Beta
X

09May

Exit Stage Left by Nick Duerden – what happens once the hits have dried up?

These profiles of ageing rockers ponder whether it’s better to burn out, fade away or buy a house in London, writes the former frontman of the Ordinary Boys

I remember opening for the Who towards the end of my time in the Ordinary Boys, the band with whom I enjoyed brief fame in the 00s. Roger Daltrey, then in his late 60s, sang, apparently without irony: “I hope I die before I get old.” It made me think: “What’s next? Maybe I could find a nice job in advertising.” It’s a question that almost every performer faces in an industry that fetishises youth: is it better to burn out or just fade away? And then what? Where do you go? What do you do? How do you move on?

These are the questions Nick Duerden poses in his new book, Exit Stage Left. Each chapter serves as a condensed musical biography. The opener is a sensitive account of the life and career of Peter Perrett of the Only Ones, whose 1978 release Another Girl, Another Planet is one of punk’s great pop songs. But “artists really aren’t the best people to operate the heavy machinery of adulthood” and a regrettable incident in a car park in California while supporting the Who (them again) had them thrown off the tour and sent back to England, where he spent the next couple of decades struggling with substance dependency. There’s a redemptive arc in Perrett’s story and it’s incredibly moving to read.

Continue reading...

Related

Popular Journalism’s Day in ‘The Sun’

When Benjamin Day came up with the plan of selling newspapers to the poor in 1833, he did so with th...

Read More >

What to Read Next After Shuggie Bain: A Bookseller Recommends

Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain has proven a hugely popular winner of this year's Booker Prize with ma...

Read More >

The Best Books of 2020: Politics

From Brexit to Coronavirus to Black Lives Matter, 2020 has been an eventful year politically, to say...

Read More >

Janet Malcolm, a Writer Who Emphasized the Messiness of Life With Slyness and Precision

The longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, who died on Wednesday at 86, was most animated by divi...

Read More >

The best recent poetry – review roundup

The Candelight Master by Michael Longley; Just Us by Claudia Rankine; FURY by David Morley; Tiger Gi...

Read More >

National Identity Is Toxic - An Essay from Carlo Rovelli

Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist and the bestselling author of The Order of Time and Seven Brief...

Read More >