They say ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’. However there is at least one set of circumstances where this is patently not the case, when either joining or putting together a band. For bands are the ultimate marriage of convenience, and with such marriages comes the sort of love, dependency , kinship, good times and bad that may on occasion be equalled but never eclipsed.
Tom Hingley’s ‘Carpet Burns’ is an account of his time spent as one fifth of such a marriage, that of the band Inspiral Carpets. Often witty and at times poignant, it charts the band's barrelling rise to success during the heady Manchester years of the late 80’s and early 90’s, before bearing out the adage that what goes up must come down.
As with all stars in their ascendancy, when times are good they are very good. However, bands rarely, if ever reach a state of inertia, as detailed in Newton's first law of motion, and equally rarely do all parties manage to emerge unscathed.
As the first and only account of the band it’s a must for all Inspiral’s fans and devotees to popular culture of the time (want to know where Noel Gallagher first cut his teeth). The book could also act in part at least, as a how-to or how-not-to guide for surviving the music industry, a business not famed for providing soft landings or after care. As Tom puts it, ‘I have often felt the music industry is peopled largely by fuckwits, and that the general level of probity is very low, possibly ranking somewhere just below whoring or drug dealing in most places.’
This said, for the most part the book is written from a perspective of fondness, as Tom told me recently “It’s like a love letter to the band”. Predictably however, (as is often the case with books of this kind) there is no happy ending. As once of New Order Peter Hook’s sleeve endorsement exclaims, ‘Oh my God! Every band is the same, I couldn’t put it down.’
To win a signed copy of Carpet Burns answer this question:
Inspiral Carpets played which famous Manchester landmark on July 21st 1990?
To win a pair of tickets to Tom Hingley's 'The Beast Inside Tour' ( offer does not extend to sold out Manchester show) answer this question:
What is Tom Hingley's band called?
email answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and winners will be selected at random
Information on tour dates and Carpet Burns launch can be found at http://carpetburns.wordpress.com/
Eartwister TV interviews Tom