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Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star
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Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,438 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
A frank and funny pop culture memoir in the vein of Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman, this is "how to be a woman artist"
 This is the story of Tracey Thorn, one half of the internationally successful group Everything But the Girl, collaborator with such artists as Paul Weller, Massive Attack, and dance legend Todd Terry. Tracey was only 16 when she bought an electric guita
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Hardcover, 365 pages
Published March 15th 2013 by Virago UK (first published February 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Hannah Renowden
Jan 18, 2013 Hannah Renowden rated it really liked it
For me and people my age, Tracey Thorn is the woman half of Everything But The Girl. She is the woman who knew more about the brittle, slightly freaky, break up song long before Adele raised an arm at singing school.

She is also the woman who I mistakenly believed had started her career during the Britpop era, wrote a one hit wonder and then disappeared. I can remember it being a total revelation when one of my older siblings pointed out that she and the band had been around for years in one guis
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Paul
Nov 20, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed Tracey Thorn's music for many years, dating back to the days of Everything But The Girl's "Amplified Heart" record (and they'd done quite a few before that one...) right up to her recent solo albums "Out of the Woods", "Love and Its Opposite" and this year's Christmas record "Tinsel and Lights". So what was I expecting from her memoir?

Not what I got, is the actual answer. I was expecting celebrity anecdotes and a look back at a successful, if not stratospheric, pop career. Instead,
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Bettie☯
BOTW

If you liked Anything But The Girl as much as I did, then this is for you.

Blurbs: Written and read by Tracey Thorn.

(view spoiler)
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Pete daPixie
Mar 24, 2013 Pete daPixie rated it it was amazing
Kindly disregard this book review. Whatever is written here is certain to be extremely biased. For readers who know little of EBTG just try 'the best of' album as a great intro.
'Bedsit Disco Queen' was featured on BBC Radio Four 'Book of the Week' recently, read by Tracey Thorn herself. It was great listening, while trucking down the highway driving with the shaven insane. I wasn't aware of any published autobiography from the Thorn bird and just made a mental note. A week later in the town libr
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J.
May 11, 2014 J. rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Perhaps previous bands had inspired those with genuine musical talent to buy instruments, start practising and dream of one day being good enough to perform. But after 1977 it seemed there was no need to fanny around wasting time on things like practising, or honing your craft – you could just buy an instrument, get together with anyone else who had one and go out and do a gig. Right now. For teenagers with the patience and attention spans of goldfish, this was enormously appealing. There was t
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Julie Barrett
I was so happy when I saw that Tracey Thorn wrote a memoir. I have loved her since 1984 when I heard her on The Style Council's first album, singing The Paris Match. I had a bit of an obsession with Paul Weller in high school so the fact he had included her on his album was like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval to me. Then Eden came out shortly after that and I got to hear her for an entire album and it confirmed my love for her singing. If I was able to choose anyone's voice to sing like, ...more
Martin
Jul 15, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I've always loved Everything But The Girl since I bought their first album my freshman year of college, 1985. They seemed to tell my life story through their music and Tracey's lyrics - I felt like they were my friends. I even wrote a fan letter to them AND BEN WATT WROTE ME BACK! I still have the letter he wrote me. When I heard that Tracey had written a memoir, I scoured the internet to get a copy ASAP!

Reading Bedsit Disco Queen is like reading your best friend's story. Tracey's honest
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Nigeyb
Mar 28, 2015 Nigeyb rated it really liked it
I'm a Tracey Thorn fan now I have read this book. I've always quite liked her but this book has given me a new perspective. She's fab. Bright, thoughtful, self deprecating, self aware, interesting, and with an intriguing tale to tell, especially if you lived through punk and what followed, or if you have any interest in idiosyncratic pop music from slightly outside the mainstream. And isn't "Bedsit Disco Queen" one of the all time great book titles? This autobiography lives up to it too.
Trevor
May 20, 2013 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biography, own-copy
I loved this book.

Tracey Thorn, half of the band, Everything But The Girl, tells a really interesting and engaging tale of what it was like being part of the music scene from the late 1970’s to the present. Loving lots of the independent bands and “alternative” music from this era, I was hooked from the very start, and I think anyone else who has either an interest in music, or a well written biography, would be too.

The stories about life on the road, the silent Japanese audiences, gigs in venu
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Niklas Pivic
Feb 26, 2013 Niklas Pivic rated it really liked it
An autobiography that was really finished in 2007, but has dragged along somewhat. Not plotting, just being relevant and to-the-point just like Tracey Thorn's music. No fiddling around, really.

Violent lifestyle swings from luxury to squalor and back again – sometimes within minutes. If you like those kinds of stories, stories where the lead characters seem to blunder through life, much as you do through your own, then you might like this one. The experience of writing it has sometimes been very
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Paul
Feb 17, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. When I was at school the cool girls were into Everything But The Girl (both of them). They never seemed to do the publicity thing, there were often rumours about them being a couple/ splitting up that I remember, and I think that it was because they were a bit mysterious that I started buying their stuff. That and the voice of Tracey Thorn. The serendipitous story of Tracey's career and the machinations of the pop industry make an interesting story, moreso because it is ...more
Adam Stone
May 10, 2013 Adam Stone rated it really liked it
Bedsit Disco Queen is the memoir of the female half of the eighties and nineties pop duo Everything but the Girl.

The book is not just about Everything but the Girl though, it is also about music in general and being a pop star in those halcyon days.

It begins in the late nineteen seventies when Tracey first becomes interested in music. Even if you only know Everything but the Girl from the song Missing there will be lots to enjoy in this book and that is mainly because it is well written and is
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Frances
Mar 16, 2013 Frances rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I wasn't a huge Everything But the Girl fan, but since reading her partner Ben Watt's book 'Patient' a few years ago I've rather admired Tracey Thorn - she seemed like a real person in a rather artificial profession.
Her autobiography is highly readable, well written and tells the story of her life and career as a shy and private singer/songwriter/performer from very unstarry beginnings - as a suburban teenager who just wants to make music and be in a band, through stardom and domesticity, to her
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Rachel Stevenson
Feb 20, 2013 Rachel Stevenson rated it liked it
I liked EBTG even during their dinner party jazz-lite phase (which, pace Thorn, was actually the anti-rockist avant-garde) and I was impressed with Tracey Thorn's '90s reinvention as an electro-goddess. I love the Marine Girls, and her early solo songs (Too Happy, Pigeons In The Attic Room) hit me in the gut every time. In her memoir, Tracey is witty, self-deprecating and self-aggrandising in turn, and she is blessed with amazing powers of recall. Pertinent lyrics are printed between chapters, a ...more
Whitson
Jul 05, 2013 Whitson rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a suburban schoolgirl who wants to be cool, starts an all-girl band, goes to university, meets her future husband and starts another band, gets somewhat famous, becomes a has-been, gets really famous & hugely in demand, retires at the pinnacle of her career to be a mum and then starts making great music on her own terms.

Her story is engaging and I certainly felt I learnt about her experiences and motivations across her varied career. It was particularly interesting to re
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Rodney Farrant
Feb 10, 2013 Rodney Farrant rated it it was amazing
Just spent the morning reading Bedsit Disco Queen. I loved this book and couldn't put it down. I am slightly biased as I am a huge fan of Everything But The Girl and Tracey Thorn. But more so, it is a fascinating and compelling account of an unconventional and alternative pop career. An insightful snapshot of 80s/90s UK Pop culture, which includes Thorn's first girl group the Marine Girls, collaborations with Paul Weller, Massive Attack and their dancefloor hit "Missing". Thorn's voice throughou ...more
Lara
Apr 21, 2015 Lara rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written (as you would expect from a woman who managed to get a First in Eng Lit while juggling two bands, a solo career, and touring). This is wry and understated, and Tracey comes across as level-headed and self-aware as she remembers her youth and almost nerdy passion for making music, and the highs and embarrassing lows of being a pop star.
William
Feb 26, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
i loved this book more than i even expected too. somehow it makes me even happier to have been a fan all these years. it was great to read about what tracey was into even before she was in the marine girls. nice to read that the albums that had me nearly giving up on the band - the band themselves weren't particularly fond of either.
Mark Walker
Feb 16, 2013 Mark Walker rated it really liked it
Well written and honest. Plenty of good anecdotes about record company lunacy, and other pop stars. Strongly recommended to the many people who appreciate EBTG.
Claudia
Feb 07, 2014 Claudia rated it it was amazing
Tracey Thorn’s ‘Bedsit Disco Queen’ is as good an autobiography as I have ever read and the best ‘pop’ autobiography by a mile. I say, ‘read,’ but actually I listened to it on audio book, narrated by Tracey herself. Tracey might not be a professional audio narrator but her disarmingly ordinary voice is the perfect vehicle for a book made up of quietly extraordinary prose.

Tracey really can write. It comes as no surprise to discover she attained a first in her English degree at Hull University. N
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Jim
Mar 20, 2017 Jim rated it really liked it
From solo artists to 80s jazz/folk duo to 90s indie pop stars with a worldwide hit to drum and bass innovators and then back to solo artists, authors, parents and club owners I have loved Everything but the girl in all their iterations. Here is the story of one of my all time favorite groups told by one of my all time favorite singers Tracey Thorn. EBTG had a sort of low key, cult following here in America before their 1996 smash "Missing". I first heard them after borrowing a British friend's M ...more
Sue Robinson
Nov 06, 2016 Sue Robinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
I enjoyed this book so much despite never having heard of Tracey Thorn or her music. Everything but the Girl sort of rang a bell, but that was about it. By the eighties I was a mother of four and had no time or inclination to follow the music scene, the sixties had been my scene. My husband read the book first and the cover and write-up intrigued me so I took it on. It is so well written and seems to come straight from the heart so I had no trouble coping with all the names and songs I'd never h ...more
Jack Bates
May 25, 2017 Jack Bates rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed
I love a music autobiog. This is a good one, even though I have no particular opinion about Everything But the Girl. Tracey Thorn writes well and is rather charmingly surprised by how her life has turned out. Hope for all English students who don't want to be teachers. :)
Anton
Jul 19, 2017 Anton rated it liked it
Ok if you really like Everything But the Girl... and / or are interested in a successful woman's pov on the U.K. Postpunk music scene (which I was).
Wend
Jul 15, 2017 Wend rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating insight into the world of Pop music.
Gareth Jones
Jul 14, 2017 Gareth Jones rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Just a little bit duller than it surely needed to be.
Diana Nuss
Feb 06, 2017 Diana Nuss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of the Marine Girls and ABTG, I really geeked out on this book. Tracey is a beautiful writer.
Mike Clarke
Jan 29, 2013 Mike Clarke rated it really liked it
Every triumph, every fight, under disco light...

Once upon a time in this native land, every student wore a charity store Crombie, winklepickers and a permanent scowl, spiked their hair with Studioline gel and drank Guinness. Once upon a time every student had an Everything But The Girl album in their record collection, and possibly something by the Marine Girls and Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn too. It's all true.

Thorn's story is a little piece of living history, from a time when you could create a
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Kimmo Sinivuori
Jan 03, 2014 Kimmo Sinivuori rated it really liked it
Tracey Thorn’s Bedsit Disco Queen is a thoroughly enjoyable memoir. It is funny, ironic and unlike most of the good pop/rock memoirs I’ve read, almost completely void of bitterness. If she has ill feeling towards some of the people she has worked with or met during her long career she doesn’t show it. The only stab Thorn takes is at Duran Duran and even that is not really meant as an insult but rather used to give context to a feeling she is trying to express. However, this doesn’t mean that her ...more
Kevin
Mar 12, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it
With Tracey Thorn, it’s all about the voice…it’s ALWAYS been all about the voice. That unique contradictory voice that is simultaneously warm and a little distant, sad but makes you feel good*. But if you only know Tracey Thorn’s voice from “Missing” or other Everything But the Girl songs or from her work with Massive Attack or her solo stuff, you are missing out on another aspect of the lady’s talent, namely she’s an excellent writer. She’s smart, funny, and self deprecating. Because she’s had ...more
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“Too embarrassed even to try as long as everyone was looking at me, I made what was probably a fairly unique request. ‘Um, I’ll have a go. But I can’t do it if you’re all looking at me. Can I go inside the wardrobe and sing from there?’ The others looked at me strangely, possibly beginning to worry about the apparent absence of any stage personality in this girl they had just recruited, but to their credit they agreed, without killing themselves laughing, and so in I went. From inside my hidey-hole I sang David Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’. I emerged to a very positive response, the others all declaring that I sounded like Siouxsie Sioux – I was trying very hard to – and while I was quite pleased with myself, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it in front of an audience. We could hardly take the wardrobe around with us.” 7 likes
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