Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Discussion about the band and related projects.

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jonathas
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by jonathas » 06 Oct 2022, 13:53

I'm a few chapters in and I think it's very nicely written; Graham does a super job of reflecting on childhood inhibitions and is excellent on drawing parallels between his art and his emotions. The section on going to Goldsmiths is superb, especially when you consider how his personal vision of the expressionist painter and discomfort with the commercial artists he studied alongside prefigures his unease with commercial music and britpop. Fascinating. Some lovely aha moments too, such as the throwaway comment that James's STUTTER was a big influence. I always thought it was!! But don't recall anyone in the band ever saying as much.

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stephen
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by stephen » 07 Oct 2022, 10:00

hmm think im going to have to find time to read this at some point

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ricj
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by ricj » 08 Oct 2022, 13:37

Really enjoying the book which arrived yesterday and agree it is very well written and actually very funny at times. I think the only thing I'm slightly surprised and disappointed by are the extremely low numbers of photos and images contained within.
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jonathas
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by jonathas » 09 Oct 2022, 07:47

Yup - I was expecting a lot more. Have been listening on audiobook and only bought my physical copy yesterday; was surprised not to find more visual features, or indeed a better page design. A bit of a missed opportunity, I think. I'd have even liked to have seen pics of the paintings that Graham is influenced by. Could have been a much more beautiful package. It's a lovely read, though.

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ricj
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by ricj » 09 Oct 2022, 09:15

Yeah when the book was announced, the nature and description of it suggested it would be an extremely visual thing based around Graham's art. As well as photos and images I also expected the text to punctuated with little sketches and drawings from the relevant periods of his life (kind of like the random drawings peppered throughout the Maconie biography from 1999. Definitely a missed opportunity for sure.
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John_d
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by John_d » 09 Oct 2022, 09:34

I didn't see anything indicating this would be particularly "visual". I recently read "Nina Simones gum". That did contain a lot of colour photos. Another polite but underwhelmed review. I wonder if there is Blur and solo career stuff that's just for us lot though. Am hoping. :-)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/ ... likely-lad

John_d
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by John_d » 09 Oct 2022, 09:50

I should add, I absolutely agree that this SHOULD have been more visual. Alex has already written a pretty good book about similar things. Feels like blur mgmt focus on gorillaz to make them money and hardly advise the other guys at all? How did the big feastival go..

Moritz
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by Moritz » 24 Oct 2022, 14:10

I received my copy and went through a few passages. My opinion is that Graham managed to act as a nice narrator, some quite funny epsiodes, too. But I was a bit dissapointed that he did not explained a bit more about the writing/recording process for the Blur records. To be fair: a good portion of backstory was told in 3862 Days and he seemed to be more foucssed on his solo LPs here. Maybe some more tour stories after the 92 US tour would be funny, but was Alex more open about it in his memoir?

The fact I was a bit surprised about was that he declared that the band members were not very frank or supportive about problems and difficult feelings. At one special part Graham also added that this behavior was the total opposit to their initally agenda ('stiff British lip'). Don't want to accuse anybody of the members wrong, but it gives me the glimpse of a professional and artistic foucussed group. Not the image of old 'teenage friends' which was sometimes given by the press after the reunion. Even the description of Alex was cut short. Surprisingly to me, because he told in 3862 Days that Graham was his best friend. But it is Graham's book, fair enough that the focused on this inner self.

John_d
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by John_d » 24 Oct 2022, 20:22

Finished the book last night. I have changed my mind about thinking it should have been an art book. The guy is a world class guitarist so it's correct it's about music. But I don't think autobiography was the correct format. Cirrus Minor by Pink Floyd gets 3 mentions and Beetlebum and Tender 1 each. Which is preposterous. The book is "with Rob Young" and Rob clearly doesn't think much of some of the Blur canon. Mentioning one track from Parklife (Girls and Boys, and the oft observed trope that it was Graham trying to mess up a Duran Duran song) is crazy. This is material which Graham's musicianship often elevated from "pretty good" to "bloody brilliant". The book should perhaps have been a summary of his musical influences? Graham writes candidly, perhaps too candidly, about his addiction problems. As a final point, the rest of Blur do not come out of it well. It makes their friendship sound like a business enterprise. The part about Graham avoiding Damon at London Zoo is very sad.

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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by vitekm » 24 Oct 2022, 21:41

John_d wrote:
24 Oct 2022, 20:22
Finished the book last night. I have changed my mind about thinking it should have been an art book. The guy is a world class guitarist so it's correct it's about music. But I don't think autobiography was the correct format. Cirrus Minor by Pink Floyd gets 3 mentions and Beetlebum and Tender 1 each. Which is preposterous. The book is "with Rob Young" and Rob clearly doesn't think much of some of the Blur canon. Mentioning one track from Parklife (Girls and Boys, and the oft observed trope that it was Graham trying to mess up a Duran Duran song) is crazy. This is material which Graham's musicianship often elevated from "pretty good" to "bloody brilliant". The book should perhaps have been a summary of his musical influences? Graham writes candidly, perhaps too candidly, about his addiction problems. As a final point, the rest of Blur do not come out of it well. It makes their friendship sound like a business enterprise. The part about Graham avoiding Damon at London Zoo is very sad.
No, he wasn´t avoiding Damon, but Damon AND Jamie - who went together to the gorillaz pavillion. True or not, I found it hilarious. He writes about Damon nicely in other pages. And this incident took place in like 2003, you should add - you make it sound like it was last week. ;)

As for Blur catalogue, it´s up to some new Ian MacDonald to write Blur´s version of Revolution in the Head, scrutinizing song by song in detail. (I´d love to read such a book!) I think it´s pretty understandable that Graham choose to highlight stuff most fans are not so familiar with. Mainly his solo albums, which is great read, and also his influences, in music and in art. There´s still enough Blur stuff the way it is.

John_d
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by John_d » 24 Oct 2022, 23:46

I'm pretty sure Damon and Jamie would have been at the zoo for the photos that accompanied this Q article - https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... RG-Mv9ibEM

So I suppose I didn't find it funny, I just thought he saw his best or at least childhood pal in the queue, but couldn't bear to speak to him. Just seemed sad. Maybe just me.

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ricj
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by ricj » 25 Oct 2022, 21:15

I actually remember reading that interview in a Burger King in West London somewhere. The mention of Alex James' now infamous comment stuck in my mind and I also remember looking forward to that next Blur album that never really happened the way any of us expected...

I don't think the London Zoo story happened then though - pretty sure that was post Think Tank.
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stephen
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by stephen » 26 Oct 2022, 13:55

I've hidden in supermarkets on a number of best friends in the past, sometimes you just don't want the small talk

jonathas
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by jonathas » 26 Oct 2022, 15:02

Absolutely - and sometimes the people you love most are the people you most need to steer clear of, especially when you've been taken by surprise.

I've found it odd how some people have reacted to the Damon/Graham things in the book - I think their relationship seems very stable by the standard of most lifelong adult relationships. It's perfectly obvious how important they are to each other. Graham's experience of the band not looking out for each other emotionally will necessarily be a partial (and personal) view, and it doesn't offer any kind of proof that the band's friendships were not genuine. It's just a valid component of a complex reality. I get the feeling those boys love each other very much.

That said - Graham kind of clarifies that Song For The Sick was about Jamie Hewlett, right?

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aldamasta
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Re: Verse, Chorus, Monster! - Graham bio

Post by aldamasta » 27 Oct 2022, 17:13

jonathas wrote:
26 Oct 2022, 15:02
Absolutely - and sometimes the people you love most are the people you most need to steer clear of, especially when you've been taken by surprise.

I've found it odd how some people have reacted to the Damon/Graham things in the book - I think their relationship seems very stable by the standard of most lifelong adult relationships. It's perfectly obvious how important they are to each other. Graham's experience of the band not looking out for each other emotionally will necessarily be a partial (and personal) view, and it doesn't offer any kind of proof that the band's friendships were not genuine. It's just a valid component of a complex reality. I get the feeling those boys love each other very much.

That said - Graham kind of clarifies that Song For The Sick was about Jamie Hewlett, right?
Great points you make. I haven't read the book yet, could you elaborate some on Song for the Sick being about Jamie? I'm intrigued. I'm probably gonna hold out until Xmas for the book.

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