Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Confusion: Bernard Sumner
Book Review for The Skinny
confusion: bernard sumner, by david nolan (****)
Bernard Sumner has never been the most media-friendly of musicians, which means it’s easy to forget just how important he has been to the last 30 years of music. David Nolan’s new biography on the Joy Division guitarist who went on to lead New Order reminds you of his impact: from Love Will Tear Us Apart to Blue Monday and everything in-between and after, indie-rock would look very different without Sumner’s input. He has input into Confusion too: although it’s not an authorised biography, Sumner occasionally interjects to clarify or correct what former acquaintances have to say about him - “Sumner: That’s just not true. Never happened.” That makes for an interesting collage of different viewpoints where the reader wonders where the truth really lies. It also provides as much of an insight into Sumner’s personality, through his sharp rebukes and explanations, as has ever been seen. With Nolan’s in-depth research and casual, almost conversational prose, and Confusion’s impressively up-to-date conclusion, it makes for as comprehensive and readable a biography of the man as any post-punk or indie-dance fan could hope for.