Debut from Spin senior writer Spitz, a story of (surprise) 1980s rock ’n’ roll.
Joe Green is a little nostalgic for the ’80s of his youth: “I’d happily saw off a nut to go back for just an hour so that I could be that person with untouched flesh and easily filtered pores and a virgin liver, wondering what my first fuck or my first line of coke or the first time I hear a song that changes my life is going to be like.” More specifically, he longs for the Smiths, a band he considers family. Since that golden era, Joe hasn’t done much but long for it—you know, doing a lot of drugs and sleeping with young girls who want to experience him. Now, he’s a rock journalist who’s blown it with Miki, but before we find out why she’s his ex, we dip into his lousy ’80s childhood with nutty father and stepfather, zany punk-rock mentor/sexual obsession/girlfriend, a private school that is the antithesis of all things cool, and eventually begin to wonder why we’re nostalgic for a chronically uncool era. Enter the Smiths again, whose T-shirt Joe wore before ever even hearing their music. But once he does, that’s all he does—that and begin writing. Years later, when Joe has etched himself into the music world, and the Smiths have written themselves out of it, a plan emerges to engineer a movement to bring them back together, despite the band spokesman’s proclamation that “There’s nobody intelligent enough within the music industry to even try to get the Smiths back together.” He just might be right, but will the ill-advised effort also cost Joe the love he waited for, or will this all end like something from Air Supply? Spitz wants to be writing voice-over narration for Almost Famous, when he should be writing a book. The prose here is light, and narrative detail that is supposed to characterize the ’80s feels more often like overt product placement.
Of little ambition, and out-of-tune.