With his seat at NME high table back in the day, and his knack for finding a good band amidst the mire, Simon Williams was always a mover shaker, and someone often running in parallel tramlines to Bugbear’s own finely oiled (not) mosheen. He was very well placed to bolster his position as highly respected pop scribe, and did so by taking on worthy endeavours in other pop realms…like promoting gigs, and putting out records… And putting out records became quite an undertaking, as this book describes. His has been quite the Pop Life…though as the blurb says ‘It’s a life-and-near-death story. But whose life? And whose near-death?’… Read on…
‘As a one-time NME journalist, former XFM radio presenter and the founder of enduring homespun British indie record label Fierce Panda, Simon Williams has been at the cutting edge of all things indie for over thirty years.
During his time as managing director of Fierce Panda (a role he holds to this day), Simon was responsible for discovering bands such as Coldplay, Keane, Placebo and countless other acts of independent hue—some of whom have gone on to achieve earth-shattering musical superstardom, while others have merely packed out the Bull & Gate in north London on a wet Wednesday evening.
Now, Simon’s fascinating memoir—filled with insider anecdotes to entertain music enthusiasts everywhere, from the origins of a bootlegged Oasis release to Chris Martin’s delight at reaching number ninety-two in the chart—tells the unfiltered story of his time at the indie coalface.
But it is also the story of how he tried to take his own life on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Documenting in blunt, matter-of-fact detail both his suicide attempt and his recovery, Simon reflects on his father’s own suicide and the lifetime of mental-health challenges triggered by that formative event.
Yet, despite Simon’s raw and unflinching honesty, this book is written with warmth, wit, self-deprecation and the wide-eyed good fortune of someone who has stared into the abyss and survived, going down a few musical rabbit holes along the way’…
Tonight Bugbear/Rock N Roll Book Club’s Tony Gleed is in conversation with Simon on stage at the Water Rats, exploring the book, and delving into the myths, the mystique, and the hard boiled reality. There will be the usual fielding of questions from the audience, selfies with the author, book signings, book sales….yes those too. Buy one, buy two, buy a few, Christmas is around the corner. With a Fierce Panda roots, shoots and fruits playlist playing loud and proud and live music from not only the esteemed Pullover (Swoon as indie pop pups Pullover play their first London show for 25 years!”) but also the rather hot to trot Idol Giants (thrill to the teenage kickings of Idol Giants!), this promises to be a night celebrating not only this remarkable book, but of a life lived well pursuing the ever illusive Holy Grail(s) of pop. Or, as Simon says- Stare aghast as Simon Williams reveals the ghastly inner workings of his fierce panda book!