Well, this month my Manuel Gottsching book turns four years old. Writing this has now spanned countless weekends sat researching and writing and a large chunk of my early 30s. From time to time someone will ask me why I started writing the book and to explain this I have to go back to March of 2008 when I was on a trip to Paris. I thought it would be fun to include a handful of photographs from that very holiday as a part of this post.
Knowing that the coach journeys from Newcastle to Paris and back again, not to mention all of the trips to various locations were going to take many hours, I loaded up my MP3 player with lots of music and ended up listening to Manuel Gottsching more than anything else.I can remember listening to the @shra live albums on the way to Paris and once there New Age of Earth played as I took in the sights along the banks of the Seine.
As our coach skated around the streets of the city Blackouts was my album of choice, with 77 Slightly Delayed seeming to match the frenetic flow of the traffic. In the Louvre I remember listening to Midnight on Mars, whilst admiring the art and I wasn't bowled over by Disneyland Paris but I do recall my pleasure at listening to Lotus in the sun, as I waited for my friends to come off the rides. I also listened to Blackouts as I waited in the rain outside Galeries Lafayette, an enormous and beautiful department store, the interior of which looks as much like a vintage opera venue as it does a place for shopping.
As the trip progressed I wondered how I could find out more about the music I was listening to. As a fan I wanted to know about the circumstances surrounding its creation and the inspiration behind it. The more I thought about it the clearer the solution became. If I wanted the answers I had to find them myself and this would involve writing a book. Surely if I felt this way others would too and there would be an audience for this?
....and where am I four years on? About a month ago, having almost completed the fourth draft I reported that I was nearly there. Is this true? Well, sort of. I think that post was a little premature and a result of both impatience and restlessness - cabin fever, if you like, having been sat here writing for so long. After this length of time I think I owe it to myself and anybody who will want to read the book to go the extra mile to make sure it is as good as it can be.
Last weekend I worked pretty much wall-to-wall on the fifth draft and I'm 40 pages into what is currently a 143 page document. At this point the sensation is a little like freewheeling down a hill after having pushed a car to the top. Most of what I'm doing now is a question of carefully adapting what is already there. I say this but some sections seem to be fine as they are.
So, for anyone who is following the blog and cares about when the book will be ready I say thank you, both for your interest and also for your patience. I'm probably as impatient as you are right now to get the job done and for you to be able to read it. I shouldn't be too long but I don't want to jump the gun and make predictions. An author friend of mine said that I would know when the book was finished, as I would feel that I couldn't do anything more to improve it. I'm not quite there yet but I'll be there soon, I'm sure. Four years and counting. Ha-ha!