Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I think "Retromania" is the best music book of the 21st Century so far. But of course I am not including the great rock n' roll memoirs, but just talking about "music books" as a cultural thing. And this is a very important book to me, with respect to how music fans react to pop in general. If you are like me, a long term fan of pop music and its trends, and you are middle-aged, one thing comes to mind. There is nothing new happening in contemporary music. In fact its a shocking fact. If i get a buzz on something that's out there, more likely it came from the distant past - the 60's or 50's even.
Simon Reynolds doesn't have an answer for all of this, but he is the first writer of my generation to comment on how pop is just plain old. And old is not really bad, but...its still old! Reynolds even goes beyond music and into fashion as well. His knowledge of pop culture is right on the dot, with respect to him focusing on various trends and readings on contemporary culture. I also find his writings on the download culture fascinating. And if you are a music fan, one can imagine that one is busy downloading as fast as they can, but more likely not hearing everything. So therefore we're hording music instead of enjoying and thinking about music. And is this a good thing? Most say no, but habits are hard to break.
What i do know is that the shock of the new probably won't happen to me in my life time. I remember certain records giving me that 'wow. The Yardbirds double A single of "I'm a Man' and "Still I'm Sad." The first Roxy Music album. And the Kinks "Village Green Preservation Society." The first listening of those records put me into the 'now.' And that is what's missing in my listening life right now - the 'now' factor.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
A wonderful fine for me. And to think of it, I only picked this book up because it had Paris in its title, and its published by New Directions. Such a beautiful start, and the end is just as wonderful. Enrique Vila-Matas' novel "Never Any End to Paris" is for me a mediative and hysterical look at a writer and the writing Parisian writing world, that exists in real life, but also in one's imagination.
It reads like a memoir, and for all I know it is a memoir, but alas, one can see this as almost an early Jean-Luc Godard film. Zillion of quotes, and literary & film references a go-go. And that is part of he fun of this novel.
The main character is an obsessed Hemingway fan who may or may not be a talented writer. And that in the end is not that important, what's the deal is the life one imagines. Everyone from Boris Vian to Guy Debord come through these pages, and one can write an endless amount of footnotes if that was the need. But alas, its a trip to a romantic notion of a writer drifting through Paris 20th century literary life. It was sad to see this novel ending...