A Dysfunctional Success

dysfunctionalbigThe Wreckless Eric Manual

by Eric Goulden


A-format hardback (186mm x 115mm)
£9.99 (ISBN 1-904316-18-2)

The author writes: “I didn’t want to write a show biz biography, the sort that documents the early struggle for fame, works through a successful middle period, and chronicles the downfall via a collection of lurid drug-related episodes and boring contractual detail, finally fizzling out in a collection of lame anecdotes designed to demonstrate what a great guy I am now that life’s being good to me and I’m on the straight and narrow. WH Smith is already full of crap like that.

“Unfortunately, I think that may well be exactly what I’ve done, but mine has much more textured wallpaper, through lounges and irrelevant detail than most, which could well be its saving grace. The Moon’s A Balloon, The Sun’s A Bun and I’m Dirk Bogarde for the Now Generation.”

PRAISE for Eric Goulden/Wreckless Eric”

“A national treasure” – Jonathan Ross

“His inventive, eccentric music, sharp observations, and hilarious extended ad libs somehow convey the absurdity of life, and also the point. He creates and sustains atmosphere with ease.” – Glasgow Herald

WRECKLESS ERIC first found fame in the mid-1970s, when he signed to the emergent Stiff Records with label-mates Ian Dury, Madness, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. For a while, Ian Dury played drums in his band. Previously, his alter-ego, Eric Goulden, had studied Fine Art at Hull College Of Art and, in between times, worked in a series of menial jobs, including several stints at Butlins. In 1989, having confronted a serious drink problem, Eric moved to France where he lived for 9 years.

Since leaving Stiff in 1981, Eric has continued to work as a musician, songwriter and recording artist, and now has 14 albums to his credit. His songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as The Monkees, Lightning Seeds and Cliff Richard. In the last year, Eric has appeared with Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2 and on BBC Radios 3, 4 and 5. Only Radio 1 now eludes him.

In 2002, Eric featured on the million-selling Brand New Boots & Panties Ian Dury tribute album – together with Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and Madness – with his version of Clevor Trevor, which he also produced. Ian Dury always maintained that Eric was the inspiration for this song.

The author writes some more: “In the early days of Stiff Records, Jake Riviera asked everybody what they wanted to be: rich or famous. I thought the answer was easy – I wanted to be famous because that was what was expected of me and, surely, if I had some hits, I’d be rich anyway. But ‘famous’ was the wrong answer – Elvis Costello, for instance, said ‘rich’.”

“Eric is what Eric should be – a humorous, likeable, generous man who just happens to write brilliant songs.” – Andy Davies, BBC Radio 2

Ideas behind writing ‘A Dysfunctional Success’ by Eric Goulden