Nick Harper – The book – The Wilderness Years – start of the epilogue.
I have been working on the 7th draft of this book for days now and still finding things to tweak. I’ve been adding photos, writing captions, standardising presentation, checking spelling, grammar, writing blurb, adding discographies and selected works, adding author notes and generally pulling it into its final form.
I thought I would share the final first section of the epilogue with you. I’d be grateful for your responses before I go down on Wednesday to Wiltshire to put the final bits in place and send it off to be graphically designed for publication.
Fuck, I am passionate about this book and Nick’s music. Having the privilege to listen to Nick’s entire incredible back catalogue, to sit down with Nick for days and interrogate him about his music, to hang out and talk, have the time to play boules and get thrashed at my own table football, to share meals and laughter and discuss everything under the sun, to immerse myself in his music, to touch minds. That is invigorating.
In this day of collective hypnosis where the mass music scene is under the spell of Simon Cowell, where tribute bands pull in more punters than creative artists, where music is a ‘product’ to be mass produced, and the lowest common denominator rules the studios, it is vital to have artists like Nick. I’m clinging on like he’s a life-line. His music is real. It gives me hope.
I find it hard to believe that we live in an age like this. How did we get here? Nick was only partly right: it’s like punk, the sixties, blues and reggae never happened. Once music used to mean something! It was the centre of our culture. It was a living, mind-expanding rebellion. Now it is a piece of Muzac to be shunted from iPod to iPod and played as background. Now the mindless zombies are screaming en masse, with their American whoops, for bland pop crap. Now festivals are things to be consumed like circus jamborees.
What happened to the gathering of the tribes? The endless hours of wonder, lowering the stylus into the groove and sharing the experience, the intense discussion? What happened to the vital importance of it all? When did it cease to be a motivator of young minds and become a product to be consumed?
Real music – it’s still there. It has been pushed to the periphery but it still exists. There are the numerous acts that still create and produce music with integrity, passion and purpose. But for me Nick is leading the way.