The boho icon follows up her brilliant Just Kids with a slim volume of stuff that came off the top of her head – a sort of outsized appendix covering everything from her membership of an obscure society celebrating the life of a polar geologist to singing Buddy Holly songs with weirdo chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer. A meditative, near-Seinfeld-like trip into nothing.
Written with ex-NME word-squirter Paul Morley, this is a vital take on the life of music’s best-loved extra-terrestrial. There’s chilling horror (the late-80s AIDS crisis), comedy (her nudist days in Philadelphia) and four whole pages on her first orgasm. Plus the deeply satisfying factoid that she always requests 12 oysters on her rider.
From early memories of his father, a singer in a jazz band, to writing his first songs in a “furious whisper” while his wife and infant son slept upstairs, to an ill-judged remark about Ray Charles that nearly ended his career, there’s plenty of insight into Declan MacManus’ art in this 674-page breezeblock.