Monday, 20 July 2009

My World In Motion, Jo Whiley

The nice people at Virgin have been sending me more books to read. Can I just say that I love the nice people at Virgin, they have yet to send me a book that I haven't liked.

The most recent to land on my doormat was the autobiography of the BBC Radio 1 DJ, Jo Whiley, My World In Motion. I've always liked Jo Whiley, she comes across as a genuinely nice person who I'd like to have a cup of tea with. Her radio show, The Live Lounge, is particularly brilliant, where bands are given the opportunity to do covers of songs that are way outside their normal repertoire. So, for example, getting Will Young to cover Outkast's Hey Ya! giving the song a completely different feel. We have some of the Live Lounge albums here, and love them.

She is a mother of 4, very close to her family, deeply in love with her husband as well as being a very highly regarded DJ and passionate about live music and the summertime festivals, particularly Glastonbury. Her book is organised to reflect these different areas of her life so the chapters are headed: Sister, DJ, Wife, Festival Lover and Mother each coming with a play list to reflect that side of her life. I enjoyed this way of looking at a life, it reflects the multi-faceted side of her life as a working mother. Occasionally it made for repetitive reading, as obviously in real life these different areas are not mutually exclusive.

She writes best when writing about her true passions, music and family. The chapter on her sister, who suffers from Cri du Chat syndrome leaving her with severe learning difficulties was fascinating and she manages to portray the person who her sister actually is as opposed to purely being someone afflicted with a chromosonal disorder. Jo's passion for festivals also shines through, and I enjoyed her descriptions of trying to work at Glastonbury, her friendship with the (wonderful) John Peel and trying to do it all with small children in tow, somewhere in the mud.

Jo's been very successful in a very male dominated world and has also had 4 children and built a close and loving family. Reading about how she balances it all was interesting, although she is fortunate to have her parents available to help out with childcare, neatly avoiding the childcare angst that most other working mothers feel.

My one criticism of the book is that everyone seems so nice. Sure there are disagreements but there is always a valid reason for them. Everyone, and by this I mean all the most famous bands over the past 15 years or so, are lovely, charming and lots of fun. Surely there must have been more spats and catty bust ups? But probably not around Jo, she just seems too, well, nice for that to happen around her.

Worth a read? Definitely, if only to read the life story of someone who had a passion about something, and with an element of luck and a lot of talent has managed to combine her passion with a career and a family. Jo herself admits that she has been fortunate but I'm just thrilled to know that it is possible and it is a testiment of how her personality that I find myself thinking 'good for you Jo' rather than being consumed with jealousy at how she has managed to pull it all off.


whatshappeningatmyhouse said...

Interesting to read your review. I did one on this book as well, and like you, I enjoyed it. I read a lot of autobiographies, and thought the way she'd organised this book into different sections of her life was great.

Dancinfairy said...

Great review. I too did one for this book (my first, how exciting...a free book!) and I thought much the same as you! Great minds think alike and all that!!!

SandyCalico said...

Great review, makes me want to read it too.

Erica said...

Just finished reading this one, so will do a little review shortly. One thing though, did you feel it was a little repetitive in some areas?

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

WHAMH - I liked the way she organised it too.

DF - great minds. Glad you are taking the opportunity to read alot now.

SC - it is worth a read.

Erica - I did in some areas, but said that whilst you can divide the book like she did, and which I really liked, the areas are not mutually exclusive so there is bound to be an element of repitition. Looking forward to reading what you think about it though.

gaelikaa said...

A nice review that actually whets my appetite for more of this book rather than a feeling of I don't need to read 'cos I know what it's about already!

Muddling Along Mummy said...

I'm eternally indebted you to you letting me know about the Will Young cover - its fab

There's a little something for you over at mine (and to say thank you for all your lovely comments recently)

Mrs OMG Pregnant said...

Im reading this now... almost done! Last pages. I read it on the loo which is why it's taken me so long... perhaps TMI there. sorry!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Gaelikka - I did enjoy it, not one of my top books ever, but worth a read.

MAM - I like it too. Thanks for the award, I shall be over shortly!

OMGP - when I was pregnant I spent my whole time on the loo, you'll have it finished in no time!

clareybabble said...

Great review, loved the Will Young cover of Hey Ya which I've never heard before. Going to have to get me some of those Live Lounge albums!