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garth cartwright

Garth Cartwight's will be talking about his new book Going For A Song - a wonderfully detailed history of the great British record shop.


Garth’s been writing his entire adult life. Initially beginning with scribbles on Auckland punk and reggae bands as a teenager in the early 1980s, Garth developed into one of New Zealand’s most outspoken writers on visual arts, music, sport and all things multicultural. Winning two Qantas Journalism awards in 1989 and being awarded an Arts Council grant, he took off to the US where he brought a rusty 1976 Buick Skylark and covered 25,000 miles in search of surviving strands of blues, soul, Cajun, Tex-Mex and other American roots music. Passing across the US border into Mexico, he travelled around Central America and Cuba then returned to the US where he lived in San Francisco for several months before the Gulf War policies of Prez George Bush made him take refuge in London.

Arriving in 1991 at the height of the recession meant much time spent impoverished and unemployed alongside stints doing shit jobs picking fruit, doing door and stage at the Edinburgh Festival’s largest comedy theatre, packing videos, bussing tables in Covent Garden Restaurants, temping, cold calling for market research firms and labouring on the New British Library building site.

Garth escaped the McJob syndrome by winning the Guardian’s 1996 Award For Music Writing and has since written for all the major UK broadsheets and magazines, reported for The World Service arts programme The Strand, penned a human rights report on Romania’s Gypsy Musicians ‘A Little Bit Special’: Censorship & Romania’s Gypsy Musicians (, written a world music guide for Tower Records, contributed to both 1001 Albums & Songs You Should Hear Before You Die, written for various Time Out and Voyageur Press books, compiled and written sleeve notes for various albums (both Princes Amongst Men and More Miles Than Money have respective “soundtrack” CDs out) and such.

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