Record Collector Review

A cool as fuck chronicle, as the T-shirt might have put it

Inspirals singer Hingley is, to some extent, the odd man out in the cast of the Madchester scene. Born in Oxford to middle-class academics, his upbringing was far removed from the urban backdrop that spawned the rest of his band and contemporaries such as The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.

Thus, while Carpet Burns is nonetheless a dispatch from the eye of a cultural storm, it manages also to offer context from a partially detached observer. While holding tight to the rails of a lavishly celebrated scene and adored by thousands, Hingley is aware that he’s working in an industry “peopled largely by fuckwits”, but there’s no overriding sense of bitterness or regret in his eminently readable memoirs.

Passages about former Inspirals roadie Noel Gallagher are especially enlightening, Hingley concluding that it gave the future Oasis star a grounding in the workings of the business, but conceding that he took more from other bands, “inspiration from the Roses; fun, controversy and drug iconography from the Mondays”. It’s a first-hand account of a fascinating era in British pop, conveyed with atmosphere and colour.

This review by Terry Staunton appeared in the December 2012 issue of Record Collector.