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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Several short book reviews


I was disabled for much of yesterday - I had three migraine auras back to back, which I'd think is not supposed to happen. So maybe I've got a brain tumour or something, which I guess means I have to cut back on my blogging and increase my drinking and fucking.

Seriously, yeah, I'll go to the doctor maybe next week, though he'll just call me a sissy and tell me to fuck off.

Anyway, I didn't look for any news at all last night, because I'm having fun reading Appetite for Self-Destruction - a fun book about all the stupid things the record industry has done in the past 30 years.

On another note, I finished Matthew Hart's Gold a couple weeks ago, and I heartily recommend it to everyone. Rollicking good read, though very disjointed - it jumps from history of gold to specific gold exploration stories to gold's economic use, back and forth and back and forth. But it interviews some of the big stars of gold mining, and that alone is worth the price. In fact, I already told Brent Cook to quit being a penny-pincher and just buy the damn book.

Oh, also, a month ago I read Tracey Thorn's autobiography Bedsit Disco Queen. I never was a fan of EBTG, but the book is a completely pleasant history of British alternative music told from the POV of someone who started in a garden shed playing girl-punk and ended up a dance music diva. She's a great storyteller and it's a book that you literally never want to put down because you're always rooting for her. Five stars for sure.

Contrast that with Simon Pegg's Nerd Do Well, which frankly is boring the shit out of me right now. I think his films are fantastic, but I guess it's a really horrible idea to let a British stand-up comedian write an autobiography: it just lies there flat, and frankly it's not doing anything to make me care what happens next.

Also contrast Tracey Thorn with Sara Marcus' Girls to the Front, a history of the US riot girl movement. It does go into tremendous detail, so you'll come out knowing everything you ever wanted to know about e.g. Bratmobile; but fuuck, reading this book before Tracey Thorn's sure will give you a very interesting contrast between the girl-punk of the 1970s and the girl-punk of the 1990s. The rank viciousness of some of the people in the riot girl movement is pretty unbelievable if you weren't there at that time.

Tracey Thorn was also political, and Tracey Thorn was also a feminist; but her own life story isn't filled with character assassination, backstabbing, or bullshit political purges of neighbourhood friends. Then again, maybe the difference is that young people in the 1970s were more grown-up and responsible towards their peers, while the 1990s generation was a bunch of entitled fucking brats? Anyway, Girls to the Front is a good historical read, but its story keeps echoing the barbarism of Lord of the Flies.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing recently - reading.


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