To begin with. It took me a while to figure out whether this book was primarily concerned with regret, coloured by being unfulfilled as a DJ’s life in the fast line unfolded, fracturing to the point of almost lost consequence. You could equally add the words bitterness, guilt and envy in amongst the long list of those rather fine, uniquely human frailties we all have to introspectively feast upon. Or is Long Relationships more simply a story of timely reflection about giving your all while having a great time doing so, driven purely by all the right reasons i.e. Love, Art and Music (although not necessarily in that particular order).
I don’t know Harold Heath but after reading this I feel like I do. At least in the sense of what makes him tick in terms produced by the excitement surrounding the culture of music we indulge ourselves in. However, it runs much deeper than that doesn’t it and it’s that very human aspect which shines a light on the highs and lows of musical existence in such rewarding, particularly illuminating ways. If you’ve ever lived and worked in music at least one part of this book’s story will touch memories you have also experienced, recalled here sometimes with an air of mournful disappointment, but then also in absolute genius, hilarious fashion – that description of boat parties alone is priceless. The joyous cynicism on offer similarly does its job by getting aimed squarely at blasting the trivial nature of Dj ego’s where merited, even if names aren’t mentioned you know the type, you’ve already seen the T-Shirt.
The contrast of serious, thought-provoking topics are offset by tales of the more mundane realities of Dj’ing and running nights. In fact a lot of what is written may prove painfully familiar as the tired repetition takes hold, perhaps shaking the foundation of why you may still care so much about it all. Likewise, the earning money aspects of contemporary music production are scrutinised wringing out every cell of financial pleasure that it should come with a health warning. But we still do it because Art is primarily the search for meaning in existence and how that is expressed. Not about cold-hearted, calculated reason.
His understanding and evaluation of Dance Music culture, its current state of play, alongside the way finance plays its role is necessarily spot on. Brutally truthful, yet leaving cause for optimism in some shape or future form. I hope. In fact this has to be some of the most telling writing on the subject there is to date.
Harold Heath’s book is happy, sad, celebratory and fascinating all in one read. I wouldn’t say cautionary because being alive should already tell you that. But its honest, sincere appraisal of what has preceded is both heart-warming and life assuring, even the more crushing aspects as you reach the end.