Literature, Music

Ted Kessler and Jude Rogers in conversation with Terri White at Blackwell's Bookshop

Ted Kessler and Jude Rogers in conversation with Terri White
Blackwell’s Bookshop
22nd September 2022

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Blackwell’s Bookshop are thrilled to be working with White Rabbit Books to host the Manchester launch of Ted Kessler’s Paper Cuts  and Jude Rogers’ The Sound of Being Human – two brilliant new memoirs which also explore how music influences and shapes our lives. Ted and Jude will be in conversation with Terri White.

About the books:

Paper Cuts: How I Destroyed the British Music Press and Other Misadventures – Ted Kessler

Paper Cuts is the inside story of the slow death of the British music press. But it’s also a love letter to it, the tale of how music magazines saved one man’s life. Ted Kessler left home and school around his seventeenth birthday, determined ‘to be someone who listened to music professionally’. That dream appeared forlorn when he was later arrested for theft behind the counter of the record shop he managed during acid house’s long hot summer of love. Paper Cuts tells how Kessler found redemption through music and writing and takes us on a journey alongside the stars he interviewed and the work-place dramas he navigated as a senior staffer at NME through the boom-time ’90s and on to the monthly Q in 2004, where he worked for sixteen years before it folded with him at its helm as editor in 2020.

We travel in time alongside musical heroes Paul Weller, Kevin Rowland, Mark E Smith, and to Cuba twice, first with Shaun Ryder and Bez, then with Manic Street Preachers. We spend long, mad nights out with Oasis and The Strokes, quality time with Jeff Buckley and Florence Welch, and watch Radiohead deliver cold revenge upon Kessler in public. A story about love and death, about what it’s like when a music writer shacks up with a conflict of interest, and what happens when your younger brother starts appearing on the cover of the magazines you work for, this is the memoir of “a delinquent doofus” whose life was both rescued and defined by music magazines.

Ted Kessler was on the staff at NME as a writer and editor between 1993 and 2003, before joining Q magazine’s staff, working there for 16 years. He was Q’s editor for four years, until it closed in 2020. He also devised and edited the acclaimed MY OLD MAN: TALES OF OUR FATHERS, published in 2016 by Canongate.

The Sound of Being Human: How Music Shapes Our Lives – Jude Rogers

The Sound of Being Human explores, in detail, why music plays such a deep-rooted role in so many lives, from before we are born to our last days. At its heart is Jude’s own story: how songs helped her wrestle with the grief of losing her father at age five; concoct her own sense of self as a lonely adolescent; sky-rocket her relationships, both real and imagined, in the flushes of early womanhood, propel her own journey into working life, adulthood and parenthood, and look to the future.

Shaped around twelve songs, ranging from ABBA’s ‘Super Trouper’ to Neneh Cherry’s ‘Buffalo Stance’, Kraftwerk’s ‘Radioactivity’ to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ ‘Heat Wave’, the book combines memoir and historical, scientific and cultural enquiry to show how music can shape different versions of ourselves; how we rely upon music for comfort, for epiphanies, and for sexual and physical connection; how we grow with songs, and songs grow inside us, helping us come to terms with grief, getting older and powerful memories. It is about music’s power to help us tell our own stories, whatever they are, and make them sing.

Since 2003, Jude Rogers has written for Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Times Saturday Review, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Word, MOJO, Q, NME, The Quietus and The Gentlewoman, made acclaimed documentaries for Radio 4, including the 2021 series ‘A Life in Music’, and interviewed everyone from Damon Albarn to Billie Eilish, Michael Stipe to Laurie Anderson, Paul Weller to the Pet Shop Boys.

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