Suede’s Brett Anderson follows up on his excellent early-days memoir Coal Black Mornings with another revelatory dip into his life as a blouse-wearing rock star. This is the book he said he wouldn’t write, as he details the sudden rise and gradual decline of both his band and emotional well-being.
A skilled and lyrical writer, Anderson not only recounts the band’s narrative from playing empty pubs to semi-superstardom, but also tries to take a step back from the account to offer up his after-the-dust-has-settled thoughts on events in a broader context.
It’s a trick he performs really well throughout. For instance, his analysis of the whirlwind of hype that turned Suede into overnight music press darlings is well considered, and the breakdown of his relationship with Bernard Butler is grown-up and even-handed. His personal spiral into debauchery and drug dependency, and how that damaged the band, is necessarily oblique and the reader is spared the grittier details.