Meet Me In The Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman review

New York’s literary skyline gets a spectacular 21st-century landmark

Cover art for Meet Me In The Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman

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While we’ve been saturated with accounts of New York’s Warhol and CBGB eras, 21st-century developments remained unchronicled until this monolithic new work by journalist Lizzy Goodman, who used an oral history approach and interviewed more than 200 main players, musicians, writers, DJs and scenesters.

The story starts with The Strokes, New York’s last great rock band, whose career followed the common arc of meteoric rise followed by drugs-and-booze ruin, then weaves Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, White Stripes, Interpol, The Killers, Kings Of Leon, Vampire Weekend and more into 600 riveting pages. New York remains the lead character; sanitised by its Prohibition-style 90s crackdown, changed forever by 911 (the book’s most gripping section) then the internet as the Lower East Side is swallowed by gentrification, leading to today’s flourishing Brooklyn scene.

The endless hard drugs, flowing booze, high-jinks debauchery and business shenanigans show that nothing really changes, whichever era you’re following.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!