New and forthcoming

Goth

John Robb

It is one of the most fascinating and influential musical periods in recent history, and yet the goth movement has largely been undervalued and forgotten. But now John Robb, founder of the legendary post-punk band The Membranes, is ready to redress that oversight. Based on countless interviews with the key players of the era, as well as his own insights from the goth clubs and gigs where he saw it all, he has written the definitive book, taking in everything: goth’s roots, from art, literature and architecture; its foundation in the music of the Doors, Iggy, Bowie and glam rock; its development with Southern Dealt Cult, Nick Cave, Siouxsie Sioux and Joy Division, and the role it still plays in today’s music culture and fashion.

From the bands, the clubs, the clothes and lifestyle, as well as goth’s political, historical and social context, John Robb’s comprehensive book takes in the entire wealth of this subculture – snakebite, hair-crimping and all.

Voices

Nick Coleman

Food. Shelter. Warmth. Love.

Voices.

Other people’s voices, singing – the fifth essential necessity of life.

Nick Coleman’s new book is an exploration of what singing means and how it works and what it achieves. What does it do to us to listen hard and habitually to somebody else’s singing? And why is the singing of others so essential to human life? Why do we love it so? How are we shaped?

The book asks many other questions too. What was Roy Orbison’s problem? Who does Joni Mitchell think she is? Why did Jagger and Lennon sing like that (and not like this)? What did Aretha Franklin do to deserve the title ‘Queen of Soul’? For that matter, what is “soul’? What is the point of crooning? What does it say about you if Frank Sinatra leaves you cold? Billie, Janis, Amy: must the voices of anguish always dissolve into spectacle? And why isn’t the world better acquainted with Gladys Horton?

The history of post-war popular music is traditionally told sociologically or in terms of musicological influence and innovation in style. Sometimes the story is biographical, sometimes fashion conscious. Often it simply follows the money or the celebrity of its stars.

Voices takes a different tack. In ten discrete but cohering essays Coleman tackles the arc of that history as if it were an emotional experience with real psychological consequences – as chaotic, random, challenging and unpredictable as life itself. It is the story of what it is to listen and learn. Above all, it is a story of what it means to feel.

It Ain't Hard To Tell

Nas

The long-awaited memoir from legendary rapper Nas, one of the most famous - and enigmatic - stars of the hip-hop generation.

With the release of his 1994 debut album, Illmatic, Nas was immediately lauded as rap royalty. After over two decades he remains one of the most admired, successful, and misunderstood figures in the business.

In It Ain’t Hard to Tell, Nas tells his life story for the first time - including his early days growing up in Queens as the son of a jazz musician and his immersion in street culture to his emergence on the scene in the early 1990s. He recounts his private and public struggles, including the media-hyped feud with Jay-Z, finally resolved in 2005, and his battle to assert himself as King of East Coast rap.

Over the course of eleven solo albums Nas has accrued millions of fans around the globe and collaborated with the greatest talents in music, and he charts his evolution from the brash, arrogant “Nasty Nas” to a mature but still provocative artist. It Ain’t Hard to Tell finally reveals the man behind the rhymes in a memoir as outspoken and uncompromising as fans could hope for.

The Ring of the Nibelung

Richard Wagner

The scale and grandeur of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung has no precedent and no successor. It preoccupied Wagner for much of his adult life and revolutionized the nature of opera, the orchestra, the demands on singers and on the audience itself. The four operas-The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods - are complete worlds, conjuring up extraordinary mythological landscapes through sound as much as staging.

Wagner wrote the entire libretto before embarking on the music. Discarding the grand choruses and bravura duets central to most operas, he used the largest musical forces in the context often of only a handful of singers on stage. The words were essential: he was telling a story and making an argument in a way that required absolute attention to what was said.

The libretto for The Ring lies at the heart of nineteenth century culture. It is in itself a work of power and grandeur and it had an incalculable effect on European and specifically German culture. John Deathridge's superb new translation, with notes and a fascinating introduction, is essential for anyone who wishes to get to grips with one of the great musical experiences.

The Queen's Commandments

Lady Leshurr

Lady Leshurr - queen of the grime scene - is a voice that needs to be heard.

Lady Leshurr is a rapper with a difference. A woman, from Birmingham, she reigns in a male dominated scene thanks to the strength of her talent and grit. Everything she has achieved, she has done it herself, so she says and does what she wants. Now she brings the attitude and integrity, humour and honesty that underpin her lyrics to a book. Her story includes frank conversation about anxiety, the secrets behind her musical and business success, social media and haters, and, of course, hair.

From her tough start on an estate in Birmingham to the top of the scene, Lady Leshurr has a unique vantage point and The Queen's Commandments is as entertaining as it is relevant.

Riot Days

Maria Alyokhina

From activist, Pussy Riot member and freedom fighter Maria Alyokhina, a raw, hallucinatory, passionate account of her arrest, trial and imprisonment in Siberian jail for standing up for what she believed in.

Freedom doesn't exist unless you fight for it every day.

Revolution is history. If we decided to fall out of it, to disappear, that would mean it would not be our history, but theirs. Not our country, but theirs. In this sense, we didn't take off our masks. We never left the church. On a T-shirt, I had written 'To Back Down an Inch is to Give Up a Mile'. I felt there was no sense in wearing a T-shirt with those words if you didn't hold yourself to them.

We have the right to refuse. This is our right, yours and mine. You can't know all the laws by heart; you don't know what will happen if you refuse. But you have to try.

I’m Sure I Speak For Many Others…

Colin Shindler

Britain is a nation of correspondents, and few British institutions attract as much praise and criticism as the BBC.

In Dear Auntie, Colin Shindler gathers together the very best of the unseen letters and telegrams sent over the years. Categorised by theme – Political bias, Royal Family etc, the letters present the moral outrage, the concern, the praise and the fury of the nation, perfect for anyone who regularly feels tempted to put pen to paper.

Ruth and Martin’s Album Club

Martin Fitzgerald

The concept behind the Ruth and Martin’s Album Club blog is simple: Make people listen to a classic rock album they’ve never heard before. Make them listen to it two more times. Get them to explain why they never bothered with it before. Then ask them to review it.


What began as a simple whim quickly grew in popularity, and now Ruth and Martin’s Album Club has featured some remarkable guests: Ian Rankin on Madonna’s Madonna. Chris Addison on Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Brian Koppelman on The Smiths’ Meat is Murder. JK Rowling on the Violent Femmes’ Violent Femmes. Bonnie Greer on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Martin Carr on Paul McCartney’s Ram. Brian Bilston on Neil Young’s Harvest. Anita Rani on The Strokes’ Is This It. Richard Osman on Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure. And many, many more.

Each entry features an introduction to each album by blog creator Martin Fitzgerald. What follows are delightful, humorous and insightful contributions from each guest as they have an album forced upon them and – for better or worse – they discover some of the world’s favourite music.

Ruth and Martin’s Album Club is a compilation of some of the blog’s greatest hits as well as some exclusive material that has never appeared anywhere before. Throughout, we get an insight into why some people opt out of some music, and what happens when you force them to opt in.

First in the World Somewhere

Penny Pepper

Penny Pepper has led an extraordinary life. She is a writer. Poet. Punk. Pioneer. Activist. And she also happens to be disabled. In her absorbing memoir, which spans the mid-1980s up until the millennium, Penny paints a picture of life, love, sex, music, success, failure and misadventures in the UK punk scene of the late 20th century.

Craving freedom from the poor Chiltern Hill council estate where she grew up, Penny dreams of moving to London, of writing, of finding her way in the North London music scene. She doesn’t have what others take for granted; she is disabled. And she sets out with just her raw, burgeoning talent to fight the social demons of indifference, discrimination and out-right bigotry… all while wearing micro-mini leather bondage skirts, fishnets and hair extensions.

There are parties; there’s sex; there’s music. She exchanges letters with Morrissey. Ken Livingstone helps her find a wheelchair-accessible flat. Her demo tape is reviewed in the NME and played on the radio. Her 90s album Spiral Sky is No. 1 in Greece for a week. And there is opportunity – opportunity to join the radical beginnings of the disability rights movement.

First in the World Somewhere tells of her endless adventures. Through the years, there’s an overload of adventure, despair and joy. Often faced with prejudice, she fails, she suffers, she survives and she even sometimes succeeds. Penny does not deny her disability; rather she keeps it at the forefront of everything she stands for, and she tells her story with blood, heart and an undeniable wit.

Blood and Guts in High School

Kathy Acker

'Acker gives her work the power to mirror the reader's soul' William S. Burroughs

'Kathy Acker's writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer' Jeanette Winterson

This is the story of Janey, who lived in a locked room, where she found a scrap of paper and began to write down her life. It's a story of lust, sex, pain, youth, punk, anarchy, gangs, the city, feminism, America, Jean Genet and the prisons we create for ourselves. A heady, surreal mash-up of coming-of-age tale, prose, poetry, plagiarism and illustration, Kathy Acker's breakthrough 1984 novel caused huge controversy and made her an avant-garde literary icon.

Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kathy Acker's untimely death, Blood and Guts in High School is published for the first time in Penguin Classics, acknowledging the profound impact she has had on our culture, and alongside the authors her work pulsates with the influence of: William S. Burroughs, Cervantes and Charles Dickens, among others.

Pop Stars in My Pantry

Paul Simper

Corrupted by Spandau. Slated by Boy George. Mothered by Sade. Evicted by Bananarama. Jilted by Madonna.

Author, columnist and TV writer Paul Simper had a front-row seat at one of pop stardom’s most exciting shows: the 1980s. His memoir, Pop Stars in My Pantry, is an account of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears lad from Wiltshire landing in London just as the capital’s club scene went into orbit. As a pop writer and fellow clubber, he had unique access to the artists who would become the biggest pop acts of the decade.

On any given day, he might be required to fly a reader to the other side of the world to hang out with Spandau Ballet, accompany Bananarama’s Keren and Wham!’s George Michael on a blind date, help Frankie Goes to Hollywood chuck furniture out of TV studio windows in Rome, watch Boy George styling and flirting with Paul Weller in fake furs, or walk off into the sunset with a newbie called Madonna.

It is also the tale of his own attempts at pop stardom with the help of former ’Nana Miss Jacqueline O’Sullivan and an unexpected bonus career as a showbiz party DJ for the likes of Prince, Whitney, Elton and even Al Pacino.

This is an endlessly entertaining, behind-the-scenes ride – the ultimate back-stage pass – for 1980s pop enthusiasts and lovers of Smash Hits… from the man who saw it all.

John Finnemore's Double Acts: Series 2

John Finnemore (and others)

Double Acts Series 1 is the winner of the Writers Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy and the Comedy.co.uk awards for Best Radio Sketch Show!

A further series of two-hander comedy playlets, written by Cabin Pressure's John Finnemore. Details of the six episodes to follow.

The Music Shop

Rachel Joyce

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all ...

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ...

Music: The Business (7th edition)

Ann Harrison

This essential and highly acclaimed guide, now updated and revised in its seventh edition, explains the business of the British music industry.

Drawing on her extensive experience as a media lawyer, Ann Harrison offers a unique, expert opinion on the deals, the contracts and the business as a whole. She examines in detail the changing face of the music industry and provides absorbing and up-to-date case studies.

Whether you’re a recording artist, songwriter, music business manager, industry executive, publisher, journalist, media student, accountant or lawyer, this practical and comprehensive guide is indispensable reading.

Fully revised and updated. Includes:
· The current types of record and publishing deals, and what you can expect to see in the contracts
· A guide to making a record, manufacture, distribution, branding, marketing, merchandising, sponsorship, band arrangements and touring
· The most up-to-date information on music streaming, digital downloads, online marketing and piracy
· An in-depth look at copyright law and related rights
· Case studies illustrating key developments and legal jargon explained.

Stripped Bare

Marnie Simpson

From a young North-East girl to star of the small screen, Geordie Shore personality Marnie Simpson is here to lift the lid and reveal all.

Marnie Simpson is one of the UK's best-loved TV personalities, first bursting on to our screens in the TV series Geordie Shore. Marnie 's characteristic fun and bubbly personality lifts the lid on her life. From the ups and downs of growing up in Newcastle to the hilarious and dramatic antics of Geordie Shore and Celebrity Big Brother, Marnie reveals all and everything in between!

Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography

Phil Collins

Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’ candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell over 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but he has never lost his talent for crafting songs that touch listeners around the globe.

This is the story of his epic career, from child actor to one of the most successful songwriters of the pop music era. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on-the-job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Later he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel, and compose the songs that would rocket him to international solo fame with the release of Face Value and ‘In the Air Tonight’.

Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, playing twice at Live Aid, or writing the Oscar-winning music for Disney’s smash-hit animated film Tarzan, Collins keeps it intimate and his storytelling gift never wavers.