Anoint My Head – How I Failed to Make it as a Britpop Indie Rockstar

‘Bland and inoffensive with a seriously over-acting singer” NME

It’s 1992 and Horace dreams of becoming a rockstar with his band the Pointy Birds. The only problem is that his day-job (mis)filing vinyl in a Soho record store is stealing all his time and energy, plus rival bands like Suede, Blur, Pulp and Radiohead are moving on to bigger and better things.  But then someone called Ricky offers his services as a band manager and at last the dream can start.

Anoint My Head is the tale of a band who didn’t become rich, or famous but had a manager who did.  It is also the story of a musical era, and documents the rise of some of the biggest British Britpop bands of the nineties, plus a comedian who went on to write quite a successful sitcom about a paper merchants in Slough.

A coming-of-age story about pursuing your dreams and what happens when reality gets in the way.  Perfect for fans of Caitlin Moran, Nicky Hornby & Ricky Gervais.

About The Book

Anoint My Head Podcast

Listen to the first three chapters of Anoint My Head with some musical interludes courtesy of The Pointy Birds and a bit of inter-song/book banter in this one-off podcast.

Anoint My Head Spotify Playlist

There is now a Spotify playlist of all the songs that feature in Anoint My Head. It totals 106 tracks and clocks in at a whopping 7 hours 18 minutes which is probably the amount of time you need to read the book. In this way the playlist doubles up as a kind of scratch and sniff immersive experience. The playlist stays mainly in the early nineties but all sorts of things pop up here and there. To give you an idea of the musical girth – Russ Abbot’s ‘Atmosphere’ sits at one end of the musical spectrum with death metal hardcore noiseniks Benediction at the other, with all sorts of indie-classics inbetween. In addition to the usual Britpop suspects you will find The Sugarcubes, Talk Talk, Galaxie 500, House Of Love, The Lemonheads, Pavement, Tindersticks, Afghan Whigs and of course…The Blow Monkeys. So something for everyone, (there will be an Apple Music one soon too). Enjoy…

Reader Reviews

Excuse the shameless self-promotion and trumpet-blowing but thought I would share some of the nice things people are saying about the book.  These readers are highly intelligent, have exquisite taste and a hilarious sense of humour.   Thank you very much. (The cheques are in the post).

Dan Kurt *****
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"Anoint My Head" by Andy Macleod is an absolute must-read for all the day-dreamers and musos and all the rest of us creative folk. It is very hard to put down so you will probably miss a few important deadlines because of this book (but that's okay!). It is witty and filled with delicate poignancy. It ignites new fires in the heart of a musician, who always has something to prove to himself (and others). It inspires to soldier on, no matter how brutal the music industry seems to be at times. Although written about the early 1990s, it managed to escape the shackles of a particular time period. Go on, put your guitar down for a few days and get on with it!
Perk *****
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Anoint my head is a tragicomedy which relates the true story of a Brit Pop indie band who despite plenty of sweat and tears fail to make it in their dream of super stardom. The novel is written in a light conversational style and deals with issues like the nature of ambition and finding your way in life in a light and funny way. The characters are well defined and you end up liking them for their will to gamble on an unconventional lifestyle and their desire to leave a mark on their time. The book is also a short history of indie music and gives a real insight into the pitfalls and experiences that must be faced in search of the elusive record deal. The story describes a for many unknown side of the business as the main protagonists rub shoulders with bands like Blur and Pulp whose rise seems to be incomprehensibly more effortless and trouble free. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the music business or an admiration for people who are prepared to take the huge risk of following a dream.
Nydia *****
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Anoint My Head is a memoir about failure, and yet, it is everything but that. This book is a joyful read. It riotously and unapologetically revels in what it is to be a dreamer in a world that is simply getting on with other things. The warmth of the writing is beguiling and I warrant you will read it in one sitting. I rarely say this, but it really is unputdownable. A truly wonderful read. I highly recommend everyone reads Anoint My head, especially in these dark days. It will bring you some light. I promise.
Lisa
Lisa Reach For the Stars *****
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I actually saw The Pointy Birds once in a pub - they left very little impression (they were no S Club 7, believe me!) so I was genuinely surprised to read how close they came to hitting the big time. This is a very funny account of their ultimately pointless journey, plus a nice reminder of all the really good bands around in the 90s. A heart-warming tale of ambition and mediocrity - it's message seems to be: "even if you're average, go for it! You just won't get anywhere.
The Dyson A Warm Wit *****
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A funny poignant book, that makes me ache for a Camden long since gone. More than just a comedy, an insightful history of a slice of London's 90s culture, and a look back at a period of a business now run by data analysts and algorithms. I can recommend this book to anyone interested in Britpop, or anyone that just wants a fun Christmas read. It works on many levels. A great gift!
Kevin M. Edelman “Self-loathing had become de rigueur, and these tunes provided a catharsis that people needed.” ****
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I purchased two copies of this book, one as a paperback that became a gift and the other as an e-book. For I’ve had both modest and big dreams, most of which I’ve failed to realize. This isn’t a tragic non-fiction; it’s John Cheever’s Britpop non-success, a story that would be banal if not told with the wit and clarity of a gifted fellow who doesn’t make it onto playlists. Unless you purchase the e-book as well because then you get to add a couple of perfectly wonderful songs to whichever playlist you choose. The story of Point Birds is the story of me. If you’re relying on an Amazon review to make a decision about a fine book, this is probably your story as well. I still favor Britpop as my go-to for any and all extended listening sessions and count myself lucky that I got a taste of what this band did and could have done... but didn’t. It’s remarkable for its familiarity. If you’re still on the fence, I’ll probably buy a copy for you. You could probably use a good laugh and a good cry.
Matt *****
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A humorous jaunt down memory lane. Often funny and constantly cringe inducing, recommended for the majority who had a crack and didn’t make it. A manifesto for following your heart no matter what and dealing with the delusions of youthful exuberance. Thank you Andy Macleod for making me feel better about myself.
Lisby *****
Lisby *****
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This book was great. Funny, inspirational and unbearably embarrassing in parts. A great trip through the late 80s/early 90s music scene - so much so you can smell the pubs. And the fashion. It’s a tale that reminds you of all your dreams that were never fulfilled. Horace definitely gave it a crack and that’s why we need people like him to remind us dreams can be achieved. Sometimes. Definitely recommended reading and make sure you listen to the songs listed at the front and back - hearing The Pointy Birds definitely adds to the experience.
Raoul *****
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Thoroughly enjoyed reading this account of pursuing the dream of becoming a rockstar in the analogue, pre social media age. If like myself you’ve been in bands trying to make it, this book is for you and will take you back there. It made me laugh out loud and brought back the pain in equal measure. Brilliant
Nick S *****
Nick S *****
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This is a book which keeps you smiling. throughout. It is a hymn to the frailties of being human and so is a success despite being about failure. Irrespective of all the setbacks our young hero will simply not be put off achieving his dream of being a rock superstar. It is astonishing quite how many famous bands are hero brushed shoulders with. Our main character may be delusional, but he is warm, funny, uplifting and deeply human.
Sean P *****
Sean P *****
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I am privvy to the writers mindset and know how much he put into this.... thank god it’s brilliant! I’m not bias but I especially liked the description of this now folically challenged critic within those very pages as having ‘a mop of curls’! (At least that’s how I read it). Everyone should rush out and purchase to make a bald man’s day. Wonderfully written page turner. 👏👏👏👏👏👏
Dan T *****
Dan T *****
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This story kicks along with a lovely narrative about what it's like to be at university, be young, follow your dream. All set in a backdrop of the thriving indy music scene of early 90's London - the scene that gave rise to the Britpop explosion later on that decade. The book is very funny and a real page turner. Great reading for distraction, which is just what I feel like right now!
Nostradamus *****
Nostradamus *****
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Lost drummers, terrible costumes for Halloween gigs, playing to bouncy castles, excitable lead singers and a seriously underrated bass player. This story has it all. For those who dreamt of being in a band but thought better of it, this is you, vindicated. Let this be a lesson, go and be an accountant!
Paul MS *****
Paul MS *****
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This was a great read! A funny, poignant and heart warming tale about the pursuit of an unfulfilled dream. Even though the Pointy Birds didn't make it, I came away thinking the experience must have been worth the eventual disappointment. A nice cultural reminder of some great years and music along the way too.
Nick P *****
Nick P *****
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The best book to buy at the moment if you love and are missing gigs.. let your imagination run riot that the record deal of your dreams is just around the corner.. read it straight through in one “sitting”..a modem classic!
Neil *****
Neil *****
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A funny (with a melancholic undercurrent) of youthful times past and life lived. A great read for anyone that came of age in the early nineties when a future sparkled with possibilities but didn’t quite deliver.
Chris H *****
Chris H *****
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Love this book. Funny, enjoyably cringeworthy and surprisingly candid. A blast of 90s nostalgia, from a time when the toilet circuit was strong and you had to be at home to receive a phone call. Bliss!
Kerry *****
Kerry *****
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Loved this book. I felt it was a love letter to a scene this was just about to explode. So funny, but also melancholic. Cant wait to read another by this writer!
Sarah Tite / William *****
Sarah Tite / William *****
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Very good book, funny, gentle and warm..with a massive heart for music in the middle. A great Big Slice of pre-Brit Pop history.
D. Brent *****
D. Brent *****
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Loved it. Got me dancing. Brilliant.
Susanna
SusannaOh to be young again *****
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I am loving the book so much I never want it to end. It feels like the first time I watched Almost Famous. If you are, or have been, an indie rock lover, this book will take you back to the sweaty drunken nights, reading the NME to see whose cd you should buy (or vinyl), sleeping one hour and show up to work hungover only to do it all over again.
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Watch Andy Read Chapter One ‘ULU’