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Graham Duff

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The Industrial Revolution - Twentieth Anniversary Edition
The Industrial Revolution - Twentieth Anniversary Edition
by Dave Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The whole endeavour reads like something put together in a distracted hurry, 27 July 2015
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Now over two decades out of date, it attempts a broad overview of the Industrial music scene, its antecedents and descendants. Unfortunately, this volume is a minefield of factual inaccuracies, misnaming of artists and a fast and loose approach to grammar and punctuation. The whole endeavour reads like something put together in a distracted hurry.


Throbbing Gristle's "Twenty Jazz Funk Greats" (33 1/3)
Throbbing Gristle's "Twenty Jazz Funk Greats" (33 1/3)
by Drew Daniel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smart and insightful book, 27 July 2015
I’ve read Drew Daniel’s book three times. Partly out of my fascination with Throbbing Gristle and partly because it’s such a pleasurable read. Whilst the tone of Daniel’s writing may occasionally be a little too academic for some tastes, I find it is neatly counterbalanced by a playful sense of humour. His line of questioning in the group interviews is original and revealing and, crucially, Daniel is able to assert his critical ear. Despite his clear adoration of the album, he’s willing to acknowledge its weaknesses. This book achieved that rare thing, it made me listen to an album, which I thought I knew inside out, in a very different light.


Wire's Pink Flag (33 1/3)
Wire's Pink Flag (33 1/3)
by Wilson Neate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An essential purchase., 27 July 2015
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Wilson Neate’s ‘Pink Flag’ strikes just the right note. His research and attention to detail is rock solid. He has his own opinions, and he isn’t shy about giving voice to them, but he’s well able to step back and let the band tell their own story. He interviews all the band members and gives them space to talk - and their frequently contradictory viewpoints only enhance our understanding of the complexities at the heart of the band’s creativity. Neate’s later comprehensive study of Wire’s career ‘Read & Burn’ (2013) is the absolute definitive book on the band, pushing all previous volumes on Wire deep into the shade.


Worrisome Wilf's Beastly Bedtime
Worrisome Wilf's Beastly Bedtime
by Sean Baldwin
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Future Classic!, 28 Nov. 2013
This is a real treat. Highly recommended for kids who have trouble getting to sleep, the book makes the notion of bedtime nerves into a topic of fun. The list of potential horrors lurking in Wilf's mind is funny and inventive and Martin Gordon's illustrations are charming with a cool edge. My 6 year old especially liked the army of robots and the three headed ninja. Sean Baldwin has a witty turn of phrase, effortlessly turning out the kind of lines which kids love to repeat. A future classic!


Brian Eno's Another Green World (33 1/3)
Brian Eno's Another Green World (33 1/3)
by Geeta Dayal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Gauche and Ill-informed Book, 18 April 2013
Geeta Dayal's lengthy, self-absorbed preface describes, in great detail, how difficult she found the writing of this insubstantial book. And it's impossible to deny that her discomfort and awkwardness shine out of the text. It reads like a bundle of hastily scribbled notes for a book she lacked the genuine desire to write.

Dayal says she wanted "to write an exploratory book on the ideas underpinning the music". The result however, is a work in which she sprinkles fleeting mentions of cybernetics, Fluxus and architecture, amongst a batch of over familiar cut and pasted interview quotes.

Her writing is meandering, uneven and unfocussed, whilst her powers of description are severely lacking. Especially when it comes to music itself. For example, the best description she can summon up to define Eno's single `The Seven Deadly Finns' is "goofy". She also describes the single version of Kraftwork's 'Autobahn' as "goofy". She finds the liner notes to Lou Reed's `Metal Machine Music' "goofy". The chorus of Eno's `I'll Come Running' is "goofy". Even Marshall McLuhan's I Ching style Distant Early Warning cards are apparently "goofy". Meanwhile, Eno's own Oblique Strategy cards are singled out as being "quirky".

Repeated use of such glib and incongruous short hand to define this wide range of cultural artefacts serves to complete the impression of an author capable of only a very shallow reading of her subject matter. Her description of Can, Cluster and Harmonia as "offbeat German bands" is laughably simplistic. Unfortunately, "offbeat" is another of Dayal's favorite catch-all words. A number of Eno's life experiences were apparently "offbeat". His art tutor Roy Ascott's teaching methods were "offbeat". The mix of musicians on `Another Green World' is "offbeat". And so on. No insights, just bland and lazy labelling.

With her endless repetition and seemingly limited vocabulary, Dayal comes over as gauche and ill-informed, with only a superficial grasp of Eno's work and the concepts and influences which inspire him.


Flogging a Dead Horse: The Life and Works of Jake and Dinos Chapman
Flogging a Dead Horse: The Life and Works of Jake and Dinos Chapman
by Jake Chapman
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Collection, 5 Jan. 2012
In terms of an overview of the Chapman Brothers' career so far, this book is in a class of its own. The price tag means it isn't aimed at the casual browser, but if you're already a devotee of these prolific, inventive and iconoclastic artists, then this volume is pretty much an essential purchase.

The quality of the reproductions is uniformly crisp and vivid. And there are scores of sculptures, paintings, drawings and prints illustrated here which are not represented in any of the other Chapman Brothers catalogues or publications. There's also a selection of stills from their little seen film work, including their porn video `Bring Me The Head...' (1995). And it's great to see several reproductions from `One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved' (2008), a wonderful collection of grotesquely amended 18th century portraits in oils.

Whilst the emphasis here is very much on the images, there's also a series of concise interviews with Jake and Dinos spaced throughout the book, offering an overview of each major collection. These cover their philosophical approach to their work, the practical considerations and the development of their "impoverished aesthetic". There's genuine wit here too, showing how the Chapmans temper their pyretic assault with a daft playfulness. And the book's die cut slip-case is a work of art in itself. Highly recommended.


Classic Film: O Lucky Man
Classic Film: O Lucky Man
by chris Wade
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!, 12 Dec. 2011
This is an inchoate cluster of half formed fan boy jottings. The text swarms with glaring factual inaccuracies, basic grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and astonishingly clunky writing. It can be read in an (excruciating) hour and has clearly never been anywhere near an editor or proof reader.

The majority of Wade's writing is so jarring and inarticulate, it reads like a school essay translated from a foreign language. A speech about Zen is described as a "Zen-like speech". And when, during the rambling Scene By Scene chapter, he states that a character "stands to her feet", I burst out laughing.

He frequently gets names, titles and dates wrong and he's fond of making preposterous statements, with no attempt to back them up or provide examples. For instance, we are informed that Lindsay Anderson was a "predecessor of the 1980's British art movement". Was he!? Which British art movement of the 1980s? Which artists in particular? Stranger still, he refers to the film having narration. However - as anyone who has seen O Lucky Man! could tell you - it features no narration. As blog entries, Wade's ignorant musings would be merely irritating, however, as a book with an £8.00 price tag they lean toward insulting.

He tells us, on numerous occasions, that O Lucky Man is his favorite film. A pity then, that he can't even get the film's title right. Not even on the book's front cover or spine! The correct title is O Lucky Man! - with an exclamation mark. This may seem like nit picking, but Anderson was notoriously fastidious about such things. For instance, he was insistent that his film If.... should always be spelt with four dots rather than the usual three. Naturally Wade chooses to spell it with three dots. Or sometimes none at all.

For a mordant and articulate reading of O Lucky Man! I recommend you seek out Erik Hedling's excellent Lindsay Anderson: Maverick Film-Maker. For an overview of the film's genesis, see Anderson's collected writings Never Apologise, or track down the introduction to David Sherwin's published script of O Lucky Man! Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these publications are included in Wade's four book (!) bibliography. Wade's own book meanwhile, is that most worthless of items - a piece of non-fiction written by someone who simply doesn't know their subject.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2012 1:09 PM BST


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