by / April 1st, 2011 /

Holywood Star: The Life and Times of a Rock and Roll Misadventurer

Author: Eamon Nancarrow
(Showcase UK)

Bandana-sporting, air guitar wielding aspiring rock gods of the ’80s take note – your ill-fated quest for rock superstardom has made its way into print. In Holywood Star (think NI not LA) author Eamon Nancarrow recalls his pursuit of fame by ditching the typical music memoir fare of excess in favour of anecdotes galore and page-by-page mishaps.

Forget the current thriving Northern music scene and transport yourself to the days when Mama’s Boys not TDCC were among the top names of the Nordie roost. In this setting (a Belfast housing estate to be specific) the author begins a 342-page odyssey dappled with humorous calamity. From almost being popped out at a Stones gig to falling in love with music for the first time and subsequently creating short-lived band after band, ‘Holywood Star’ captures the youthful endeavour to become the next musical goliath – with the dream always remaining elusive.

Throughout the autobiography Nancarrow writes like a pub storyteller, ingratiating himself with the reader like an old friend and this is both the book’s USP and apex of annoyance. Although his constant misfortunes (try turning the page without encountering a bike accident or a run in with dodgy figures, I dare you) should be accompanied with a side serving of salt, the Everyman approach will either endear Eamon to you – or grind your gears. Narration aside, there are grains of truth in the human experience he outlines; even though the goalposts have shifted for today’s upstarts thanks to the web and you can also bet your iTunes library you won’t have heard of any of Eamon’s musical incarnations, the many tribulations of getting a band off the ground will still resonate with today’s ambitious bands as well as those of the past.

If your Dad once posed in the mirror, strutted his stuff in empty venues and still ponders why he never made it on Top of the Pops, he will find a kindred spirit in Eamon Nancarrow’s sermon. One for fans of slapstick humour, lovers of life stories and ex-musicians still grappling with smashed dreams.