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Revolutionary Spirit

Part memoir, part social history, Revolutionary Spirit is the poignant, often hilarious story of a cult Liverpool musician’s scenic route to fame and artistic validation, and marks the arrival of an original literary voice.

If Morrissey was the Oscar Wilde of the 1980s indie scene, Simpson was its William Blake; a self-destructive genius so lost in mystical visions of a new arcadia that he couldn’t meet the rent.

Simpson’s career begins alongside fellow Liverpool luminaries Ian McCulloch, Bill Drummond, Will Sergeant, Pete Wylie, Pete Burns, and Holly Johnson at the infamous Eric’s club, where, in 1976, he finds himself at the birth of the city’s second great musical explosion. He co-founds and christens the neo-psychedelic pop group The Teardrop Explodes with Julian Cope but walks out of the band just as they are about to break big and goes to work in a tearoom instead. He then forms The Wild Swans, the indie-band of choice for literary-minded teens in the early 1980s, and Care with Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds, sharing a flat with a seventeen-year-old Courtney Love along the way.

Marriage, fatherhood, tropical illness, and divorce follow, interspersed with artistic collaborations with Bill Drummond and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, among others. Presidential suites, armed-guards, police escorts—you couldn’t make it up, and, incredibly, he doesn’t need to.

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