Then a batch of ‘signed by the author’ copies came in, and that sealed it. Open the book and there in bold, black Sharpie is the scrawl of Charlatans singer: Tim Burgess. As far as author signatures go, I was rather chuffed; you can make out letters and even figure out the name without having a flick back to the front cover- very rare indeed.
So, like the book nerd I am, I read this carefully, trying not to break the spine, spill tea or scatter biscuit crumbs between pages.
Telling Stories is simply that: a collection of Burgess’ stories of the Charlatans rise and the harsh reality of Britpop fame from the frontline. Burgess doesn’t gloss over band mate Rob Collins’ imprisonment or death, nor does he shy away from his own drug-riddled past.
It can be a great sentiment, but it was overused and it exposed just how raw everyone’s emotions were. Those words got me into many arguments. Who’s to say what Rob would’ve wanted?
I fell for the endearing young Burgess, with his love of the Hacienda music scene and his constant struggle for the hippest haircut in all of Northwich and beyond. The importance of Manchester’s music scene wasn’t lost on the fledgling Charlatan, who accounts his thrill of Factory Records and the whole of Tony Wilson’s FAC repertoire with vibrant memories and enthusiasm.
For Charlatans and Burgess fans, this book is rich with background detail into their first live shows, the recording process and the inspirations behind the lyrics- read this and revisit your favourite Charlatans songs like you’ve never heard them before.
It was nuts, kids jumping around everywhere. It was off the hook…this was the first time someone with any kind of clout had said something so positive. It made us believe more.
There’s a tender reminiscent tone to the book so don’t expect a chronological account of on-tour madness , run-ins with Oasis, oh and casual meet ups with Joe Strummer , but- to my delight -it’s all in there.
Telling Stories is a very blunt, yet positive memoir about diving head first into success and excess, and emerging from the other side scarred but strong: with emotional baggage and terrible lows but also, a healthy outlook (nowadays he’s all about meditation , charity and bespoke blends of tea) and a promising future.
Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
Viking; 2012: Paperback £12.99