Top music journalist John Doran to give reading in Sunderland record shop

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A CELEBRATED music journalist will appear in Sunderland as part of a national book tour.

Writer and editor John Doran, whose work has appeared in The Guardian and VICE, will read from his new book, Jolly Lad, at King Ink, a burgeoning poetry and spoken word night held monthly at Pop Recs in Fawcett Street.

As part of the evening on May 6, John will also perform a piece called Gun Lore in collaboration with Norwegian punk guitarist Kjetil Nernes.

Jolly Lad, released on May 1, will be issued with an album of spoken word pieces in collaboration with musicians including Manic Street Preachers, Factory Floor, British Sea Power and more.

John, who is one half of the Quietus music and culture website, said: “The book is a memoir of sorts and recounts how music was the key to my recovery from alcoholism after I quit successfully six years ago, and also the key to turning the tide back on a life time of problems with substance abuse and mental illness so I could start a family.

“I first wrote about these experiences in a popular weekly column for VICE called MENK – a shortened, bastardised version of ‘mental’ used in some, but by no means all, parts of Merseyside, to mean intellectually feeble rather than mentally ill.

“I grew up round the corner from the largest Victorian insane asylum in Europe, Rainhill Hospital, and this was my nickname.”

He added: “Themes formed out of this slew of observation and reminiscence: the recovery from alcoholism, the joy of fatherhood, repairing the damage done by decades of habitual drug use, coping with mental illness, friendship, growing old and obsessive behaviour – especially regarding music and art. And these form the themes of the book Jolly Lad.”

The King Ink night is the brainchild of Sunderland writer Brian Anderson. Since its inception a year ago, it’s gone from strength to strength and has gained a good reputation across the region.

Brian said: “Since the first event it has proved to be a showcase for local talent due to the open mic spots that I feel are the heart of the event.

“One to mention in particular is Patrick Shannon who has been an integral part of King Ink since its conception. When he read at the very first evening he was an unpublished poet, but during the life-span of the event we have seen his work published in poetry publications and March will see the official Sunderland launch of his first poetry collection, Colours IV.”

l Entry to King Ink is free. It usually takes place on the second Thursday of every month from 7pm, though the May event is on a Wednesday.