Virgin Books, London, 1987
The blurb on the back:
In this business you meet the nicest people money can buy...
"I loved every raw and raunchy word of it." Jackie Collins.
Tony Parsons used to be cool. Difficult to believe now, of course, when you see him in his Late Review incarnation as professional cockney iconoclast, spouting bollocks for the BBC shilling; even more difficult when you read his Nick-Hornby-for-the-Mail-on-Sunday-reader novels. But I must insist on this: once upon a time Tony Parsons was cool. As indeed was the then-Mrs Parsons, Julie Burchill.
Course that was back in the 1970s when they were both writing about nothing more serious than pop music and they were the scampish rogues who had the nerve to tweak the nose of the prog-rockers. Their first book together - The Boy Looked At Johnny - was a history of punk, and remains one of the funnier works of fiction from the late-1970s. Thereafter they produced their only readable work in the form of newspaper articles and magazine features, with all attempts at book-length writing being slightly embarrassing in their clumsiness. The problem was (and is) that even bad novel-writing requires the occasional creation of characters, and neither Parsons and Burchill can slip the leash of solipsism long enough to write about anyone except themselves.
Anyway, this one goes back a bit. I seem to recall that it was serialized in the NME on first publication in 1981, and it's about the music industry (natch, as rock hacks used to say). No cliché is left unturned in this no-holds-barred exposé of the coke-snorting money-obsessed power-hungry executives who control the music the kids listen to. You'll be shocked by its frankness, you'll be horrified by its... Well, you can guess the rest.
The best things about it are the inevitable aphorisms and epigrams that start with the opening shot: 'If God doesn't destroy the music industry, he owes a written apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.'
The worst thing is the smug tone of self-satisfaction.
In short, it shows every sign of him having been - as the brief biog at the front so pretentiously puts it - 'educated at Nick Logan's New Musical Express'. Proud to be a part of the industry of human cynicism.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5
Winners & Losers