Mr Rock & Roll

10 08 2019

Espedair Street by Iain Banks


Daniel Weir used to be a famous – not to say infamous – rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty-one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He’s made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he’ll regret forever (however long that turns out to be). Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted – and who can blame them? And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future – well, the future is something else.

I was reminded of this when reading the much newer Daisy Jones and the Six recently and felt obliged to revisit. The fictional music (auto)biography is a pretty niche genre but I don’t think there can be much which can top this classic from Iain Banks. All the rock cliches are in there but Dan Weir’s ups and downs feel completely convincing. As with Daisy Jones, the fictional lyrics don’t really work (although I vaguely recall that Banks did end up recording them) but this is nevertheless a cracking read.

Still miss Iain Banks…



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