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Book Review: A Year with Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary

A Year with

Brian Eno kept a diary for 1995; this is the reissue of that diary, 25 years later. As a prelude to this edition he offers a list of words that didn’t exist when he wrote the diary. This is well worth reading and thinking about as these words set the scene for the diary.

The language and events do seem dated but in there lies the charm. You need to think back to what you were doing at that time.

I was doing a certificate in business computing in Wellington. Much more practical concerns were driving me. It was a time when there were no such things as apps, cell phones were used for making calls and the internet was in its infancy. I was trying to make heads or tails of classes taught by a female Russian tutor, whose understanding of English was limited.

The computers Eno talks about had no computing power, had floppy drives and it all seems so very long ago. He had some interesting insights into how he thought computers/communication would be used in the future and some of them were on the money. Especially fake news, although he used some other term for it.

On the other side he is a loving family man spending time with his daughters and constantly wondering if he was wasting his time being involved in this or that project. Truly he is a remarkable man finding a “job” wherever his creativity could find a home. Also it probably helps that his wife is his manager.

Brian Eno will always be known for music and the musicians he has helped on the way. He produced many legendary albums for, Devo, U2, Laurie Anderson and Coldplay, while his long list of collaborations includes David Bowie, David Byrne, Grace Jones and many others. To date he has released over thirty albums of his own but there is a lot more to him than that.

A Year with Swollen Appendices is a snap shot of his life as an artist with his day to day observations of events at home and around the world..

Posted by Rob Middleton

Catalogue links:
A Year of Swollen Appendices
Try also reading On some faraway beach : the life and times of Brian Eno

22 April 2022

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