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“Is music a good enough reason for living? I don’t know, but it’s a decent start…”

A must-read for anybody who treats music as a matter of life and death, Tom Kirkham takes us on an unfiltered, funny and insightful journey of self-discovery and self-annihilation as he goes on a year-long mission into the heart of the live music scene.

Burnt-out and depressed, Kirkham is plunged into an existential crisis following the death of his idol Prince. Seeking enlightenment, he begins a quest that will take in three continents, numerous venues and even more gigs, while Brexit, Trump and Terror lurk ominously in the background.

Pop Life unpicks the shortcomings of a society too focused on first world problems at the expense of mental wellbeing and celebrates the restorative power of music.

Check out coverage of Tom and Pop Life below:

Louder Than War

Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club

Cover to Cover…

The Bury Times

This Can Happen

The Books Podcast

The Ginger Quiff

“Often told with humour, with other elements of his story touching a raw nerve, Pop Life is a tale of the human condition and triumph over adversity.”


“heartfelt, funny, ever so slightly crazed.”


“The guy you’d want beside you on a road trip... Hilarious - go buy the book!”

- Rock and Roll Book Club


"A book which asks if the delirium of music fandom can help keep you sane: acerbic, heartbreaking and very, very funny"

-Joe Banks, music writer for Mojo, Prog and Shindig!


“Prince’s passing inspires this extraordinary musical diary of pop life. From Dylan to Sophie Ellis Bextor, TOm Kirkham takes us on an insightful and hilarious voyage of discovery: 65+ gigs crammed into a roller-coaster year.”

 -Mark Beech, author of All You Need Is Rock, editor of DANTE


“there are countless shows in diverse corners of the world but it was Tom Kirkham's personal journey that really drew me in. This is the story of a writer struggling with his own demons, finding solace and meaning in music, and bravely sharing the experience with a disarming and often hilarious honesty.”

- Lou Rhodes, Mercury-nominated songwriter and singer in Lamb

“An unfiltered, funny and insightful journey through Kirkham’s relationship with music, work and mental health.”



“Tries to make sense of Trump, Brexit and terrorism, and asks whether music might be a solution, or at least at least a distraction, from them.”

- The Bury Times