Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ed Sheeran is Sh*t

Swearing is one of the few things that children learn to be expert at without even being taught. I don't understand why they don't embed it in, say, the teaching of mathematics.
Nine f*cking nines is eighty-one!
Bingo- the times tables taught in f*cking seconds!

Ed Sheeran is Shit is a book by Everett True, or as I know him, Jerry Thackray. I have his previous book, The Electrical Storm, on the shelves, and I knew he had written another because Facebook told me, in between trying to sell me baggy dresses and hats and persuading me to join groups like Rubbish Art Works From Charity Shops.
I have more or less given up reviewing books and recordings due to lack of time (although i still like writing about live gigs), but the fact is that I read this book all in one go, due to the unusual circumstances of acquiring it at the At The Edge of the Sea festival last weekend, and then getting lost on the train in the south London suburbs, which meant that I had four hours of public transport journeys to make with only Jerry's book for a companion.

Because of the swearyness (no Eminem with his f*ckery chez moi), I flipped the book open with trepidation but was soon transfixed by its pace and poetry. It might help that I share a similar opinion about not only the hapless but wildly popular Ed, but also Bono. Not so many years ago a student group did a presentation that mapped Bono's high-profile pronouncements about ecology, peace, love and whatever else, to the release dates of U2 albums. I'd always thought of them as OK up until then.
Oh deary me: or as Jerry would say it: sh*t.
There is much else here besides hotly-expressed disappointment in pop stars who are not what they seem (and even what they seem is not nice). There are detailed descriptions of gig goings, or rather, what it feels like to be a gig-goer, which not many people write about. There are sections on music making in Brisbane, and there is a section about a gig that I did in Brighton a few years ago.
Jerry likes what he likes, and despairs of the rest.

Back to the poetry: this book is a journey, and reading it in one sitting allows you to enjoy the little clusters of sentences at the end of chapters where St*rbucks and McD*nalds serve disappointing coffee, something we all know because we've all dropped in before or after a gig, even if we have sworn never to go there again, and drank bitter brown liquid and eaten pappy indiscriminate things wrapped loosely in greaseproof paper.
But it's not just that: detailed descriptions of venues, stairs, humidity and music are punctuated by explosions of fury, a page full of sh*ts, before we jump back into prose and gig and music stuff.
Devoid of artifice, the writing backs away from writerly critic-dom, cursing as it goes, and maps an oddysey of searching, fulfilment and disappointment. Bad music hurts, good music elevates the soul to toppling heights: Jerry knows this, and tells us. Emotion runs though this book.
Shit, I enjoyed it!

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