We’ve all got a mate who we have, upon finishing his anecdote about that time he got trapped in a Portaloo with Wendy James, suggested that he ‘…write a book’. I certainly have, and he has. In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that the subject of Wendy James and/or mobile lavatories have never come up in my conversations with Rob Ford who, nevertheless, has written a thinly-fictionalised account of his times in the pop wars, entitled ‘Thank You, and Goodnight’.
He plays ‘Eppie’, the manager of an aspiring band whose misadventures form the core of this entertaining series of episodes in the life and times of ‘Incursion’, a band perennially on the brink of success, but who somehow manage to avoid the final leap to stardom that will secure their place in the rock pantheon. So far, so “…you should write a book”.
It’s a slow burner to start – there’s a lot of necessary exposition. For example no-one has a friend called Sid, and one of the band members is so named in the book presumably in order that no-one can be identified and held accountable for his actions in true life. Some of the tenses get muddled, there’s an over reliance on italicsand, I won’t lie to you, the old there/their/they’re confusion gets an airing, but in all fairness I read a proof copy, so many of these minor irritants may have been sorted before it gets to Kindle.
By the time that the chapter on festivals kicks in though, it’s become a thoroughly laugh out loud and knowing-nod read. There are some brilliant insights wrapped up in the patina of fiction. Astonishingly, half way through I started really caring about the characters in the band, and a few chapters and a couple of genuine twists later, about Eppie himself, who gradually takes centre stage (as it were) as the story builds to its denouement.
It’s not without its flaws – the female characters are painted with the broadest of brush strokes and generally fill a series of “I’m with the band” stereotypes, but ‘Thank You, and Goodnight’ is a good natured romp for anyone who remembers the pre smartphone age when A&R men (and they are all men) were still to be found at showcase gigs in Covent Garden cellars looking for the next big thing. Spoiler alert: Incursion do not become the next big thing.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Cor Baby, It’s Really Me; Lost in Music; Do You Do Any Wings; I’m With the Band; The Dirt.
One thing you’ve learned
Avoid the layby on the A14 at Brampton near Huntingdon.