Book Review: Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn


I’ve been quite stuck in my reading for a while but Bedsit Disco Queen is the most compelling book I’ve read in ages. It follows the parts of Tracey’s life from when she first became passionate about music at the tail-end of punk and wanting to be in a band, forming the Marine Girls and meeting Ben Watt at university, and then the ups and downs of her life as half of Everything But The Girl. Her writing conveys an infectious enthusiasm for music and it really made me realise how lucky anyone is to be able to perform music at any level as it really is a wonderful gift.

The honesty of the book is so refreshing as she deals unflinchingly with what she sees as her shortcomings as a performer and the creative troughs she identifies in her musical output. The book also covers the trauma of Ben’s serious illness which actually had the strange effect of reinvigorating the band. The awkward relationships artists have with their record companies also feature, along with some surreal Spinal Tap moments on tour.

I’ve been reading the book over the past few days, including at a gig I played in Leicester (the photo above shows my setlist written on the back of my hand). I was already reinvigorated about performing again after fighting off a cold which seemed to last for ages. That made me realise that you have to perform when you have the chance because you never know if one day you might not be able to. But Tracey’s book also made me excited about writing new things and trying to find satisfying creative ways forward.

Even if you’re not a famous musician, as I’m not, it can be life-saving to have a creative outlet, be it art, music or literature, and it really doesn’t matter if it doesn’t pay the bills. I’m sure a lot of people would love to do their hobby as their job but it doesn’t always work out like that. You just have to do what you can and enjoy expressing yourself.

This is such an entertaining, engaging and inspiring book. Highly recommended.


About paulcarden

I am a writer and performer from The Midlands, UK.
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