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Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  55 reviews

The trajectory of Suede - hailed in infancy as both 'The Best New Band in Britain' and 'effete southern wankers' - is recalled with moving candour by its frontman Brett Anderson, whose vivid memoir swings seamlessly between the tender, witty, turbulent, euphoric and bittersweet.

Suede began by treading the familiar jobbing route of London's emerging new 1990s indie bands -

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Hardcover, 280 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Little, Brown Book Group
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Carrie Lofty
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brett Anderson, co-founder of the iconic 1990s English indie rock back Suede, made an exceptional literary debut with his 2018 memoir, Coal Black Mornings, which surprised readers and charmed critics, in part because of his steadfast determination to present his childhood as just that: a childhood. The book ends at the pivotal moment when Suede sign their first contract with Nude Records, when most rock memoirs would really take off. Bring on tales of success and excess!

The first chapter of Aft
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Tosh
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-bought
I avoided Suede in the early years because I was turned off by their image for some reason. Sort of second-generation or even third-generation glam didn't sound that hot to me. Over the years I warmed to their records, and last year I bought and read Brett Anderson's first memoir of his childhood and teenage years. That book is excellent. A very detailed description of his surroundings and a fascinating and eccentric father. "Afternoon with the Blinds Drawn" focuses on the high years of Suede, a ...more
Pekka
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Honest and beautiful.
P BAMLETT
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Literate and fascinating

I have read hundreds of rock biographies and this book stands head and shoulders above the majority of them. It is a self deprecating ,all written dissection of the authors experiences. Coal Black Mornings is a good read ,this is even better. A third volume would be welcome.
Niklas Pivic
I enjoyed Brett Anderson’s first autobiographical book, “Coal Black Mornings“, immensely. Anderson proved to be eloquent, engaging, and terse, all in good ways.

This second book should never have been. I mean, the first chapter of the book is “The book I said I would never write”.

The first one finished where Suede was just about to hit the big time, which they did.

The response to Suede was so disproportionate that there seemed to be very few historical parallels, and while it’s not something that
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Alex Sarll
The sequel which, as per an early chapter title, Brett Anderson had sworn he wouldn't write, following Suede to fame and fortune, and as such into the territory of so many other band narratives, with success going to their head, the slog of trying to break America, fractures in what was once a tight-knit gang, feeling lost in the persona the press constructed around them...you know the drill. And so does Brett, who tries to offer insights from within the machine, and sometimes succeeds, but is o ...more
Anna
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4,5*. Fantastically well written. Nostalgic in places but not sentimental. Possibly the only book I’ve read which mentions Batiste dry shampoo twice (it is by far the best).
Ross Maclean
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A change of pace from the previous instalment and there’s much to admire in what Anderson attempts here as he tries to eschew the clichés of an autobiography charting the glory years of his rock band.

His prose is elegant and captivating even when you spot the odd pattern of repeated phrases and the same ground gets covered more than once. He knows how to powerfully convey the emotion of, and subsequent reflections on, defining events and the sections covering the more famous parts of the Suede l
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Christopher Munroe
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Reading musician autobiographies while listening to the music they've made is a fun, immersive way to deepen your appreciation of a band's catalogue.

Also, this is a fascinating take on the musician memoir, insomuch as it puts a lot more of its focus on the actual creative process, as opposed to anecdotes from the road/drug tales/names dropped, and I think that's to the book's credit. We know and like artists because of the art they've made, in general, and this is a fascinating look back at musi
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Rick Burin
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reviewed for Record Collector here: https://recordcollectormag.com/review... ...more
Bethnoir
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful reflection on the effect of fame on a person and their relationship with others and reality, Brett doesn't spare himself in this book. This has the effect of reviewing events from a distance, always seen with hindsight, which removes some of the tension, but makes very interesting reading.

I feel I have more insight into the person Brett was and who he tries to be now. It was enjoyable to read the process of song writing and creation for the band and it's made me want to listen to th
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Mariza Mentzou
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I easily give this a solid 4.5 stars.
If you're expecting the usual rock band story, look elsewhere.

In his own words, Brett Anderson, Suede's leader and author of this book, introduces the book: "So here I sit writing the book I said I wouldn't write."

Indeed, he did not write the book he said he wouldn't write. And it's because of this, that this is such a uniquely told story and beautiful book to read, not only for the fans and anyone else who appreciates the band and loves their music. But a b
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Jonny Carey
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit disappointing after the excellent Coal Black Mornings. Still beautifully written and very honest but sometimes feel baggy (I find descriptions of how songs came to be written deathly dull and this book has a lot of them). Would still be curious to read a part 3.
Chris Parkinson
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Not as good as the first. Skirts over quite a lot and some of the writing is just too flowery and pretentious.
Rob
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, music-film, 2020, uk
Where in Coal Black Mornings, Anderson took us from his childhood to the early gigs and the ups and downs of an indie band trying to make its mark on the late 80s/early 90s London scene, and did so surprisingly briliantly, here in Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn he delves into the pitfalls of fame and the essential madness of the successful bohemian's life. Seeing as this could have been the type of book we have seen before - drugs counterposed with the highs of performance and the lows of fail ...more
Mark Farley
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Following on from the great COAL BLACK MORNINGS, this is ‘the book he didn’t want to write’ and that in question is one time pretentious pop elf, lead singer of the group Suede and Britpop agitator, Brett Anderson.

Yes, I didn’t want to write this but… that old chestnut. So let’s deal with the elephant in the room and its simply, you wouldn’t have gotten paid if you didn’t bring in the bacon, play (or in this case, talk about) the hits. For Anderson in AFTERNOONS WITH THE BLINDS DRAWN, the secon
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Chris Bayes
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Derek Bell
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
'Coal Black Mornings' was a superb book on the roots of Suede and Brett Anderson, one that may well have shattered the preconceptions many would have about Anderson and where he came from. It was easy to see him as another Art School, middle class boy playing the cultural tourist which couldn't be further from the truth. I wasn't a huge fan of Suede to begin with I found them a bit too mannered for my taste and I'll be honest and say I didn't buy the hype, quite possibly because I was NME rather ...more
Jeff Howells
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The opening chapter of ‘Afternoons with the Blinds Closed’ is entitled ‘The Book I Said I Wouldn’t Write’ - this was his solemn promise when he produced his first book - that he wouldn’t write about Suede: “the fame years”. However it was inevitable that he would - and I’m glad he did.
Brett Anderson is one of the growing band of rock stars who are as proficient as writers as they are as performers. He’s up there with Patti Smith & Viv Albertine in terms of rock memoirists.
Whilst not as compell
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Peter O'Connor
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
When it comes to music autobiographies, the chances of it being decent often increase if it is written by the band's lyricist. Almost like a professional dedication to the power of the written (or sung) word at least ensures that the author is more likely to have a decent turn of phrase. That appears to be the case here as Brett Anderson does have a strong sense of style even though he could at times be a little more economical. Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn is Anderson's second book continui ...more
Nicki
Sep 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This would be a 3 1/2 star read for me.
I was a big Suede fan back in the day. I liked everything up to and including Head Music, some of it more than others. I also have Brett’s solo albums. The comeback stuff kind of lost me. I appreciate the themes but they aren’t exciting to me.
I skipped the first book and went straight to this one, finding the topic interesting.
I don’t think anyone would deny Brett is a very talented writer. I do find he skips over an awful lot. The writing is quite poeti
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Sophia
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam Parrilli
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book Brett said he wouldn’t write. Volume 2 charts Suede’s greatest pop successes, but also the band’s nadir and Brett’s descent into addiction.
The needlessly lengthy chapter introductions lose a bit of their luster, but again I found the candor, honesty and awareness of the writing refreshing. Brett most certainly acknowledged that he read his own press and knew stereotypes that existed about Suede and his lyric writing.
What Suede did with the first three albums and the accompanying single
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Jan
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the second book from Brett Anderson.

This is a rock biography with very little in the way of sex, drugs and rock n roll excesses - and its all the best for that.

Its an interesting and very perceptive memoir of his years in Suede from the point at which they start to gain recognition to their final collapse. A bit of distance and maturity allows us to view the various stages of band life with all the youthful bravado and bull**** wiped away.

Was also great to read this with youtube
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Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen
A very capable (and anticipated) follow-up to 'Coal Black Mornings', Anderson's personal history through Suede's first phase (1992-2003) is as eloquent and insightful as his first volume of memoirs, and largely succeeds in his stated intention of avoiding the usual rock memoir retreads. If you were there for this period it'll mean the most to you, but the prose and musings on fame can be enjoyed on their own merits alone. ...more
Anthony Trivelli
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you’re a Suede fan you’ll love this book. It’s insightful, well-written, and easily relatable. Brett Anderson comes across as extremely self-aware and the book triumphs because of it.

I haven’t read Coal Black Mornings yet, opting instead to wait for this more interesting, Suede-based segment of his writing. However, I now have faith that Anderson’s writing is strong enough to cover any period of his life that he feels like talking about.
Brendon
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this: Anderson writes very clearly about his time rising up to popularity with Suede, one my favorite bands. Especially liked the bits where he covers his working relationship with guitarist Bernard Butler. If you are interested in reading this, be sure to read "Part 1" his autobiographical work, "Coal Black Mornings," which in some ways I found more engaging and heart-felt than this volume. ...more
Pauline Midwinter
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A difficult read at times, as one of your musical heroes admits his worst times. I am so impressed with his honesty of the worst bits, although I could only read one chapter at a time during these bits. The songwriting process is utterly fascinating, and I love the names the songs get as working titles!
Mark Butterworth
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is not the best-written rock biography out there, nor the most salacious. However, it is honest and visceral. For a Suede fan, it's a no-brainer. Understanding the backdrop against which their songs and albums were written adds a whole new layer to their musical legacy. Brett's honesty about his flaws and shortcomings felt sincere and vulnerable; the book is much more powerful as a result. ...more
Michelle Dodd (Creaney)
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Honest portrayal of a band and a man's rise and fall. It wasn't nearly as druggy and cliched as it could have been. I particularly enjoyed some of the chapter titles such as "It Sounds Like The Fucking Smurfs" and occasional references to Larkin and The Smiths. I was never a huge Suede fan, but you don't need to be to enjoy this. ...more
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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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