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Summary

From one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time, a piercingly tender, funny and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late '80s and '90s.

There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of Palladium; of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo; of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby - not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way.

But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play. At once bighearted and remorseless in its excavation of a lost world, Porcelain is both a chronicle of a city and a time and a deeply intimate exploration of finding one's place during the most gloriously anxious period in life, when you're on your own, betting on yourself, but have no idea how the story ends, and so you live with the honest dread that you're one false step from being thrown out on your face.

Moby's voice resonates with honesty, wit and, above all, an unshakable passion for his music that steered him through some very rough seas. Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it and hating it. It's about finding your people, your place, thinking you've lost them both and then, somehow, when you think it's over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians' memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.

©2016 Moby Entertainment (P)2016 Penguin Random House LLC

Critic reviews

"Even the most the most bizarre scenes are relayed with a deadpan charm." ( New York Daily News)
"...self-deprecating, hilarious and moving...." ( Chicago Tribune)
"Moby's writing comes alive when delving into the creative process of producing his music.... A distinctive addition to the recent spate of well-written memoirs by contemporary musicians." ( Kirkus Reviews)

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What members say

Average customer ratings

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High hopes but ultimately disappointed

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. I'm not particularly a fan of Moby's music but after hearing him on a podcast was struck by what an interesting guy he was. The book started off well and I enjoyed hearing about NY in the 1980s, about Moby's life, about how he started to become successful and about how he moved from sober Christian to getting into drugs and alcohol. He was very honest about his struggles with maintaining a career after his initial success and I was really interested in hearing about how things changed for him with the release of Play. However the book ends just before the release of Play and it is discussed in fairly abstract terms. I get that the book covers a specific time period but I was ultimately frustrated in finding out how he reconciled his early devotion to just playing music without interest in financial reward, with the highly commercialised success of the album Play. It was disappointing because much of the book is quite honest and reflective. Although there were interesting stories I felt ultimately disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant but unfinished

What did you like most about Porcelain?

The descriptive style of mobys writing paints a picture of each story. Mobys reading was great too, this always makes me more inclined to buy a autobiography when the author makes the effort to read it.

Any additional comments?

When the book finished I was disappointed (comes as more of a surprise with audio books if like me you don't pay attention to how much time is left). This is because it only takes us up to 1999. I want the rest! I hope moby is working on his second autobiography now as this was fantastic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great

Not knowing much about Moby other than that I liked his music it was a great surprise to here him talk so honestly about the highs and lows on the lead up to his mainstream success. Highly recommend to all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jay
  • Meath, Ireland
  • 18-12-17

Ridiculously interesting atypical and outstanding.

This audiobook literally kept me awake... no chance of even pausing it for a moment. Well written, well narrated... and well lived!!!

You don't need to be a moby fan to be able to appreciate the stories that formed the artist..

..would make a great film!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting insight..

I enjoyed this very much. Read by the author makes the book more human and relatable ..some funny story's in here. I can't help feel there is another book in him

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  • mr
  • 07-06-17

fascinating, brutally honest

an interesting window into the world of s successful artist, i spent much of this book being suprised at how down to earth he is, how ernest he is and how honest he is. I'm impressed and feel like yeah, he's one of us.

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Similar to Lemmy's autobiography

shallow, dull, forgettable. I thought this straight edge, vegan, punk might have something interesting to tell apart from 'I used to be poor'.
Same old story, traveled the world met some girls but it didn't make him happy or teach him anything

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Moby go go

A fascinating insight into the life and loves of an electronic music pioneer. Frank, funny and honest.

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Amazing

Moby takes you on a journey through his childhood to his early years as a struggling dj, ending just before the release of his best selling album 'play'.

Moby is a talented writer, this book is both funny and moving at times. his description of his mother and their relationship was particularly moving and helps tp shed light on his character and interests.

Well worth a read, even if you are ignorant enough to believe moby's talent begins and ends with sampling gospel vocals over simple chords and outdated drum machines.

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Every nook and cranny

This explains the reason for moby's changing veiws over the years.. Lots rock star antics.

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  • winston
  • 21-03-18

A sensitive and honest account of failure

Compelling to listen to. I loved the angle the book takes, being constantly woken up from trying to sleep while trying to live a life.

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  • Michael Hall
  • 07-11-17

Make this a movie!

A beautiful, honest and heartfelt book which sheds some light of an era of the early days of electronic music, albeit told from a New York perspective. Thank you Moby. We love you!