"Extraordinary... Prepare to be inspired" ( Sunday Telegraph)
"Bernard Levin once told me that journalism was "half gossip, half obsession, half slog and half madness". If that's true Play it Again is a minor classic from a major hack...it's about a stressed, insanely busy middle-aged person finding time to cultivate a hobby and discovering that his inner fire has been rekindled. That's a lesson we all need." (Richard Morrison The Times)
"As soon as you enter the pages you are hooked, not just by the efforts to overcome this elusive piece through curiousity and courage, but by the clear way in which the diary takes the reader into the murky world of WikiLeaks and the still more polluted waters of phone hacking by News International... Riveting stuff... Play It Again is a hugely enjoyable, touching and informative volume" ( Literary Review)
"An absorbing and technically detailed book. Rusbridger is a vivid writer who is able to make the physical experience of playing the piano.very gripping." (Nicholas Kenyon Times Literary Supplement)
"In his page-turning diary, Chopin has to make room for Julian Assange, Leveson and the hacking scandal. This charming, nimble, book argues that a life cannot be too rounded nor a day too full." ( Daily Telegraph)
As editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger's life is dictated by the demands of the 24-hour news cycle. It is not the kind of job that leaves much time for hobbies.
But in the summer of 2010, he managed to make his annual escape to a 'piano camp'. Here, inspired by another amateur's rendition, he set himself an almost impossible task: to learn, in the space of a year, Chopin's Ballade No.1, a piece with passages that demand outstanding feats of dexterity, control, memory and power - a piece that inspires dread in many professional pianists.
His timing could have been better.
The next twelve months were to witness the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami and the English riots, and were bookended by the Guardian breaking two remarkable news stories: WikiLeaks and the News of the World hacking scandal. It was a defining year in the life of the Guardian and its editor, and one of the most memorable in the history of British journalism.
Such was the background against which he tried to carve out twenty minutes' practice a day, find the right teacher, the right piano, the right fingering - even if that meant practising in a Libyan hotel in the middle of a revolution. Fortunately, he was able to gain insights and advice from an array of legendary pianists, from theorists, historians and neuroscientists, from a network of brilliant amateurs unearthed online, even occasionally from secretaries of state.
But was he able to play the piece in time?
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