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Bad Wisdom: The Lighthouse at the Top of the World Paperback – 31 Oct 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (31 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140261184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140261189
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S Wilson on 23 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is all at once:
A document of hate aimed towards the corporate take over of music, an analysis of the last 60 years of popular culture, a shody but effective handbook for aspiring zen masters, a vicious and pornographic account of justifiable excess, a call to arms against the tyranny of MTV, a hope inspiring reply to those who would say mankind has failed, and a return to fear and loathing.
Two very contrasting accounts of one brave journey. They should teach this in school.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mike Cormack on 3 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is quite literally the best book I've ever read (above King Lear, Wuthering Heights, Howards End, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man - I did English at uni). High praise, you might say: how can that possibly be merited? What sets it apart from all the others?
Well for a start the structure is unique: it's apparently the accounts from two friends when three of them set out to take a picture of Elvis to the North Pole, "to release the divine Presley-esque vibes" onto a troubled world. These accounts however come at a chunk at a time and hence merge, twist and inter-twine in a fascinating manner. More importantly the two versions of what occurs are extremely divergent: Bill (Drummond, formerly of the KLF) tells a fairly straightforward report, mixed in with his passionate, iconoclastic, and sometimes bizarre theories and life-history. But Z (aka Mark Manning, formerly of Zodiac Mindwarp) takes this to the Nth level and vents fervent, vile, sexual fantasies and mindboggling descriptive passages upon the gentle reader.
It's as though Bill's version is heightened by a million times by LSD, pornography and the most lushly literate prose I've ever encountered. E.g. "Angel-white light and electric sunflowers cascade like slow-motion cheery blossom; the warm lightning of absolute comprehension runs through my veins like a morphine speed train; a hummming generator of enlightenment lights up every single nerve-ending in my body".
In all this is Z's evil sexual fantasies which take some stomach. However they are deliberately completely over the top, in a knowing postmodern way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Murphy on 16 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
Two grown men, half a clue and the King of Rock & Roll. Just a few of the elements that make up this compelling journey to the frozen wastelands. I read the first edition of this released a few years ago and throughly enjoyed it. It must be said that some of the language may repel some, but if you bear with it you will be more than satisfied.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My goodness. I have NO idea how or why I originally bought this. I know it was in 96, in a bookshop in Guildford, where I was a student.

I managed to read it in one night. Why? Because I couldn't stop.

I had recently found that I could read for pleasure, rather than for homework and had spent the previous 12 months devouring everything and anything in my path. Friends had reccomended various modern classics (Hunter S Thompson, Kerouac and the like) and I found that the strict structure taught in schools was not only wrong, but flawed. I found that words, correctly ordered could be beautiful, regardless of their content.

This, however, threw me for six. As you can tell from the other write-ups, we have a journey of 3 friends, and two accounts. The journey is ridiculous and they know it. So what? Both writers are at the peak of their game, the sheer bloody beauty of the written word, and the difference in styles is nothing less than a joy. It even becomes self aware - the writers trying to make sense of their grotesqeuly different imaginings of events that occur between them - was it their upbringing, their taste in art, what?

On top of that, there is a story. Or rather two stories. A horrible, libellous, pornographicly disturbing and violent teenagers fantasy view of the world, brilliantly rendered onto the page and a more measured report, with self-effacing enquiry.

It still is, after 16 years, my favourite book because of what it meant to me then, what it taught me about literature and how it explores the thin line between fantasy and reality which we all truly live in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. J. Skelton on 15 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
The costing of this item seems a little much but given this imprint is now unavailable and it's hard to come by it might be worth shelling out the cash for what is a fine book.
Drummonds factual interpretation of the journey discussed is complemented by the rabid fantasy of mr Mindwarp...sorry Manning's wild and crazy mind..theres little more to add to what others have already said a great modern work that hopefullY will obtain further discovery over time.
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