spike’s Poems and Spike Milligan: The Serious Poet, an award-winning documentary in which Spike’s three daughters discuss how their father’s serious poetry reflected his life and personality.
My comedy career began in 1971, which proves I have no comic timing. In 1971 there were no comedy clubs, no comedy agents and not much comedy future.
Inspired by Spike Milligan, John Dowie embarked on his comedy career in a time when such a thing was virtually unheard of, and then, just as alternative comedy began to be recognised by popular culture, he quit. And so began his next obsession – riding his bike.
Having been blessed (or cursed) with an addictive personality, Dowie quickly realises that what was once a simple hobby – cycling – will soon become something very different…
This book follows a similar route to his cycling habits: it meanders from place to place, occasionally gets lost but is unfailingly entertaining. Wending his way through France and Holland, round the lanes of Norfolk and over the hills of Devon, Dowie expertly leads his readers on a delightful journey through the trials, tribulations and triumphs of his life so far.
As heard on BBC 6 Music with Shaun Keveny, BBC Radio 5 Live and Talk Radio with Eamonn Holmes
The age of the rock star, like the age of the cowboy, has passed. Like the cowboy, the idea of the rock star lives on in our imaginations.
What did we see in them? Swagger. Recklessness. Sexual charisma. Damn-the-torpedoes self-belief. A certain way of carrying themselves. Good hair. Interesting shoes. Talent we wished we had.
What did we want of them? To be larger than life but also like us. To live out their songs. To stay young forever. No wonder many didn’t stay the course.
In Uncommon People, David Hepworth zeroes in on defining moments and turning points in the lives of forty rock stars from 1955 to 1995, taking us on a journey to burst a hundred myths and create a hundred more.
As this tribe of uniquely motivated nobodies went about turning themselves into the ultimate somebodies, they also shaped us, our real lives and our fantasies. Uncommon People isn’t just their story. It’s ours as well.
'Art? What has art ever done for us as a family?'
In the First World War, artist-soldier Joseph Gray drew and painted scenes of battle, his illustrations appearing in the popular press and his canvases sold to museums. But after struggling through the next decade and facing the threat of another war, Joseph had found a secret new calling: the art of camouflage.
As he went from representing reality to disguising it, Joseph’s growing interest in camouflage concealed another, deeper subterfuge. He was leading a double life, and would eventually leave his family for the woman that he loved.
Joseph Gray’s Camouflage is a multi-layered story of art, war, love and deception. Beyond attempting to pin down the image of a man who eludes us at every turn, it also traces the development of camouflage between the two wars and shines a light on the unlikely band of artists who made it happen.
Though private letters, diaries, archives and interviews Joseph's great-granddaughter Mary Horlock pieces together the truth that was once lost, and brings his far-from-ordinary life back into focus.
Organised crime puts on a smiley face.
When the Summer of Love hit Britain in ’88, Wayne embraced the bright new world of dance music, MDMA and all-night celebrations. But alongside the ecstasy, his natural East End entrepreneurial instincts kicked in, and he began to organise the infamous Genesis dance parties for thousands of kids. Wayne soon became a key figure in the high octane, technicolour rave scene.
But beneath the shiny, smiley surfaces, he quickly found himself in a vicious world of violence, police harassment and organised crime, for which he was totally unsuited and unprepared. He was beaten by ex-paratroopers, menaced by gangsters, kidnapped, confronted with sawn off shotguns and threatened with murder, all so Britain could party like never before.
When Class of ’88 was first published, it was so popular that Foyles dedicated an entire window to the book for a month. Now, re-issued for the 30th anniversary, this is Wayne’s very lively, highly individual account of the two years he spent as an illegal party promoter, leading the rave revolution which was sweeping the UK, changing lives, music and popular culture forever.
In the year of her 100th birthday, Dame Vera Lynn's fascinating and life-affirming wartime memoir from the forces' sweetheart's of her adventures entertaining the troops in far-flung Burma.
'I was just twenty-seven years old when I went to Burma. It was an experience that changed my life for ever. Up until that time I had not really travelled anywhere at all, apart from one touring visit to Holland with a band I was singing with before the war, and I had certainly never been in an aeroplane. But I wanted to make a difference, to do my bit.'
And she did.
Written with her daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones this is a powerful and life-affirming account of the time she spent with troops in wartime Burma. Based, in part on a diary she kept, alongside unpublished personal letters and photographs from surviving veterans and their families, it explores why it was such a life-defining event for her and shows how her presence helped the soldiers, airmen and others who heard her sing.