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Nick Drake: The Life

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In addition to this, any career involving self-employment demands a high degree of self-discipline and a will to overcome one’s weaknesses, and making the effort required to tackle problems which do not come easily.

Her son had grown up to the sound of Molly composing songs at the piano; there are resonances in their bodies of work. Everyone around him tried to help; from time to time, some did, leading to more heartbreak when Drake relapsed. Through the careful accretion of granular details a fully formed human being emerges from the myth . It was around double the length of the published version, and eliminating material from it was, I thought, going to be impossible because it was so intertwined.

Of course, what I wanted to know most from the biography was what is most important about Nick Drake, and that is his songs and his acoustic guitar playing. Although a foreword by Gabrielle Drake maintains that this is not an authorised work, she provided Drake’s own papers, her father’s diary and gave her blessing for everyone around Drake to contribute.

He had qualities that were obviously likely to make him into a useful and helpful member of society as an adult. A Cat Stevens or a King Crimson album would have come out straight away, but I think Nick slowly began to realise that he simply wasn’t a priority for Island. The first half of the book sets out to establish just how normal and, indeed, biddable and cheerful Drake was as a child. The book reveals some truly heartbreaking letters and recollections from Rodney, Molly, and Gabrielle Drake as he descended into depression and mental illness around the time of the much-delayed release of "Bryter Layter".I’m just wondering, have you yourself been through a period of acute mental illness for two years or longer?

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