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Coal Black Mornings

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,354 ratings  ·  173 reviews

Evening Standard Book of the Year. Observer Book of the Year. Guardian Book of the Year. Sunday Times Book of the Year. Telegraph Book of the Year. New Statesman Book of the Year. Herald Book of the Year. Mojo Book of the Year.

Brett Anderson came from a world impossibly distant from rock star success, and in Coal Black Mornings he traces the journey that took

Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Little, Brown Book Group
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Rosemary Maybe, the majority of the book focuses on his childhood. If you enjoy coming of age stories I could see you enjoying it. The band really only makes a…moreMaybe, the majority of the book focuses on his childhood. If you enjoy coming of age stories I could see you enjoying it. The band really only makes an appearance in the final quarter of the book.(less)

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 ·  1,354 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's probably no band that captures the zeitgeist of *my* the 90s more than Suede. I still vividly remember seeing the video for Animal Nitrate on late-night TV and rushing into the city the next day to buy the debut album on tape. That song - and video - sounded so fresh and new, but also instantly familiar. It was sexy and glamorous, but also grim and grimy and evocative of the brown-and-orange memories of the 1970s and early 80s of my childhood. I played Suede on the bus to and from univer ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw Brett Anderson discuss 'Coal Black Mornings' at the 2018 Brighton Festival, and it was this which convinced me to read it. I'm glad I did, it’s a wonderful read.

'Coal Black Mornings' ends just as Suede get their record deal and finally start gaining their unstoppable momentum - however, prior to this, there were years of playing to tiny audiences.

'Coal Black Mornings', which focusses on Brett’s early life and the pre-fame years, is therefore not the standard rock memoir. It’s all the bet
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Brett. I do love him.

I sped through this, and enjoyed how it leaned towards a meditation on fatherhood, and his newly found perspective of his own childhood through that. It is a thoughtful, generous book about how poverty, grief and heartbreak all kind of exposed him to this deeper artistic expression. It's easy to forget how vital and transgressive Suede were in the early-90's, and Brett remains classy and Suede remain great.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew I would have to read this book in just a few intense shifts. A few pages in and I was delighted by Anderson's intelligent, concise and playful storytelling. His early years particularly fascinated me - before reading this I knew very little and had somehow misunderstood his background, thinking he had been raised by a single father (now realising I had his life confused with someone else). So I am glad to have a much better understanding of Brett Anderson's childhood years, especially as ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coal Black Mornings is an essential read for anyone who lived through Britpop in the 90s, and anyone who wants a fresh take on the rock autobiography. It's the artfulness of restraint that marks this book out, with Brett's story finishing while Suede were on the cusp of success, stepping away from the gratification of chronicling those glory years. Instead, Brett traces a dog-legged route from his unconventional childhood in a pebbledash council flat on the outskirts of nowhere, through early fo ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard Brett Anderson was releasing a memoir I'm not too ashamed to admit my first thought was "Ooh I wonder what he'll have to say about the whole The Tears experience, or Damon Albarn!". The man is known to be pretty acerbic after all. By the time I actually sat down to read the book I was aware that it wasn't going to be that kind of book, but I was still a bit puzzled by how Brett was going to write this book but just end it when Suede became successful.

Coal Black Mornings follow
Victoria Sadler
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did umm and aah a bit about whether this was more a three star review rather than a four star but I flew through this and I was much impressed with its honesty so, you know what, I'm in a generous mood!

Suede were always one of the most underrated British band - a group with a unique sound and fluid visual in an era of hyper-masculinity and Brit-pop groups in-fighting. And, in this memoir, frontman Brett takes us behind the scenes in a look back upon his life, his younger years, and the early b
James Hartley
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classy, evocative, spare, poetic, vivid autobiography written by Anderson for his son about his own father.
It tells of his upbringing in light but touching detail - running around a housing estate swinging on lamp-posts while high on mushrooms - and captures the weird melancholy of growing up in an unhappy but normal family. The time, in this case, is the 70s, the place England, but the story is universal.
Anderson gets the tone right from the start and plays the whole thing straight. To make i
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
This really got rave reviews and was named Uncut's Book of the Year. I am a big Suede fan, so this was a no-brainer for me.

In many ways, this is a very ordinary rock bio. It suffers from the fact I finished Johnny Marr's book not that long ago. Marr does a good job of describing the same English background and manages to share his band's story and come across like your best friend at the pub.

You don't learn much about Suede, which I suppose is this book's strength and weakness. I suspect its pla
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bought
It is my interest to read memoirs that focus on the early years of its subject matter, due that I wrote a memoir "Tosh" (City Lights Books) that does the same thing. Brett Anderson is the lyricist/songwriter and vocalist for the British band Suede. A band that I had mixed feelings for, but since I read this book by Anderson, I re-listened to his work with Suede, and now I appreciate their music and stance in British pop music of the 1990s. And they are still around, making interesting music. Sti ...more
Stephen Reynolds
A fascinating and compulsive look at the formative years of one of the most intriguing and essential musicians of my generation... Or any other for that matter. You don't need to be a Suede fan to enjoy this, but if - like me - you are, then all of the traits that make the lyricist so captivating are present in the prose. It's brutal yet heart-warming, honest and erudite. Whilst the latest Suede albums are clear evidence that the band still has much to give - I'd love to read more from Brett And ...more
Alex Sarll
Over the past 20 years, Brett Anderson has made a number of godawful records, and a few which I enjoyed and then never listened to again. So despite recommendations from friends, I hadn't necessarily planned to read this, until there it was in one of the libraries where I'm not scraping my loans limit and I thought, ah, why not? If I'd paused even to read the blurbs, I probably would have put it straight back on the shelf: when both the Mail on Sunday and John Harris (writing in Mojo, no less) a ...more
Peter W Blaisdell
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brett Anderson’s COAL BLACK MORNINGS is less an autobiography than a meditation on how class, upbringing, and relationships with parents, lovers and artistic collaborators drive the creative process. As such, it evokes Patti Smith’s JUST KIDS, heavy company indeed.

Anderson led Suede, a premier ‘Britpop’ band from the 90’s that produced a couple of strong albums and got a ton of attention from the English musical press back when this sort of journalism was influential. There’s a story to tell her
Stuart Beaney
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well. I knew this book was going to be good. The reviews were promising, all the right things were being said in the pre-release interviews. The pretext was great. However, I was unprepared for the effect the book has had on me. I’ve deliberately made it last three days, as I could so easily have downed it in one. Cover to delicious cover.

I feel like I’ve been under a religious spell for 3 days, and a deep love has been rekindled. The first two Suede albums were so profoundly beautiful, intense
Abigail Allen
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this so much, I adored Suede, they plastered my bedroom walls and were the sound of my teenage years, the thrill and excitement of listening to the first album on my worn out cassette tape has come back to me reading this autobiography. Brett Anderson does a wonderful job of recalling his early life, his parents and then Justine and early Suede, without being gossipy.

It’s a short book and if I said I didn’t want more salacious details about Justine and Bernard etc I’d be lying, but this
Simon Sweetman
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, rivals Just Kids in a sense. We cheer for success, validation for our hero - even though we know of course that he does make it. Wonderful suspension of disbelief there. And a beautiful examination of how back-story is crucial, is context, is key.
J.T. Wilson
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got into music properly in 1996 so I missed Suede’s creative heyday, and by the time they finally turned up on my radar with ‘Trash’ they were already sans Bernard Butler. They play a part in my formative years, for reasons that don’t all relate to the music, but despite meeting all the criteria of a band who would be ‘mine’ they always felt like a band I slightly missed the boat on. ‘Coming Up’ was metallic, frothy, while their supposed masterpieces sounded broody, self-serious: older brother ...more
Cecilia Broberg
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved this. Aside from my being a big fan of Suede back in the day, Brett Anderson always seemed to be set completely apart from the often heavily macho and laddish posturers of the so called Cool Britannia (or, in music, Britpop) movement that included figures such as Damien Hirst, the Gallagher brothers, the Chapmans, Blur etc. His memoir is incredibly moving, as he describes his family background - his father was brought up in "an enclave of identical, boxy, nineteen thirties houses cloyed ...more
Derek James Baldwin
A strange sort of anti memoir which deliberately grinds to a halt at the moment when Suede stand on the cusp of their initial, enormous, success. For maybe a year they genuinely were the most exciting band in the world. But all of this “common knowledge” is a sequel not yet written to Coal Black Mornings.

Brett’s tales of his prosaic, somewhat deprived, childhood in Haywards Heath are marvellously well written, even the clunky weird bits are beautiful... and there are really a lot of them. The l
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Closer to Jeanette Winterson's "Why be happy when you could be normal?"than a music memoir; shelve under Literature. While Brett's childhood was poorer and stranger than most, for anyone growing up in England in the 60s/70s there is much that is familiar: rainy caravan holidays, beans on toast for tea, provincial dullness. The first two Suede albums made an impact on me but this is so well-written: thoughtful, reflective, funny and compassionate. Even more than as an artist he impresses as a man ...more
Ross Maclean
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
An honest and measured, reflective burrowing through the pre-fame years of Brett Anderson and the nascent Suede. It’s psychologically rigorous in its personal musings on poverty and the generational impact that has on families, while presenting an unvarnished but loving representation of his father: it is, as many things are, entirely coloured by the father-son dynamic. It is enthralling to read the personal reflections on situations previously only filtered through the tabloid lens or lyrical i ...more
Roger Manifold
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I approached this book open minded and without pre concived ideas of what to expect,
An honest and candid autobiographical memoir of early life through childhood, family life and relationships. The story ends just as Suede approach the early signs of success
As the auther states the idea of this book wasn't to document or self gloat on achievement within Suede but to understand and contemplate his humble beginigs and the relationships with family and friends and a sense of culture and expectation
Katherine Kreuter
This might seem an unusual choice for my reading as I'd barely heard of the band 'Suede', but this memoir by frontman Brett Anderson was highly recommended and did not disappoint. I couldn't rate it as highly as Bruce Springsteen's memoirs, read earlier this year, because this is not my music and not my time. But the writing is excellent in places, and the story of this young man's rise to fame through music is well told.
Naomi Key
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flew threw this today. A beautiful memoir that touches on parents, art, love, your roots and creation. Deliberately, Anderson stops the story as the band signs to their label and it doesn’t even matter.
This is a story of growing and learning and the tiny painful shards of glass that transform into a kaleidoscope.
Recommended if you’re a Suede fan.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ace. Third time around for this one, before starting ‘Afternoons...’.

I normally skip the first 20 or so pages of most biographies, but he writes his childhood so well. Not sure if he borrowed from Mark Lewisohn the idea of ending just as everything changed for the band, but it works well.

Slightly serious & overwrought, but this is Brett Anderson isn’t it?
Chantal Patton
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this - beautifully written and really compelling.
Michael Legge
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shame he dies in the end.
Andy Murphy-Williams
There is some beautiful writing, but lots of not so great writing. I did enjoy seeing where lots of Suede lyrics and ideas came from. Anderson's love for his child and wantign to be a good dad is very apparent, and that's lovely to read.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book in a day. I’ve finally done it. And what a book. Can’t recommend this memoir with poignancy and pin prick detail highly enough. And a new one is out soon!
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Brett Anderson is an English singer-songwriter best known as the frontman of indie-rock band Suede (1989-2003, 2010-present). Anderson is known for his distinctive wide-ranging voice and, during Suede's early days, his androgynous appearance. His first memoir, Coal Black Mornings, was published to critical acclaim in 2018, and a second volume is scheduled for late 2019.

(Adapted from Wikipedia.)

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