For the past two or three years, I've become fascinated with the punk and underground music scene in China. While the current crop of bands are getting decent (if somewhat condescending) western media attention, the origins of the scene are full of big blanks that no one has stepped forward to fill in. This book changes that completely.
Unlike at-a-safe-distance academic studies or thinly-sourced 'history of rock' efforts, Dave O'Dell was actually there, studying and working in Beijing. And he wasn't just anthropologically observing an existing scene- he actually helped start it- making friends, booking the first-ever shows, playing in bands, working with record labels, dodging police raids and getting righteously loaded.
Set against the backdrop of contemporary China's fast-forward from 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' to corporate hyper-modernity, "Inseparable" is a real neat snapshot of a time, a place and a micro-culture of misfits that nobody else has even attempted. I found it invaluable. That it was often funny as hell was a nice bonus.