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The Glamour Chase by Tom Doyle

Book Review

Renée Rowland | 25 Oct 2011

First published a year after Billy Mackenzie’s suicide in 1997, the 2011 edition of The Glamour Chase contains a Foreword written by Björk (described as Mackenzie’s ‘twin musical spirit’), which clearly foreshadows the musical eccentricities to follow. 

In 1982, Top of The Pops revealed the Associates recorded a song in a bath with coffee cups strapped to their heads – but this is relatively contrived madness when held up against the more organically weird moments that Tom Doyles book reveals: the impromptu recruitment of a barking dog as backing vocalist, the Harrod’s handmade chocolate guitars used on tour, the on demand projectile vomiting on people who pissed him off. 

Weirdness aside, the fact that Mackenzie is compared to Bowie, Bono, Bassey and everyone in between hints at something majestic and timeless in his operatic, multi-octave voice. Doyle's story reveals a character emblematic of the almost-but-not-quite Scottish culture, someone unsatisfied with the sonic realization of the sounds in his head and tortured by potential. It’s no Flea memoir or Mötley Crüe confessional but Doyle’s removed intimacy reveals an earthy, organic account of disenfranchised post punk pop stars, rock 'n rollers who are famous for what they might have achieved rather than what they did achieve. [Renée Rowland]

Out now. Published by Polygon. Cover price £12.99.