– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Story Of John Nightly’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but b
About the Author :
Tot Taylor is a writer, composer, art curator and music producer. He has worked in music, film, theatre and the visual arts since being signed by Island Records while still at school. For the past thirteen years, he has been cocurator of the Riflemaker gallery in Beak Street, Soho, which he co-founded with Virginia Damtsa. Their artists have been featured at Tate Modern, MoMA, the Pompidou Center and Frieze Masters, among others. The Story of John Nightly is his first novel.
EXTENT: 896 pages
The Story of John Nightly is a novel about the nature of creativity – at the level of genius. It mixes real and imagined lives in the tale of a young singer-songwriter.
John Nightly (b. 1948) finds his dimension in pop music, the art form of his time. His solo album becomes the third best-selling record of 1970. But success turns out to have side effects.
After a dazzling career, John renounces his gift, denying music and his very being, until he is rediscovered thirty years later by a teenage saviour dude who persuades him to restore his quasi-proto-multi-media eco-mass, the Mink Bungalow Requiem .
Can John Nightly be brought back to life again?
The offices of JC Enterprises, Carnaby Street, London W1. Monday, 12 January 1966. 10.30am.
Situated above You Are Here! – London’s happeningest boutique – JC Enterprises is one of many young outfits on the capital’s bright new music scene. Their biggest claim to fame being Stanmore act the Gloom, high in the charts with their debut 45, ‘Bethnal Green’, on EMI’s new Mosaic imprint. The single, described by the group as ‘a song about the area we grew up in, the East End of London’, crashed into the Hit Parade at Number 39 this week after being played almost non-stop on the offshore pirate Radio Caroline.
In the narrow hallway, a young man with straw-blond hair, blue-and-white-striped scarf and brown leather sandals sits tight. He is about to be zoomed into space. Bolt upright, arms folded, foot tapping like a jackhammer, he appears anxious; like a school-leaver awaiting examination results. In the corner opposite, a young temp in a mad-patterned, sea-green mini dress taps away at one of the new Memo typewriters. Cornelia is employed to make tea, pretend she can type, and be decorative. In the other corner Sandra, or Sand as she is known at JCE, is nonchalantly re-pinking her nails.
‘Bit like the dentist’s, isn’t it?’ The boy looked up.
‘Had a cup of tea?’
‘… oh… yes… yeh… thanks.’
‘Well… would you like another?’ Both girls had been briefed to take good care of the potential new client.
‘… I’m alright… at the minute, thanks’. The boy uncrossed his legs and refolded his scarf.
This is London. And London is Swinging or Swingeing, depending on which way you look at it. If you’re content to just look, that is. Because the only way you can get it really – really get it, London right now, right at this very moment – is to experience it for real. To be here. For to be here is to be happy. Happiness is all around. In the cobbled streets and courtyards, the with-it boutiques and out-there shopfronts. In the sunken velvet lounges of the new Chelsea nightclubs and the lime-washed white walls of Mayfair’s smartest galleries. Even in old, antique places like the ancient Thames docks, the Port of London, Westminster, the City and the print centre itself, Fleet Street. The place that prints the newspapers that tell us every day what a fabulous town we live in. The people that wind the clocks and count the banknotes, the dockers, porters and drivers, the typesetters and hot-metal lappers in the Print – they’re all part of the swinging city too.
But not only is London the commercial centre of the world; it’s now also the most cultural. The happeningest, the grooviest. London is where it’s at. It being ‘the thing’, the zeitgeist, the train of thought, the groove. The thing you have to have, or be ‘with’ or get ‘in’ or ‘on’. To really get it. To really get it. To really get on.
All you have to do is tune in. And people are. Because at the moment it seems that everyone, the whole wide world, the universe, maybe even the cosmos itself, is on its way to Swinging London.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds