Resist Phony Encores!

Resist Phony Encores! is a selective memoir in the form of graphics, images, and mass communications by musician Gruff Rhys. Rhys weaves anecdotes from his life in performance through designer and long-term collaborator Mark James’ xeroxed graphics and doctored photos, as well as cue cards, which—for the past 15 years—Rhys has used as a part of his live performances.

Applause! Louder! Thank You! Etc. These cue cards have gradually become more ambitious and absurd: Wild Abandon! Burger Franchise Opportunity! Generic Festival Reaction! The crowd generally goes wild on cue, prompting Rhys to seek explanations for the unimaginable highs and weirdness of life in music through the lens of crowd psychology. The book will appeal to students of linguistics, propaganda, and graphic design, and anyone interested in music and live performance.

“Suddenly there was little pressure for me to communicate with the audience, when all I was interested in was writing and singing songs. Which was just as well as I had very little in the way of social skills and couldn’t speak very clearly or look an audience in the eye, and I wasn’t interested in people having a good time.”

From minority-language punk rock through crowd psychology and a critique of the buffoonish leaders of our times, the book is a chance to accompany Rhys’s singular imagination towards an understanding of our communal need for music, searching gently and comically for the meaning of life itself. This is a roadmap and call to arms for anyone seeking to Resist Phony Encores!

Rhys originally performed Resist Phony Encores! as an acclaimed one-man slide show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2018.

Published by Hat & Beard Press, 144 pgs, 23 × 15 cm, Hardcover, 2020