Book Review: “Nasher Says Relax” by Brian Nash

In preparation for working more on my book about Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their fans, I have been re-reading “Nasher Says Relax”. Each time has been a different experience, for it is the only book, other than “Climber’s High“, for which I have multiple (all) versions – eBook, audiobook and paperback. While my purchases of Climber’s High and English translations had primarily been driven by my research about the JL123 crash, “Nasher Says Relax” was driven by loving the music of Frankie Goes To Hollywood. But even 12 months ago, I couldn’t imagine writing a book with any connection to Frankie (other than a few passing mentions that appear in my novels) – but that all changed in May (as I wrote about here).

I first bought the eBook version of “Nasher Says Relax” back in 2014, a couple of years after the book came out. I have no idea why it took me so long to buy it. But I didn’t regret it. I then bought the audiobook in 2018. The delay this time was largely due to the fact that I don’t often listen to audiobooks. But the Audiobook is so well presented, that I just had to get it. As with Nasher’s CDs (which I’ll come back to), it came with a personalised card…

Here is the review I gave the audiobook on Amazon:

I previously bought the eBook of “Nasher Says Relax”, and, after recently getting into audiobooks, I decided to get the audiobook of “Nasher Says Relax” too (after all, as a Frankie fan, you can never get enough different versions of a great thing, right?). The audiobook didn’t disappoint at all. The packaging is outstanding. The personalised note (as with all the Nasher’s CDs too) was a lovely touch. Once I figured out how I was going to get the audio tracks onto my phone (perhaps a small file on the USB stick could have provided tips about this for those not good with technology), I began the journey.

Having read the book, I was familiar with much of the contents – but there seems to be extra, and hearing Nasher’s voice tell the story really gave it an extra depth. I’m not sure how much some of those referred to will appreciate Nasher’s impressions of them & sometimes the way in which it was done jarred a little. However, none of that detracted from the overall enjoyment of hearing all about the Frankie years and being drawn into everything that’s happened since.

Nasher has undoubtedly had a colourful time growing up and has faced a number of challenges and dramas, but what the book, his music, and his posts on Facebook (which you really should be following if you aren’t already) reveals is what a decent bloke he is. No doubt some parts of the British media and establishment would dwell upon some of Nasher’s past (whilst overlooking that they have their own skeletons they choose to hide & pretend to be something they are not), but what comes out from all that Nasher produces is that he is exactly the sort of person we need in politics. I wish he were my MP. It’d never happen. And perhaps it shouldn’t – he probably has more freedom doing what he is now & doesn’t (again) have to deal with the British media scrutiny. But it’s Britain’s loss.

So for now, whether you were a Frankie fan or not, try this book. It’s a real journey. And, as the personalised card that came with mine says, you’ll get to learn some Scouse! (In fact in the weeks since finishing the audiobook & going back to eBooks, I’ve found all of the characters in the books are speaking with a Scouse accent in my head!!!!)

Not just for Frankie fans (amazon.co.uk)

So to the paperback… which again has a personalised message…

I soon found that I started reading it, I was doing so with a Scouse accent in my head – as I tweeted (from one of my accounts) about – earning a reply from Nasher himself.

There are subtle differences with all three versions – and Frankie fans are used to having more than one version of the same title, so having all three seems perfectly natural. Looking on Amazon now, I see that it’s hard to get the paperback version. But more about that below.

Reading through the paperback, helped refresh my memory on the contents and to note things to discuss in my own book. Also, in relation to another post (discussing new albums by Roxette, Berlin, Pet Shop Boys and Frankie), Nasher’s comments about “Maximum Joy” makes me think that there must still be recordings in the vaults that are yet to be released. As much as I have been enjoying the DMC albums “I love Frankie Goes To Hollywood” with a variety of DJ remixes, with UMC now doing re-issues of the original albums, I hope that this opens the doors for further releases of original Frankie songs (and I hope that they will call in Nasher and others in the band to help mix and approve them).

One of the issues with the book is that it is now 8 years old. Nasher has done so much since then. He regularly posts to Instagram and used to post a lot to Facebook (I wish he would do so again as I miss his critiques of modern society). There has also been an additional album. If you haven’t got his CDs yet – you should. Especially as they, like the books, come with personalised messages. I find this amazing. I could never have imagined back in the 1980s that I would be getting personalised messages and Tweets from one of my pop heroes.

The four CDs are as follows:

I really hope Nasher will do an update to “Nasher Says Relax” and that we will also get more albums.

In the meantime, I am finishing off my third novel, FOUR, and will then be turning more to my book about Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their fans. I will soon re-read “A Bone in my Flute” by Holly Johnson – another book that undoubtedly needs updating. But before that I will be reading “Let’s Make Lots of Money” by Tom Watkins – which features Frankie on the front cover, although (and I admit I am bad at remembering names) I don’t remember Tom Watkins getting discussed in “Nasher Says Relax” and got introduced to this book thanks to mention of Tom Watkins in reading books about the Pet Shop Boys (“Literally” and “Versus America“).

So with 2020 – the year of COVID-19 – drawing to a close, I can look forward to writing about Frankie and the Frankie Goes To Hollywood (“Frankie Say 1984”) exhibition at the British Music Experience (assuming the lockdowns end) in 2021.

Click here to get more information about the book on Amazon.

Update (21/11/2021): I have just come across this excellent podcast in which Nasher is interviewed and discusses many of the things in the book. Well worth a listen.

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