Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Book Learning #95 Yeah Yeah Yeah- The story of modern pop by Bob Stanley.

   A couple of years ago I requested (and received) such a lengthy list of 'Christmas books' that I was never able to read them. They still sit upon my shelves waiting for the right time.
   Last year I changed my policy and requested one book.
This book.
   It started slowly, with a distant observer's eye over the 1950s and early 1960s. It warmed up with the familiarity of the counter culture and the bands, music and wider references that the period threw up.
   I will be honest, the first few chapters were hard work, Like walking through a large party hoping to find someone you knew, who you could relax with. Instead you keep bumping into old family friends who you either cant stand or who bore you senseless. And then you bump into Buddy Holly but its only for a fleeting moment as Stanley devotes not much more than a couple of pages to his genius.
   By the time the 1970s roll up, it's comfortable and engaging territory. You recall the sounds and some of the faces, It's a devil of a book in the sense that you frequently reach for Youtube to check out videos and performances from 'Top of the Pops'.
   I enjoyed the way Stanley lets his views slip from time to time, sometimes validating an opinion or a rumour (The Stranglers- genuinely nasty people?, UB40- crap and lazy!) and also challenging lazily held prejudice (Michael Jackson- He really was the Prince of Pop!)
   As Stanley reflects on the 1980s and 1990s its clear he's in deep home territory, he knows his stuff, the people and in some respects, so do I. Its where history meets nostalgia, but in a good way.

Well worth struggling through the first few pages.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Book Learning #94 Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I was stuck in a severe reading malaise, perhaps as a result of twelve very difficult months. Then I met you. In a bookshop in Croydon.
Croydon of all places!
I was there with Frau Random Doubt dealing with an immigration matter.
My love of graphic novels  and a fondness towards all things Persian/Iranian combined in this witty autobiography.

Thank you, I feel more decent reading on its way.