David Nichols’ book on The Go-Betweens was first published in 1997. Capturing their rise in the late 70’s until their initial demise in the late 80’s. I read the third revision published in 2011, which included a postscript discussing the reforming of the band in the late nineties until McLennan’s death in 2006. It often ties together original source material with more recent interview material from those in and around the band in a similar vein to Clinton Walker’s Stranded.
Although Nichols’ captures The Go-Betweens rise and fall and rise again, it is feels somewhat lopsided towards the bands initial rise. From Robert Forster and Grant McLennan meeting at university, the early desires to form a band as a flagship for other endeavors, the various local and international influences, and the roll of Lindy Morrison. Once the band started producing records, the book becomes somewhat more methodical.
In some ways I could imagine this book just being about the band’s early years. In regards to ideas, I think that this early period is often more telling. I think this is why Jarvis Cocker’s memoir Good Pop, Bad Pop works. Although as Tracey Thorn captures in her book on Lindy Morrison, this retelling can often lead to mythologising.
I remember reading an online comment left by a reader prior to starting it, criticising the fact that it did not provide anything about the band that you could not find online. This is not something Nichols’ necessarily denies. However, when it was first released in 1997, the internet was only in its infancy. As Nichols attests,
This book is largely a pre-internet work and, it turns out, one of the last of its kind. – Page 270
Additionally, I wonder how much credit needs to go to people like Nichols for the fact that you can find so much information on the band online. He talks about the fact that he actually donated his research to the National Film and Sound Archive. I feel that Kriv Stenders’ documentary Right Here would not be possible without Nichols’ work.
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