Monday, June 21, 2010

It's just bizness II

Here's the 2nd consecutive book I've read in which the Message is that your Dream Job or Dream Career may ultimately not B worth the effort U put in2 it. I hava hard time arguing w/ this.
Philip Norman's EVERYONE'S GONE TO THE MOON (1995) follows the misadventures of young newspaper reporter Louis Brennan as he moves from a nothing job on an undistinguished daily paper somewhere in the North of England in the mid-1960s 2 his Dream Job on the LONDON SUNDAY DISPATCH MAGAZINE (apparently modeled on the real-life LONDON SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE).
Getting his Dream Job is unbelievably EZ 4 Louis. The real challenge comes when he hasta adapt 2 the Reality that Xists at his Dream Job. Bcos even tho Louis gets a chance 2 interview J.R.R. Tolkien, Yoko Ono, Jagger & Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton & more, that doesn't necessarily mean all his work gets published. Or that Louis gets even happier when it does.
Turns out his fellow staffers at the SUNDAY DISPATCH MAG are almost all lazy, stuck-up, backstabbing prima donnas, who do suprisingly little work 4 a mag that hasta come out each wk.
Louis latches-on 2 an editor/mentor who at 1st Cms like a really great guy -- supporting & inspiring Louis 2 do more than is required, 2 really shoot 4 the moon. Not that Louis needs much Ncouraging -- the writing is always blissfully EZ 4 him. It never lets him down.
It's PEOPLE who let him down, every time.
Turns out his editor/mentor is 2-faced & lies about almost EVERYTHING. & Louis hasa sorta-girlfriend who it turns out is even WORSE.
It helps that the book takes place during the era of "Swinging London," so it doesn't Cm like a stretch that Louis should Nd up attending a recording session 4 the Beatles' "A Day in the Life," or at a party where Jagger & Richards get arrested 4 drug possession. & Norman was a reporter 4 the LONDON SUNDAY TIMES at the Nd of the '60s, so I'm sure he knows whereof he speaks. The "superstar" guests all Cm like real down-2-Earth people, totally normal & Blievable.
The book is funny & suprising & will definitely carry U along -- & if U've ever quit a really bad, stressful job & remember how great U felt while walking away, the Happy Nding 4 Louis will ring true 4 U.
There R a couple minor problems. There is a LOT of writing about fashion in this book -- understandable, Bcos hip London fashion was a big deal back in the mid-'60s. Norman often Dscribes in great Dtail what a character is wearing -- 2 the point where U may not know what a character looks like, but U have no doubt about what they're dressed in.
Also: Louis has no real inner life. He doesn't Cm 2 think much about the various Btrayals that R inflicted on him. Up til the point at the Nd of the book when he quits his dream job, he just continues 2 B stabbed in the heart repeatedly by his so-called friends. Tho we can C that things upset him, he seldom XPRESSES it 2 NE1. & most of us woulda blown-up or told somebody off LONG B4 Louis does.
We also never get 2 READ NE of Louis's interviews/articles w/ famous folks.
Nevertheless, MOON is such a vivid picture of mid-'60s Swinging London that it's well worth reading -- especially if yr an Anglophile, music fan, frustrated writer... If U've ever worked on NE kind of publication, U'll probly getta kick out of it.
It was good enuf that I went ahead & skimmed thru Norman's Beatles biography, SHOUT! (1981) -- a pretty solid & Dtailed recounting of the Beatles' story, tho if U already know mosta the story (& who doesn't?) I don't think it has much that's new, tho mayB it did at the time....
Also, I learned something from MOON: Amy Johnson, who's referred-2 in Al Stewart's song "Flying Sorcery" (on his YEAR OF THE CAT album), was a real person -- a pioneering English flier who held records 4 solo flights from Britain 2 Australia, & who died in a plane crash in the Thames Estuary in 1941. I thot mayB Amy was just Amelia Earhart under another name, but not so. Guess I don't know my British history as well as I thot....

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