Here at Heavenly, we have really enjoyed reading John Doran’s (co-founder & editor of The Quietus) memoir.
Jolly Lad is a memoir about the recovery from alcoholism, habitual drug use and mental illness. It is also about the healing power of music, how memory defines us, the redemption offered by fatherhood and what it means to be working class.
John Doran says: “I was determined not to write a ‘my drink and drug hell’ kind of book for several reasons – the main one being that I had, for the most part, had a really good time drinking.True, a handful of pretty appalling things have happened to me and some people that I know or used to know over the years. But I have, for the most part, left them out of this book as they are not illuminating, not edifying and in some cases concern other people who aren’t here to consent to their appearance. Instead this book concentrates on what you face after the drink and the drugs have gone.
“In my experience, being an alcoholic is debt consolidation for your life. Drink becomes the only thing you care about – eventually to the point where you don’t even care if you live or die. So when you stop drinking… well, that’s when the real trouble starts. Everything you drank to avoid dealing with — which in my case included mental illness, debt, depression, the impulse to self- harm, the impulse to commit suicide, anxiety, social dysfunction, body dysmorphia, stress, anger, violent rage and hypochondria — suddenly comes back into focus the second you stop.
“I started drinking when I was 13. I was drinking every day by the time I was 15. Then I stayed constantly drunk until I was 37. When I stopped I had no idea what I would be like as an adult.”
As fans of the book, we encourage you to purchase a copy in the Caught by the River shop here.
Caught by the River writer Roy Wilkinson has also reviewed the book, which you can read here.
Plus, on Wednesday 24th of June, there is a special launch at Foyles flagship store.
The author will be in conversation with David Stubbs. Grumbling Fur are playing a full set and performing a space and time warping ritual with Doran. Luke Turner and Sophie Coletta aka The Hamburger Ladies are DJs for the evening.