20th Jul 2010
How’s Your Dad? by Zoë Street Howe
How’s Your Dad? Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent is the latest book from Zoë Street Howe, on whom I’m not ashamed to admit having quite the crush. Funny, self-deprecating, chatty and sweet, not to mention a talented writer indeed, having been lucky enough to meet Zoë at the launch of How’s Your Dad, I defy anyone to do the same and not be smitten.
I first heard of Zoë when her début biography, Typical Girls? The Story of The Slits was gushed about by riot grrrls across the nation after its release last summer. Meticulously-researched with interviews with the leading ladies and those around them, it’s a rich and evocative account of their story and their continued legacy. Zoë’s latest book, however, is a look into the lives of the children of rock royalty, separating the urban myths and the media vitriol from the reality of being the child of a music industry icon.
Inspired by the over-familiar opening gambit posed all too often to Zoë’s husband, Dylan Howe, son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe, How’s Your Dad? boasts an exhaustive roll-call beyond the usual suspects of Geldofs and Osbournes (although they are in there too). Exhaustively-researched but then edited with warmth and affection, I read the entire book in one sitting whilst sunning myself under the apple tree, and finished it feeling like I’d just had an epic gossip session with a beloved best friend.
Structured thematically, with each chapter focusing on subjects such as drugs, school, absence and the bright side of being born to a rock star, Zoë skilfully disassembles the legends, popular misconceptions and media hysteria, with contributions from Julian Lennon, Calico Cooper, and Joe Strummer‘s daughter Jazz Domino Holly (founder of the wonderful Shoreditch Sisters Women’s Institute) among many more. The result is a book which is as rich, vivid, unconventional, funny and poignant as its diverse source material. Read it, and think twice next time you’re tempted to bitch about Peaches or Pixie.
How’s Your Dad? Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent is published by Omnibus Press and came out in June. Get it from Amazon for £10.47. Zoë Street Howe will also be one of our wonderful authors at this year’s Ladyfest, so watch this space for more info about that!
Post by Jane Bradley