At the weekend I was browsing in the music section of the bookshop when I noticed something – all the books on the five shelves appeared to be written by men. At first I thought it was a mistake. Surely my hyper sensitive feminist brain was just seeing things? So I checked each shelf more carefully this time.
There was an array of different autobiographies, biographies, historical books, music related memoirs by journalists and fans, academic music books, photography books, list books etc and it looked like every single one of them was written by men, mainly about male artists. They may as well have called the section ‘men’s interest’ or ‘no women allowed’ such was our gender’s exclusion from the narrative.
Then just as I was about to storm off in another rage at the patriarchy I took one last look. Wait a sec! I spotted one! The name of the writer was Virginia Grohl and I picked up the book to discover that it was written by Dave’s mother, exploring the perils of raising a rock star. All was not lost. The book looked interesting to me and I was going to buy it but then I realised if I did there really would be no women in the music section at all (plus it cost £20). This might have been a one-off bad selection at a bookshop but it illustrated a wider problem: women are underrepresented everywhere in the music industry.
So I placed the book back on the shelf and decided there and then that I would start reviewing a music book every month on the blog.
One of my most popular posts on the blog is my overview of favourite music books written by women so I know there are people out there looking for recommendations. Not every music fan is interested in another book about Bowie or the Beatles written by greying old men.
So I will read a book related to music written by a woman, write a review and post a few questions to facilitate a discussion. By recommending the books I will be doing my bit to promote women writing about music and that is the most important thing.
Also add me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/highwayqueens
Let me know if you have any recommendations for future choices in the comments below.
Hello, I am interested in being a part of the club if that’s all right – I’m a greying old man, but one who loves music and music writing and who finds Greil Marcus impenetrable and Sylvie Simmons divine…
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Of course! Read along and let me know what you think of the books!
Not sure if I’m jumping the gun here but one suggestion I would make would be Suze Rotolo’s A Freewheelin’ Time – a beautiful book by a beautiful soul.
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Happy to take any and all suggestions!