For the layperson Wasserman's history of the OTO from 66-89 is worth a read for the myriad of famous underground characters he runs with from Angus MaFor the layperson Wasserman's history of the OTO from 66-89 is worth a read for the myriad of famous underground characters he runs with from Angus MacLise to Harry Smith. It is also an interesting peak into the world of Crowley's legacy and the path of the OTO into fairly present day, though I would say in general the book is probably directed toward and most enjoyable for folks with a deeper knowledge and interest in Crowley's work and the OTO. The 2nd half of the book goes deep into the in-fighting, litigation and minor and major power plays of the members and battling factions and schisms of the OTO. All that sounds fairly dynamic as a topic but at times can read a bit more like being a third wheel to your friends having a passionate conversation about office politics at a place you don't work. Still, there's much to enjoy in Wasserman's personality, honesty and assessment of his life, his friends, his rollercoaster experiences in substance experimentation and abuse, a life inside the occult in modern times and general 60s, 70s and 80s wild and strange living in America. ...more
woah. what a book of words. From line one to line last Olds' poetry is firing on the very highest, hottest cylinders in this collection. Olds can putwoah. what a book of words. From line one to line last Olds' poetry is firing on the very highest, hottest cylinders in this collection. Olds can put words to emotional states, traumas, matters of the heart and generally unspoken human experiences that I'd previously thought too abstract and complex to hang clear words on. Some of the finest lines I've ever read by an American (probably should amend this to 'human') hand. knocked out and reeling. Still on the floor.
The Sick Bag Song is a collection of free form writing developed from notes and scribbles that Cave committed to the back of airline barf bags while 1The Sick Bag Song is a collection of free form writing developed from notes and scribbles that Cave committed to the back of airline barf bags while 1st classing it across America on tour. A blur of the great theaters and halls and the finest hotels from one coast to the other in 2014, at the commercial height of a career in music that has now spanned 3 and a half decades. Some prose, some poetry, some drawings or diagrams, very little is a straight journal entry or specific descriptions about gigs or experiences he and the Bad Seeds have on tour. What you get instead is a deconstructed American 'road' story taken down to flashes of experience and larger than life distorted fantasy reenactments of events. Through these means it becomes a book that shows (poetically, abstractly) the process of how an incredibly gifted artist turns the moments of everyday life and thought, emotion and imagination into art, poetry and song. Cave has such a gifted pen hand and bombastic literary mind that the book can be read as straight poetry and free prose and enjoyed greatly but I found most fascinating the showing of the gears turning inside the writers mind, the birth of an idea, often just a word or a scribbled line with little weight, developed into a thing of great weight, beauty and resonance. Cave's voice on the page and in song has a unique blend of fearlessness and self-awareness and it is rare to see the two states so perfectly married in an artist. In one section in SBS he writes a new song and then goes through and talks about how pleased he was with himself for a certain line, how wonderfully this or that imagery came out but ultimately that the song was a failed thing, then lists the elements in it that didn't hold truth or water, that rang flat or cliche, that ultimately doomed something to stillbirth that he'd deemed worthy of life. Cave also weaves his current reading list, his favorite poets, his deep musical experiences with other artist's music and long time literary obsessions into his writing here (sometimes as intimate characters or poetic subject) and it is refreshing and inspiring to see someone who polishes his own ultra thick marble myth to such a degree unzip the artist-as-diety figure and reveal a great fan inside, electrified by his influences and peers as only a great fan can be. But fear not, for every small window into the man, the myth swirls ever greater, inflamed with cannibals, murder, animal sex, angels and devils and of course a larger than life artist-God-man mutation in a tall black suit crawling, running, fucking and howling through the maelstrom. All that classic Nick Cave stuff makes a more than adequate appearance in The Sick Bag Song too.
Note about the unlimited edition hardback: It is currently only available through Nick Cave's website in the UK and it's not particularly cheap after shipping to the US. So I thought it was worth noting that the hardback product is worth the price in my opinion. This edition comes in a handsome printed case, the hardback is elegant and letterpressed. Each chapter begins with an excellent color reproduction of each 'sick bag' in its original hand scribbled and notated form, the corresponding chapter is the developed writing from the original sick bag idea. So there ya go. It's not your discount mass market cheap release week hardback off Amazon, it's a real literary piece with an aesthetic and painstaking elements. Hard core fans will not be sorry. Folks with a casual interest might want to wait for a paperback edition. ...more
'Karate' isn't his very best but it's a little gem for fans even so. The classic Crews themes are here; lost souls randomly crashing together in the d'Karate' isn't his very best but it's a little gem for fans even so. The classic Crews themes are here; lost souls randomly crashing together in the dark of American life, broken or breaking people trying to form a family or unified force but forming a cult instead, physical and psychological brutality-all woven together into a portrait of America (usually Northern Florida) at once totally familiar to us but grotesque and unsettling when viewed through Crews' patina of blood lust, carnivorous sexuality and decay. Empty swimming pools as fighting pits, a lethal beauty queen, mobile homes by the thousands, 1970 Florida coast, karate, a dwarf guru, sex, violence, sex, violence, sex violence, a beauty contest turned mob scene. I was wandering through a great used bookstore in old town Omaha and could not pass up a book laying on a table called Karate Is A Thing Of The Spirit by Harry Crews with the amazing, hypnotic, hilarious cover (on the pocket book edition) and it's content didn't disappoint. ...more
Lunch Poems spans nearly a decade of poems from 1953 to 1964. Published in '64. A collection of beautiful, inspired snapshots (or spiritual polaroidsLunch Poems spans nearly a decade of poems from 1953 to 1964. Published in '64. A collection of beautiful, inspired snapshots (or spiritual polaroids if you will) of life in New York City. The story goes that O'Hara wrote these poems on his lunch hour while working at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and indeed they have the feeling of both observing the roaring, bustling city and being fully in it and of it. Readers who work in the heart of the great cities of the world and bask in the roar and hustle of the workaday metropolis while always keeping one hand on a coat pocket dream of transcending the skyscrapers and traffic will recognize a certain wonderful blend of bittersweet celebration of energy, yearning and thought-travel from location in his poems. O'hara's poems often start like a balloon being kicked between the grey suited legs of the lunchtime office crowd but end higher, floating up and spinning unpredictably just above the city where dreams, snippets of lives and the memory of a 1950s metropolis swirl in abstracts. Lunch Poems is high energy poetry, as you'd expect from poems of big city life but there is a grace and course zen that also hums in the lines of such a keen eye and engaged mind. ...more
This is a beautiful little well bound, pocket size poetry book published by the great City Lights Books. "Roman Poems" is a collection of poems aboutThis is a beautiful little well bound, pocket size poetry book published by the great City Lights Books. "Roman Poems" is a collection of poems about modern Roman life by the incomparable Pier Paolo Pasolini. Pasolini was one of Italy's great poets, a philosopher, political agitator and of course a legendary filmmaker in the history of cinema just to touch the broad strokes of his resume. This collection of poems seems to span writing from the 1940s up to his murder in 1975. They sing with a heady mix of nostalgia, anger, sorrow, inflammatory vision and humanity; a unique, blended tone that fans would recognize from his cinematic work. Pasolini has an incredibly keen eye for observation and interpretation of humanity and an even more powerful imagination with which he then presents his version of it as a roar of truth at his audience. At times that is a roar of laughter, other times the roar of anger or tears or bile and outrage. And that 'truth' is Pasolini's 'TRUTH', which is to say, always beautiful and full of soul but also a little mad and colored by compulsions. All political elements and legend and intrigue aside, these poems at their most basic level paint an incredibly vivid snapshot of the underbelly of Rome and it's surrounding slums and the people who lived there in the mid 20th century. That element alone is fascinating. For PPP fans this little book is a must. Includes a small handful of great photo reprints of a young PPP and a few of his illustrations. ...more
Not exceptionally well written, structured or edited as well as it could be and Johnston's obvious love is the Birthday Party here but Bad Seed is stiNot exceptionally well written, structured or edited as well as it could be and Johnston's obvious love is the Birthday Party here but Bad Seed is still compulsively readable and easily devoured for Nick Cave fans. For those that came to NC in the 90s after his decade + of explosive nihilism was beginning to come in for a landing (of sorts) and the man of refinement and tailored suits was beginning to fully form, the early life and career of Nick Cave is a bit of shock. Pre-croon, pre strings, pre-piano ballad albums there was a raging, screaming demon of a youth trying to carve out a career in music and art in blood splatter, punk nihilism, dirty needles and wretched shooting gallery obliteration. It's a bit incredible that he survived to live a 2nd and 3rd act in life and headed strongly toward a 4th and final as a world wide star. The book is long and heavy on the debauched tales of Birthday Party era nihilism and vicious hi-jinx. Then the chapters seem to speed up as the albums go on and it ends at the completion of Let Love In. Commercial success and new artistic heights were just around the corner. At this point Let Love In is less than a half way point in Cave's career so to read Bad Seed now is to engage with a past artifact of sorts and certainly not one that has the vantage point of historical overview. But in some ways that also makes it an interesting read in that it is somewhat of the moment it writes about or at least closer to it. Much of the book is focused on Cave's epic, public battles with the press, their condescension and belittling of Cave at every turn and just how much the UK press meant to bands in the 80s. Cave's incredible life and legacy deserves a first rate biography but for now Bad Seed serves to throw on Henrys Dream or Junkyard, loud, late night, a greasy slice of pizza in one hand and a cheap beer in the other and pour through Johnston's tabloid tales of Cave's youthful overdoses and spitting, burning hatred of the whole world. In that, Bad Seed serves, fully. ...more