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Instrumental by James Rhodes - Fetch Book Group discussion thread

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Dec 2015
4:43pm, 1 Dec 2015
19853 posts
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McGoohan
Here is a thread for discussion of Instrumental by James Rhodes

It's a memoir so in a way, it's harder to spoilerise but you still may not want to wait until you've read it before coming back here.
Dec 2015
8:53pm, 1 Dec 2015
11513 posts
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mulbs
You need to be a bit unflinching to read it in terms of some content and language, but I think it's worth it.
Dec 2015
9:43pm, 1 Dec 2015
19862 posts
  • 0
McGoohan
I wanted to get this thread underway as I started reading it last night expecting something else entirely. And then it was jaw-dropping time...
Dec 2015
9:56pm, 1 Dec 2015
11514 posts
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mulbs
I'm about two-thirds through (having started it the day that I choosinatored it). I've finished each chapter with a deep breath. but I find his frankness compelling, and he definietly has a spark of something in amongst all of the destruction. have you listened to any of the music yet McGoo? I really like his chapter preambles describing what was happening in the life of the composer at the time it was written and how it affected him when he "experienced " it .
Dec 2015
10:18pm, 1 Dec 2015
19864 posts
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McGoohan
I've listened to the first two. That Prokofiev is amazing (the one where pianists are in danger of breaking a finger) but not sure if it's something I'd listen to again out of choice!
Dec 2015
10:54pm, 1 Dec 2015
11515 posts
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mulbs
Yay! I'm so relieved that at least one person is finding it "interesting" - I was afraid I would have scared the horses!
Dec 2015
3:55pm, 3 Dec 2015
11531 posts
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mulbs
have finished - will lurk for fellow finishers. off to read AMPS now
Dec 2015
4:08pm, 17 Dec 2015
11557 posts
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mulbs
In no particular order:
I was gripped by most of it
I cannot imagine how it feels to be James Rhodes - whose world was shaped so massively by the abuse that he experienced. I so wish he could be released from it as he seems trapped in a cycle of creativity followed by destruction.
I loved his descriptions of the lives of the composers of the pieces he introduced and also what those pieces meant to him.
I'm glad I read it, I'd encourage select people in my off-Fetch book group to read it but not all of them.
I did get to the point where I just wanted the descriptions of the abuse and its impact to stop, don't know if that's just because I'd rather live in a world where everything was fluffy and sparkly though.
Dec 2015
5:30pm, 28 Dec 2015
20535 posts
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McGoohan
About time I wrote about this.

I don't normally read biographies so had a few trepidations. However, there were no signs that this was ghost-written so I was happier to read it than I normally would be.

It was VERY different to most bios, or at least most celeb-bios. I really liked the way he tied in each chapter to a piece of music and explained a) how it was significant to him and b) how and why the piece was composed.

It was also, at times, quite a difficult read. Firstly due to the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and secondly due to his later mental health problems and the ways they were treated. Nor did I feel it was a 'misery memoir' which has its own stand in WH Smiths these days.

I imagine he would be a very difficult person to live with. Not just from dealing with all the above but because he seems quite an uncompromising character. For example, he will often say things like 'I don't care what you say, all parents feel like THIS' or 'Everyone thinks this. And if you disagree, you're a liar'. That got a bit irritating.

By the end, I had lost interest a bit, because it had turned in the last few chapters into a bit of an extended ad for his own Instrumental initiative, and that WAS like the standard celeb-bio.

All in all though, a really interesting read and something I would never have otherwise thought to pick up, so thanks Mulbs for choosinating it.
Dec 2015
12:33pm, 29 Dec 2015
1223 posts
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Lorraine
I really enjoyed this book. Having two very musical children possibly helped plus knowing a lot of musicians they are hard work. He had the most awful start to life which made his pure honesty very hard to read at times.

My eldest who is doing A level music and my youngest who did GCSE music 2 years early both said his info about the composers was very well written.

It wasn't your typical bio but I am glad I read it.

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Maintained by McGoohan
Here is a thread for discussion of Instrumental by James Rhodes

It's a memoir so in a way, it's...
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