This is the story of a music-obsessed boy’s journey from his bedroom in Hitchin to the heart of nineties London just as Britpop is about to explode... From James Cook’s early encounters with pop’s pioneers – Revolver heard for the first time, Led Zeppelin glimpsed on evening TV – through an adolescence in which friendships are forged on a mutual love for the Velvet Underground, to the high-stakes gamble of moving to the metropolis, the years between the assassination of John Lennon and Kurt Cobain’s suicide are mapped in musical memories. Along the way, we explore the diverse influences that fuelled the nineties guitar pop boom, from John Barry to Bryan Ferry, and follow James as he forms a band with his twin brother and releases a critically acclaimed debut album. More than a memoir, Memory Songs stands as a testament to music’s power over the imagination, the way it punctuates our past and shapes our future. Woven through with meditations on the artists who defined the UK's last legendary scene, it delivers a passionate analysis of the music that shaped a crucial moment in British cultural history.
A personal journey into the music that shaped the 90s, by the co-founder of cult indie band Flamingoes
Originally a musician and songwriter, James Cook released two albums with his band Flamingoes: the critically acclaimed Plastic Jewels in 1995 and Street Noise Invades the House in 2007. Present from the start of the Britpop boom, Flamingoes toured the UK and Europe extensively, selling 20,000 records worldwide. In 2009, one of James’s short stories was featured in the collection Vagabond Holes alongside work by Nick Cave and Man Booker-winner D. B.C. Pierre. James has written about music for the Guardian and Litro magazine among others. He lives in London.
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