‘THE TRAIN IN THE NIGHT: A Story of Music and Loss’
(published by Jonathan Cape, 2 February 2012)
Of all our relationships with art, the one we enjoy with music is the most complex, the most mysterious and, for reasons that cannot be explained by science alone, the most emotionally charged. Nothing about that relationship is simple. And yet it is perhaps through music that we make the most intimate contact with our sense of who we really are, at our most naked, unsophisticated, honest, simplified. Through psalms, symphonies, love songs, ballads, boogie…
Where to start, though, for the newly deaf? Well, you can start, suggested a famous neurologist, by trying to remember every beautiful piece of music you’ve ever heard and then by thinking about that music over and over again until it begins to assume a new kind of form in your brain. You never know what might happen after that.
And so that’s what the author did. He went back to the origins of his passion – the series of big bangs which kicked off his musical universe – and then worked his way forwards through the back catalogue.
The Train in the Night is a memoir not quite like any other. It is about growing up, obviously. But it is also about becoming young again and trying to see the world for what it is, whether through the eyes of a teenage punk or those of a middle-aged music critic and father of two. It is about taste and love and suffering and delusion. It is about longing to be Keith Richards. It is funny, heartbreaking and, above all, true.
It is a hymn to music.
“The Train in the Night shows Nick Coleman to be that very special kind of writer – wise, intimate, and richly evocative, with the most stirring tale to tell.” – Laura Barton