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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "..And substantiate the rumours that you've heard", 23 Jan 2009
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This review is from: The Many Lives of Tom Waits (Paperback)
Humphries indulges in his own creative writing exercise in this unofficial biography at the readers expense. Whilst he no doubt enjoyed taking on the Dashiel Hammmet and Chandleresque paragraph in homage to Tom Waits famously poetic and gritty lyricising, in this book Waits is used as an excuse for the authors self indulgent exercises in down beat prose. The original content can be reduced to four pages gleaned from Humphries only encounter with Waits personally during a short press slot in 1981 that by the authors own admission was cut short by time restraints and continued in a taxi ride to Waits hotel. Given this sparse original source material he resorts to the usual description of songs on albums that any Waits fan already owns (these have been covered in more detail and with more perceptive analysis elsewhere). Humphries sinks lower than this though filling page after page with baffling free association on the movie industry,politics, city scapes and particularly on Frances Ford Coppola, extensively listing films released at the same time as any Waits product making inappropriate links to British artists he HAS interviewed and generally using any fleet street hack trick to devour column inches and waste our time. The patronising tone in the USA travelogue sections designed to conextualise Waits- American content leave a lot to be desired also eg "there are two coasts east and west..." (intro pg viii)thanks for that I'd never have guessed!!... also continent wise aren't there two more? .The next time Mr Humphries has a free weekend to peruse the music press (if indeed this took him that long)and intends to plagiarise other authors interviews in order to produce a biography on a private and difficult to access artist, he would do well to restrain himself. The next time he wishes to indulge in his pretentions to write like Hammmett or Waits he should join an evening class or restrict the results to friends and family. To cite bad liver and a broken heart "it don't douse the flames" of reader curiosity into Waits as a character or his artistic creations that deserve better than this . "Substantiate the rumours that you've heard" Mr Humphries and publish only when you have enough original material to do so. Don't buy or you will have "Wasted and wounded taint what the moon did got what I paid for now.....". Dave Hawkes Essex.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jan 2010 06:15:21 GMT
A customer says:
Hmm... someone bought this book for me for Christmas, knowing I'm a big Waits fan, I guess, but after reading the reviews here I'm less than keen to tackle it.

I really hope you're wrong, but it's looking like I won't enjoy it.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2012 13:21:10 GMT
D. G. Hawkes says:
I hope I was wrong and I didn't spoil your x has prezzie . DH
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