David Mitchell with Sam Amidon: The Music of Utopia Avenue
While the Summer of Love is about to unfold across the Atlantic, life in 1967 isn’t so easy for a young would-be musician in London’s shabby Charing Cross Road. Yet from this modest starting point, David Mitchell builds a joyful fictional biography of a band that will take the world by storm. Utopia Avenue is the finest prog-folk band you have never heard of, and the novel of the same name is a stylish romp through the rags-to-riches lives of drummer Griff, singer Elf, guitarist Jasper and bass player Dean.
Organised around the song titles of the band’s albums, the novel’s clever structure also gives it a powerful narrative drive – with added zest from a series of cheeky cameo appearances by real-life rock legends including David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.
Funny, whip-smart and occasionally veering into the fantastical, it is one of the most compellingly entertaining reads of 2020. Join Mitchell as he shares his notes with folk musician Sam Amidon, who will also play some of his most recent music.