My favourite biography of all time is probably Boy George's "Take It Like A Man". The second might be "Mohammad Ali", by Thomas Hauser. But, this is a...moreMy favourite biography of all time is probably Boy George's "Take It Like A Man". The second might be "Mohammad Ali", by Thomas Hauser. But, this is a contender to beat them both. Never before have I read a biography that is both extremely well-researched and subtly written, where I think it usually is a matter of either/or.
The intellectual cultural climate in 1920s Russia was a very explosive time, when several small groups of young, agitated Russians questioned, destroyed and leaped from the old climate in a political atmosphere where even God was refused and denied. The Russian futurists craved something else than the everyday porridge that stated that Rembrandt's paintings, Mozart's music and The Bible in writing were the epitome of art, and in the process wanted to reinvent themselves completely by questioning these standards and themselves. Among all of the Russian poets, Mayakovsky's texts seemingly stand solitary and often absolutely brilliant, not only floating far beyond his country-people, but all previous poets across the globe.
Jangfeldt goes far by being fluent in Russian. As such, he has himself translated (with aid) Mayakovsky 's poetry into Swedish, and has since decades personally interviewed people who knew Mayakovsky and has written several works on him. He's accessed previously censored state files on Mayakovsky and drawn his own conclusions on many events throughout Mayakovsky's life, painstakingly delivering a very subtle, simply put, yet desirably complex picture of a man plagued and blessed through extreme throes in all aspects of his life.
Mayakovsky's abilities to reinvent language and stake his own claim through all types of media - poetry, plays, copy, slogans, and letters - are featured here. The same is said for his somewhat nonsensical political statements, but you can't have it all, can you?
From his life as a young boy in the middle of Russian nowhere, to an aspiring career as an artist to developing an interest in poetry, his humble beginnings gently explode as he reaches adolescence and then grows into a manboy, forever trapped as a seventeen-year-old, according to Viktor Sjklovsky. Thing is, I think Mayakovsky never allowed himself to grow stale, which is a mantra he often repeated in different forms, not least in his eccentric relationship with Lili and Osip Brik.
Mayakovsky loved a few things in life, and went beyond every barrier to live those things in every aspect, at times threatening to destroy the people around him in the process. Still, he prevailed in a way, even though his ending is the saddest part of his tale.
This book is worth purchasing in any available language, and will be re-read repeatedly by myself throughout life. It's not heavy, it's not light, but is very well-written, long and so fantastically delivered that it feels short, despite its near-600-pages. Nothing stopped it, and there is no filler; most of what's in this book - which did happen, I sometimes had to remind myself during my reading - is so jagged and at the same time polished, it felt like having a really brilliant, laid-back yet intellectual conversation with somebody who's had a long journey, teaching me a few things in the process.
This is quite the "Bloom County" comic, but created roughly 20 years later. Even though Conley owes Breathed a lot, he pays hommage in some aspects, a...moreThis is quite the "Bloom County" comic, but created roughly 20 years later. Even though Conley owes Breathed a lot, he pays hommage in some aspects, and this series holds its own despite it being Garfield-ish as far as the sort of jokes being repeated is concerned. Still, it's written with heart, smarts and something has to be said for keeping a comic about a psychopathic cat, his bullied-into-his-shoes dog companion and their human owner alive for such a long time without it delving into complete doom.
The negative bits having been concentrated on, Bucky's (the cat) one-liners and his antics can be hilarious. For instance, Bucky ordering stuff online is one thing, but the kicker - apart from what he actually orders - is the fact that a credit card-company has approved a cat's request for a credit card. And there a lot of subtle kickers like that strewn around, often displayed as a two-in-one at the end panel. This, and the fact that the characters do have interesting, concrete and genuinely funny personas, makes Conley a winner, despite only every ten or so panels being really funny.
Still, he reaches out. I recommend it, but I don't think I'll be buying it.(less)
At times, relevant. At other times, extremely obsessive. What made me abandon this book, though, is the fact that Christianson damns Thomas Quick desp...moreAt times, relevant. At other times, extremely obsessive. What made me abandon this book, though, is the fact that Christianson damns Thomas Quick despite playing a major rôle in his sentencing is just too much.(less)
Very nice pocket-edition book that tries to explain ITIL for neophytes. It does a good job at this, even though the nomenclature is dense. A second re...moreVery nice pocket-edition book that tries to explain ITIL for neophytes. It does a good job at this, even though the nomenclature is dense. A second read is definitely recommended.
It's available as a free download from the official ITIL web site!(less)
**spoiler alert** This is a surprisingly coherent book from an acolyte of Arthur Rimbaud. That said, Patti is as lucid as she is vague, dim as she is...more**spoiler alert** This is a surprisingly coherent book from an acolyte of Arthur Rimbaud. That said, Patti is as lucid as she is vague, dim as she is bright and a little blue star in her own right.
The book starts with Robert Mapplethorpe, her muse in a way, dying. Her loss is quite unfathomable to the reader, especially if their connections are unbeknownst to you. To me, they were.
Patti writes of her growing up, of her parents, her siblings and early loss. And of sticking out, of dancing to Motown songs and discovering The Doors. But before that, discovering Rimbaud, a mind-bomb she'll (hopefully) never recover from.
She finds her way on a trip to New York and can by chance afford the ride, and upon arriving is almost instantly rendered homeless. She avoids her family, destined to find her living in the new city. Destitute? No. She describes the new music coming from speakers as she meets people, especially a man who helps her along her way, guides her into ways of getting hold of food for next to nothing - and oftentimes for nothing, indeed.
He leaves her life. And she meets her Robert. Their lives are instantly connected by a sort of lovelorn poet's mist - could also be described as being in love - which is then translated. And deconstructed. And thrown back into the mist.
This is a masterfully written and typeset book, mixed with pictures from the days, both from Patti's and Robert's hands, drawings and photographs alike. Patti describes their relationship, how it unfolds and how they search for and/or make art, love, wisdom, escape, knowledge, friendship, work, food, money and travel.
It's really good, and a very worth-while read not only to Patti Smith fanatics, but to anybody who's ever wanted to find their own way in love, life and art.(less)
I was quite surprised with Kent's simple style of writing. At first, judging the book by its cover, it's true, it seemed like a simple rock 'n' roll t...moreI was quite surprised with Kent's simple style of writing. At first, judging the book by its cover, it's true, it seemed like a simple rock 'n' roll take, but not so. At least not for the first half of the book anyway.
Kent tells of his life as a child, a teenager and getting smitten with hormones, non-moans and the likes. Gripes. Loves. His first tastes of music. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Getting aurally smacked by Led Zeppelin, seeing them in concert, getting backstage due to a mate.
School, moving away from home, starting out with writing about music and then, as the 1970s and Kent's youth really gets going, so does his writing. As stated, it's simple yet nothing's lost by that; it's a bit like Morrissey's lyrics; even though they're simple there is a lot behind it (even though this is actually short-changing Moz).
As Kent moves into writing for NME and getting his paws dirty in private with the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones plus getting his lingual traits in order, he meets with Lester Bangs and the Creem unit while visiting the USA for the first time. He also contracts STDs and starts doing heavy drugs.
A lot of the writing is about the waves of music during the 1970s; from the folk to the rock to the punk and into his heavy drug-use which inevitably turned him into a pathetic, homeless junkie.
Most of this book is very entertaining, interesting and funny; Kent jabs at himself with swagger as he should; the man is actually the reason why "Metallic KO" came into existing in the first place, and if that wasn't enough he actually was there during a lot of what happened; Iggy's getting into David Bowie, talking with Lester Bangs about interviewing Lou Reed, sticking around the making of "Exile On Main St".
Even though Kent does a good job at staying humble throughout most of the book, there is a bit of grumpy old man in here which doesn't suit the general taste of the book, and reminds me of how he's portrayed - and of how he portrays himself - in Julien Temple's "The Filth And The Fury": a belligerent, pompous person who tries to be somebody he's not. On the other hand: who's not, at some times?
All in all: a lot better than a bunch of autobiographies on music, but quite the way away from the poetic, autobiographic side of books, e.g. Patti Smith's radiant "Just Kids".
**spoiler alert** This is a brilliant book. Like Loe's other ones, this is also about an apocalypse in the mind, body and soul. A busy family father t...more**spoiler alert** This is a brilliant book. Like Loe's other ones, this is also about an apocalypse in the mind, body and soul. A busy family father topples from his bike onto the ground which stuns him; as he lies in the grass, concussed and estranged from his hectic everyday existance, he starts unraveling and reaches two conclusions: 1) he dislikes people and 2) he must move to the forest.
So he does move into the forest, away from his wife and two kids, and befriends a deer (after slaughtering its mother). And that's just the start.
Radiant writing, quite in-tact with Loe's previous writings so if you've read him before I think you'll fairly soon find your way around this novel as well, and if you haven't, you're in for a treat.
A lot of humor, a bit of tragedy and a lot of everyday bliss. Paper-bag-from-American-Beauty-ish. Love it.(less)
Although it's marked by time - and what really isn't? - in a way which isn't my marred, modern cup of tea, the sheer potency of Dick...moreUtterly brilliant.
Although it's marked by time - and what really isn't? - in a way which isn't my marred, modern cup of tea, the sheer potency of Dickinson's language, rhythm, coinage of words and non-rhymes win me over completely, and take me to another level totally.
I shan't say more on the poetry itself, but the imagery painted is sharp, veering from "the usual" in a way that has lived for more than a hundred years and will continue living forever, I'm sure.
While this collection does not contain all of her poems, it is annotated with short sentences on names, places and references, e.g. to passages from the christian bible and other poets.
This collection's only real flaw: it's too short.(less)
Lombroso would have been proud, which isn't very good. Despite this, I recommend the story and foremost the televised Granada version of it, starring...moreLombroso would have been proud, which isn't very good. Despite this, I recommend the story and foremost the televised Granada version of it, starring the singular Jeremy Brett as Holmes.(less)
Despite being very racist and anti-feministic here, it's an interesting tale, well-written but in my eyes quite dull considering the rest of the Canon...moreDespite being very racist and anti-feministic here, it's an interesting tale, well-written but in my eyes quite dull considering the rest of the Canon.(less)
I lay my ear to furious Latin. I am not a Caesar. I have simply ordered a box of maniacs. They can be sent back. They can die, I need feed them nothi...more I lay my ear to furious Latin. I am not a Caesar. I have simply ordered a box of maniacs. They can be sent back. They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.
I wonder how hungry they are. I wonder if they would forget me If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
detail from “The Arrival of the Bee Box” by Sylvia Plath(less)