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N Moss Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and drafty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success and on to glory in Amsterdam prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968David Mitchell’s captivating new novel tells. Expect the unexpected Isn’t that always the case with any new novel by David Mitchell After ‘The Bone Clocks’ and ‘Slade House’ I was certainly not expecting a straightforward narrative and I must confess that this made me initially nervous even a bit anxious because I feared that David Mitchell had decided to write a novel in a conventional way just to show he is capable to do that magnificently as well Thus to my surprise I did not encounter any unexpected strange or fantastical events popping up for some three uarters of the novel Even in the last uarter you cannot deny that anything out of the ordinary occured Unorthodox thoughts and deep despairs only took place in peoples' minds thus or less invisible We are being told the breathtaking tale of the rise of the psychedelic rockband Utopia Avenue from their early beginnings in damp venues in way off towns in Britain in 1967 through their successful performances in the US in 1968 It is clear that David Mitchell was enjoying himself tremendously giving us his very affectionate characterizations of the four band members They are a playful lot expressing lots of emotions and sometimes even sentimentality which is luckily just within good taste Three of them have great song writing talents so you just have to visualize David Mitchell’s big grins on writing those lyrics as well as their conversations with about all the big rock stars of that time They are all there Janis Joplin Leonard Cohen Brian Jones and many especially David Bowie who always seemed to be lost and taking the wrong way on staircases The most outstanding member of the band is Jasper de Zoet Dutch former UK public school boy and the direct descendent of Jacob de Zoet who we have previously met in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Jasper’s mental condition is delicate even heartbreaking but his guitar playing is virtuoso and is often compared to Eric Clapton’s With the nerve wrecking peeks into Jasper’s schizofrenic mind the fantastical enters the story and I liked that although you had to feel sorry for Jasper In the last part of the book the tone of voice sometimes reminded me of ‘Jacob de Zoet’ in which the story was also sprinkled with supernatural occurances but very sparsely as wellDavid Mitchell’s tales are never restricted by borders in any way be it physical nor by time past and future and it was really pleasant when encountering old friends again Frobischer Luisa Rey Marinus and a few that will be recognized with pleasure by David Mitchell’s fans of previous novels This novel was almost too much of a good thing sometimes but David Mitchell really pulled it off I just really loved it but then I admit I am biased with regard to David Mitchell’s writing

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Utopia AvenueThe unexpurgated story of Utopia Avenue; of riots in the streets and revolutions in the head; of drugs thugs madness love sex death art; of the families we choose and the ones we don’t; of fame’s Faustian pact and stardom’s wobbly ladder Can we change the world in turbulent times or does the world change. ”’We’re likePrincesses in the age of dynastic marriages’Janis bites her lower lip and nods ‘And our fame raises the value of locker room bragging Which the guys gain from Oh yeah Janis Joplin I know Janis She gave me head on the unmade bed I hate it But how do you fight it Or change it Or survive it’‘I’m not on your level yet’ says Elf ‘Have you any advice’‘No advice Only a fear and a name Billie Holiday’Elf takes a third sip of Brutal Truth ‘Didn’t Billie Holiday die a heroin addict with no functioning liver under arrest on her death bed with only seventy cents in her bank account’Janis lights a cigarette ‘That’s the fear’”I don’t know if there has ever been a exploited group of artists on the planet than musicians especially rock musicians They hit it big with record deals and sold out crowds at their concerts and everyone around them assumes they are rich but in reality they don’t have a pot to piss in The studios and agents lock them up in contracts that make sure the bulk of the money stays with the nontalent side of the partnership ”’Often the talent doesn’t want to believe it because that would prove they’re gullible morons They prefer to look away I know one manager who gets the talent so hooked on drugs they’re too fried to ask about the money’”The road to being successful is so difficult and everyone is aware of the number of bands that implode or never get any traction before disappearing without a trace Bands are desperate to get a deal and frankly the money is secondary to just being recognized It is easy to exploit desperation I’ve seen writers do it too They are so relieved that someone wants to publish their book they couldn’t care less about the money Goodreads depends on all of us to write reviews for free to make their site work We do it for the love of the game There is a lot of suffering creating art of any kind and I’m not sure why our system is designed to make it so hard for artistswritersmusicians to be successful In 1967 the beginning of drug culture the birth of rock and roll and free love it was so easy to exploit these creative people who were bursting with wild thoughts they needed to express and desires that needed to be fulfilled The wrong people as usual became rich So that brings us to Utopia Avenue made up of Jasper de Zost on guitar Elf Holloway on the keyboard Dean Moss on the bass and Peter “Griff” Griffin on the drums The first three are also writers and so they have that special Beatles mixture of talent that gives them an edge over other bands With that many writers in a band putting together material for an album or three is not that difficult For me the only real bands are those that write their own material not that I can’t enjoy the performances of bands who buy their songs but I love it when I know a song was written by the people performing it So I’m already rooting for Utopia Avenue from the early pages of the novel As the reader I am a roadie and love helping them from the comfort of my reading armchair lug their euipment around to various venues as they try to find their sound They are lucky and find a decent agent reasonably honest who is there to wipe their noses book their gigs make sure they show up on time and mother them through the process of reaching stardom Success is an addictive drug and listening to crowds start to sing your words back at you and scream for songs the moment your set ends is like mainlining heroin or for some a brilliant LSD trip No one is affected by burgeoning success than Dean Moss He in many ways has the least He is estranged from his family and camping out on this bloke’s couch or this chap’s hard piece of floor He owns nothing but his bass and the songs in his head He finds amazing girlfriends but then can’t resist the occasional one night stand with a fan on the road He gets caught every time mainly because nothing about his life is private any There are eyes watching him all the time Despite his faults or maybe because of them I actually like Dean the best There is something naive and honest about him despite his sexual indiscretions that I if I were his friend would do my best to keep him from tripping over his own dick He needs some direction in a directionless world We have Elf Holloway who is struggling with her personal life not because of Deanesue problems but because she seems attracted to the wrong people or the wrong people are attracted to her She brings a folksie blend to the band that has a lot to do with the uniue sound they produce which sets them apart from other bands These are early days for girls to be in rock and roll bands but it doesn’t take long for producers and managers to understand that the public likes seeing girls on stage Imagine that Her boyfriend Bruce tries to interject himself into the band politics like an Australian Yoko Ono but it doesn’t work The band has formed its own cosmos and outsiders need to stay on the other side of the glass Jasper de Zost is a brilliant musician on a different level than anyone else There is money in his family but that life exists in a parallel non intersecting universe Music is everything He is in a crucial battle with his own brain An invader he calls Knock Knock a demon type creature is trying to take over his brain The drugs that keep the creature contained are also dangerous for Jasper’s future health He needs time to get all this music out of his head before the demon takes control Not much was known about mental health in the 1960s and trying to explain his condition to someone would be like trying to make them believe he is really a Martian Drummers always seem to take a backseat in bands They are generally at the back of the stage and rarely a fan favorite Griff has a good sense of humor about that most of the time though he can become hilariously acerbic When he is in a car accident the band immediately sees the problem with using another drummer The timing is all off and that special sauce that makes Utopia Avenue different from other bands is missing too many ingredients The real people populating this book from Mick Farren to David Bowie to Janis Joplin and the ongoing hunt for John Lennon at every party certainly add extra layers of enjoyment for me I love this description of Jimi Hendricks ”’We taught ourselves sitting down in rooms Jimi’s a street guitarist Plays with his whole body Calves waist hips’ ‘Balls ass and cock’ adds Pigpen ‘He’s the first black cat who white women y’know forthed for I’ve never seen anything like it They kindadripped lust’”So what David Mitchell does in this book is make me like all the band members I may have my favorite but I find myself worrying over each of them as if they are my own bundle of musically talented friends This book will always be remembered by me as the book I read while waiting through my father’s heart valve replacement surgery Elf Jasper Dean and Griff kept me company in the corner of the waiting room while I waited for the eventual news of a successful surgery There is always a book close to my hand so anything that happens in my life becomes attached to the book I’m reading at the time My memories of book plots and the ongoing plots of my life fuse into one interconnected memory This book is forever a part of the happy news I received in the Heart Institute in Lincoln Nebraska If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at and an Instagram account

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summary Utopia Avenue ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ñ The long awaited new novel from the bestselling prize winning author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone ClocksUtopia Avenue is the strangest British band you’ve never heard of Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway guitar demigod JaThe long awaited new novel from the bestselling prize winning author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone ClocksUtopia Avenue is the strangest British band you’ve never heard of Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folk singer Elf Holloway guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dea. People of Goodreads this one was worth the wait David Mitchell is a gift to the literary world and his groovy new novel Utopia Avenue TOPS THE CHARTS This may very well be my favorite of the year and it’s only FebruaryFirst things first I LIIIIIIIVED for the music pop culture film and history references in this book David Mitchell chose his decade and setting well for this outing The 60’s London music scene was and is I CO NIC but it was also a decade of momentous change conflict and advancement The Swingin’ Sixties was counter culture and civil rights Vietnam hippies beatniks psychedelia and LSD revolution riots and sex drugs rock ‘n’ roll All of that you’ll find here There is so much to pull from and Mr Mitchell wastes not a single important momentThis novel is really a who’s who of the 60’s and—to just get it out of the way—is mostly why I took off half a star Why you may ask We meet so many infamous characters from the era which is all super exciting but it throws the narrative off after the first dozen or so and kind of becomes this whole ‘who can I toss into the plot now that was around in 1967’ just for the hell of it In keeping with the music vibe It’s a bit of a scratch in an otherwise groovy recordAnywho the review plows onwardsThe interconnected ness of David Mitchell’s novels makes me giddy so if you’ve read his previous works you’ll be treated to some fun Easter Eggs from his sprawling multiverseI may or may not have cried at some of the familiar names and places You’ll never know and I’ll never fully admit it Each chapter header is a song driven by the narratives of a character’s arc which I thought a cool addition It works to the story’s benefitThe way Mr Mitchell crafts his characters from the get go and with such finesse was what hooked me I was immediately invested in each of them—Dean Elf Jasper Levon Griff—they all came alive It’s really a testament to the writing that barely 10% into the book all the characters were already so fully realized Each of their respective chapters—as the POV shifts between Dean the bassist Elf the keyboardist Jasper the guitarist and once each for Griff the drummer and Levon their manager—all have a distinctive voice and moodemotion running through themDean’s chapters were tragi comic in a sense Scraping by down on his luck His felt at times like incertitude desperation excess bumbling hopefulness A character comes in halfway through and describes each band member through their music “Life is a battle is hard but you is not alone”Elf’s were mostly personal drama A talented woman trying to make waves in a man’s world all the while grappling with her own confusions Her chapters were insecurity uestioning repression finding an escape and tightly wound stresses ”Life is sad is joy is emotions”Jasper’s chapters were well let’s just say his POV introduction was ‘manic thoughts on a runaway train’ To be honest and even though I loved them all his chapters were the ones I looked forward to the most I found them totally absorbing David Mitchell has created such a complex character in Jasper It’s all very ‘tortured artist’ on the surface but it goes much deeper than that Jasper’s struggles with and I use this term loosely knowing the full context of the story “mental illness” really hit me hard Reading his racing thoughts was like reading my own—perfectly capturing the mania Knock knock His chapters made me think melancholia tension genius artist deeply removed but holding on He was constantly having to “act” the part of a “Normal” human being and fighting to keep sane view spoilerWhen Jasper was walking into the sea ”You can’t undo that ending” I teared up uite a bit at that part hide spoiler