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On The Road Not Taken

By Paul Dodgson

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A memoir that is a love story about the transformational power of music

Publication date: Summer 2019
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About the book

This isn’t a conventional music memoir. There are no hit records, no celebrity anecdotes and no tales of remorse after episodes of excess and debauchery. Instead there is a story about boy growing up in a small town on the Kent coast in the 1970s, who falls in love with music, learns to play the guitar and dreams of heading out onto the open road and singing out loud with a head full of songs. He likes deeply unfashionable music, is never cool and makes questionable fashion choices. But he writes songs that seem to express the complications and contradictions of life around him, though when the time comes to make choice he is not brave enough to try and do it for a living.

Time passes but the desire to explain the world through lyrics and music never goes away. And as the years go by it gets harder and harder to risk making a fool of himself, of doing the very thing he would most like to do, of actually being himself. Eventually, 35 years later, when it feels like time is running out, desire overcomes anxiety and he walks out onto a stage in front of 500 people and begins to sing again.

There follows an extraordinary journey of self-discovery as he performs in pubs, clubs, theatres and festivals and experiences what it really means to live the dream.

On The Road Not Taken is a love story about the transformational power of music, it is an account of a 1970s childhood, it tells of overcoming anxiety to experience the ecstasy of performance. If you have heard any of Paul Dodgson’s acclaimed memoir plays on BBC Radio 4 you will know how he amplifies small details from the past to shine a light on the present day. There will be all this and more in On The Road Not Taken.

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