Do you remember how we used to live? British indie favourites Saint Etienne do. But they also remember a load of other stuff that never happened, so maybe they aren’t the best people to ask.
Saint Etienne have spent three decades making music out of memories for people who make memories out of music. How We Used Saint Etienne to Live is the story of that reciprocal process, told in the wrong order but the right time. It’s about the methods we use to remember, and what happens when those methods become outdated. It’s a tale that involves tape splicing, town planning, Now compilations and Saint Etienne’s 1995 UK singles chart peak, ‘He’s On The Phone’.
Featuring original interviews with Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell, How We Used Saint Etienne To Live shows Saint Etienne’s minds at work as they make and manipulate history and nostalgia. Expect to be shown the receipts. Expect selective recollections and shameless revisionism. Expect concrete facts and flights of fancy. Don’t expect it to be immediately clear which is which.
Ramzy Alwakeel is a British news journalist and music writer. His first book, Smile If You Dare: Politics And Pointy Hats With The Pet Shop Boys, was published by Repeater in 2016. He lives in London.
“A vivid collection of memories and lists about the savoir vivre of Saint Etienne — a wonderful book about a wonderful band.”
“An essential, loving read for Saint Etienne fans — an exploration that’s half Sherpa Tenzing in its commitment to the task, half sunshine girl in its loveliness.”
“How We Used Saint Etienne to Live beautifully negates the archetypal veteran band biography – forget tales of Rock ‘n’ Roll debauchery, this is a story of making memories and bringing dreams to life. Ramzy Alwakeel’s analytical account is insightful and poignant, and this book is a timely, anti-nostalgic reminder of why Saint Etienne have such a special place in so many hearts.”