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Jenny Valentish knows her music. Her debut novel, Cherry
Bomb, is dense with detail - in a good way. It's a work
of fiction, but reveals more about the business than most
music memoirs. And you'll be trying to guess who inspired
the characters. The book is about teen punk duo The Dolls,
featuring cousins Nina and Rose, who get into the industry
with the help of their aunt, Alannah Dall, a Chrissy Amphlett-like
figure - an influential former wild child, with plenty of
cautionary tales to tell. Jenny, the editor of Time Out
Melbourne, has delivered a ripping read filled with zingers:
"Alannah always said that Australia was more self-obsessed
than a teenage girl"; "You couldn't crowdsource yourself
a seat in business class. It was much better having someone
like Grandiose [the record company] to pay for you"; "Our
last duty in Australia was a token show in Sydney to prove
to the Aussie fans that they came first - before we disappeared
to the States, hopefully never to return." There's sexual
tension with the producer, problems with publicists, US
tours, musical differences and interviews with Molly. Cherry
Bomb is a sizzling summer read. Can't wait for the movie.
Jenny has already helpfully listed a killer soundtrack at
the end of the book.
Three other titles for your Christmas list:
Dog Eat Dog by Michael Browning
This is an important book because Michael Browning was an
AC/DC insider, managing the band from 1974 to 1979. Their
formative days were in Melbourne, living in Lansdowne Road
in East St Kilda and at the Freeway Gardens Motel in North
Melbourne. "I can assure you that when AC/DC first set up
base in Melbourne," Michael writes, "they were hardly the
well-respected denizens of the city they are today."
Keynote: "No free spirit wore a watch in my book."
Something Quite Peculiar by Steve Kilbey
When Stephen Cummings released Will It Be Funny Tomorrow,
Billy? - the funniest Aussie music memoir - The Church leader
threatened literary revenge. But this is not a nasty tome.
Steve says he's now in his "eccentric uncle phase" after
his "insular, confused, sulky stage, which preceded my arrogant
and blasé stage, which gave way to my ugly junkie phase
… why does it take someone so long to arrive and be what
they could've been all along?"
Keynote: The book is dedicated to God "for giving us some
much unbearable talent!"
Fun fact: As a high school debater, Steve came up against
Malcolm Turnbull, "who had a sneering, arrogant, know-it-all
manner that was dynamite on the debating scene".
Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield
Rick didn't quite make it to Australia this year, but he
did release a new book, dedicating it to "my good friend
and boyhood bandmate Darryl Cotton". Rick's memoir, Late,
Late At Night, was Howzat!'s favourite music book of 2010.
This novel is not as good, but Rick can write. It's about
a bloke named Bobby who finds a hotline to God and then
meets a nun named Alice. In a word: quirky.
Keynote: "Maybe that's the whole point of this journey.
To fulfill your childhood fantasy."
"Take me to the top, baby, where I need to be," Emma Donovan,
Just one homegrown hit in the Top 10.
Cosby Sweater HILLTOP HOODS (number four)
Ah Yeah So What WILL SPARKS (11)
Take Me Over PEKING DUK (12)
Freaks TIMMY TRUMPET (13)
If You Love Someone THE VERONICAS (17)
Stand By You MARLISA (19)
You Ruin Me THE VERONICAS (27)
Can I Get A Moment? JESSICA MAUBOY (30)
Talk Is Cheap CHET FAKER (31)
Geronimo SHEPPARD (33)
AC/DC score their fifth number one album.
Rock Or Bust AC/DC (number one, debut)
Jukebox HUMAN NATURE (six)
Live By The Words JUSTICE CREW (seven, debut)
The Veronicas THE VERONICAS (eight)
Madness GUY SEBASTIAN (14)
Walking Under Stars HILLTOP HOODS (16)
Dean Ray DEAN RAY (17)
iTunes Session CHET FAKER (18, debut)
Built On Glass CHET FAKER (19)
Marlisa MARLISA (21)
5 Seconds Of Summer 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (22)
Triple J's Like A Version, Volume 10 VARIOUS ARTISTS (24)
The Christmas Album HUMAN NATURE (27)
30:30 Hindsight JIMMY BARNES (29)
Goin' Your Way NEIL FINN & PAUL KELLY (30)
Beautiful JESSICA MAUBOY (33)
Bombs Away SHEPPARD (34)
The Very Best INXS (35)
Angus & Julia Stone ANGUS & JULIA STONE (38)
1000 Forms Of Fear SIA (40)
Everything Was A Sign ELLA HOOPER
Driftin' ANDY WHITE
Rock Or Bust AC/DC
Thank You PAUL KELLY
Mother EMMA DONOVAN
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