Summer Reads Review 1: I play the drums in a band called okay

A few weeks ago I asked for a £15 summer reading list for my Kindle. I’ve had my first block of summer holiday, another block to come, so here’s an update.

The first book up is ‘I play the drums in a band called okay’ by Toby Litt suggested by Daz Wright.

I absolutely loved this book.

It was suggested under my “stylistically interesting” requirement, and it’s got that. The book reads like a series of anecdotes, a conversation with a biographer or journalist, which taken together tell the story of international supertstar rock band called okay. Narrated by okay’s drummer, Clap, we learn the history of the band and it’s members through a series of vignettes. The structure means there’s no tension and little drama to work through; it’s one of those books that you feel could have just meandered along in a bit of a haze indefinitely.

To compare it to a film it was like ‘Lost in Translation’ – lots of ideas and emotion but a sense of stasis that is comforting and disquieting at the same time. And when you get to the end you feel you could just press play again (or start from chapter 1).

The other point of comparison I have is ‘Espedair Street’ by Iain Banks. Banks also offers up a hugely successful stadium band and narrates through one of its more modest members, but he uses a romantic storyline that drives the book and offers a fixed conclusion. Litt’s take on the genre might frustrate those who like a beginning, middle and an end but if you can live without it’s a lovely relaxing comfort blanket of a read.

By Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: