Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just a Few Seconds by Nemo James

Derek dreamt of becoming a professional musician from the first time he picked up a guitar following a talent contest disaster. Thought of by his friends as being the person most likely to make the big time he turned professional but was continually side tracked from stardom by the need to earn a living from music.

His journey takes him all over the world from private gigs for the rich and famous to the roughest pubs. Starting in the late sixties when heavy rock was born, through to the 1980′s and 90′s when discos and electronics decimated live music in dance halls.

An amusing and heartrending story of perseverance showing how the road to success can lead us down the strangest of paths.

As a classical musician myself, I am always intrigued by the experiences of my musical peers, which is why this book appealed to me so much. It is an autobiography that is touching in its honesty and charmingly ironic in its language.

It must be a daunting task to put all the major experiences of one’s life into order, so that they make sense and is attractive to other people, especially when the life is not of someone that is universally famous. I feel this book succeeded immensely. I was entertained from the very first page up to the last sentence. The twists and turns of Derek’s (or Nemo’s) life are incredible, the near misses at stardom excruciating, the struggles he goes through heartbreaking in their honesty and reality. The reader can’t help but cheer Nemo on when things seem to go well, and sigh as turn after turn leads him away from his music. I found his perseverance throughout all the years of musical dissatisfaction inspiring, something that takes much more strength and faith in the future than is the usual.

The writing itself is well structured, and although there are a few grammatical mistakes here and there (missing commas, some syntax issues) it is nothing major and nothing that would be a deterrent from reading it.

I truly enjoyed this book, not only as a look into the unforgiving world of independent musicians, but as a window into an extraordinary man’s life.

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