The household-name film critic looks back at the music misadventures of his life, particularly in his chosen genre of skiffle, with nostalgia, humour and self-deprecation.
Mark Kermode is Chief Film Critic for the Observer and co-host of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live. He is the author of IT'S ONLY A MOVIE; THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE MULTIPLEX; THE MOVIE DOCTORS (with Simon Mayo) and HATCHET JOB, hailed by Stephen Fry as 'the finest film critic in Britain at the absolute top of his form.' He plays double bass and harmonica in The Dodge Brothers, the award-winning skiffle-and-blues band, who also accompany silent movies. He has written and presented film and music shows on Channel 4 and across BBC radio and television. He holds two Sony Awards for his radio programmes, and The Dodge Brothers album The Sun Set was voted Blues Album of the Year 2013 by the roots music magazine Spiral Earth.
You know when you read a biography of your favourite band? And the best bit is the first few chapters where they're chancing it, sleeping on floors, borrowing amps and not believing they've blagged their way onto a bill with Rick Wakeman. Well, imagine that breathless, innocent excitement lasted their whole career. That's what reading HOW DOES IT FEEL? is like. It's the biography of your favourite band who never quite got famous -- JOHN ROBINS From a garden with one person and a cat, to the Barbican Concert Hall. From a cassette recorder in a bedroom in North London to the legendary Sun studios in Memphis, Mark Kermode's self-deprecatory wit exemplifies and celebrates the wonderful unstoppable force of innocence and youthful dreams. Part Spinal Tap, part Nick Hornby, a rock'n'rollercoaster memoir of never giving up on your passions -- SANJEEV BHASKAR An engaging tribute to the under-sung glories of skiffle, written with the joyful enthusiasm of someone clearly dedicated to making music -- JONNY GREENWOOD An entertaining read by anyone's standards, but if you've ever been in a band, if you understand the idea of throwing yourself body and soul into making music with the absolute surety that what you're doing amounts to genius, even - and especially - when it definitely, definitely doesn't, then it's a book you're going to adore * Drowned in Sound * A delight. If Nick Hornby's HIGH FIDELITY and the Kinks' greatest hits had a baby, and that baby could play skiffle, it would be this book -- HADLEY FREEMAN Entertaining . . . wry . . . rendered with self-deprecating humour. Overwhelmingly, what comes through every anecdote is the author's genuine enthusiasm for music * Spectator * Kermode's insistent perfecting of musical failure is madly funny. I loved this book and cringed at every awful stage fail, but his passion shines through. His unrequited desire to be a rock star in a time when every idiot had a band is bum-clenchingly funny and forensically recalled. How life isn't always the movie in your mind -- GARY KEMP Mark Kermode deftly and winningly manages to have one foot in knotty film criticism and one in popular entertainment . . . If you enjoyed [Danny] Baker's various volumes of autobiography, Kermode's romp through his own 'back story' will appeal too, since he has much of his mentor's style: breezily anecdotal, big on dialogue and set-pieces * New Statesman * Mark Kermode's wonderful and wry book is a compelling combination of heartfelt enthusiasm, merciless self-analysis and a pleasingly full Rolodex of terrible band names. A true fan, he has the rare gift of making you want to discover things from the margins while never looking down on the mainstream. His writing feels like one of those letters you always wish to receive, one whose sole purpose seems to be to increase your zest for life -- RICHARD AYOADE Oh boy! A rocking whirlwind of a tale. People get into bands originally for the sheer love of the life and the music. Few manage to retain that dizzying adolescent crush like Mark Kermode -- DANNY BAKER Wonderful - such a terrific read. HOW DOES IT FEEL? hit me right between the eyes. It brilliantly captures the passion, commitment, searing self-knowledge and dizzy happiness that comes with loving music. An enchanting book -- STEPHEN FRY