Porcelain

A Memoir
By: Moby
Narrated by: Moby
Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (536 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time, a piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor, and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late '80s and '90s.

There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of Palladium; of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo; of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby - not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld.

Not without drama, he found his way. But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play.

At once bighearted and remorseless in its excavation of a lost world, Porcelain is both a chronicle of a city and a time and a deeply intimate exploration of finding one's place during the most gloriously anxious period in life, when you're on your own, betting on yourself, but have no idea how the story ends, and so you live with the honest dread that you're one false step from being thrown out on your face. Moby's voice resonates with honesty, wit, and above all an unshakable passion for his music that steered him through some very rough seas.

Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it, and hating it. It's about finding your people, your place, thinking you've lost them both, and then somehow, when you think it's over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece.

As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short list of musicians' memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age and something timeless about the human condition. Push "play".

©2016 Moby (P)2016 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about Porcelain

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such a great listen

I hated finishing this book what a super well written and interesting book... Get it its awesome!

3 people found this helpful

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Just ok

I thought my life was humdrum. Moby's life is actually pretty boring. I related to his life struggle as an alcoholic. I am a fan of your music. But I expected a much more exciting book

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

I was a big fan of Moby as a teen in the early 90s. i loved the accounts of his life growing up and through that time. Very well written. Some of his analogies had me cracking up.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

get his other book. this book is so boring

the over descriptions of every single little thing reads like an 8 year old in school writing a report about adjectives. his other book was so fun to read. what happened?

1 person found this helpful

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sex, alcohol, organic carrot juice, some music

Moby can write - this memoir felt workshopped the right way - but what's somewhat missing here is the heart of Moby's music. What makes him tick musically? What was the inspiration behind his music (though Moby does wax nostalgic about hardcore), but I was left wanting to learn a lot more. Where inspiration comes from. His descriptions of lower Manhattan as a hell hole in the early nineties are untrue. Maybe it didn't resemble white-bread Connecticut where he hailed from, but every block he seems to describe as a rat-infested crack den. C'mon Moby. Stop the exaggerating. Those of us who lived there (and I lived on the same block as Moby on East 10th Street), view it much differently. But it's his book. It is unfortunate that he dwells on his sexual escapades, making up for in his late 20s/early 30s what he couldn't do in his teens and early 20s. Kind of a yuck factor. Wish he had kept it all to himself. Didn't know I'd have to file this memoir next to Pamela des Barres'. Moby is a very good reader of his work, which is why I kept listening. There is a dispassionate quality to his oration which matches the tone of the narrative. And he describes the disappointment of empty or nearly empty rooms very well - the listener is there with him. These scenes were exemplary. Just wish I didn't have to be with him every time he got laid.

1 person found this helpful

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Not Just For Moby Fans

I bought this book because I heard a reading of it beforehand, and Moby's voice is really seductive while reading. I mean that he could read you a bedtime story. What I heard was the prologue, I could already tell there was a strong literary feel to it, which I found somewhat surprising for a musician, but perhaps not surprising for the brooding musician who wrote songs titled "When It's Cold I'd Like to Die" and "Why Does My Heart (Feel So Bad)." I think the turned out to be as sentimental and at times exceedingly hopeful and inspiring, as I had first thought. First, as someone who often listens to audiobooks while I sleep, I think this would be a great book for 'sound therapy', or whatever you'd like to call it, because Moby reads the entire book in an undertone and is considerate about making too much noise even when he has to change inflection. But the book also tells a story about gritty and depraved life in the 80s and 90s, 'old world New York'; a lost time that has given way to the McDonaldization/Disneyfication of, at least, the touristy part of New York which happened over the last 20 years. There's ugliness but comfort to this memoir, like a gray cloudy day. I'm not sure how else to describe it, unless you've ever gotten a glimpse of dirt post-modern city life. People familiar with Moby in the era post 2010 will be surprised to hear that this book is not at all political, unless you're one of those people who gets upset by the mere mention of veganism or existentialism. But the book remains stoic in mentioning these, describing that Moby did/does believe in these things, but doesn't push the "why" of it. The story doesn't technically go anywhere; it's just a memoir. There are a lot of great stories within, and I did cry on several emotional parts, or became elated by just the beautiful descriptions of things, times, and places that Moby sometimes uses. So, for a memoir, it's very good. I would recommend listening to the demos of Porcelain (the book) on Spotify or wherever else it's available. If you enjoy that, you'll probably enjoy the whole book.

1 person found this helpful

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Honest and intimate

Moby speaks openly about his failures, triumphs, and failures again. Candid yet charming, and not a tell-all about all the people he knows and how famous he is. Can't wait for part two.

1 person found this helpful

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Why did it have to end!?

I am a lover of music which made this book all the more fascinating to listen to. It would have been a good book even if you aren’t into his music. Hearing more about the musician and the state of mind he was in as he created music was a treat. This book was really about moby first and music second. But music is what moby cares about so the whole thing fed on itself. He did a good job maintaining a mostly linear timeline but weaving things from his past at certain moments where they would have more impact. It was fun hearing about all his adventures on tours and in clubs. He came across deeply honest with his failures and insecurities which always makes a book more personable. I could imagine listening to this book a second time maybe in a year or so. As he told his story I would stop the book and listen to whatever song he had just created and then go back to the story. To be honest this is my only disappointment, I wish his songs where in there to listen to with his stories. I assume lawyers and music contracts would not allow that but it’d be neat if it were possible or if there’s a sequel.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Moby awkwardly talks about himself having sex too much

I just wanted him to stop talking about how he had sex. They weren't interesting sex stories nor meaningful to him...they were just simply repetitive anecdotes that he had had sex. Really strange.

3 people found this helpful

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I liked hearing about his life.....but jeezeeee...

Where is some break in the monotony of his really flat life. No love no joy no depth or intimacy. I am sort of sorry and completely surprised I finished it.

1 person found this helpful