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Can't Stand Up for Falling Down

Rock 'n' Roll War Stories
Narrated by: Matt Bates
Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Allan Jones launched Uncut magazine in 1997 and for 15 years wrote a popular monthly column called Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before, based on his experiences as a music journalist in the 70s and 80s, a gilded time for the music press.

By turns hilarious, cautionary, poignant and powerful, the Stop Me...stories collected here include encounters with some of rock's most iconic stars, including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Smiths, R.E.M. and Pearl Jam. From backstage brawls and drug blow-outs, to riots, superstar punch-ups, hotel room confessionals and tour bus lunacy, these are stories from the madness of a music scene now long gone.

Allan Jones is an award-winning British music journalist and editor. In 1974, he applied for a job on the UK's best-selling music paper as a junior reporter, signing off his application with 'Melody Maker needs a bullet up the arse. I'm the gun, pull the trigger'. He was editor of Melody Maker from 1984 to 1997 and until 2014 editor of music and film monthly Uncut.

©2017 Allan Jones (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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A Collection of Snarky Recollections

Don't be fooled into thinking that the title refers to Elvis Costello's lyrics (whom the writer obviously detests). I was looking forward to listening to this audiobook but was sadly disappointed to discover that it's basically an assembly drunken recollections with faint (if any) praise for the bands and musicians included. With hardly any appreciation of the actual music, the reviews reprinted here seem to mostly be Mr. Jones seeking out (and encouraging) episodes of tasteless behavior so as to have a lurid headline for the next edition of magazine he worked for. I guess it was meant to be funny but comes off as being more snide and mean-spirited instead.

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  • Jim
  • 09-09-17

Funny, touching and informative

Allan Jones operated at the top of music journalism business from soon after he was hired by the New Musical Express in the mid-1970's. By pure coincidence he was also friendly with the Clash's Joe Strummer from the early part of the decade when Strummer was a grave digger in South Wales and Jones was at art school there. This was the period when jouralists could be friendly with rock stars and travel as part of a band's tour party and not only witness but also participate in the sex'n'drugs'n'rock'n'roll lifestyle.

Written as a sequence of shortish stories the book starts at the time when Lemmy Kilminster was famous as the bassist in Hawkwind up to the point when new wave artists like Squeeze and Elvis Costelloe were cracking America and Def Leppard began to popularise big hair, tight jeans and white trainers. Jones really had a front row seat for all of this so we get to hear for instance what it's like to meet Lemmy and get on with him well enough to go on a speed fuelled bender. Not everyone was as clubbable as Lemmy however so we suffer with the author as he's beaten to a pulp by Black Sabbath's Toni Iommi and deal with the extraordinarily charmless Elvis Costelloe. And while it's no suprise to hear another anecdote confirming that Van Morrison is a rude git Jones' capacity for getting along with people means we get to hear what it's like to get along with Lou Reed well enough to be invited to hang out with him.

As the book progresses some artists crop up repeatedly as Jones' work intersects with their rising or falling careers. His writing about the Clash is really interesting on that front as he was friendly with Strummer from the days when he was scratching around to find venues that would allow his early bands to play through the period when he reinvented himself as a punk and the singer of the Clash and on to the point where the band were huge and a view was growing that Strummer was a slightly ridiculous political poser. Glasgow's finest, Alex Harvey, also makes a welcome appearance as he takes Jones on a guided tour of Glasgow before it reinvented itself as a city of culture.

The stories alone would be worth four stars and honourable mention should be given to the narrator who manages a range of pretty convncing impersonations of everyone from Lemmy and Lou Reed to Jonny Rotten and Mike Oldfield. What elevated it to five stars for me was the range of tones; real sadness at the fate of Gene Clark for instance; whose huge talent was largely ignored after he left the Byrds end eventually succumbed to a lifetime of substance abuse. Also the slightly Zelig like quality that sees Jones on the spot for incidents like Ozzy Osbourne's infamous visit to the Alamo and the Sex Pistols' legendary silver jubliee boat cruise. And finally a surprisingly affecting final chapter which I won't spoil.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • 05-02-18

Cliched, prejudiced, limited on real music

Disappointing, full of self glorifying stories with limited musical analysis, just cliched attacks on the usual suspects (.Sting, Lou Reed, Oldfield etc). Little appreciation of the music involved. Thumbs up to Tony Iommi, who in one story beats up this smug, self opinionated writer .... he’s not the only one tempted, I’m sure. What’s annoying is that Jones had such easy access to these stars, yet does so little of meaning with it. Listen to Danny Baker, Stuart Maconie, or David Hepworth instead...

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-21-19

Average

Don't know whether it's the narrator or the author, but he comes across a bit of a dick. Also, with these types of books theres usually some great anecdotes, not here though. In 70 stories theres maybe 4 that aren't just "I met this person, they talked about their new album, I left". Not great at all.

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  • Nicky Ramone
  • 07-31-19

Brilliant narration!

Matt Bates is a brilliant narrator of this collection of magazine articles of variable quality. Overall, I enjoyed it.

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  • Neil Taylor
  • 06-11-19

Entertaining rock n roll memoirs

Great bunch of stories from the front lines of music journalism at arguably the best time to be in the business. Allan Jones give an honest, unvarnished trawl through his experiences with many of the most volatile and talented musicians of the 70s and early 80s. Despite the excesses of the time, he doesn’t need to rely on a faulty memory, as he had the whole thing on tape.
Respect to Matt Bates for some creditable rockstar voices, even if all the Brummies sound identical.

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  • colin challinor
  • 12-04-18

Very entertaining!

This is a great read, full of interesting and humorous stories, especially Alan's encounter with Tony Iommi lol if you're into your music then get this book!

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  • Mr Aly Smith
  • 08-16-18

A bit dull

The book consists of 70 odd rather dull stories of the author meeting various rock and pop stars from the mid 70s to 1999s. I found a lot of chapters too hard to listen to and the stories were covering the same old ground and towards the end of the book I was skipping chapters.

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  • Vicuña
  • 07-12-18

Trip down memory lane

Really enjoyed this. Numerous anecdotes from a respected music journo about his meetings and interviews with many famous names. Some Farr better than others. I was pleased to see that Gordon sumner was egocentric and affected even in his early Police days. Some fascinating snippets. Well read with interesting accents. Enjoyed this.

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  • Andrew Sutcliffe
  • 07-07-18

Brilliant

Fantastic stories brilliantly told by the narrator. I come back to this book again and again. Laugh out loud funny.

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  • Steven Bowen
  • 06-20-18

What a rush

Story by a local boy, with very extraordinary life. A great store told with by a great performance.