Abbey's Bookshop Logo
Go to my checkout basket
Login to Abbey's Bookshop
Register with Abbey's Bookshop
Performing Arts
Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Peter Ackroyd


Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child. Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition, his childhood was an isolated one, scented with fish from his father's shop. Afraid to leave his bedroom, he would plan great voyages, using railway timetables to plot an exact imaginary route across Europe. So how did this fearful figure become the one of the most respected film directors of the twentieth century?

As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press' portrait of himself, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. In this quick-witted portrait, Ackroyd reveals something more: a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances, just as Hitch did in his own films.

Grace Kelly, Carey Grant and James Stewart despair of his detached directing style, and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren endures cuts and bruises from a real-life fearsome flock of birds. Alfred Hitchcock wrests the director's chair back from the master of control and discovers what lurks just out of sight, in the corner of the shot.
Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism

Thomas Brothers


Nearly 100 years after bursting onto Chicago's music scene under the tutelage of Joe  King  Oliver, Louis Armstrong is recognized as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. A trumpet virtuoso, seductive crooner, and consummate entertainer, Armstrong laid the foundation for the future of jazz with his stylistic innovations, but his story would be incomplete without examining how he struggled in a society seething with brutally racist ideologies, laws, and practices. 

Thomas Brothers picks up where he left off with the acclaimed Louis Armstrong's New Orleans, following the story of the great jazz musician into his most creatively fertile years in the 1920s and early 1930s, when Armstrong created not one but two modern musical styles. Brothers wields his own tremendous skill in making the connections between history and music accessible to everyone as Armstrong shucks and jives across the page. Through Brothers's expert ears and eyes we meet an Armstrong whose quickness and sureness, so evident in his performances, served him well in his encounters with racism while his music soared across the airwaves into homes all over America. 

Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism blends cultural history, musical scholarship, and personal accounts from Armstrong's contemporaries to reveal his enduring contributions to jazz and popular music at a time when he and his bandmates couldn't count on food or even a friendly face on their travels across the country. Thomas Brothers combines an intimate knowledge of Armstrong's life with the boldness to examine his place in such a racially charged landscape.

In vivid prose and with vibrant photographs, Brothers illuminates the life and work of the man many consider to be the greatest American musician of the twentieth century.
The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935

The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935

Paolo Cherchi Usai ,  Catherine A. Surowiec


Published to coincide with Technicolors centennial in 2015, The Dawn of Technicolor recounts the beginnings of one of the most widely recognized names in the American film industry. Following its incorporation in 1915, Technicolor developed a series of two-colour processes as necessary steps toward full-colour photography and printing. Despite success in the laboratory and in small-scale production, the company was plagued by repeated disappointments. With the support of patient investors and the visionary leadership of Herbert T. Kalmus, Technicolor eventually persevered against daunting odds to create the only commercially viable colour process for motion pictures. The Dawn of Technicolor investigates the vital make-or-break years, as the firm grew from a small team of exceptional engineers into a multimillion-dollar corporation. The authors chart the making of pivotal films in the process, from the troubled productions of Ben-Hur (1925) and The Mysterious Island (192629), to the early short films in Technicolors groundbreaking three-color process: Walt Disneys animated Flowers and Trees (1932) and the live-action La Cucaracha (1934). The book spotlights the talented engineers and filmmakers associated with Technicolor and the remarkable technical innovations that finally made color films practical, changing the film industry forever.
Film Studies For Dummies

Film Studies For Dummies

James Cateridge


Make sense of the world of cinema! Want to pull back the curtain on film? This hands-on, friendly guide unravels the complexities of film and helps you put cinema into a cultural context. You'll get an easy-to-follow introduction to different film genres and styles, learn about the history of cinema, get to know who makes up a filmmaking team, explore global cinema from Hollywood to Bollywood and much more. 

Film Studies For Dummies  will open your mind to how the film industry works and help you to discover the impact of film on popular culture. You'll get easy-to-read information on analyzing and critiquing film from a range of theoretical, historical and critical perspectives, and learn how people communicate ideas in film. You'll also be able to shine a light on how stories are developed in movies, understand how a storyline is related to broader issues in society and become a well-versed and insightful film student.  Covers the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic and political implications of cinema  Provides conceptual frameworks for understanding a film's relationship to reality  Explores how people tell stories and communicate ideas in film  Helps you excel as a student of film.

Whether you're planning to study film, a humanities student with a forthcoming module on film or a film enthusiast wondering if this might be the future for you,  Film Studies For Dummies  has you covered.
The Blues: A Visual History

The Blues: A Visual History

Mike Evans


The Blues: A Visual History will be a unique, fully illustrated (over 250 colour images) account of the blues - the common denominator that has driven and permeated the popular music of the last hundred years. As well as tracing the story of the blues through its various styles, the book will include profiles of no fewer than fifty key artists - including fact files with biographical information, recording histories (and must have Playlists ) and more, for each - and feature the most important blues performers. Each chapter also includes three special features that will focus on specific topics of particular interest, and give insights into the social background in which the blues developed as a form. Quotes and firsthand accounts from a variety of musicians and singers, plus eminent blues historians, record producers, and journalists worldwide. Unrivalled illustrated celebration of the blues - other titles on the market are either primarily text accounts or encyclopaedia style reference books. Access to key archives including the Smithsonian Institution (NB the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is opening in 2015), the Library of Congress, the Mississippi Blues Foundation, University of Mississippi Blues Archive, the Delta Blues Museum, and many more.
In the All-Night Cafe: A Memoir of Belle and Sebastian's Formative Year

In the All-Night Cafe: A Memoir of Belle and Sebastian's Formative Year

Stuart David


Belle & Sebastian have been making critically acclaimed music since 1996. They have played hundreds of gigs, won a Brit Award, their music has been featured in films such as High Fidelity and Juno and their unsettling, often surreal, songs, delicate melodies and alternative approach to pop stardom has earned them armies of fans all over the world. In The All-Night Cafe is founder member Stuart David's charming and evocative account of Belle & Sebastian's early history. A fascinating portrait of the group, it is also a story that will resonate with anyone who has put together (or thought of putting together) a band. Set against a vivid background of early 90s Glasgow, In the All-Night Cafe begins with the fortuitous meeting of Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David on a course for unemployed musicians. It tells of their adventures in two early incarnations of Belle & Sebastian and culminates in the recording of the band's much-loved and highly-praised debut album, Tigermilk. A highly praised novelist and musician, Stuart David brings to life the music and the early days of this most enigmatic and intriguing of bands.
On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno

On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno

David Sheppard


Authorised biography of Brian Eno - the 'Father of Ambient Music' A sonic alchemist to the stars, Brian Eno's address book is a veritable who's who of rock and pop. Tellingly, his involvement with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2 has coincided with these artists producing their most challenging and critically revered work. ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno, from an idiosyncratic childhood to 1960s art school and the sharp end of pop charts around the world.
Your cart does not contain any items.