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Wild Highway [Paperback]

Bill Drummond , Mark Manning
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2005
Bill Drummond and Mark Manning's first trip together, to the North Pole, resulted in the classic book Bad Wisdom. Their second trip was to Zaire, a jungle hell on the verge of bloody civil war, where they travelled up-river in search of the ghost of Conrad's Kurtz. With trusty adjutant Gimpo, they underwent all manner of adventures and ordeals before finally fleeing the country the very day before rebels blew up the only international airstrip.

Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Creation Books (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840681160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840681161
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 914,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Save Literally Our Soles 2 Sep 2005
Another work of genius from Drummond & Manning. Keenly awaited follow up to "Bad Wisdom", the self declared Zen Masters retread the journey from Conrad's Heart of Darkness in an attempt to reclaim their misplaced souls.
As with the previous book, the narrative alternates between Bill's introspective self loathing & Z's more lavish (disturbingly pornographic) passages. In fact there seems to be a lot less of Bill, and a hell of a lot more Z.
If constant references to "bumming" aren't your thing, then it may be best to avoid. If on the other hand, you found the Marquis de Sade a little tame, then this should be your next purchase.
Constantly amusing, extremely well written & very eloquent. I'd hesitate to say educational, but why not. A true journey to the heart of all darkness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece 28 Oct 2005
By W Storr
An even better work than 'Bad Wisdom'. Drummond and Manning's contrasting writing styles compliment each other perfectly, with the former's sulky, spare, thoughtful and engaging and acting as a necessary ballast to Manning's powerful, electric and depraved fantasies.
Both are brilliant for very different reasons. As with Bad Wisdom, Manning's constant desire to shock does get a touch tedious and predictable towards the end, whilst Drummond suffers from a lack of confidence (he confesses that he thinks his account of their trip to Europe probably needed editing down - but I thought it was amongst his best stuff). But those are quibbles. This is another astonishing book.
Here's to part three...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, obviously, and well worth the wait 28 Aug 2005
This long, long, LONG-awaited follow-up to the justifiably legendary (at least 'round my way it is) "Bad Wisdom" is finally with us, twice the size of its predecessor and groaning with subversive delights. I would never use the word 'subversive' lightly, but Messers Drummond and Manning live and breathe it.
This time around they're off to Africa, former Zaire to be precise, on an insanely dangerous mission to track down the notorious President Mobutu on the grounds that he is the closest Earthly equivalent to Satan himself and can perhaps be wheedled with or conned into giving Bill and Z their souls back - they apparantly sold theirs way back in their KLF/Zodiac Mindwarp days. Bill intends to use a Punch and Judy show for this purpose. Don't ask.
One might think that with the very real horrors of everyday life in Africa, yet another volume full of Z's psychosexual phantasies would be not only tiresome but irrelevant, made a nonsense of by the brutal surroundings. Not a bit of it. Scarcely believably, Manning has outdone even himself here, the hallucinatory horrorshow and sub-De Sade misogyny making the collected lives and times of Patrick Bateman, Klaus Kinski and "Bad Wisdom"'s more outrageous excesses seem almost tame. Yes, really. Even when he calms down a little, he remains possessed of a wonderfully acrid turn of phrase, not to mention an almost schizophrenic ability to connect unrelated idioms. Bits alluding to "Naked Lunch" and "Moby Dick" slide in and out of his narratives. Aleister Crowley, Baudelaire and the revolting Arab slave trader Tippu Tipp make cameo appearences. His account of a bad trip on ibogaine will raise the hairs on the back of your neck - Daniel Pinchbeck's account in "Breaking Open The Head" made the drug seem comparitively benign.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the literary superstars they think they are 19 Oct 2005
By Mr. Stuart Bruce TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is much weaker than the first volume in this 'real-life adventure series', "Bad Wisdom". This book lacks the sense of fun in the first, and yet it also lacks in terms of philosophical impact.
It also lacks editorial control- Drummond seems incapable of writing anything except dates, times and dialogue, and Manning seems only capable of writing about twisted sex, which had novelty shock value on the first book, but is mostly worthless here. Drummond and Manning regularly question the quality and worth of each other's writing within the text, and far too often Drummond crosses that line into amateurism by writing about writer's block.
The adventure up the Congo that they actually took, which forms the basis of this book, would have been a goldmine for any decent travel writer and could have been a classic in the making- yet in the hands of Drummond and Manning you're left with reams of self-referential nothingness and a wish that somebody else was there to tell you insightfully what really happened.
Both writers seem convinced that because they once produced rock records, they have a fanbase of unquestionning product-buyers that will lap up every word. At times they seem determined to stretch that loyalty to the limit by producing 400 pages of awkward, uninspiring, worthless prose.
It's not without its funny moments but unless you decided that "Bad Wisdom" is a work of literary genius, don't bother.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars who would have imagined? 2 Oct 2005
By Tal Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Indeed, who COULD have imagined that Bill Drummond, co-founder of the KLF, would be the last true beat writer? Although not as well authored as, say, Burroughs, Kerouac, or Thompson, the book does cover a lot of existential ground. Drummond's logs throughout Z's and Gimpo's ramblings serve as treatises of reality, sort of olive branches offered to a reader trapped in the creative unapologetic word vortex. There's lots of violence, drugs, sex, and certainly lots of filler. The book is a heavy read, not the kind of adventure one feels the urge to digest in one sitting. I enjoyed the open-ended writing style. One word of warning though, the book makes many (albeit often subtle) references to its prequel, Bad Wisdom. What will that curmudgeon Drummond and his pesky cronies be up to next time? Perhaps a recovery mission for a certain box of hidden money in a place which smells of sulfur? ;)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Conrad's Heart of Darkness really happened . . . 13 Aug 2006
By Insert Pen Name Here - Published on Amazon.com
These self styled "language bandits," seem to have forgotten the beat movement ended 30 years ago. Having been desesitized and left bored by their post rock 'n roll years, these authors, obviously unhappy w/ the westernized mores and morals flooding them on every side in London, set out on their own deathwish. A modern Heart of Darkness it truly is, weaving fact and fiction into a truly original piece of work that should find a home in all readers who are bored w/ everything they have read and have almost given up on it. This is a very visceral writing style. While I believe almost all of Drummond's introverted, suffocating, and racist prose describing the hell hole that is Zaire, it is Mark Manning's counterpoint flashes of illusion which actually give you not only the heart of Zaire, but the impeccable danger it is to be these men.

While I hardly believe any of the homo-preoccupation, serial killing, sadomasochistic rambling of Manning, I have the feeling he would do all these things to the Zairens if he wasn't concerned about the consequences.

These two writers are purposefully offensive. They essentially want wave a big middle finger at the modern world by traveling on their own devil finding mission at the pit of humanity.

A very interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone who wished Henry Miller would have decided his sexual escapades would have found more impact on his prose in the third world AIDS infested equatorial state of Zaire, than in France.
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