INCIDENTS CROWDED WITH LIFE
Author: John Howard
Paperback ISBN 9781910406724
Also available on Kindle ISBN 978-1-910406-75-5
Audio version available in November 2018 – Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Listen to an extract from the soon to be released audio version of Incidents Crowded With Life:
John Howard was a good Catholic boy brought up in post-war Lancashire, who became more turned on by gilt than by guilt. Sacred Heart statues and a wall-mounted crucifix, along with plans for the priesthood, were replaced by Marc Bolan posters, miming to ‘Metal Guru’ in front of a full-length mirror and dreams of pop stardom.
As Glam Rock stomped into millions of teenage bedrooms, John left home for London, and was quickly signed to CBS Records, making his debut album at Abbey Road studios, and enjoying the hedonistic pleasures of a fully gay-liberated city.
He appeared on TV and rubbed shoulders with stars like Johnny Mathis and David Essex, wrote and recorded the theme song for the William Holden/Peter Fonda movie, Open Season, and launched his album with a concert at The Purcell Room on the South Bank.
Meanwhile, he was attacked with a knife by his first lover; beaten up by an East End crook boyfriend; narrowly escaped being gang-raped in Malta, and was rescued from being abducted by a serial killer cab driver in New York.
Everything finally came to a crashing halt when, at the age of twenty-three, he broke his back jumping from his apartment window, escaping from his flatmates’ sex attacker.
A potentially glittering career, and an often perilous sex life, were all put on hold as John lay in a hospital bed unsure if he would walk again.
“Howard tells his story humorously, smartly, without lament. “Incidents Crowded With Life” is an interesting and very entertaining look at the downsides of the music business, the often dangerous gay lives in London in the seventies and is a memorial to all the highly talented geniuses who have not made it with their art.”
Rolling Stone Magazine
“Agreat insight into the terrifying sex life of early 1970s Northern art students!”
“an authentic hidden treasure of eccentric pop: the kind of music that one could imagine had been reissued as a vestige of a time when Bowie still haunted the cabarets and Elton John preferred writing to shopping,”
Celine Remy – French magazine Les Inrockuptibles
“musicOMH has been publishing articles about John Howard‘s music since he picked up where he’d left off with his debut album, 30 years after its release. His comeback calling card, appropriately for one rudely interrupted while in full flow, was called ‘As I Was Saying’. We were not there first time around when, in 1975, his debut album Kid In A Big World – recently rereleased on vinyl – was put out by CBS “in a time of glitz and glam, and where being gay meant you were just one of those other gs,” in Howard’s words. But his songwriting has since served Howard a new appreciative audience.”
“Despite experiencing some of the most traumatic escapes, Howard’s accounts are free of victimhood. In a matter of fact way, neither told as a warning or even alluding to the present frenzy of #metoo, Howard’s honesty is unapologetic, with no blame attached to anyone other than himself.”
Dominic Valvona – Our Daily Bread
“If you want to know what it’s like to come down from a Northern town to London, and be immersed in the glitter of showbiz as ‘the next big thing’, you’ll not get a better insight. Add in the spice of a young ‘out’ gay man, just five years since homosexual activity between consenting adults was legalised, and you have an irresistible piece of social history. John Howard tells his stories in straightforward language, and he draws his real life characters in as vivid detail as any writer of fiction.”
“This book by John Howard is a superb read from start to finish, documenting his formative years and emerging musical talent, to early concerts and recordings, and his subsequent move to London to attempt to attain his dream of success as a singer/songwriter. It is written with style and humour, and strongly evokes the period (predominantly the early to mid 1970s), when John had signed to the major record label, CBS. Rich in detail, it’s a compelling read. I would heartily recommend the book.”
“Immensely entertaining. Great fun throughout. Written in an elegant but unpretentious style, it tells the tale, wittily, of the author’s life, from childhood to the thrills and spills of 70s London and a shot at stardom with CBS Records that pans out not as hoped. It’s rich in detail, John Howard dropping in vivid descriptions of the albums he was listening to at each juncture. There are absorbing accounts of his recording sessions at places like Abbey Road, his dealings with the various strata of personnel at CBS, the near-disasters he manages to avoid in tricky sexual situations, the parties and the fun, the disappointments and – finally – an incident that brings the first phase of his career to a halt. “