“Hornby, High…31 Songs and Mr. Papetti”

“…I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the fuckin’ truth, and by this measure I was having one of the best dates of my life”. High Fidelity (1996)


“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” High Fidelity (1996)

Nick Hornby (born 17 April 1957) is an English novelist, essayist, lyricist, and screenwriter. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, as well as for the football memoir Fever Pitch. His work frequently touches upon music, sport, and the aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists. Several of Hornby’s books have made the jump from page to screen

Hornby was born in Redhill, Surrey, England. He was brought up in Maidenhead, and educated at Maidenhead Grammar School and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he read English. His parents divorced when he was 11.

“Each day was a bad day, but he survived by kidding himself that each day was somehow unconnected to the day before”. About a Boy (1998)

Hornby’s first published book, 1992’s Fever Pitch, is an autobiographical story detailing his fanatical support for Arsenal Football Club. As a result, Hornby received the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. With the book’s success, Hornby began to publish articles in the Sunday Times, Time Out and the Times Literary Supplement, in addition to his music reviews for the New Yorker.

“I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it”. – Fever Pitch (1992)

“High Fidelity” — was published in 1995. The novel, about a neurotic record collector and his failed relationships, was adapted into a 2000 film starring John Cusack. Directed by Stephen Frears.

With the setting moved from London to Chicago and the name of the lead character changed. After seeing the film, Hornby expressed his happiness with John Cusack’s performance as Rob Gordon (changed from Rob Fleming in the book), saying, “At times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book”.

“I’ve been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and, frankly, I think my guts have shit for brains”. – High Fidelity (1996)

“It’s brilliant, being depressed; you can behave as badly as you like”. High Fidelity (1996)

“Ah man, that’s great. That’s the fun thing about workin’ in a record store – you get to play crappy pop you don’t even wanna listen to”. – High Fidelity (1996)

“Uh Rob, thank you for the enthusiastic intro but we are no longer called Sonic Death Monkey. We’re on the verge of being Kathleen Turner Overdrive, but this evening we will be known as Barry Jive and the Uptown Five”. – High Fidelity (1996)

The importance of music in Hornby’s novels, and in his life, is evidenced by his long-standing and fruitful collaborations with the rock band Marah, fronted by Dave and Serge Bielanko. Hornby has even toured in the United States and Europe with the band, joining them on stage to read his essays about particular moments and performers in his own musical history that have had a particular meaning for him.


Songbook (published in the United Kingdom as 31 Songs) is a 2002 collection of 26 essays by English writer Nick Hornby about songs and (more often) the particular emotional resonance they carry for him. In the UK, Sony released a stand-alone CD, A Selection of Music from 31 Songs, featuring 18 songs. The hardcover edition of Songbook, published in the US by McSweeney’s and illustrated by Marcel Dzama, includes a CD with 11 of the songs featured in the book.

There are 31 songs, but only 26 essays; in a few instances, multiple songs are discussed within a single piece.

1.Teenage Fanclub – “Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From”
2.Bruce Springsteen – “Thunder Road”
3.Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like a Bird”


4.Led Zeppelin – “Heartbreaker”
5.Rufus Wainwright – “One Man Guy”
6.Santana – “Samba Pa Ti”


7.Rod Stewart – “Mama, You Been on My Mind”
8.Bob Dylan – “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” / The Beatles – “Rain”
9.Ani DiFranco – “You Had Time” / Aimee Mann – “I’ve Had It”
10.Paul Westerberg – “Born for Me”
11.Suicide – “Frankie Teardrop” / Teenage Fanclub – “Ain’t That Enough”
12.The J. Geils Band – “First I Look at the Purse”
13.Ben Folds Five – “Smoke”
14.Badly Drawn Boy – “A Minor Incident” (from the About a Boy movie soundtrack)
15.The Bible – “Glorybound”
16.Van Morrison – “Caravan”
17.Butch Hancock and Marce LaCouture – “So I’ll Run”
18.Gregory Isaacs – “Puff, the Magic Dragon”
19.Ian Dury and the Blockheads – “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3” / Richard and Linda Thompson – “Calvary Cross”
20.Jackson Browne – “Late for the Sky”
21.Mark Mulcahy – “Hey Self-Defeater”
22.The Velvelettes – “Needle in a Haystack”
23.O.V. Wright – “Let’s Straighten It Out”
24.Röyksopp – “Röyksopp’s Night Out”
25.The Avalanches – “Frontier Psychiatrist” / Soulwax – “No Fun” / “Push It”
26.Patti Smith Group – “Pissing in a River”

“What if a sense of humour is like hair — something a lot of man lose as they get older? ” Nick Hornby – How to be Good (2001)

“Single mothers — bright, attractive, available women, thousands of them all over London” — they were the best invention Will had ever heard of”. Nick Hornby – About a Boy (1998)

For all Romantic Vinyl Lovers: Fausto Papetti

Fausto Papetti (28 January 1923 – 15 June 1999) was an Italian alto saxophone player. He is unarguably one of the greatest & most accomplished Saxophonists of all times. His works has been widely well-known all over the world for the last six decades. He has played the majority of most famous world Hits and pop & jazz songs of 20th century, in 45 years of his career.


Papetti became well known for all the 1960s and 1970s, and all his new album reaches the top of the hit parade; he was also printed in all the Latin American market. During the period of greatest splendour, the 1970s, Papetti also produced two collections a year, the best-selling being the 20th one, which came up first in 1975. These records are also characterized for the sexy covers. He became a real father of that musical kind, and in the 1970s many imitators appeared, like Johnny Sax or Piergiorgio Farina.

“Then I lost it. Kinda lost it all, you know. Faith, dignity, about fifteen pounds”.- High Fidelity (1996)

“Top five things I miss about Laura” –  High Fidelity (1996):

One; sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. And she’s got one of the best all time laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs with her entire body.

Two; she’s got character. Or at least she had character before the Ian nightmare. She’s loyal and honest, and she doesn’t even take it out on people when she’s having a bad day. That’s character.

My bowels are empty, excreting your soul
What more can I give you ? Baby I don’t know
What more can I give you to make this thing grow?
Don’t turn your back now, I’m talking to you

Three; I miss her smell, and the way she tastes. It’s a mystery of human chemistry and I don’t understand it, some people, as far as their senses are concerned, just feel like home.

[lipsyncs four, while holding up four fingers] I really dig how she walks around. It’s like she doesn’t care how she looks or what she projects and it’s not that she doesn’t care it’s just, she’s not affected I guess, and that gives her grace.

five; she does this thing in bed when she can’t get to sleep, she kinda half moans and then rubs her feet together an equal number of times… it just kills me. Believe me, I mean, I could do a top five things about her that drive me crazy but it’s just your garden variety women you know, schizo stuff and that’s the kind of thing that got me here.

how can I go home
with nothing to say
I know you’re going to look at me that way
and say what did you do out there
and what did you decide
you said you needed time
and you had time

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