Sonic Youth Slept on My Floor by Dave Haslam
Dave Haslam’s love for Manchester and its music scene shines through in Sonic Youth Slept on My Floor
Manchester’s musical heritage remains as nebulous as ever: its prime movers’ (Joy Division, Buzzcocks, The Smiths) place in its history is secure; a handful of survivors plough on with dignity intact (James, Inspiral Carpets); and with some (Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses), their status at any one time is impossible to determine.
Documenting the city’s various triumphs requires a steady hand and a clear eye. Haslam, whose previous work has demonstrated solid command of both, emerges in his new book as a natural storyteller. Not for him the unthinking flag-waving of those who ‘were there’. In particular, his account of the Haçienda years and Manchester's burgeoning dance scene is insightful and gripping.
Credit also for telling his story with such winning good grace. A lesser writer’s recollections of, say, introducing Johnny Marr to Nile Rodgers, or of seeing Dexy’s Midnight Runners support Joy Division, would cause green-eyed rage in most readers. As Thurston Moore says to him (and, yes, the title’s story is based on absolute fact): “In some ways, we are the sum of our encounters, aren’t we?” Those encounters are many and they make for a full and warm-hearted memoir. As ever, Haslam’s love for the city shines through, but he remains an inclusive observer (“When you find your tribe… they may be from the other side of town, or another town”) and a voice you can trust. [Gary Kaill]
Little, Brown, out now, £20