Friday 3 July 2015

Compass Points 132

A lovely bright and sunny day here at Compass Towers, so naturally that leads me to thoughts of despondent depressing music – yep, that’s right, I must be talking about those miserable Mancunians, The Smiths.  Sorry, sorry, of course I meant to say the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British independent music scene of the 1980s. But how irritating must it be to be a member of such an iconic group only to be booted out just before they become properly famous (aka the Pete Best syndrome)? In September, we bring you Boy Interrupted, Memoir of a Former Smith by Dale Hibbert. Dale was a member of The Smiths during their formative years, so was privy to the hopes and dreams and bizarre ideas of young Morrissey and Johnny Marr. He is a fund of hitherto untold stories – how The Smiths were to be launched as a 'gay' band, each of them bearing the stage name of a serial killer. There was also a plan to wear stage clothes based on American baseball teams. Dale helped shape the band's sound at his recording studio. He produced their first demo tape. He even gave Morrissey a lift to sessions on the back of his motorcycle. On the cusp of The Smiths’ breakthrough, Hibbert was replaced on bass by Andy Rourke. For the first time, he reveals the full details of his sacking. And, The Smiths aside, Dale has lived an incredible life, often tragic but always dogged and hopeful. It is also a comprehensive look at Manchester and its fascinating music scene both before and just after the advent of punk rock. The imminent publication of Boy Interrupted has already got Smiths fans all het up – I give you a sample of some of the online comments:
“That is actually so sad. Why ... oh why do people do it?”
 “I always thought that dale handled the situation great.”
“Yes it was right to replace dale with andy. andy suited the smiths perfectly. dale understood that, anyone would have but i am amazed that he controlled himself. if i was replaced by andy i would have gone but not before i had broken both morrisseys and marrs nose.”
“Think how terrible it is to be thrown out of the smiths......... I mean its the smiths for godsake.”
 “Kudos to you Dale you are a great guy”,
 “Why the negative attitude here? We have someone who has a genuine insight into a pivotal period in the story. I, for one, am very interested in what Dale has to say.”
 “Genuine insight? He was the bass player for about 6 months. He could have titled his autobiography differently, without the word "smiths" in it since this life period was rather small compared to his whole life.”
 “The Smiths were a gay band. Anyone who disagrees is either straight or stupid – The Smiths were the gayest band ever.”
“What does that even mean lol...”
 “Am I the only person sceptical of these claims?”
Ooh – we at Compass Points do love a bit of informed, intelligent online comment – and all this controversy can only be good for sales of the book Boy, Interrupted (£9.99, pb, 978 1904590309 )which is out from Pomona Books in September!

And here they are at their brilliant best – sorry Dale, I don’t think they’re missing you!

Breezeway by John Ashberry (pb, £9.99. 978 1784101152) has just been published by Carcanet. John Ashberry is undoubtedly America’s greatest living poet and this is a momentous new collection encompassing a colourful range of subjects from Middle English mysticism to a peculiarly-paced samba, a drugstore, a supermarket, and Batman and his dog, Pastor Fido.  John Ashberry has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Circle of Book Critics Award, and many more, and has produced over twenty volumes of poetry including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. The Financial Times said last week of Breezeway; “His acrobatic, jazz-like, playful verse merits multiple readings” and it was also the Guardian Poem of the Week which you can read here_. I think you will enjoy it; as the Guardian commented; it contains “a generous measure of fun.”

The BBC is rarely out of the news at the moment. Whether it’s sacking Clarkson, justifying its licence fee or loosing the Olympic coverage; everyone in the country has an opinion on “auntie”. But what is it actually like to work there? Getting Out Alive by Roger Mosey is the memoir of one of the most respected figures from the broadcasting industry and provides a fascinating account of what it's like to be at the very top of the BBC; the pressure of handling big broadcasting events, the personalities, the day-to-day politics – and the pain for some individuals. Roger Mosey was in senior roles at the BBC for more than twenty years, from being editor of Radio 4's Today programme and head of television news to leading the coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, and finally becoming the BBC’s editorial director. He was at the centre of BBC Sport, too, responsible for abolishing Grandstand and then building the BBC’s acclaimed role in the Olympics. Getting Out Alive is a unique and candid insider account of the BBC, how it works and where it falls down. John Humphrys has called it “Perceptive, revealing and honest, Getting Out Alive reveals what makes the BBC tick. It’s funny, too. A delight” and as you would expect, the media are all over this book like a rash.  Roger Mosey has been interviewed in the last week on LBC, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Leeds, Talk Radio Europe, BBC Radio Cambridge and BBC Radio Lincolnshire. There have been articles in the Express, the Times diary column and the Sunday Telegraph and there was a big article on it in the Spectator which you can read here. Getting Out Alive by Roger Mosey (hb, £20.00, 9781849548311) has just been published by Robson Press and you can find out more and order it here.

Of course we all know that if you really want to know what goes on at the BBC, you just watch the highly entertaining W1A - here's one of its many hilarious moments!

The Drone Eats with Me: Diaries from a City under Fire by Atef Abu Saif (pb, £9.99, 978 1905583713) published by Comma Press has been shortlisted for a MEMO (Middle East Monitor) Palestine Book Award. You can find the whole shortlist here. The Drone Eats With Me is a first-hand account of life in Gaza during Israeli bombardment of summer 2014, from the editor of The Book of Gaza. Atef’s eye-witness diary pieces were published in a range of major outlets (The Sunday Times, the Guardian, New York Times, etc) and became a unique porthole into the conflict for western readers. The Drone Eats With Me offers a compelling perspective on one of the world’s most contested political crises and taps in to current discussions about drones, refugees, terrorism and western foreign policy.

Street Culture: 5o Years of Sub Culture Style by Gavin Baddeley is getting some great publicity and you can see lots of the brilliant pictures from it on a Guardian gallery here – the Guardian describes the book as taking the reader from hippies to hip-hop heads: 50 years of style tribes in pictures; which is an excellent summary of its contents! Street Culture explores the family tree of youth movements, examining the lines that tie beatniks to bikers, punks to emos, goths to metalheads and is illustrated throughout with over 125 fab black and white images. Beatniks, Rockers, Hip-Hop, Hippies, Punks, Grunge, New Romantics, Metalheads, Goths, Teddy Boys, Mods, Hipsters, Psychobillies, Skinheads – they are all in here, and Street Culture takes us from sharp-suited mods and acid-dropping hippies to leather-clad metalheads and straight-edge hardcore punks; piecing together a vibrant history of countercultural rebellion. Street Culture: 5o Years of Sub Culture Style by Gavin Baddeley (978 0859654753£14.99, pb) is published by Plexus and you can find out more and order it here

There is also an excellent ten minute interview with the Street Culture author Gavin Baddeley; and you can watch that here.

When it come to affairs of the heart; I daresay, like many of us here at Compass, you spend some time wishing that the men in real life were half as dashing as those between the pages of romantic novels. But are you yearning after Mr Darcy – or are you more of a Christian Grey fan? Take this BuzzFeed quiz to find out which literary hero is the right man for you!

And if you’re having a bit of a BuzzFeed Friday – then how about finding out if your sex style is determined by your taste in books? It brings a whole new meaning to the term hardcover that’s for sure– and you can take that quiz here!

We like a celebrity endorsement for a book, and they don’t get much more “slebby” that Elton John. This week he said “Paul has been my friend for over forty years. He is a brilliant and honest individual who suffered demoralising and unnecessary anguish. This book more than puts the record straight. Read it and get very angry!” The Paul he is referring to is of course Gambaccini, whose account Love, Paul Gambaccini: My Year Under the Yewtree (hb, £17.99, 978 1849549110) will be published by Robson Press in September. Paul Gambaccini was arrested in October 2013. Forced awake in the middle of the night, he had many of his possessions confiscated for more than a year. He was disgraced in the press and made unemployable, despite having to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees during a year in which he had no income. Finally, and inevitably, he became the latest celebrity to be exonerated over allegations of historic sexual abuse. This book is a full, no-holds-barred story of Paul Gambaccini’s twelve months of horror and trauma. This is the inside story that looks set to trigger a change in how we prosecute allegations of abuse in the UK, and there will be a major press campaign with a guaranteed serial in a major national newspaper. Helena Kennedy QC said of it “Paul Gambaccini was tested almost beyond endurance by false allegations, and his account exposes the cruelty that is inflicted when the legal system is captured by populist sentiment. His account is a timely reminder that past wrongs are not made right by creating witch hunts.” And Stephen Fry has called it “An important and ultimately inspiring book that forces us to imagine how we might have responded in the face of such a nightmare”

Is there a way to write a guaranteed bestseller? Well Waterstone’s think they’ve cracked the magic formula – find out how on their blog post here!

Copies of 60 Degrees North by Malachy Tallack will be arriving in your shops this week, if they haven’t already; so fingers crossed that this beautiful book captures the imagination of the public in the same way that it has charmed the media. Just to remind you, it’s going to be a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week from 13th July and there will be reviews in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Scotsman, and the Times Literary Supplement. The Radio Times will highlight the book in their 11th July issue and Love Reading are running an online promotion for it to over 200,000 members in July and again in August, when it has been selected as a Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

With all the publicity surrounding the film Amy, and BBC documentary about Amy Winehouse; don’t forget to stock Amy Winehouse: A Losing Game by Mick O'Shea (pb, 978 085965482 1) from Plexus, which is a fully illustrated (40 photos) biography telling her story in full, from childhood through to the pleasures and pains of superstardom, her blazing talent, the years she lost to her addictions, and the legacy of her raw and heartfelt music.

Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from last week...
I'm #SingleBecause I prefer book characters to anyone in the real world.
"I cannot stay faithful to just one book. I'm always reading another. I am a book bigamist."
"And we are all there / together" - vibrant & rousing poetry at our #EdDorn launch last night. Thanks for coming!
Did you see Sagan, Paris 1954 in today's @StylistMagazine ? Yup, part of The Style List
My Magical Oasis spotted by @CompassIPS's Martin in @JarroldBooks @JarroldsNorwich #exciting #plexusbooks
Ready to head to the beach? We reveal Britain’s most beautiful secret sea-side spots:
Get ready to go to war. DIEGO COSTA - The Art of War. New biog out soon. More here. #Chelsea

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

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