Saturday, March 11, 2006

Rip It Up and Start Again

William S. Burroughs, "We See The Future Through Binoculars Of The People"

William S. Burroughs, "Just Checking Your Summer Recordings"

William S. Burroughs, "Creepy Letter, Cut-Up at the Beat Hotel in Paris"

Okay, I lied. One more book-related post, but this is a special one. Simon Reynolds' new book, Rip It Up and Start Again, has just been released in the United States, a cause for celebration. Reynolds has been a writer that I have always admired and searched out, since coming across his writing in the British magazine Wire in the early 90s during my avant-garde period. He was the first writer I encountered, and really the first person I had ever heard, talking about indie music, post-punk, British pop, jungle. All of these wonderful musics that were completely foreign to a kid growing up in Philly, listening to rap and jazz and alternative music. Not only that, he wrote with such brilliance, wit and passion that I had to read him. Even when I disagreed with him, which I often do in terms of rap music.

This newest book chronicles the post-punk scene that grew up in the late 70s and early 80s in the UK and US. Having been a reader of his blog, blissout, for years now, I am excited to see what Reynolds has to say about this music that he clearly loves. It's a music that I did not live through, but that I have found my way to through various routes. I can't wait to hear the stories about that time from someone who didn't just live through it, but was both a fan and critic of it. I am thinking that I am going to spend a week or so putting up songs from this post-punk, no-wave time next week or the week after. I will try to read the book in the meantime, as it has vaulted its way to the top of the stack. You can pick it up here.

-Check out an archive of some of his old writings on dance music, the stuff that originally got me into his writing.

-NYC people, head to Nublu and celebrate the book release with the man himself. More importantly, you can check out Kudu, who are playing at 1 AM, their last show before heading out on a national tour. Or even better, trace my footsteps from Tuesday night.

-A quick word on the above tracks. These come off the fourth disc of the the William Burroughs boxed set, which catalogues all of his tape experiments from over the years. Since I mentioned them in my last post, it seemed like a good idea to show just want sort of tape experiments and cut-up stuff he recorded. Buy the boxed set here.

-For anyone looking for more good non-fiction recommendations, there is an amazing resource at the TPM Cafe. They have had a TPMCafe Book Club running for awhile now, highlighting one book every few weeks, inviting the author and various intellectuals from that field to discuss the book and its implications. Straight nerd stuff, and a good way to jump back into that college recitation vibe you know you miss. This week is a good one, as the discussion centers around Gershom Gorenberg's The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements 1967-1977, a history of the settlement movement in Israel.

-We'll be getting into movies this weekend, as we continue on the Pure Dork road. That means lots of foreign film talk and un-self-conscious talk about film noir and Mean Streets and spaghetti westerns. Yeah! Get down with it!

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