- Title: The Alternative Hero
- Author: Tim Thornton
- ISBN: 9780307271099
- Page: 452
- Format: Hardcover
What do you do if you re a failed music fanzine writer in your early thirties with a dead end job, and the best moment of your life occurred when you went to your first Thieving Magpies gig as a teenager and suddenly you belonged in a way you never had before, and the worst moment of your life occurred about six years later when Lance Webster, the Magpies lead singer, selWhat do you do if you re a failed music fanzine writer in your early thirties with a dead end job, and the best moment of your life occurred when you went to your first Thieving Magpies gig as a teenager and suddenly you belonged in a way you never had before, and the worst moment of your life occurred about six years later when Lance Webster, the Magpies lead singer, self destructed on stage before your eyes basically taking you with him and just today you ve discovered that Lance lives down the street from you If you re Clive Beresford the haplessly obsessed guy at the center of Tim Thornton s wildly comic and energetic debut novel you get remarkably drunk and write and deliver a note to your idol the contents of which you can t remember the next morning , which causes two very large bouncer types to appear at your door warning you to back off, which, in turn, causes you to hide your true identity when you do finally meet Lance, totally by accident he s come a long way since the Magpies, but he is still LANCE F CKING WEBSTER none of which deters you from believing really believing that he could still save your life if only you could get that earth shattering exclusive interview with him.With the story shifting between Clive s life changing Magpies past and his frantic present, we get a headlong, boisterous coming of age if not quite growing up romp and a warmhearted, hilarious view of friendship, hero worship, and the full blast power of music to help us become, at the very least, who we would like to think we are.
Recent Comments "The Alternative Hero"
A must-read for music fans that have ever been at a loss to describe the incredible feeling that surrounds you while at a live show especially that of an artist that is such an immense part of your life.
For anyone who spent thier teenage years (and beyond) with a passionate love for music, The Alternative Hero strikes a chord. Using a fictional band as the focal point (which is kinda smart since the reader can then input thier own favorite band to a certain extent), Thornton takes the reader on both a love-letter excursion through the era's English music scene and the pan the protagonist took to end up a 30-something with a dead-end job, still obsessed with a band who broke up years ago.For an [...]
I think Thorton has read a lot of Douglas Coupland. The narrative feels Coupland-esque, which is probably why I enjoyed it. The novel is about a mid-thirties music aficionado whose love for music is permanently stuck in the early 90s with grunge. He runs into a hero of his, an aging, hiding rock star, and sets up a friendship under false pretences. As expected, everything eventually comes out in the open but the character’s motivations and his bumblings are both understandable and full of scha [...]
I really wanted to like this book! Great concept with poor execution. Much of it reads like a history book of the fictional Thieving Magpies thanks to the band-obsessed boring Clive Beresford. For me, the book's major problem is that the characters are underdeveloped. Too bad, b/c I never really grew to care about them. In turn, the story is not compelling, the hijinks only mildly interesting, and the ending cheesey and disappointing. This was the author's first novel, maybe his next will be bet [...]
Ah, wotta classic example of why I should (almost) NEVER listen to others' recommendations. I trust a few people, but most people's recommendations of what I should read ends up on the rubbish heap of existence, unless well-justified. Sometimes, I can suss out who is on the mark and otherwise. In this case, I was caught in a weak moment & took a recommendation! Grrr. Wotta mistake.This was like a knock-off of the much-better Nick Hornby with an unreliable narrator. Pssshh. The author even i [...]
Bel gioiellino British, che più British c'è forse solo Bridget Jones (ma io ho disprezzato la versione cartacea di Bridget Jones).Pieno zeppo di nomi di band che, pur definendomi piuttosto indie, non ho mai sentito nominare.Un po' di umiltà per me e un pollice in su per l'autore.Finale troppo Beh, carino? (Non che questo mi abbia impedito di singhiozzarci su)
Avrei voglia di ascoltare tutti i dischi di un certo gruppo inglese dal nome Theving Magpies: ne ho letto tanto ultimamente, ho anche sotto gli occhi la loro discografia completa, ma non riuscirò a farlo.Eppure ecco qui i titoli dei lavori: “Shoot the fish” (1988), “Lovely Youth” (1990), “Bruise unit” (1992), “The social trap” (1995), ma niente da fare, non posso proprio soddisfare questo mio feroce desiderio.Perché?Beh, perché le Gazze Ladre esistono solo nel bellissimo libro [...]
Clive Beresford- 33 year old ex-fanzine writer. Adrift in contemporary London, and deeply attached to early 90's alternative rock band, THE THIEVING MAGPIES.Lance (Geoffrey) Webster- Lead singer, and creative force behind THE THIEVING MAGPIES. Self-destructive behavior led to the dissolution of the band.Alan Potter- One year older than Clive, but 'hipper' and more successful. He and Clive traveled all over the UK to cover the English Alternative Musical Scene.Billy Flushing- One year younger tha [...]
Really enjoying this book. Set in London, the story revolves around 33 year old Clive, that followed the indy bands of the mid 80's to mid 90's (eg. Carter USM) but particularly the fictional Thieving Magpies. It turns out that the lead singer he idolised lives down the road from and he wants to know why it all turned sour and why he feels that those times were the best of his life. It's a lot of fun and is pretty funny because the author must have lived through this time because it's so authent [...]
When thirty-something, washed-up music writer Clive finds out that the lead singer of the (now defunct) Thieving Magpies, alt-rock god Lance Webster, has moved in down the street, he immediately begins scheming how to finagle a career reviving exclusive interview and find out what REALLY happened the night the Magpies broke up. Unfortunately, after a few too many drinks he writes a note, the contents of which he can no longer remember, and slips it under his idol's door. The next day, he is visi [...]
Music is an obsession. Music makes you travel stupid distances to watch bands. Music makes you consider tearing your hair out if a friend or loved one insists on listening to Keane or Coldplay instead of some rare John Peel session by The Fall. Music is life. This book by Thornton may be set in a particular time period (early 90s Alternative Music scene in Britain before 'Britpop went and fucked everything up') but the way the main character Clive acts pretty much sums up the behaviour of any ob [...]
As an anglophile music nerd fairly well-versed in 90's pre-Britpop indie music, this book was definitely a treat. It places a fictional band (Thieving Magpies) in the middle of that particular scene as a way to explore and launch tall tales from the era. However, what really pushed the book into the five-star range for me was the present-day story of the slacker journo stalking the former idol and, touchingly, actually become something of a close friend. More than that, the former lead singer of [...]
Occasionally amusing, but mostly disappointing. This novel centers around a guy who is obsessed with a fake 90s band (The Thieving Magpies) whose leader disappeared after a disastrous concert. When the main character finds that the band's leader is living in his block, he tries to figure out ways to ingratiate himself into his life. Where Nick Hornby would have found a way to make this obsession feel like a universal story, this story instead feels very specific. Although there were some interes [...]
I fictional story about the experience of growing up with your favarote rock music, amazing fun to read. A pathetic adult having trouble leting go of the past, also fun to read. I was more than halfway through this book before I finallty realized there is no such band as the Theiving Magpies. That's how well written I found this book, it felt so familiar, with all kinds of references to real bands that I like/liked. I felt like the main character could have been a buddy of mine. However, if this [...]
Clive Beresford is a little like Rob Fleming from High Fidelity. Both protagonists love music and are having a hard time transitioning into adulthood. Clive is thrown for a loop after seeing his fictitious rock idol, Lance Webster of the Thieving Magpies, walk out of a dry cleaners. I first read about this book in Details magazine of all places, but turns out it was actually a pretty good read. The rock references, both real and imagined are both nostalgic and fun. In the end I did care about th [...]
If I hadn't been in bed with the flu, and walking to my bookshelves in the next room hadn't seemed like too large a task, I probably wouldn't have finished this book. I am not a music person, so the endless lists of "right" bands and songs didn't do a thing for me. This book also needed some serious editing. The modern-day relationship between Lance/Geoff and Clive/Alan didn't provide a firm enough anchor for the ridiculous onslaught of flashbacks. And the ending was terribly precious.
A good read for anyone who has their "Rock Gods". If you've ever been a dedicated follower of a band, and no other band was ever as great, you will understand this story. Even though we glorify our gods, and place them above all others, this story reminds us that they are just as human as we all are. We're no different, we just have different occupations.
Like Chuck Klosterman with a plot. Very enjoyable and fast read. Loved his section on when Clive first listened to the Thieving Magpies first album and felt a sense of belonging. Very entwined in 90s Alternative scene that was borderline over my familiarity but gives enough that they're just speed bumps than stopping you in your tracks.
Set in the 90s music scene of the UK, the main character continues to deal with the reasons of his favorite bands meltdown. As a book I give it a three, as a music love I give it a four. If you are reading, be sure to listen to The Brit Box -- UK Indie, Shoegaze and BritPop Gems of the Last Millennium exclusively while enjoying it.
Haven't finished this yet, but so far it's a good examination of finding out one's personal rock god is a false idol. A great journey of how to reconcile with being a music fan/critic. Good use of Abba in the first act. Also excellent account of shitty, large music festivals.
so fun to read. i was hooked. as a product of the alternative music scene in the late 80's/early 90's the musical references were dead on. would've liked a bit more development of the main character clive and why he was so stuck in his teenage years. but great fun to read
Similar to Nick Hornby's "Juliet Naked", Thornton tells of a starstruck fan who is determined to learn the truth behind his favorite band's breakup years before. Well written and fun, and will be enjoyed by music fans, especially those who came of age in the 1990s.
Thornton takes a really interesting short story idea and stretches it out to an almost unbearable length. It's a cure idea and a neat little setup but ultimately, it's too much to get through to get to the point.
Captures the era perfectly, plus multiple mentions of New Model Army and even the Family Cat. Plausible concept and storyline.
Loving the pop culture and music trivia references, but not enjoying the delusional stalker main character. Too close to home?
Very good; content comparable to Nick Hornby's latest, Juliet, Naked, but much better.
Nice novel, with some pretty humor situation, but only if you ve been following the UK pop rock scene from the early nineties
Readings of this book since January 1st 2012:1. December 11th 2012;2. October 6th 2014.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the book more had I listened to the suggested music for each chapter while reading.
Not available in the Davis library system
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