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The extraordinary and searingly honest personal story of musician Miki Berenyi, revealing the highs and lows of navigating the madness of the '90s music industry.

Formed in 1988, Lush were part of the London gig scene during one of the most vibrant and creative periods in UK music. Now, Miki Berenyi tells all.

The book begins with her childhood of extremes. From the bohemian lifestyle of her father's social circle to the privileged glamour of her mother's acting career, Miki's young life was a blur of travel, celebrities and private schooling. But frequent relocation, parental neglect and the dark presence of her abusive grandmother resulted in crippling shyness, mental-health issues and a vulnerability to exploitation. The route out of this hole was music - a passion shared by schoolmate Emma Anderson. The teenagers began attending gigs together and would eventually go on to form Lush.

Peppered with anecdotes involving a cast of hundreds (including Blur, Sean Connery, Tracey Emin, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), this uncompromising autobiography documents Lush's thrilling rise, dispiriting fall and subsequent bounceback, reliving the tours, recording sessions and problematic managers they experienced along the way. But at the heart of the book are Miki's own battles: the conflict between her mouthy public persona and her thin-skinned private identity; the trials of being a woman in an infuriatingly male world; the struggle to find a middle ground between safe indie obscurity and sellout international success. The memoir also explores Miki's complex relationship with Emma - one that has fluctuated between camaraderie and rivalry over the years - and addresses the most devastating tragedy of all: the suicide of her soulmate, Lush drummer Chris Acland.

Told through frank confession, wry humour and emotional honesty, this is the incredible tale of a trailblazing woman and a seminal band.

Twitter reaction to the book announcement

 


Bonnier Books UKís dedicated music imprint, Nine Eight Books, has acquired the searingly honest and beautifully written memoir by musician Miki Berenyi, former lead singer, rhythm guitarist and founder member of Lush.

Fingers Crossed is an incredible account of a trailblazing woman and a seminal band delivered with the vivid, emotional power of an accomplished storyteller. From the bohemian lifestyle of her Hungarian fatherís social circle to the privileged glamour of her Japanese motherís acting career, Mikiís young life was a blur of international travel, celebrities and peripatetic schooling. Frequent relocation, parental neglect and the dark presence of her abusive Nazi grandmother resulted in crippling shyness, mental health problems and a vulnerability to exploitation. The route out was music Ė a passion shared by schoolmate Emma Anderson. The teenagers began attending gigs together and would go on to form Lush in 1988. Talented and exuberant the band became hot property as they moved from pub gigs to Shoegaze icons and finally Britpop darlings. This uncompromising autobiography documents the excitement of playing live, the camaraderie of the gang, the thrill of signing to 4AD and the craziness of Lollapalooza.

But at the heart of the story are Mikiís internal battles: the conflict between her mouthy public persona and her thin-skinned private identity; the trials of being a woman in an infuriatingly male world; and the struggle to find a middle ground between Ďsafeí indie obscurity and Ďsell-outí international success. Miki also explores her complicated relationship with Emma Ė one that has fluctuated between camaraderie and rivalry over the years Ė and addresses the most devastating tragedy of all: the suicide of her best friend and soulmate, Lush drummer Chris Acland.

Pete Selby said: ďWhen I first approached Miki about writing her autobiography she pretty much laughed in my face, so Iím thrilled that two years later she has finished something fearless, funny and quite beautiful, which not only stands up alongside the very best music memoirs, but is also one of the most evocative books about dysfunctional childhood and coming of age that I have read. Itís a breath-taking autobiography that announces Miki as a major literary talent.Ē

Miki Berenyi said: ďThe thought of writing my memoir seemed like a ridiculous idea when Pete Selby from Nine Eight Books approached me. But lockdown was looming, so I immersed myself in the task. As ever, just because I fell into it didnít mean that once faced with the job I didnít give it absolutely everything I had! Memory tends to prettify the past and reshape it into something more palatable, but digging through my diaries and photo albums and press clippings and tour itineraries brought back visceral experiences. I donít want to be a drama queen but reliving the 30-year span of this bookÖ letís just say itís been emotional. The madcap ups and dysfunctional downs of my childhood and adolescence (London, Windsor, Hungary, Japan, Los Angeles) set me up for the chaos of being in a band and the eventual overkill of a changing music industry. My story is as much about a disrupted family life, a childhood in the 70s, an adolescence in the 80s, alienation, friendship, love, sex, self-destructiveness and optimism as it is about music Ė what it felt like, as much as what happened.

There are shocking events Ė but itís not a misery memoir. Bad stuff happens to everyone and itís how you get through the crap that I find important Ė and interesting. Iím not documenting my life for people to gawp or wonder at, but inviting them in, to experience the highs and the lows, and feel what it was like to live through it.Ē

Fingers Crossed will publish in hardback, audio and eBook in September 2022.

 

 

 

 Dedicated to the memory of Chris Acland   

  (c) 2018