Book club celebrates music heritage

Jasmine Hooper with Peter Hook of Joy Division, at Walthamstow Rock'n'Roll Book Club
Jasmine Hooper with Peter Hook of Joy Division, at Walthamstow Rock’n’Roll Book Club

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Brett Anderson, lead singer of Suede, was at the BBC’s offices in Salford when he bumped into bassist Peter Hook. Both were due to be interviewed for Marc Riley’s Radio 6 Music show on their respective new books.

Anderson was there to discuss his acclaimed account of his pre-Suede days, Coal Black Mornings, while Hook’s book chronicled his Joy Division and New Order days. Both later ended up discussing their enjoyable experiences at a book club in Walthamstow.

Walthamstow Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club is organised by local resident Mark Hart. It began as part of Stow Music Festival in 2015. Since then it has taken off, with more than 70 events featuring some of the biggest names in music writing; Paul Morley (on David Bowie), David Hepworth and Simone Reynolds have all made appearances. Mark has also enticed prominent musicians to E17, including Tracey Thorn, Shirley Manson and Viv Albertine.

The book club’s events follow a similar form, with a journalist interviewing an author, followed by audience questions. Mark says he gets the most satisfaction from how the audience continues the conversation afterwards. He also developed an ‘album playback’ event where a classic album is played in full and is followed by a discussion, often featuring people who were involved in making it – Mirth, Marvel and Maud has hosted two such nights, featuring albums by Suicide and Joy Division, starring Peter Hook.

The Joy Division event coincided with the anniversary of a gig in Walthamstow; extraordinarily the band only played a handful of London gigs, but two were in E17. The original poster advertising one of these concerts at Walthamstow Boys Club recently came up for sale and Mark was behind an unsuccessful crowdfunding bid to buy it, raising £1,100 before it sold instead for £8,500.

Mark is also a promoter of local concerts, including a band who played with Joy Division; Section 25 play at Wild Card Brewery on Thursday 21st November. With Walthamstow previously hosting performances by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and even The Sex Pistols, I believe Mark has created something that celebrates this musical heritage and adds to the cultural life of Waltham Forest today.

Find out more about upcoming Walthamstow Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club events: