Category Archives: Books

Willy Vlautin – The Free – UK Dates

The Free - Willy Vlautin

Thought I’d go all literary on you – really looking forward to this new book from the Richmond Fontaine frontman Willy Vlautin, highly recommend his previous books, The Motel Life, Northline and Lean on Pete too, bit late posting this but Willy is in Belfast tomorrow then London and Manchester on 30th and 31st.

Willy Vlautin’s stunning fourth novel opens with Leroy, a young, wounded, Iraq veteran, waking to a rare moment of clarity, his senses flooded with the beauty of remembering who he is but the pain of realising it won’t last. When his attempt to end his half-life fails, he is taken to the local hospital where he is looked after by a nurse called Pauline, and visited by Freddie, the night-watchman from his group home for disabled men.

As the stories of these wounded characters circle and cross each other, we come to learn more of their lives. The father who caused Pauline’s mother to abandon them both, and who Pauline loves and loathes in equal measure, the daughters with whom Freddie yearns to be reunited and, in a mysterious and frightening adventure story, the girlfriend Leroy dreams of protecting.

Evoking a world which is still trying to come to terms with the legacy of a forgotten war, populated by those who struggle to pay for basic health care, Vlautin also captures how it is the small acts of kindness which can make a difference between life and death, between imprisonment and liberty. Haunting and essential, The Free is an unforgettable read.

Info / order

THE FREE UK and Ireland tour dates:
Jan 28 @ 6:30pm : The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin (Willy to be interviewed by Roddy Doyle)
Jan 29 @ 7:00pm : No Alibis @ Ulster Museum, Belfast (Willy to be interviewed by Glenn Patterson)
Jan 30 @ 7:00pm : Rough Trade East, London (Willy to be interviewed by Sarah Hall)
Jan 31 @ 7:00pm : Manchester Lit Festival, Anthony Burgess Foundation

More big news… Willy has started a new band called The Delines, featuring Amy Boone (The Damnations TX), Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists), RF’s own Sean Oldham, plus Freddy Trujillo and Tucker Jackson. A full length record titled COLFAX is slated for a spring release and tour. You won’t be hearing much of Willy’s voice on this one — he wrote the songs for Amy to sing. Stay tuned for more details and dates.Lastly, RF has a new record nearly completed. Word has it even the surly members of RF are excited about this one! More news on the release date and tour to come.

More Jam – Fuelling the Pyre

Fuelling the nostalgia there’s some great 30 year reading to accompany the listening, including an Uncut special edition The Changing Man – The Complete Story, a feature article on The Jam in Mojo, the wonderful Thick as Thieves – Personal Situations with The Jam which I can’t recommend enough and some fantastic original writing, thoughts and commentary in All Mod Icons – again a highly recommended for any fan or indeed music aficionado.

Mark Radcliffe – Thank You for the Days: A Boys’ Own Adventures in Radio and Beyond

Really enjoyed this book, undemanding in a good way – because it’s a collection of anecdotes and memories from specific times in his life it’s one of those books you can pick up and dip in and out of.

In it’s style it mirrors Radcliffe’s radio demeanor, it’s written in a laid back conversational way, the best chapters are the the one’s dealing with the artistes, Jagger, Bowie, Kate Bush, Dr. Feelgood, Kylie, The Pogues, the most poignant about John Peel – particularly where the author learns of his death. Radcliffe’s passion for the medium shines through in his writing, there is some insight into the workings of the BBC and some criticism although his reverence for “The Beeb” is evident, given his tenure I suppose it’s not surprising.

You can get a preview of the book at Amazon here

Some related tunes for you, Bowie covering the The Who, The Pogues covering the Stones, and a couple of classics from Dr. Feelgood and Kate Bush


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