falling in love with Suede co-founder member Justine Frischmann, placing the advertisement in the NME that would summon guitar genius Bernard Butler, and the general lifestyle of a young band trying to catch a break in the Nineties (apparently a lot of “salad kebabs” were involved).
If there was coke, however, Anderson’s not mentioning it (come on, fella, we were there too), and nor is he going to talk about some of the more juicy stuff, like Frischmann making off with Damon Albarn, which would cause her to leave the group and create one of the great Britpop era rivalries; he writes only: “At some point during early 1991, while all this was happening, Justine had met someone else”. He will, however, make a passing mention of “groups of patronising middle-class boys… making money by aping the accents and culture of the working classes”. We can’t think who he means.
And yes, there are times when Anderson’s writing style, so obviously reaching for literary flourish, can come over a bit Monty Burns, as when he describes his time spent studying at Manchester University: “I grew tired of the gaggles of over-excited, toga-draped pranksters.” But when he writes about the strongest emotions— heartbreak, grief, love—his prose can be stirring. More surprising, he’s even capable of jokes, as when he describes buying a lemon-yellow suit at Topman in the 1980s in the hope of emulating Bowie, though “the truth was I probably looked more like a cut-price Cliff Richard”. Who knew, Brett? Who knew?