The Troubles & Travails of a Travelling Musician.
Set-pieces & Scene Reports.
The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar is out now on The New Press!
“The Humorless Ladies” in NYTimes Book Review
“Franz Nicolay has always been the kind of musician who can sound like he’s roaming the world in the course of a single song. In this amazing road tale he captures how it feels for a wandering artist, scrounging in the underground punk scenes of Russia and the Balkans—sleepless nights and shaky trains, strong beer and unsavory companions–watching history turn inside out.” – Rob Sheffield (“Love Is A Mixtape,” Rolling Stone)
“If there isn’t already a shelf for Classic Punk Literature, we need to build it and stock it with Franz Nicolay. Part low-budget tour diary and part Slavic history lesson, this book is a love letter to the punk vie boheme; a delicious and hilarious borscht stew of untold histories, literary references, beautiful strangers and backstage vodka.” – Amanda Palmer (musician, “The Art of Asking”)
“Funny and wistful, The Humorless Ladies of Border Control is an engrossing romp that casts fresh eyes on Old World cultures rich in paradox. Franz Nicolay taps into the current cultural zeitgeist in the best travelogue tradition, with vivid scenes capturing the absurdities of daily life in the context of history and a deft reading of some of the most important cultural figures. – Gregory Feifer, NYTimes best-selling author of Russians: The People Behind the Power
“A truly remarkable book. On the surface, it’s a tour diary of shows around the wilder reaches of Eastern Europe and Russia, which would be interesting in itself. In actual fact, however, Franz has written a profound and perceptive travelogue in the vein of Paul Theroux or Rebecca West; like them, he teaches you about the places he visits, about the people he meets, about a forgotten but fascinating corner of world culture, and ultimately, about himself.” – Frank Turner (musician, “The Road Beneath My Feet”)
I’m thrilled to say I’m composing an original score for new work from choreographer Alison Chase (founding artistic director of the renowned dance companies Pilobolus and Momix), premiering Jan. 14-17 at the Five Angels Theater in NYC. Listen to the score here.
The New Press put my accordion pic on the cover of their spring catalog, they must mean business: “An audacious debut from a vivid new voice…an unforgettable, funny, and sharply drawn depiction of surprisingly robust hidden spaces.” If you like pre-ordering your books way in advance, it’s on Amazon.
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