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Review of Carpet Burns
The band that spurned ‘that haircut’.
It takes a lot for me to write a book review but this one is worthy of praise.
There is time for most people when music is one of the most important things in their lives. Saving up for a gig, relationships, hot sunny days and holidays all tie in with that special time when you would rush to get back to your bedroom to play your newest album locked away from the world.
The early 90s was that time for me. You had to rely on radio play from John Peel, word of mouth or going to the nearest alternative club to hear good bands. Call me old fashioned but digital downloads where everything is accessible at the click of a button have killed this off and I am glad I lived in a time when you discovered a great band like finding an antique tucked away at the back of a junk shop.
Like it or not the Inspiral Carpets will always be lumped in with the Madchester scene side by side with The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays, flares and bowl haircuts. The difference was that the Inspirals were the only one of the three to release four good studio albums, something rarely highlighted.
When I heard Tom had written a book about his time in the band I instantly wanted to get a copy. Around three quarters of the autobiographies I start, I never finish. Eager to tap into what life was like in the limelight I normally give up half way through as they tend to dwell far too much on childhood memories which although important to the author rarely make interesting reading.
Not so here.
This book is a good mix of how Tom ended up in the band, diary entries while on tour, and a look into the meaning of each album track. It also has some funny accounts of what it was like to work with Noel Gallagher before he made it big. Tom left listing his musical influences till the end which I thought worked well.
During the time Tom was in the inspirals I never thought of him as the front man, that was Clint, however I don’t think the Inspirals would have achieved anything like the success they achieved without him. I recently went to see the band with Stephen singing, it was a good gig… but just ….good. I felt it was missing the strength and feeling of Toms’ vocals on songs such as this is how it feels and directing traffic. My only solace was ‘Sackville’ was not on the set list.
One thing I like about Tom is how accessible he is. He is always around after gigs signing CDs and is always appreciative of you making it out to see him. Check out his solo material or albums with his band The Lovers, but I would recommend going to see him live first. That is how I got the book in the first place.
So if you want an honest, sometimes funny, sometimes awkward account of what it was like to be the lead singer in one of the best bands of the 1990s I highly recommend this book.
Thank you for your contribution to the British music scene Tom.
Steve Cain Luton
Totally enjoyed reading this. Well written and non bitchy, a great insight into one of my favorite bands. Tom’s a top bloke and very talented.
I am a massive Inspiral Carpets fan and was looking forward to this book with a sense of eagerness and worry. I was eager for the insight into the band’s working practice, how they wrote and Tom’s feelings on eac song. I was also worried it would be Tom’s chance to settle a few scores with his former bandmates and make the break up more public than it needed to be.
Luckily the book gives the best of both. Tom’s insight into joining the band, writing the songs and the tours and TV appearences are enjoyable to read about. He also tells how he band started to drift apart and the numerous times they tried to get back together. He also tells how and why he left (or was sacked) but does it in a way that is not bitter or bitchy. He fully accepts his part in the whole story and his comments about his ex-bandmates give an insight into his relationship with them whilst retaining a sense of respect for what they did individually and as a band.
If you like Inspirals Carpets, Manchester music, indie music or just want to read a well written book then i would say buy this book, get a six pack of beer and a comfy chair to sit in.
Not only does he write great songs, the bugger writes a good book too. In Australia the Inspiral Carpets were not well known in the mainstream media of the time. This book opens a door into a scene and music that are not so well known here – the Madchester thing only brushed our shores in musical ripples. The effects of which are still reveberating in subtle ways. I loved the style and the sometimes raw honesty of this account – there is such a recent freshness to the work that it almost seems unfinished in a good sort of way. That is that perhaps there is still more to come… Tom has been honest with us I think and that is a brave thing to do on paper. It makes for a very strong read. I highly recommend it.
The one joy I have is reading, not many books stay on my bookshelf….I have five books that will sit on my shelf till the day i die, one is Carpet Burns, not just because its signed by the author but for the simple reason its a totally electric read, insightful, intelligent, funny, sad….I look forward to the next book….an absolute gem, you will not be able to put it down.
If you like real-life musicians’ tales and stories, Manchester music history,music business and industry issues, artistic and creative process and some great anecdotes and jokes- then buy this book. It’s a cracking read – of serious intent and insight but written with a light touch and heavy on the humour. It provides a healthy dose of sceptisism about the business, whilst continuing to celebrate the good bits and deconstructs a few urban myths about certain big name stars. There’s also some delightful photos of Tom, his family and the band. I thoroughly recommend it.
It really is a strange feeling, to have those people who you have never really had any personal contact with but feel as though you have known for most of your life suddenly laid bare in front of you. It is even stranger that what you discover is obviously quite different to what you expect!
Carpet Burns takes for me the best Madchester band of the era and spills their guts for all to see, warts and all.
The book is a superb insight into the mechanics of a band, the music industry and ultimately friendship. What it delivered for me was a superb insight into the forming of, elevation and slow decline of a band that caught the mood of a nation perfectly. This all taking place in the halcyon years of the Madchester scene. If you are not paticularly an Inspiral Carpets fan there is enough insight in to the Madchester scene to sate most appetites. If you like Manchesters 2nd biggest band you can follow how Noel Gallagher got the required underpinning knowledge to go on be the force that he has become.
Reading the book stripped away many preconceptions of what being thrust into the limelight and ultimately fame was like for me, from money worries to the way the record industry works and how people who appear to be in control of their own destinies are still mismanaged badly.
The book for me was a well written and above all honest account, you are not going to expose yourself emotionally as Hingley does throughout the book without being sincere. I loved this part of my life and this book was written in a way that took me back with such clarity that I felt you could close your eyes and reach out and touch it.
I’m saying no more, so buy it, read it and be COOL AS F@#K!
I read carpet Burns in two days as I really couldn’t put it down. It was good to hear full versions of stories Tom’s told me over the years and was quite emotional towards the end to be honest. Funny, and engaging, you may even learn something, too!
Just finished reading Carpet Burns and couldn’t put it down! A roller coaster ride of good, great and not so great times throughout the life history of the Inspiral Carpets. Sad to hear how it all ended for Tom with the band- but with this book and solo tours he’s onto a fresh new chapter in his life. Onwards and upwards Tom. Any true music fan should buy this book and read how it truly goes down in the music biz.
Every now and again a book comes along charting a period of music history in such an accessible way, with such a clear and honest voice that when you finish that story you feel slightly lonely for a while. You can of course comfort yourself with knowing that the author’s voice can be forever heard on Inspiral Carpets records and solo albums and live venues throughout the land. This is Tom Hingley, a man whose story you need to know. This autobiography describes how Tom effectively ‘found himself’ in the excitement of Manchester at the time when the Hacienda was in full flow and Inspiral Carpets were ready to fly the flag for original music within the ‘Madchester’ scene. The book provides a fantastic insight into life on the road and also provides a unique behind the scenes account of how the engine room of a successful chart-topping band operates. The story takes the reader up to the present day and, if you haven’t listened to those Inspiral’s records for while , you will be reminded about just what a special band they are and indeed, what a cool singer and genuinely nice bloke Tom Hingley is.
I read Tom’s book on holiday… actually, not so much read it as devoured it! I loved it, and having known him since he was a baby, I found it quite emotional and very poignant in places.
Thanks for the two name checks as well by the way. These were very exciting and I’ve shown everyone I could find “that’s me…!” That’s definitely the first and no doubt last time I’ll ever be mentioned in someone’s autobiography.
All the stories and background information about the music industry was really interesting. It seemed a cruel and heartless environment, where the artists were treated as a bit of an irritation whilst the various record, publishing and management companies creamed off everything they could find. Having said that, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world that’s for sure. They headlined Reading and played the main stage at Glastonbury man…. what a thing to put on your CV!
Phew…. Rock n roll…
I got the book a couple of weeks ago, finally started reading it yesterday (been busy) and I’ve pretty much finished it! Really great book, I have tried to keep off music biographies as they’re so addictive, but I would put this up there with Dear Boy, the biography of Keith Moon in terms of being a solid enjoyable music book. You come across very well in it which I was especially pleased with. If you’ve ever read Donovan’s effort, well he didn’t come across well at all I don’t think.
Once finished I fully intend to start it over again, another indicator of a great book.
P.S. I was unaware that it was you guys who did the tune for 8:15 from Manchester, I remember it vividly!
P.P.S. The altercation with Shaun Ryder was funny, as I had read his biography on the plane over to Texas last October
Loved the book, read it in 24hrs as I couldn’t put it down. I will never be able to look at John Craven without smiling now.
A wonderful insight into the mixed up world of the Inspiral Carpets. Thanks for the honesty Tom, oh and the wonderful music.
What can I say, I have been a massive fan of the inspiral carpets music since late teens, so over 20years, never actually knew a great deal about the band themselves though, this book has done that. It ties in with all the other bands you can imagine that were emerging at the same time, a really good nostalgic trip for me as well as being a brilliant read, written in an easy way, its really fun, sad & emotional but always easy to read, I couldn’t put it down.
Im looking forward to the next one (please let there be another one on the way)
Carpet Burns is an essential read for any true Inspiral Carpets fan.
The book takes you on a journey of the highs & lows of Tom’s life with IC.
It give’s you a clear insight into what it is truly like to be in a band, whether it be as big as IC at their peak, or as small as a pub covers band.
IT’S ALL THE SAME !!
Read the book in 3 goes as I couldn’t put it down until my eyes weren’t focusing.
Carpet Burns – Highly Recommended. *****
What can be said about the book Carpet Burns by Tom Hingley? Entertaining is one word honest is another. Tom lays down his life in print with a brutal honesty that few would dare to approach. The man’s soul itself is there in black and white for all to see. Does he paint a perfect image of himself and those around him? No, everything is paid bare for the reader to make up their own mind as tread the stepping stones of his life experiences. Is the book sombre? Not at all some of the anecdotes will have even the hardest faced reader rolling around on the floor or crying like a baby in a random pattern. It is a feasible assumption that it would have been easy to write material that plays to the masses that want to hear him slagging off the rest of the band and the people he’s met over the years but after reading the book it becomes clear that that is not who he is. Buy it, read it, love it!
Really enjoyed reading the breakdowns of the tracks from each album and the personal point of view from Tom of his life with the Inspiral Carpets. Tom is open, articulate and tells a good story. This isn’t the A to Z of the Inspirals but is a great read for any fan who is interested in Ton’s perspective, and why wouldn’t you be?
I have met Tom personally and found him to be very approachable and will make time for fans so I think you should make time for him and read his book.
Would love to read all the bits he had to cut out to be honest!
All the best Tom, you’ll always be a voice in my head.
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