Since it came on the scene, I have been an unapologetic shoegaze fan. When I discovered Lush in 1990, I knew I had a band that could very easily soundtrack my life. Through the years, I watched the band thrive, break up, deal with crisis, and then excel at other projects. At the core of all of that was Miki Berenyi with her haunting voice and shock of candy red hair. When I discovered she was working on a memoir I could not wait to get my grubby little paws on it.
First and foremost, this is a super personal story, and full of a lot more damage than the fans probably knew well. Ms. Berenyi is amazingly brave to put her life out there because a lot of it is just not easy to read. As an American, I thought I knew what was going on in that era of “my” music in the UK, but I knew absolutely nothing of the machinations that were going on behind the scenes.
Ms. Berenyi speaks at length about her tumultuous childhood, and the very complicated relationship she had with each of her parents — particularly her father — and the horror that her paternal grandmother was.
One thing I absolutely loved is that this book frames the development of Ms. Berenyi’s musical career and how it was mostly an unplanned side effect of time and place. The insights into their process as a band, and the inter-band relationships, really floored me, and the discomfort of the process, the perception, and, most importantly, the marketing of Lush was a real eye-opener.
I could go on and on about the interesting happenstances, and the balance between planning and sheer luck, but I really feel like that would detract from the story from the proverbial horse’s mouth.
I’m not a biography/memoir fan, but there are certain exceptions from extraordinary people that I just can’t ignore. If you were aware of the 90’s music scene in the UK, you definitely owe it to yourself to pick up this very genuine, and very raw, insight into a woman who was navigating the inside of the entire thing.