please kill me

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

I am rarely asked for book recommendations (I’m not going to reflect too long on why that might be), but I feel like I have a few good ones to offer. I try to keep my current books list up to date and have posted my book club’s picks, but no one needs me to recommend the type of current / popular books that Amazon would recommend anyway. So here's something a little different.
On a tip from one Jess Mariano (whom I still miss) I picked up Please Kill Me, an oral history of punk music. It was rare for me to voluntarily read non-fiction but this book helped convince me that the real world can be just as fascinating and engaging as imaginary ones.

I was was totally engrossed by the history of the Detroit, New York, and London scenes and their roots in the social and political failures of 1960s ideals. The oral history format is perfect for punk's ethos - who better to tell this story than the outrageous, real-life cast who created it?

To me, the greatest thing about punk is the energy and spirit of it: that anyone can do anything they want to do, and that they should. This gets taken to negative extremes, obviously, and ends tragically for a lot of the main players. I remember thinking that someone who did as much heroin and made as many poor life choices as Iggy Pop did probably doesn't deserve to still be alive. Some characters are pitiable, and some (like Debbie Harry) are totally awesome. It's a book that provokes strong feelings. It's funny, disgusting, sad, appalling, and sobering. If you're at all interested in the more palatable musical trends that came before and after punk, and especially in the various post-punk genres inspired by the DIY ethic, then I highly recommend this book. Also, it has pictures!

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this here ma blog.

I like to talk about things I have no particular expertise in. Especially music.

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