What an odd book to read while in New York City on a 'sort of' vacation. "After Claude" has a leading character that is someone from hell to know. Tru...moreWhat an odd book to read while in New York City on a 'sort of' vacation. "After Claude" has a leading character that is someone from hell to know. Truly a horrible person bent on total destruction. Cringe-worthy reading moments doesn't stop the reading train here. It was a hard book for me to put down. I don't even know if I like it or not, but there is a touch of the Dorothy Parker poison in its Manhattan make-up. I'm happy to go through this trauma. (less)
The mysterious and always foreign world of the French Yé-Yé music scene. Without a doubt the book I published "Gainsbourg the Biography" by Gilles Ver...moreThe mysterious and always foreign world of the French Yé-Yé music scene. Without a doubt the book I published "Gainsbourg the Biography" by Gilles Verlant is the best book in English regarding not only the Yé-Yé movement, but also the entire French music world. The second book (in English) is Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe's "Yé-Yé Girls Of 60's French Pop." This is a very good guide to the singers, the record labels, and the artists/songwriters that wrote the songs for this particular market. It is basically teenage music, but mostly written by older men, for instance Serge Gainsbourg. But beyond that it is a fascinating sub-culture to fish in, because the music, overall, is a the very least super interesting, and at its best- excellent records.
There are those who are the queens of their field - France Gall, Françoise Hardy, and Sylvie Vartan and then there are various (actually many many ) one-hit wonders, who also made great records as well. In France, the arranger as well as the songwriter are part of the magic that makes a great record. Usually I check out who the arranger is, and then my money quickly goes to that relasase, especially if it is someone like Jean-Claude Vannier, who did a lot of classic recordings with Gainsbourg. His touch of genius always shows up no matter who the artist or singer is - so it is very much like following your favorite record producer - or am I the only one who buys records due to the production credits?
Deluxe's book, which is also well-illustrated with both ads from that time as well as record covers, pretty much covers the basics as well as the odd releases that came out of this scene. So for sure its a good guide to have on your side of the table as one explores YouTube footage or online shops. He also covers current music figures like April March, who is fantastic by the way, and others who were influenced by the 60's scene. I think he could avoid a lot of the bands/artists, and just focus on the 60's artists, but that is a very small criticism. This book is designed for the beginner who is looking for hardcore information or names to get their listening habits in order. So yeah I highly recommend this book as a beginner's guide and if you want to get deeper into the subject do get the Verlant Gainsbourg biography.
For many art is a messy and dangerous landscape to travel on, but with Dave Hickey as your driver or guide, it can be a total joy. "Pirates and Farmer...moreFor many art is a messy and dangerous landscape to travel on, but with Dave Hickey as your driver or guide, it can be a total joy. "Pirates and Farmers" is a collection of essays about aesthetics and how one perceives a work of art when it is in front of your eyes, ears, and brain. The beauty of Hickey's essays is that he places himself as the narrator (of course) so he's very much a character in his own stories. But every essay here is about confronting one's taste and how you develop that taste into a fine tool of expression or appreciation.
He writes about his home (or it was his home) Las Vegas in a very compelling light. There is nothing ironic about his taste for that town. He loves the bars, the gambling, the architecture, the weather, and everything else except for the traffic. He even likes the airport there. He doesn't even know why anyone needs to defend or condemn the place. Las Vegas is it, and that is pretty much how he looks at art as well.
What surprises me as a bookseller one time, that he never went to a bigger press for his collection of essays. Which is wonderful, because one small presses rule, and two, his books are nicely designed, including this one. So the book itself is an object of beauty or aesthetic to the very core of one's thoughts on that subject matter. Hickey is an interesting guy who writes about and thinks about 'taste.' He's probably one of the great (and popular) thinkers regarding the fine art planet. This book may not be the easiest to fine, but worth the journey to find it. Distributed by Ram, if your favorite store doesn't have it, they can order it through that distributor. But do get it. (less)
If not the brother or sister of Michéle Bernstein's "The Night" then at the very least the distant British cousin. Its a beautiful gesture to Bernstei...moreIf not the brother or sister of Michéle Bernstein's "The Night" then at the very least the distant British cousin. Its a beautiful gesture to Bernstein's masterful "The Night" in that it deals with the theme and style of that book, that serves itself as both a critique and an entertaining read. The Bernstein book is map as literature. One could easily follow the path of the three main characters as they wonder around Paris in the nighttime. "After The Night" does the same with similar characters, but they're British and their map is a combination of Paris and London. So one could encounter an adventure without knowing the results of sorts.
The book is edited and written by 'Everyone Agrees' which seems to be a collective that does work through the London based Book Works. The design of the book is incredible. The flap opens up to an actual map, with the routes marked. If you are going to read "The Night" I think you need to get this book as well. Reading the Bernstein 'novel' stands on its own, but this book doesn't. You need to read "The Night" first. Nevertheless a remarkable journey with a map that leads one to.... somewhere. (less)
One can gather that this is memoir writing, since we think the main two characters are Guy Debord and the author of this book, Michéle Bernstein. And...moreOne can gather that this is memoir writing, since we think the main two characters are Guy Debord and the author of this book, Michéle Bernstein. And the book plays with the concept of memoir and novel, but it does say 'novel' on the front cover, and I am going to go with that. The book is very much like Bernstein's first book "All The King's Horses" except this is witty turned into a 'new novel' or Nouveau Roman. Whatever it is a satire or a homage to that form I don't know, but either way it doesn't take away the enjoyment of going with the main couple's long walks through the Left Bank of Paris. in fact I had to stop myself from google mapping the streets - which one can do, because their walks are deeply and specifically perfect. There is another woman involved and in a way it is a story about seduction, power, and exploring. I'm a Bernstein fan.
Also the production level of the publisher of this book, Book Works, is pretty great. The book is translated by Clodagh Kinsella and edited by Everyone Else. There is a sequel of sorts.... well review that next!(less)