Prolific UK comedy screenwriter and script doctor Graham Duff (he wrote Johnny Vegas vehicle Ideal) has been going to gigs for over 40 years, and each chapter heading of his excellent memoir is dedicated to a gig that left an enduring impression on him. From a ‘shit’ Cliff Richard concert at King George’s Hall in Blackburn, aged 10, to a momentous one watching personal favourites Wire in Brighton, aged 50, there are 15 gigs in all.
These encompass not only Cliff and the wizen post-punks, but also The Jam, The Specials, Joy Division, Psychic TV, The Shamen, Primal Scream, The Velvet Underground, Sleater-Kinney, The Strokes, The Fall (Mark E Smith was an acquaintance), David Bowie and Massive Attack.
Clearly Duff is a man of great musical taste, and his writing on the subject is vivid, funny and insightful. Much to his credit, Foreground Music succeeds both as a musical history and as a memoir, skipping across the passing decade’s trends and subcultures as it celebrates the inspirational power of live music.