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Nick Hornsby’s Fake Rock Star

In 1993 I wrote a novel about a rock star who commiits suicide. It was called Gilliam Almost. Gilliam was the lead singer of an all girl punk rock band and her big hit was “Baghdad Without A Map”. So i could believe in the band  I wrote the lyric and wrote the song. Here is a verse:

There is news at eleven we can watch soldiers fry
I don’t care as long as you’re nearby
You don’t care, you’re just tired
When I ask you what’s wrong you roll your eyes
But is it so awful, terrible, bad?
Every night could be out last
In Bagdad without a map”.

I’m claiming nothing for this except one thing. It was really a song and so i could really write about it.

In Nick Hornsby’s awful, terrible, bad, novel Juliet, Naked, I am slowly working my way through, Hornsby invents a rock star who suddenly disappears after releasing his masterpiece, an album about a bad break up with a married woman. The imaginary album is compared favorably with Dylan’s Blood on The Tracks. Here is the Juliet Track list:

Side One
1. And You Are?
2. Adultery
3. We’re In Trouble
4. In Too Deep
5. Who do You Love?

Side Two
1. Dirty Dishes.
2. The Better Man
3. The Twentieth Call of The Day
4. Blood Ties
5. You And Your Perfect Life.

Now here is the track list for Blood On The Tracks
Side one

1.”Tangled Up in Blue”
2.”Simple Twist of Fate”
3.”You’re a Big Girl Now”
4.”Idiot Wind” – 7:48
5.”You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”)

Side two
1.”Meet Me in the Morning”
2.”Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”
3.”If You See Her, Say Hello”
4.”Shelter from the Storm”
5.”Buckets of Rain”

Hornsby titles are ridiculous for the most part. It is like he hasn’t found a proper noun, or a strong adjective, he ever wants to shake hands with. “And You Are?” is so placid it is unbelievable, “Adultery” prosaic in the extreme, “Who Do You Love?” already used, “We’re In trouble” as obvious as the blisters on your fingers. Compare to Dylan’s buzz words: Buckets and blues, rains and storms and shelters plus idiots, winds, and a pack of playing card.

It wasnt me who chose to compare the imaginary album  favorably to Dylan’s break-up album, it was Horsnby, and like so much in  Juliet, Naked (though to be fair I haven’t finished the novel yet) it reads fake. It has no resonance. Somebody somewhere should be able to write fiction about imaginary rock groups because our so called perfect novelists cant do it. Clue, boys, if you’re not Raymond Carver USE FUCKING PROPER NOUNS AND HARD ADJECTIVES.

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