📚 Porcelain (Moby)

Read book by Moby by Contributors to Wikimedia projects

Porcelain: A Memoir is a 2016 memoir by American house musician Moby. Covering his youth in the 1970s until his worldwide success in the late 1990s with Play, the book also discusses the author’s spiritual struggles as a Christian, initial avoidance of and eventual recreational drug use,[1] and interest in animal rights and veganism. The book has been met favorably by critics. He had plans for a future volume covering the following decade, which he eventually released in 2019 under the title Then It Fell Apart.[2][3]

Growing up, I remember hearing Moby’s music, but I never owned (or even downloaded) any albums. To be honest, my memory of Moby is as much via TISM’s Moby-Dick Head:

Dear Moby

Having read your liner notes, I now violently oppose pain, death, famine, disease, slaughter, war, youth suicide, pollution, hitting your finger with the hammer, parking in disabled car parks, the industrial military complex, the death of innocent third world people, especially the children.

By the way, I’d like to thank Mohammed and the Dalai Lama, safari suits and stating the fucking obvious.

I stumbled upon Moby’s memoir Porcelain in the local libraries BorrowBox platform and .

After reading (or listening to Moby read) the book, I was left conflicted how I felt about Moby as both a person and an artist. I guess I went into the book hoping for some insight into the creative process, but instead came away wondering about the creative.

As a narrative, the memoir traces Moby’s life from the late eighties when he was living in a factory, until the release of Play at the end of nineties. For me, it has all the expectations of a memoir. A regular smattering of other famous people such as Jeff Buckley, Trent Reznor and Robert Downey Jnr. Coming from nowhere to seemingly succeed. Coming to some sort of realisation about life. In some ways, this felt similar to Bobby Gillespie’s Tenement Kid.

The style of the book was often very matter of fact, contradictions and all. For example, in the beginning he recounts leading bible studies and contemplating giving up all his worldly possessions to follow God, like some sort of modern St Francis of Assisi. While the book ends in a world awash with alcohol and sex, and no prayers for forgiveness afterwards. It was interesting thinking about this alongside Tom Tilley’s memoir, where he turned away from Pentecostal church. The difference was I found Tilley’s account to be more believable, whereas Moby almost came across as a fractured character out of some sort of modern Francis O’Conner story.

Overall, Porclein is another reminder of how many repetitions it often takes to get to any semblance of success. Therefore, the challenge as Austin Kleon would suggest is to ‘just keep going’.

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