There is no sensationalism here, though, nor kiss and tell. Houghton was always discreet. Drug use is dealt with as a matter of fact, tortured genius viewed through the eyes of a friend and confidant. Instead of eye-popping revelations, there are portraits of the artists and glimpses into the mechanisms of pop mythologising — especially intriguing in the sections on KLF, who in five years went from a one-off 12-inch single to burning a million pounds as an art event.
Dopeworld: Adventures in Drug Lands
"To its credit, Dopeworld is nothing if not ambitious. Vorobyov states as much himself, describing it bombastically as ‘true crime, gonzo, social, historical memoir meets fucked up travel book’. That is a lot to cram in. If sometimes he drops the ball (the..."
— The Spectator
As signalled by the subtitle’s reference to the “record business”, Fried and Justified focuses on old-school music industry mores, with chapters unfolding in chunks of time. As a publicist, Houghton found himself uniquely placed as both an insider and outsider, watching acts morph from bright young things to industry deities to burn-outs and back to being creative again. Such trajectories involved brilliance, stupidity, ambition, dysfunction, madness, love, hate, sex, alcohol, drugs, bust-ups – and gigantic egos... Ultimately, Fried and Justified takes the reader on a wild rock’n’roll fairground ride of the damned, where you’re simply not allowed to get off. Towards the end, Houghton writes of Drummond, the Bunnymen and Cope: “There’s something deep inside them that binds them by an invisible thread, a consequence of the circumstances that aligned in Liverpool to bring them together.” By the end of Fried and Justified, it’s clear that it binds him too.