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Ted Kessler

Paper Cuts: How I Destroyed the British Music Press and Other Misadventures

Paperback book - £10.99 | Buy
The story of Britpop and its aftermath, told through the eyes of music editor Ted Kessler.
To Ease My Troubled Mind: The Authorised Unauthorised History of Billy Childish

Billy-Special-3

Billy-Special-2

Ted Kessler

To Ease My Troubled Mind: The Authorised Unauthorised History of Billy Childish

White Rabbit Books
  • Limited *Signed* and Numbered Record Store Edition lime green linen-covered Hardback with 4-track 7" EP plus Signed Woodcut Print Housed in Solander Box (500 Only!) (pre-order)

    Expected Release: 4th Jul 2024

    £140.00
    Preorder
  • Standard Unsigned Hardback book (pre-order)

    Expected Release: 4th Jul 2024

    £30.00
    Preorder

The story of Billy Childish, the most famous artist you have never heard of, by legendary music journalist Ted Kessler.

In 1977, 17-year-old Steven Hamper was a stonemason in the dockyards of Chatham, Kent. His heart, however, beat in sync with the punk rock tremors of the era, seduced by its celebration of amateurism. So, in a gesture of revolutionary defiance, he took a 3lb club hammer and smashed his hand, vowing to never work again. In doing so, Steven Hamper metamorphosed into Billy Childish, a true renaissance man. Childish has since remained steadfastly true to punk's DIY cred, becoming one of the most recognisable and authentic voices in whichever artistic endeavour he undertakes. He has released over one hundred and fifty albums of raw rock and roll, punk, blues and folk, written many volumes of searing poetry as well as several autobiographical novels. But what he is perhaps best known for in recent years is his painting, for which he is now critically, commercially and internationally feted. He hasn't changed course in any of his disciplines, though. The world just caught up with the sheer volume of his brutally honest work. To Ease My Troubled Mind is a mosaic portrait collated over a year of interviews with Childish, as well as with close family, ex-girlfriends, bandmembers past and present, friends, foes, collaborators, even his therapist. It is an unflinching, yet frequently spiritual and funny portrait of an artist whose obstacle-strewn upbringing formed the backbone of his work: raised in a broken home and abused as a child, Childish was an undiagnosed dyslexic in remedial class at school who is nevertheless now Britain's most prolific and uncompromising creative force. Billy Childish said: ‘i met ted in the distant past, upstairs at the nelson pub on cambridge circus when he interviewed me for a fanzine, i think. i immediately liked him. A few years later when, we released a 45 , 'we hate the fucking NME' (Thee Headcoats), whist other journalists cried, Ted, himself, working at that most esteemed 'power that be', put the tune on his answer phone. Indeed this man had class and style beyond his years. Further down the path a bio of billy childish, (who ever he is) was muted. Who could unravel the mystery? Ted was the fellow. 'It’s your book,' i told him, 'i won’t read it, or stick my neb in, but, do re check facts as best you can, and allow contradictory statements, by all parties to remain.' So it is The Authorised Unauthorised, - unread, unchecked, by myself, as i prefer not to know. and billy childish can remain a mystery unto myself.’ Lee Brackstone said: ‘How do you even start to describe the life and achievements of an artist as exceptional and prolific as Billy Childish? A writer, a poet, a painter, a musician; his fingerprints are all over British culture but the man himself remains an enigma. Ted Kessler’s ‘Authorised (Unauthorised)’ portrait is a tour-de-force biography which places Billy’s art in the context of his life, beautifully illustrated with rare photographs and artwork by Childish himself. It is testimony to a life lived literally in the service of art.’

To Ease My Troubled Mind special edition: Bound in lime green linen-covered boards with foiled titles unique to this strictly limited run of 500 copies signed by the author and Childish with his customary gallows symbol. Comes with a 7” black vinyl EP with four tracks from four different Wild Billy Childish bands and an original one colour woodcut print also signed by Billy. All housed in a custom kraft paper covered solander box with four-colour inside printing, foiled titles and rubber stamped ‘Ltd Edition’.