Book Review

George Michael’s Faith: 33 1/3 by Matthew Horton

an excellent small book about St. George Michael

33 1/3 is an imprint within an imprint, or a series from an imprint, or something like that. I don’t know the intricacies of publishing-industry related terms based off anything other than guesswork and presumption, both of which are, I suppose, completely valid ways to learn about the world, so errr-

Let’s go again.

33 1/3 is part of Bloomsbury Academic, and over the past ten years or so (maybe more like twenty – I’m not going to fact check that, this is a blog post, thus neither journalism nor academia) they’ve published somewhere approaching 200 (this one is 165 and it’s a relatively recent one) short books offering in-depth analyses and discussions of significant music releases, spanning the history of recorded music and looking at a wide cross section of styles, genres and significant creative influences.

Physically, they are all small paperbacks similar in size to the novelettes – and poetry 😜 – available from Open Pen, and definitely have an influence on the styling and intention of the less-successful but less-mainstream Boss Fight Books (current TriumphOfTheNow.com favourite Jarett Kobek, incidentally, at some point wrote a book for 33 1/3 that was scheduled for publication several years ago yet does not seem to exist – perhaps it’s been postponed and will find its way to Kobek’s readers soon? perhaps it was released and then erased from the 33 1/3 website? perhaps it was never even real and just exists online as the ghost of a fiction, of a joke, of a beautiful promise never to be made real? Will I ever know?). They’re cute little things. You’ll have seen them in trendy bookstores, if you go to trendy bookstores – you’ll see them, too – unless this one was a massive outlier and all the rest are shit – on my trendy home bookshelves, soon, too: as I thoroughly enjoyed this and will read more.

–///–

I love the music of George Michael, and though I obviously love the man (have I not a heart and a soul and a body???), the more I learn about George Michael, the more I like about him. He is like the opposite of all other people.

Yes, George Michael was one of – undeniably – the greatest songwriters of the past half century (if you do disagree with that you’re a) wrong b) a fucking idiot and c) have wasted your life even worse than I have: I may be a mentally ill poet with no assets, no meaningful career, no prospects and no life in any way that matters 🤠, but I least I get to love the music of George Michael and Wham! woooo) but he was also one of the greatest people.

This slightly over 100 page book by Matthew Horton looks in detail at the methods of composition and collaboration involved in George Michael’s creation of Faith, his debut solo album, as well as the personal and professional contexts that informed it.

Horton has interviewed musicians and technicians, as well as social contacts of George Michael’s from the time, to create a deeply engaging history of a very significant couple of years in George Michael’s personal life and creative career.

It’s strange to read a book about someone who was a “genius” – by which I mean someone who excelled in their own field – and not to come away feeling contempt. I felt (a rare feeling) no contempt at all after reading this – George Michael seemed excellent and for a few moments after putting the book down, I looked at the world through unfamiliar, slightly less hopeless eyes.

Most successful people are cunts, and that isn’t because only cunts get to be successful (that isn’t true) but instead because the only reason most people don’t behave terribly is because they think they can’t get away with it. It is consequence, not compassion, that causes most people to be kind.

George Michael was talented and hard-working and charming and good-looking enough that he could have gotten away with being awful: he would have had (at least up to a point) the same career had he chosen to be selfish and rude and nasty and aggressive and cruel and mean. But George Michael didn’tt do that. He was not only a great talent, but a great human being.

Horton’s writing is engaging and entertaining without ever pulling focus from the book’s actual subject (George Michael) and if you like short non-fiction texts and don’t hate music, then I’d highly recommend this.

I loved it – at some point soon I will scour the 33 1/3 website and see which of them I should read next. Obvs I’d like the Jarett Kobek one, but it no longer seems to exist.

–///–

Note to self: I should probably write about my relationship with the music of George Michael and how it was a significant crutch for me during [one of] the darkest period[s] of my life [so far], but it won’t be now and it won’t be here.

If you haven’t seen it, watch Freedom Uncut, the documentary-memoir George Michael was working on before he died. It’s one of only about three films I’ve deliberately watched more than once, as I loved it!

0 comments on “George Michael’s Faith: 33 1/3 by Matthew Horton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: