Juke Box Jeopardy

The author's fourth pamphlet, a pop music-themed collection published by Red Squirrel Press in 2018. Shortlisted for the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award 2019 for an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year.

A compilation album of truth and fantasy, stories and imaginings, wishes and hopes. A top twenty that charts a boy’s stumbling path through the pop, rock and more of the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s. From Elvis to Ivan, from Dusty to Sandy, from Beatles to Incredibles, from Skiffle to Prog, no Stone is left unturned in this Genesis of a devotee. So, it’s time to get down and get with it as David Jacobs, John Peel, and even Roy Plomley, play the platters that mattered – once – in the life of a fan.

The author's eighth collection to date, this uniquely designed poetry pamphlet pays homage to the records of the past both visually and through its content. Poems inspired by stars such as Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithful, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen, and groups from The Beatles to Pink Floyd, from The Supremes to Fairport Convention are listed as if tracks on two sides of a vinyl disc, complete with liner notes and a dedicated play list. This is a collection which shows the poet’s lighter side while also taking a sideways look at the experiences of his youth.

reviews

'Clever. And beautifully executed. For someone like me, who used to live by vinyl, the invitation's comelling. ... The poet describes a life in music. Growing up, and out, was all about it. ... Alll the time, behind the scenes, life is changing and a boy is growing - first, to teenager 'freighted with eagar desires', then to grown man.'
Charlottee Gann, sphinxreview.co.uk    Read the full review here.

With infectious enthusiasm, Johnstone takes us on a journey through the history of his evolving relationship with music… with an air of playfulness, rather than arrogance, mak[ing] it clear his goal is to share and celebrate these works, not to show-off. Overall, Juke Box Jeopardy is an exuberant celebration of music for serious and casual fans alike. It invites the reader to not only reflect fondly on the past but also to look to the future with optimism.’  Kai Durkin, Dundee University Review of the Arts.   Read the full review here.

'Styled as an EP, Johnstone’s pamphlet is colourful and fun, much like the poetry within it. Johnstone showcased poems which explored music through from the 1950s through to the early 1970s, interspersed with relatable themes such as youth, progression and the dispersion of families. Johnstone was a warm and engaging speaker who utilized the musicality underlying his poems to wonderful effect.'  Review of Glasgow launch, Scottish Writers Centre.   Read the full review here.

comments

'The judges were impressed with the concept from start to finish, demonstrating innovation and experimentation in the pamphlet form. This example is an attractive object in itself, with a particular attention paid to small details. The judges commented that this is a publisher responding to the specific demands of presenting a poets’ project with verve and a fresh approach.'   Callum MacDonald Memorial Award judges