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Grant & I: Inside and Outside the Go-Betweens
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Grant & I: Inside and Outside the Go-Betweens

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  77 reviews
The Go-Betweens, one of Australia’s most talented and influential bands, very nearly wasn’t. Grant McLennan didn’t want to be in a group, and couldn’t even play an instrument. That didn’t stop the singer-songwriter duo of Forster/McLennan becoming one of the most acclaimed partnerships in Australian music history.

Just as The Go-Betweens always defied categorisation, Grant
Paperback, First, 341 pages
Published 2016 by Hamish Hamilton
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Poplar check ebay, i ordered my copy from australia - it took a couple of weeks and cost $38 but it was worth it

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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  402 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Peter Azzopardi
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Written by the founder of the ultimate cult-band, you probably wouldn't approach this one if you weren't a fan--and Go-Betweens fans are rarely half-hearted in their devotion to the group. A casual reader, however, will find a tightly written account of life devoted to an often unrewarding art, the craft of songwriting, and the often distant and unspoken kinship that spurred it all.

Forster, with his foppish posturing and oblique lyrics, can seem a bit pretentious and self-important for some (rea
Michael Livingston
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was always going to love this - Forster is a smart, engaging writer and The Go-Betweens are one of my all-time favourite bands. It didn't disappoint, carrying the reader through the late 1970s Brisbane scene, the whirlwind 80s and the revival of the band in the 2000s until Grant's untimely death. It's a moving tribute to McLennan and to the duo's shared decades (even if it inevitably sells Lindy Morrison a little short). I read it while listening to timely songs from their back catalog, which ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There was no way this wasn't going to be good, and there was no way I wasn't going to love it. That said, I was still impressed with how well Robert Forster told the story of The Go-Betweens and his friendship with Grant McLennan. For the music boffin, there was just the right amount of detail about the songwriting process, studio sessions, band dynamics, various music scenes, memorable gigs, good and bad. But there was more to this memoir than this and Forster has a novelist's eye. I delighted ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Dec 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: a-wish-liszt, muse-ik
Not a Playboy or a Poet (Owed to Bris Angeles)
[The Scansion's Not the Attraction It Once Was]

A grammar boy with little tact
Dreams an ambitious LA lie,
Still wears his old school suit and tie,
Got sevens in condescension
And a head full of pretension,
Seeks out his first bachelor's kiss
And better prospects after this,
Teams up with a country boy act.

In Pursuit of Fame and Fortune

If I abandoned Brisbane
For the streets of London town,
Left Melbourne with books of myths
From New York and Hollywood,
Head ful
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The mere existence of this book is a revelation to people who followed the Go-Betweens in their heyday: how on earth did an underselling, slightly bookish, slightly melancholy, fitfully brilliant indie band from Brisbane get a worldwide book deal to tell their story? Part of the reason is that Robert Forster has now cut his teeth as a journalist, the other is that The Go-Betweens have somehow managed to endure. Where many of their peers, including the wonderful and doom-laden Triffids, have fall ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Go-Betweens were a band that seemingly came out of nowhere for me, a Midwestern kid in the states. I knew little about them, I new they were from Brisbane and in the in the 1980s, college radio, word of mouth, fanzines and such were the only outlets to keep up with bands you loved. My fascination came when I first heard the Before Hollywood LP, those songs!, like the post-punk leaning "Cattle and Cane", "On My Block" and the slinky "As Long as That" would accompany me everywhere, thanks to t ...more
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm kind of lost for words here. A long time Go-Betweens fan, a Brisbane girl (at heart) and a book and music nerd this was everything I'd hoped it would be and more.

Forster writes The Go-Betweens story with both grace and a healthy level of egotism. From the band's genesis at a suburban battle of the bands through their long career, the albums, shows, tours, band members, disagreements and relationships (also a roll call of some of my favourite musicians). Most of all though he has written the
Terry Wheeler
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Picked up my copy at the book launch on Wednesday night at the Greek Club in Brisbane. Robert was in fine form. After nearly an hour of reminisces and snatches of song, the interviewer complained that we hadn't yet reached the formation of The Go-Betweens. Robert was non-plussed: 'Oh we can stay until midnight if we have to.' I wished we had.

You don't have to be born in 1957 in Brisbane and be a Go-Betweens fan to appreciate this very generous, wry and humorous memoir. Don't think I've ever smil
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Forster's account of the career of great Australian indie band the Go-Betweens is at different times witty, heart-warming and, ultimately, sad. There are revelatons here, such as the deep acrimony that the band broke up in, and the sickness that afflicted both leads in the band's final years. This is an excellent rock-and-rolll story, with the quirky erudition of its flamboyant author shining through. There are times when Forster's self-regard becomes a bit much, but this is still a great ...more
Giselle A Nguyen
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful read chronicling the history of one of my favourite bands, and the friendship that started it all. Forster is an engaging, thoughtful writer who has a wonderful turn of phrase.
Loved it! not only a great songwriter but a great author too.
I love them.
Love is beyond rating.
Clare Matthews
May 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This memoir has taken me back to the music, which I'm really enjoying listening to. I enjoyed the wry humour and self-deprecating tone in Forster's writing style. However, he does tend to draw a tactful curtain over lots of stuff that happened in the '80s.

It's interesting to read about the challenges and rewards of a rock 'n roll lifestyle. Listening to great pop songs like 'Right Here' it really is amazing that they weren't more successful... maybe they were just ahead of their time:)
Mark Rubenstein
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Automatic mandatory star loss for repeatedly referring to CBGB as CBGBs, Cash's I Walk The Line as I Walked The Line, and for not troubling to make even a brief passing remark about Tuff Monks and/or their After The Fireworks single. Picking the nit aside, very well written, engaging and dotted with charm and insight.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australiana, music
The recently released and highly regarded documentary Right Here by Kriv Stenders has brought me back to The Go-Betweens, and to this book. I've had an arms-length relationship to The Go-Betweens and their music. In fact I began listening to them in a back-to-front fashion, as I was fairly lukewarm about them until I was blown away by Grant McLennan's album Watershed, which led me back to re-evaluate The Go-Between's output, with a better understanding of how I reacted to their songs. Basically, ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps more of a book for fans, but there is a lot of fun late-80s and 90s music anecdotes of Australian and British music lore. The main story itself, of the friendship of Robert (the author) and his late bandmate Grant McLennan, is beautiful, thoughtful, and vulnerable. I love the Go-Betweens and this was a sweet look behind their struggles and musical masterpieces. Also--I saw Robert perform recently in Portland and he signed my copy after I told him how much his music meant to me. A book I ...more
Jared Duran
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biography
Easily one of the best music memoirs I've ever had the pleasure to read.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very sweet book about two friends. I've been a fan of The Go-Betweens for a few years now, having previously only known one or two of their songs simply by growing up in Australia. Once I finally put a name to the songs and began to explore their back catalogue, I realized they were one of the most under rated bands who ever lived.

Robert Forster is an interesting man it seems, never one to be modest, he doesn't mind being completely honest about himself. His quirky egotism makes you l
Steven Savona
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
'Grant & I' is worth unpacking even if your interest in the Go-Betweens or Australian rock music is cursory at best. It’s a book about friendship more than anything, and about the way relationships never finish but only change form.

Robert the charismatic showman and Grant the sensitive recluse—when together, a force of nature. Robert describes it beautifully: “Grant had too many melodies, I had too many words.” It was a special partnership, not forced, but honed over decades with several women,
Jim Parker
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Go-Betweens have been described as the greatest cult band of the 1980s, yet they were never really that popular in their native Australia, well not until their final album in their first incarnation - 16 Lovers Lane back in 1988/89.

I came across them while living in London in the mid-80s as a journalist. I’d heard Cattle and Cane, their first ‘single’, but it was the album ‘Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express’ that really got me interested . I stumbled across the LP at the Westminst
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan formed the Go Betweens 40 years ago , creating angular, literary pop that captured both the hearts and minds of their biggest fans. They were brothers united in a campaign to become a hugely successful rock n roll band and they had the talent — and an exceptional drummer named Lindy Morrison—to do it. Unfortunately, it never happened. Fans of the band will want to savor every word of this book, but even those who haven’t bought into the cult of the G ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My partner and I have an ongoing debate regarding the use of the adjective 'amazing' when it comes to the Go-Betweens. I guess her point has always been that they had such a perfectly humble and understated sound, that the word just doesn't fit.
I'm sitting here listening to Oceans Apart, just having finished the book, and am willing to double-down...this book was pretty amazing too. More pretentious in the book than they were in their sound, Robert Forster captures it well. Like a songwriter wo
John James
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this straight after reading Steve Kilbey's autobiography — and in many ways, they are companion pieces, covering the same time frame, and being linked by both men's friendship with Grant MacLennan.

Of the two, I think Robert's is slightly better, and a book I could recommend for non-fans. I found the final chapters very emotional, especially having attended Robert and Grant's final concert. It brought back a lot of sad memories.
Phil Overeem
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's like a Go-Betweens song, actually: detailed, humane, curiously relaxed in its flow--and DAMN good. It does make you even sadder that Grant (who remains a bit of an enigma) departed so soon, but even if he hadn't, this was definitely Robert's tale to tell.
Simon Sweetman
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really well told story - about a friendship, and music and the constant inspiration of the arts and the power of self-belief. But mostly this is the memoir of a friendship, lovingly told with a heavy heart.
Steve lovell
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
They fronted two of my favourite Aussie bands. They are two legendary outfits – even if, with one in particular, the legend outweighs the legacy. Their bands are not top rung – never came within close proximity to the international sales of, say, AC/DC, INXS, Little River Band, Crowded House and certainly never had the following of Cold Chisel or the Oils. They weren't perhaps even second tier, but the Go-Betweens and the Cruel Sea are loved by thousands and their respective auras only enhance a ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Though I'm giving it a hairsplitting and reluctant demotion to three stars, Robert Forster's "Grant & I: Inside and Outside The Go-Betweens" is another winner here in what's certainly the golden age of music memoirs/biographies. In a nutshell, Go-Betweens fans — I can't imagine many folks reading it who aren't — are likely to enjoy this book a lot.

Forster, co-leader of the late, great and criminally underrated Australian band The Go-Betweens, tells a sharp if too-brief story of his life, but mor
Andrea Hurt
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having previously read Robert's other book 'The 10 rules of rock and roll' I was really keen to see how he wrote about his and Grant's relationship in longer form. The peices in his first book were some of my favourites. Robert writes in a thoughtful, reflective and respectful way. He treads the line between 'his' truth and 'the' truth, especially when it comes to the inner relationships and breakups within the Go-Betweens. I'm sure there are many sides to the story when it comes to how Lindy an ...more
David Glenn Dixon
Less of a tell-all than a tell-not-quite-enough. The last few pages—the leadup, the event, and the aftermath of Grant's death—reveal what the book could have been. Finally Forster is intimate enough with his readers to let them in. Finally he is as introspective as you've wanted him to be all along.

Throughout the book, Robert stays mostly an outline and Grant remains largely a mystery. We know how they pursue both art and career, we know what happens to them, we know of their mutual competition
Lucie Jane Miller
Being a fan of the Go-Betweens of course I would love this book. I was impressed with how well Robert Forster told the story of The Go-Betweens and his friendship with Grant McLennan.
Forster is a clever and engaging writer and goes into great detail about their songwriting processes and recording, and the music scene of Brisbane and Sydney in the 80s and their experiences abroad, particularly in London.
Forster and McLennan were very literate and self-referential, (at one point, Forster writes
Chris Browning
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not a perfect book but that’s one of its very greatest strengths. Forster writes like a dream: witty, erudite, bitchy, awestruck, regretful... you can hear his voice so perfectly, it’s more like you’re hearing him tell the story himself. It’s also acutely comfortable with both sending himself up and blowing his own trumpet. He’s an incredibly perceptive writer about music and literature, whilst also willing to admit his many fuck ups crucially including those where he hasn’t been wildly percepti ...more
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