Author: Rich Wilson
Book Title: Time Flies: The Story of Porcupine Tree
Label: Rocket88 Books (2017)
Rating: This is a Highly Recommended must read!
I came to the Porcupine Tree party late in around the time of In Absentia and Deadwing. That said I was a quick convert and began spreading the Porcupine Tree message to any and all that would listen. So I was keen to dig into the history of this rather enigmatic band as outlined in Rich Wilson’s new book – Time Flies: The Story of Porcupine Tree, published by Rocket88 Books (rocket88books.com). First off let me say this is a marvelous document that left me anxiously looking forward to reading more each day. The handsome 250 page book is sturdily put together in hardcover with eleven chapters documenting events from day one. It’s a highly readable document of a band that has become iconic in the Progressive Rock music sphere. And on that point I found it ironic how, so often Steven Wilson strived to distance the band from the Prog genre marketplace, when by all accounts it was the ONLY genre fan-base that was so keen to adopt the band. On this point it seems “bloody-minded” for no good reason for Steven Wilson to have placed those Non-Prog riders in the band’s touring contracts. Still hopefully he’s learned from that. Back to the book it is written in such a conversational manner I found myself struggling to put it down. Wilson writes in a style that I aspire too. Each time he delves into a story or even an aspect of a story, just when you think he’s covered it, he adds just a little more to complete the picture. I loved it! The book begins and ends of course with Steven Wilson, but then very quickly we are exposed to dozens of major and minor characters who help flesh out the story. The book is replete with extensive quotes from all these people stitched together to weave a thoroughly engrossing tale. It would be a mistake to think this just a bio-book on Steven Wilson however, because although he is the brainchild of the band, Wilson makes sure that we get to hear from all the other members of the band and get to know not only their backgrounds but their contributions to Porcupine Tree. After the initial chapters of introduction, the book settles into a chapter-per-release format and he crafts a captivating tale of the band’s development and ascension to acceptance through to the day they decided to take that “extended hiatus.” I can’t recommend this book enough to fans of Porcupine Tree in that it fills in so many details regarding the music created over the band’s existence. But this is also a book that contains much for general music or Prog fans too. As for any shortcomings, well I would have liked to have seen a detailed discography as an appendix but that’s a minor quibble. Bottom line, Time Flies is a great read, richly satisfying and informative on so many levels I highly recommend it.