Friday, 30 July 2010

Bookhugger column #5: Townshend, Faber, Electric Eden

For my Bookhugger column this month I was resolved already to write on Rob Young's splendid Electric Eden (of which you will surely read more elsewhere this month, the excellent blog-site in support of which is here.) But since music and its celebration in writing was the matter, and since Faber and Faber have serious form in this area, I thought I'd broaden the piece so as to say a little of the part in the story played by Pete Townshend, Faber's second-most-famous editor in the firm's history after Thomas Stearns Eliot. Townshend is also appropriate to any discussion of English music specifically, or of music as a higher (or lower, Chthonic) power, and such is the terrain of Rob Young's book.
Anyhow, in writing up the piece I discovered on YouTube the 1985 South Bank Show on Townshend, and just wished to share with you a) the sheer genius of opening the show on an extreme close-up of Pete's vibrating strings as they are struck, and b) the commensurate genius of letting the emergent tune, Pete's 'Give Blood', run on over the opening credits as a replacement theme to the episode.