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Porcelain: A Memoir Hardcover – May 17, 2016
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“A lovingly composed new memoir that tracks his journey from living in an abandoned factory in Connecticut to playing the hottest clubs in New York and Europe. …Porcelain reads like an intimate meditation on the various contradictions Moby has resolved over the course of his 50 years: his Christian faith vs. his hedonistic streak; his hunger for stardom vs. his retiring nature; his respect for ambition vs. his deep belief in luck. The book is also a tender ode to a vanished New York City.”—Los Angeles Times
“As much a portrait of downtown Manhattan in the late ‘80s and ‘90s as it is an iconoclastic artist’s coming-of-age story, this raucous, candid memoir will fascinate the electronic musician’s many fans.”—People
“Porcelain vividly evokes a certain place and time—specifically, New York in the ’90s. It simultaneously presents a portrait of its author that’s withering in the extreme. At the same time, it offers a perfect freeze-frame of downtown New York in the Dinkins to early Giuliani years, when far more of the cherished stench of ’70s and ’80s city lingered than some may remember.”—New York Observer
“Rock memoirs rarely live up to expectations, but… Porcelain is an exception. It ranks with Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band and a handful of others in recent years as a particularly incisive look at not just a life in music, but at the cultural and social circumstances that helped shape it. It is by turns self-deprecating, hilarious and moving.”—Chicago Tribune
“Moby’s Porcelain is a buoyant coming-of-age story set in the filthy, dangerous New York City of the 1990s that the musician and DJ adored. Funny, bighearted and raw.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Entertainingly gritty… A distinctive addition to the recent spate of well-written memoirs by contemporary musicians, a list that would include the likes of Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, and Carrie Brownstein.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A love letter to chaotic 1990s New York…Moby’s prose is honest, self-deprecating, and full of mordant wit, and when music is playing, it shines with exhilarating emotion.” —Publishers Weekly, starred
“Ten years of Moby’s life, mostly in the decrepit, dangerous, much-loved New York City of the 1990s, a life comically overcrowded, filthy, alcohol-fuelled, vegan, unbelievably noisy, full of spit and semen and some sort of Christianity; and often, suddenly, moving. The writing is terrific, enlivened by a bewildered deadpan humor that makes crazy sense of it all. His ancestor Herman Melville would, I think, be simultaneously revolted and proud.” —Salman Rushdie
“Full disclosure: Moby is a friend of mine, yet I had no idea that he was such a brilliant writer and storyteller. Porcelain, to me, is a classic and beautifully told bildungsroman—a young man comes to the city to find himself. And Moby tells this tale of his youth—his search for meaning and music—with gorgeous clarity, comedy, and compassion. Porcelain also serves as a history of downtown New York of a certain time, a New York that doesn't really exist anymore, but I was very happy to reencounter it here through Moby's particular and fascinating lens.” —Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
“This is one of the funniest and most accessible books you'll ever read about an erstwhile Christian/alcoholic vegan electronic music maker. Throughout the adventures and misadventures, Danish music festivals and Barbadan disasters, Moby manages to stay wide-eyed, grateful and amazed, which itself is a real gift to the reader: we feel welcome in—or just as out of place as he feels—in the world of rock and raves and clubs. He remakes the music world into the form it should be: nonexclusive, unpretentious, less about division and stratification, and more about radical inclusion. Music shouldn't exist any other way.” —Dave Eggers
“Raw, honest, cruel and funny, Moby's beautifully-written memoir is a pure act of bravery. He allows us to ride on his shoulder as he chases a dream through New York nightlife and the European club scene, his self-deprecating humor and unguarded nature lulling us into believing the ride will be breezy and the landing soft. Only when he starts plummeting to earth do we realize that we’ve left his shoulder and climbed into his head, where self-deprecation reveals itself as self-loathing that is chasing self-destruction. It’s a dark place with jagged edges—not the spot to ride out this kind of fall, and Moby hides not one shard of it from us. But, in perhaps in an even greater act of bravery, he also never hides behind cynicism, or distances himself from the hope, and even innocence, of his dreams. I wish my writing could be even half as honest.” —Paul Haggis
“Honest, funny, and sometimes raw, Porcelain is an intimate look at a life in motion. It proves that Moby writes like he plays music–with passion and precision and heart.” —Susan Orlean
About the Author
Moby is a singer-songwriter, musician, DJ, and photographer. His records have sold 20 million records worldwide. AllMusic called him "one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s." He lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
But it's raw. Really raw. Reading it gave me a sense of catharsis in much the same way I feel it gave Moby as he wrote it.
Here's what I like most. Contrast. Reading this book was a fascinating journey and I grew as a result of it. And I couldn't stop reading it.
Let me explain.
I relate to Moby in a variety of ways. We're one year apart in age. I grew up in Minnesota - and I had lots of anxiety and fear growing up. I married a woman from New York (she grew up in Manhattan) and her family is there. I've learned a lot about humanity by spending lots of time in NYC.
I'm a natural-born serial entrepreneur but in my youth I had aspirations of being a musician and artist. I had a MIDI studio and much of the same equipment he did (like the Alesis Drum Machine in his photos).
Many of my friends are musicians. They chose their path, I chose capitalism and business. I was too scared to pursue music and afraid of being poor.
I've been successful at business. I have a very nice life. When I visit my musician friends, they've had it much harder than me. Now, as they're 50 or so, most have moved on to different things and they struggle. None of them made it "big" - even though many survived full-time on the road.
I'm not trying to compare - I just haven't spent time thinking through a lens like this in a long time. This book took me on a meaningful journey. It made me think. And feel. In ways I haven't in quite a while.
Moby takes you with him and shares his life in a way that explains what each of the songs from his album "Play" means in a very creative way in the last chapter of the book.
I can't give the book 5 stars.. But I gave it 4 stars because I enjoyed the journey. Nice job, Mobe. You made me feel and think. I appreciate your talent.
And I'll definitely read your next book if you write another one.
It's a well written snippet into 10 years of this man's life that helped make him the amazing artist that he is today. Using mostly NYC as the backdrop, you get to relive so many moments out of his life that are at times seem almost too crazy to be true. Some of the stories are humorous. Some are dark. Others are sad. While some are poignant and really show a side of him I never thought I'd learn about.
Some of my favorite chapters involve his stories of how he created his most iconic songs ("Go", "Feelin' So Real" etc.). Really fascinating stuff.Even if you aren't a fan of Moby, I'd still recommend this as a good read.
Thank you Moby for writing this and sharing with us a piece of your life.
I found one of the more interesting aspects to be his apparent anti-growth as a person, seeming to grow smaller and less and less interesting as the book proceeded. At that point the story ends abruptly as he's feeling washed up and Play is in the works. Why end there? It's unclear, it feels like he just got tired of writing, perhaps the assumption is that after that point his story is so well known that there is no need to chronicle it. Whatever the case, it would have been much more satisfying for at least some of the events of the last 16 years to be included.
3/5 for some entertaining stories and nice descriptions of New York.