before I watch Daisy Jones & The Six
I clearly had some thoughts to work through about the book and the upcoming (at the time of publication) show
On February 28th I realised that the adaptation of the book Daisy Jones & The Six would be released in a few days and that this was a perfect time for me to do that thing where you write about current / topical things, and not books by obscure 1970s Canadian short story collections.
Then I needed to do some things for my “day job” and I got a rejection from a lit mag that’s on my Goals list and now here we are with hours to go before the show is available to stream. So, I’m going to try a kind of stream of conscious inner monologue of my interest, anticipation, anxiety, and eventual over-analysis in this strange bit of time before I get to experience the show.
I cannot even think about talking about this book without talking about the audiobook. When we lived in Manchester I signed up for the library and that came with a library app that has kept working even though we moved away in 2019. That app is why I am addicted to audiobooks. And I experienced Daisy Jones & The Six first as an audiobook.
When I’m picking an audiobook the voice actor is a not insignificant part of the selection process and I usually stay way away from books with more than two narrators. This book has like… definitely over ten different voices (I’m not pausing to check), but it is because of the way it’s written.
The book is written like an HBO documentary about a 1970s rock band, and I mean that in best way possible. It is compelling as fuck. But do I find it so because of how it is written, or because my first experience of it was narrated by actual famous actors? By actual adults who bring adult life experience to their story telling? Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer because I’ve been asking myself that since the first time I listened.
Now I’m asking myself if these incredible vocal performances are going to eclipse the show. I’m afraid the answer will be yes.
From the trailers I’ve seen the two leads, Daisy Jones and Billy, the lead singer of The Six, are played by actual adults with actual adult life experience to inform their performances as “aged rock stars” being interviewed for said HBO documentary. But the rest of The Six seem to be little babies. Gorgeous, early 20s, models kind of babies. They’ll be fantastic in the scenes from the 70s but how are they going to tell their stories with the same gravitas as in the audio book? The one with the real adults?
And what about the music?
I’m a huge fan and and even bigger snob about 70s rock and roll — shoutout to mom and dad — and I’m worried the kind of music and performance I envisioned while listening, and later reading, the book will eclipse what they’ll do in the show. The fake-but-real album put out to accompany the show was available to stream today. The music comes close! Pretty close! But then I remember Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town… fuck the Patti Smith Group’s Easter! both released at the same-ish time as the fictional album and I feel sorry for the people who had to write the fake album. Because when I think too hard about Bruce and Patti I send myself into a depression spiral of why would I ever think I had something to say, that I could ever create anything, nothing will ever come close to what they’ve done.
Incidentally, I’ve had a Patti Smith song — Kimberly from Horses — grooving in my head for a few weeks and the line that I love so much I can never think about is:
balls of jade will drop
Anyone reading is like, how did we get to weird Patti Smith lines from an Amazon Prime tv show? I told you this would be stream of conscious. But seriously, I hear that line and it makes all the sense and none of the sense and I can only hope that something I write makes someone else feel like that.
So, that is what I’m comparing this fake band’s fake album to. Unfair. I know. I should compare the band, the album, the show to the very, very obvious Almost Famous. But that movie, the time in my life when it came out, is just for me and not up for substack writing fodder.
If you’ve made it thus far thank you for reading along. I have needed to write a post for a while and this may be incoherent, but I am glad I wrote it.
I’m still not sure I’m ready for the show. Ready or not, it’ll be here tomorrow.