From the Britpop files came Suede singer Brett Anderson’s recollections, Coal Black Mornings (Little, Brown), covering his humble but idiosyncratic origins, stopping just as Suede hit (a sequel is underway).
Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane
"as Karen Jones sets out dismayingly early in her book, the only things that the real-life ‘Calamity Jane’ can with confidence be said to have in common with her legend is that she wore trousers, swore like a navvy and was pissed all the time..."
— The Spectator
...it’s a surprise to see just how funny this brief, poignant memoir actually is... It would make useful reading for fledgling songwriters, or any sort of writer for that matter... The writing shows a keen ear for rhythms, lilt and swing of prose... Anderson’s witty, self-deprecating tone is balanced by justifiably proud assessments of the band’s real achievements, just coming into focus at the end of the book. Time will show whether he has the appetite, or nerve, to continue the story through the “coke and gold discs” years; I for one would love a sequel.
Coal Black Mornings stops exactly where less thoughtful memoirists might have started: the moment where Suede signed their first record deal in 1992... Yet Anderson’s focus on the start of the story is, in its own elegantly written, gently reflective way, more revealing than any lurid expose... Anderson writes with empathy and grace... He is also unafraid to analyse the bigger picture... Coal Black Mornings stands as a quietly wistful, ineffably romantic coming of age story, a beautiful little reminder of the magic that happens around the edges.
...a pre-history, a ruminative and often gorgeously written meditation on his early life... Anderson is fascinating when he talks about the wellsprings of his band’s sound, attributing his love of internal rhyme and surreal imagery to his childhood fondness for Edward Lear’s Jumblies, his preference for treble over bass to the tinny Boots Audio turntable on which he was weaned, and his taste for melodrama to the “dark brooding musical landscapes and towering epic melodies of Wagner, Berlioz and Elgar” that he absorbed through his father... This is most certainly a memoir not just for the fan club.