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Bookmark: Joe Lindsay


In this installment of Bookmark we chat to Belfast broadcaster and DJ Joe Lindsay about some of his all-time favourite books. Photos by May Chan.

Lou Reed – Victor Bockris

I am a huge fan of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. I couldn’t believe when I started in radio that my first interviewee was to be Victor Bockris. I loved his book Uptight: The Story Of the Velvet Underground and there I was, about to interview him about his new book on Lou Reed. The dark lord of three chords. White noise and black leather. The Velvet Underground opened some many doors to other bands for me and Lou’s continuing career fascinated me at every turn. Didn’t love everything he did, i confess, but when I did, it was life­changing. His music still is to me. And this is a great book. Bockris knows his subject, knows a lot about music and you feel he is of similar mindset to Lou.

An Inspector Calls – J. B. Priestley

My favourite play. I saw a frankly incredible stage production by the National Theatre of An inspector Calls – an incredibly creative set with Kenneth Cranham as the Inspector. Priestley’s play and in fact his general outlook, was that we were all one, responsible for each other and our actions should reflect this. It is such a cleverly constructed narrative but with a very simple device at its core. It deals with class, prejudice, hypocrisy and dishonesty with a vengeful policeman picking at the fabric of a family corrupted and spoiled by wealth. A fantastic read.


Fear and Loathing­ in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson

My first introduction to the work of Hunter S Thompson. Gonzo journalist and chemical traveller of literature. Like Bukowski, a lot of people assume it was the recreational substances that made him a great writer. I would disagree. there are a lot of people who take drugs or drink too much and are terrible writers. For Hunter, the drugs just opened his mind that bit further and indeed it took him further from sanity than most people could handle. And he took the reader with him, you felt like you were the co-­pilot, hurtling through the desert, the political convention centre or the bike bar. A glorious, manic journey.

Lynch on Lynch

To me, David Lynch is one of the greatest living film directors. There have been numerous books written about Lynch and a few written by him but to get the best insight into the man is to read the collected interviews. Him in his own words talking about film, music, art and coffee. To read his words makes for entertaining company. He expresses himself measuredly, creatively and often hilariously.


Dinosaurs Discovered

People often ask me, “Hey Joe, what’s your favourite dinosaur?’ And I can instantly answer: the triceratops. My godmother bought me this book when I was 8 years old and I became obsessed with dinosaurs. I still love the illustrations in this book. At the time they seemed really interesting and a few of them quite dramatic and looking through the book now, I can remember how it made me feel back then. And it still fascinates me to read it now.

Head-­On/Possessed – Julian Cope

Written by Julian Cope, this is one for the most entertaining autobiographies you could ever hope to read. It takes the reader from the North English punk scene, through new wave, Thatcher’s Britain and beyond, through the eye of Arch­Drude Julian Cope. Teardrop Explodes, Courtney Love, Bill Drummond and living as a turtle after taking too much LSD. No X-­Factor winner will ever write anything as good as this.


No One Here Gets Out Alive – Jerry Hopkins

I wanted to pick ‘Wonderland Avenue” but I think I lent it out to someone and never got it back. Never lend out a book. You will never get it back. You have to give someone a good 6 months to get the book read and by then, further months can slip by and before you know it, you’ve forgotten who you lent it to and they’ve forgotten who they borrowed that book from. Danny sugar man co-wrote No One Here… he was heavily in the Doors camp, worked for them from his early teens and developed all the bad habits that came with it. His book Wonderland Avenue is probably my favourite music book of all time. His life is fascinating and he deals with his demons in a non-judgemental or preachy fashion, he just tells it like it is. I got to it through my love of The Doors. Now, which one of you bastards has my book?

Love, Groucho – Groucho Marx

To me, Groucho Marx is the funniest man who ever lived. And his letters reflect that. He was a prodigious letter writer to friends and family and they were full of wisdom, wit and naturally beautiful prose. Groucho was a complicated character, described by some as cold and emotionally remote, others as warm and generous. His letters show both in certain ways but mainly just how funny and intelligent he was.


Andy Warhol Diaries

I do love to read the collected diaries of people I admire. It’s probably nosey and morbid and a tad intrusive as they tend to be published post­mortem but they are undeniable fascinating reading. The Kenneth Williams diaries make for grim reading and can’t say they are enjoyable as he was a man of such self-­loathing and loneliness. Heartbreaking stuff in a lot of places. The Warhol diaries sometimes tread similar territory but mainly it is Andy bitching and gossiping, recording how business meetings come and go and generally his day to day life. One of the most important American artists of the 20th Century, he changed how we look at art and how the art world functions and it is enthralling to read the background to famous works of art, the dealings of such, the slights, the rows, the parties… the diary entries are as seemingly superficial, yet loaded with meaning, as his work was.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Modern Asia

Most of the stuff I read is about my interests like music, film or art, and more often than not theoretical or biographical works. I rarely get a chance to read fiction. I had to read this book to review it at The Open House festival in August. It absolutely slated me. Each chapter title reads like an awful self-­help tome, but the book is the story of two people whose lives criss-cross and part and turn and return. The day of the review, i still had four chapters to read – decided to read them on the train to Bangor and get a coffee when I get there and finish it. Gurning like a wee kid with a skinned knee was not what I had planned, but that’s what happened. Stupid love stories. Pfft.

is the co-editor / photo editor. She also contributes photos and illustrations to The Thin Air print magazine.