The 27 Club

by Stuart Lennon

As per tradition. First - a customer service announcement. Clare is taking richly-deserved time off. The UK office will be closed from 24-28 August. No orders will be despatched during that week. By all means order away, and everything will go out on the Monday following. I (Stu) will be monitoring email and social from the mountain hideaway - so any problems, yell.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols.

I love listening to music. I have demonstrated a singular lack of ability to make it, although I was once characterised as a member of “une belle chorale ecossaise” by French Sports newspaper, L’Équipe. That’s a story for another time.

Justin Avery, the man behind Back Pocket, clearly likes a tune too. His “27 Club” is, “a set of four notebooks that pay respect to four of my favourite artists who were tragically taken from the world when they were only 27. The cover artwork is by artist Sean Jun and was commissioned exclusively for this set.”

Inspired by this, I pulled together an Apple Music playlist with 5 of my favourite tracks, from each of the performers.

The four artists are, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. That, Ladies and Gentlemen is one hell of a line up. Before we get into that - it’s worth mentioning that both Janis Joplin and Brian Jones (who formed a little band called the Rolling Stones) both qualify for this club too.

Hendrix (a lefty) always played right-handed guitars, re-strung to be played left-handed. His performance (included on the playlist) of the Star-Spangled Banner is rated by Guitar World as number one on their list of 100 greatest performances in rock history.

Contemporary to Hendrix, Jim Morrison was lead singer of psychedelic rock band, The Doors, with a disregard for his own health, that was legendary. Overblown lyrics perhaps, but the Doors captured the end of the 60’s perfectly.

Much later, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana came along. In 1991, they released the album, Nevermind, and Cobain was hailed as the voice of his generation. He was born three years before me, and I was captivated by him. Peculiarly, I remember visiting Jim Morrison’s grave with Nirvana on my Walkman. (Ask an old person!)

By the time Amy Winehouse burst onto the scene, I was living in North London, and like everybody else marvelled at this vulnerable, edgy, woman with the distinctive voice. Rehab was an anthem of the noughties.

Here’s the playlist

Oh! I nearly forgot. The notebooks.

36 120gsm Conqueror High White Pages, inside Accent Antique Magnolia 300gsm cover. 140mm by 90mm. The pages have a 6mm dot (cross) grid. That sort of quality paper will handle anything that you throw at it, ink-wise. There’s a bit of tooth there too, so I love them with pencils.

Each star has their own book, and as well as the beautiful artwork, there’s a snippet of history and a pithy quote on the inside covers.

These notebooks are personal, intentional and meaningful.