This is a straightforward autobiography. Having said that, it contains a lot of the stuff that I usually attach to Poehler, i.e. quick turns of eventsThis is a straightforward autobiography. Having said that, it contains a lot of the stuff that I usually attach to Poehler, i.e. quick turns of events, fast dialogue and fun stuff. The good parts that I was hoping for, but didn't expect, were those where she extrapolated on her youth and her hurt. For instance, what she refers to as her demon:
Dating in high school was very different. Boys suddenly went up your shirt. Girls were expected to give blow jobs and be sexy. You had to be hot but not a slut. You had to be into sex but never have it, except when your boyfriend wanted it. If you had sex you had to keep it a secret but also be very good at it, except not too good, because this better be your first time. Darling Nikki masturbated to a magazine, but Madonna was supposedly still a virgin. It was very confusing. Once high school started, I began to see the real difference between the plain and the pretty. Boys, who were going through their own battles started to point out things about me I hadn’t yet noticed. One told me I looked like a frog. Some told me I smiled like a Muppet. A senior told me to stop looking at him with my “big, weird eyes.” I looked in the mirror at my flat chest and my freckles and heard a sound. It was the demon, suitcase in hand. He moved in and demanded the top bunk.
Now, as I continue, please know a few things. I usually find any discussion about my own looks to be incredibly boring. I can only imagine what a yawn fest it is for you. But I cannot, in good faith, pretend I have fallen in love with how I look. The demon still visits me often. I wish I could tell you that being on television or having a nice picture in a magazine suddenly washes all of those thoughts away, but it really doesn’t. I wish I were taller or had leaner hands and a less crazy smile. I don’t like my legs, especially. I used to have a terrific flat stomach but now it’s kind of blown out after two giant babies used it as a short-term apartment. My nose is great. My tits are better than ever. I like my giant eyes, but they can get crazy. My ass is pretty sweet. My hair is too thin for my liking. My Irish and English heritage and my early sun exposure guarantee that I am on the fast track to wrinkle city. Bored yet? Because I can’t stop.
The bad thing about this book is the lack of editing. Where Tina Fey's "Bossypants" excelled, was where she was able to wrangle her experience and scatterbrained existence into a quite coherent book, but Poehler doesn't succeed even remotely as well. I wished her editor could have skinned a lot of the information that regards her children, and her pregnancy; it's just too much, and not interesting (to me). Still, this book is a rock-solid breeze in comparison with Lena Dunham's "Not That Kind of Girl".
Apart from the lack of needed editing, it's really interesting to see how Poehler comes at writing a book, having a relatively long career already in writing for TV and film:
Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.
She does touch on a lot of stuff that we all come across in our young years, which is heartfelt.
Is there a word for when you are young and pretending to have lived and loved a thousand lives? Is there a German word for that? Seems like there should be. Let’s say it is Schaufenfrieglasploit.
The girls were a tough bunch as well. I was pushed into a locker and punched by a cheerleader. One girl pulled my hair at lunch because she thought I was “stuck up.” It was bad to be “stuck up.” It was also bad to be a “slut” or a “prude” or a “dexter” or a “fag.” There were no openly gay kids in my high school. My school had a quiet hum of racism and homophobia that kept all of that disclosure far away. Every year the girls would have a football game called the Powder Puff. The girls would play tackle football on a cold high school field while the boys dressed as cheerleaders and shouted misogynist things at everybody. It was as wonderful as it sounds. I played safety and tried to talk my way out of getting beat up. I saw a girl hike the ball and then just go over and punch someone in the nose. There was so much hate and hair spray flying. Black eyes were common. I started to learn that as much as I chased adventure, I had little interest in the physical pain that came with it. I also realized I didn’t like to be scared or out of control.
Doing comedy for a living is, in a lot of ways, like a pony and a camel trying to escape from the zoo. It’s a ridiculous endeavor and has a low probability of success, but most importantly, it is way easier if you’re with a friend.
I like her straightforward way of telling us what she likes in comedy.
For me, as a person in comedy, I am constantly weighing what I feel comfortable saying. There are big differences between what you say on live television and what you say at dinner, but you realize you have to be responsible for all of it. Each performer has to figure out what feels right. I am a strong believer in free speech and have spent most of my adult life in writers’ rooms. I have a high tolerance for touchy subject matter. There isn’t a taboo topic I can think of that I haven’t joked about or laughed at. But I have an inner barometer that has helped me get better at pinpointing what works for me and what feels too mean or too lazy. I like picking fair targets. I don’t like calling babies on websites ugly or comedy that relies on humiliation. I love ensembles and hate when someone bails or sells their partner out. I love watching a good roast but don’t think I would be particularly good at roasting someone. Maybe it all comes down to what you feel you are good at. I have a dirty mouth but know that I don’t always score when I work really blue. I have a sense of what kind of jokes I can get away with and still feel like my side of the street is clean. I like to lean my shoulder against limits and not depend on stuff that is shocking.
Her tales of working on Saturday Night Live match those that I've read about in books like Tina Fey's, and the immaculate interview book named "Live From New York", which is to say you basically give up your life to be a performer on SNL and any sense of time as well. All is frantic, and a minute is ample time to get 20 things done.
One day before a Wednesday read-through, Rachel Dratch threw her back out and had to lie down on the floor. Host Johnny Knoxville offered to help and pulled ten loose pills out of his pocket before realizing none of them were painkillers.
When Ashlee Simpson’s song screwed up, Dratch, Maya, and I were dressed in Halloween costumes for Parnell’s “Merv the Perv” sketch. We screamed and ran into Tom Broecker’s wardrobe department and hid under a table. Maya was dressed as a pregnant woman in a catsuit. I was Uma Thurman from Kill Bill. Dratch was Raggedy Ann. I remember us huddling together buzzing about the excitement of that weird live moment and then someone saying, “At least 60 Minutes is here.” For those who don’t remember, 60 Minutes was doing a profile on Lorne and happened to be there. Jackpot, Lesley Stahl!
“Relax” is a real tough one for me. Another tough one is “smile.” “Smile” doesn’t really work either. Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.
All in all: it's entertaining and quite funny, but somewhat caves in a bit after 70-80%. The bits where she writes about sex - especially where she, I don't know why, tells women that yes, they have to bite the bullet some times and just have sex with their men. Also, thinking only men and women exist as genders is pretty CIS and boring and daft. Still, this is an interesting book and it made me laugh a few times, but I prefer Tina Fey's book....more
Or rather, it contains a lot of great information and thought-worthy elements, but given Brand's a) ADHD way of acting outThis book is fair. Not more.
Or rather, it contains a lot of great information and thought-worthy elements, but given Brand's a) ADHD way of acting out - which I think works well in condensed textual form, or while performing stand-up - and b) how the book should have been much better edited, it's a bit of a failure.
Brand obviously caters to Noam Chomsky - whom I love - and Bill Hicks - whom I also love - but can't pull off what they brought to the table. I mean, his thoughts are interesting but not much more. I hope this book will work as a kind of trampoline for people who will reach Chomsky and Hicks because of it....more
This is an interesting autobiography by someone who's been in some really successful bands and who's now trying to sort out things. I have little doubThis is an interesting autobiography by someone who's been in some really successful bands and who's now trying to sort out things. I have little doubt that the advent of his former Joy Division/New Order band mate Peter Hook's autobiography, which was released a little earlier this year, which threw daggers at Sumner. Here, Sumner spends a good deal of time to sort that out.
At the same time, Sumner explains his growing up in Salford, Manchester, a lot. It's been really interesting to read about his upbringing and how he's handled things, including massive success.
Sumner's really self-deprecating which is funny and injects air into the story. In other words, he takes the piss out of himself which is fun.
All in all: a good read on what his life's been like so far. He seems to know that he's lucky enough to be able to support himself by creating and performing music....more
A really, really good book on a do-it-yourself record company that didn't know how to do stuff, found it out themselves and are still alive and kickinA really, really good book on a do-it-yourself record company that didn't know how to do stuff, found it out themselves and are still alive and kicking, despite all kinds of problems, including being in a quite major band - Superchunk - themselves and at the same time giving artists on their label a perspectively big piece of the cake.
People ask the question a lot: Why did you decide to put out your own records? But it’s not like there was anyone else asking to put them out. —Mac McCaughan
And they learned and learned:
Steve Albini: They were pretty lighthearted. There wasn’t a lot of farting around. Coming from an independent background, Mac understood the economics of making a record independently. You have to try to save as much money as possible. And it’s much more efficient and it costs less money to have your shit together and be well rehearsed. Less money than it does to sort of hope that things come together in the studio.
It's a lot like the English label, Factory, in some ways:
Laura: We weren’t thinking of it as a business, we were thinking about it as this fun, cool thing. Contracts seemed like a gesture of mistrust. We were putting out records by people we knew and were friends with, and that could trust us and that we could trust. We’d talk about the basic premise, and that was that. In hindsight, I think that was really naïve. But at first, there really wasn’t that much money involved, so it didn’t really seem to matter.
Brian McPherson: (Attorney for Merge and Superchunk) I always thought it was a bad idea. I wrote a book called Get It In Writing. But that’s obviously their way.
Then, the money came in.
Matt Suggs: I got talked to by a lot of completely cheesy-ass industry people, which always freaked me out. I wanted to say, “Have you listened to the record? This is not going to get played on the radio.” In 1996, Butterglory was offered a $50,000 publishing-contract advance – wherein a publishing company buys a songwriter’s catalog copyrights, in hopes that the songs blow up one day. Matt Suggs They were offering a ridiculous amount of money. It started out at 30 grand, and then it was 40 grand. And we kept saying no. It was ridiculous, because I’m like a twenty-three-year-old working a deep-fryer, making $6 an hour, and I’m saying, “No, thirty grand is too low.” So when it got to $50,000, I said to Debby, “Look man, we should take this fucking money, because there’s no way we’re ever going to sell enough records for them to recoup even half that. So let’s just take their fucking money.” The publishing company sent a $10,000 check as first payment, and Debby and Matt went to Santa Monica to sign the papers.
Not much debauchery, though:
Despite the newfound popularity, there was little debauchery on the road with Superchunk.
Jon Wurster: I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like on my first tour, so I brought a box of twelve condoms along. Having no idea what was going to happen. But I might want to have twelve of them, you know? I didn’t use any of them. Never opened it. Still have them.
About the classic Steve Albini article:
In 1993, Steve Albini wrote an article for Chicago journal The Baffler called “The Problem With Music.” It was an astringent and clear-eyed case study of the process by which a band is signed to a major, beginning with the seemingly hip A&R rep who first makes contact: “After meeting ‘their’ A&R guy, the band will say to themselves and everyone else, ‘He’s not like a record company guy at all! He’s like one of us.’ And they will be right. That’s one of the reasons he was hired.” It ends with a detailed accounting of how, after lawyers, managers, producers, promotional budgets, and all the other fees necessitated by the major-label system are taken into account, a band can sign a $1-million contract, sell 250,000 copies of their first record, and end up $14,000 in debt to the record company. Its final line is, “Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.”
On the advent of The Magnetic Fields:
In late 1991, Mac picked up a new 7-inch that had just come into Schoolkids. It was a release from Harriet Records, a Boston label founded by Harvard University history professor Timothy Alborn two years earlier. The A-side was called “100,000 Fireflies,” and it was a haunting, spare, and strange amalgam: An artificial tick-tock drum-machine beat beneath what sounded like a toy piano playing sugary melodies and a gorgeous, classic woman’s voice singing desperately sad lyrics with a delivery reminiscent of Petula Clark. It reminded Mac of a lo-fi, Motown-inflected Yaz, featured one of the most memorable opening lines ever laid to tape – “I have a mandolin / I play it all night long / It makes me want to kill myself” – and sounded like pop music from the distant future as it might have been imagined in 1965. The band was called the Magnetic Fields. Mac had never heard of them, but he loved “100,000 Fireflies” and played it so frequently in the van on the road that Wurster suggested that they cover it. Mac had been thinking the same thing, and they came up with a version that swapped out the original’s delicate reserve for furious guitars and Mac’s urgent, strained vocal delivery. It quickly became a crowd favorite at shows; Superchunk recorded its version during the On the Mouth sessions in Hollywood and eventually released it as a B-side on a single. Word eventually got back to the Magnetic Fields, then located in Boston, that some punk-rock band was playing their song. On October 22, 1992, Stephin Merritt, who wrote “100,000 Fireflies,” and his bandmate Claudia Gonson went to a Superchunk show at nearby Brandeis University.
Stephin Merritt: I was horrified. It’s probably best if I don’t go into the details of why I was horrified. But we thought of punk rock as reactionary. We thought of punk rock as… Stalin.
Not that Mac himself is very Stalinesque.
Stephin Merritt: No. More like Emma Goldman, maybe.
On "69 Love Songs":
The next Magnetic Fields record, 69 Love Songs, would deliver Merritt from the indie-rock ghetto. There’s a story that Gonson tells to help explain how 69 Love Songs came into being: In 1994, Merge asked the Magnetic Fields to play at their fifth anniversary celebration at the Cat’s Cradle. On the drive down from Boston, they stayed overnight in Washington, D.C. In the middle of the night, with the band members sprawled out across someone’s living room, Merritt sat up in the dark and shouted, “Indie Rocks!” The rest of the band wearily humored him as he explained: In the late seventies, pet rocks were a fad. So why not Indie Rocks? Or Soft Rocks? Or Punk Rocks? He went back to sleep.
The next day, when they got to Chapel Hill, Gonson collected rocks from the parking lot behind the Cat’s Cradle, went to an art supply store, and painted up about twenty Merge Indie Rocks. She sold them for $1 apiece that night at the show. Claudia Gonson So that’s exactly Stephin Merritt in a nutshell. He has these ideas, and he never thinks about executing them. For every idea he executes, he has three thousand that he doesn’t. 69 Love Songs was the rare one that he did execute. It’s the kind of record that has an origin myth: In January 1998, Merritt was drinking alone at a piano bar on the Upper East Side, writing songs. He was listening to Stephen Sondheim, and thinking not about love but about the American composer Charles Ives and his book 114 Songs, and – “Indie Rocks!” – decided that he would write a musical revue called 100 Love Songs.
It would feature various performers singing a vast and comprehensive survey of every kind of song there is to be written about love, from country to punk to krautrock to Irish folk ballad, all to be penned by him. The idea was quintessential Merritt: A taxonomic and clinical take on the most intimate and emotional of subjects. It quickly dawned on him that such a musical would be a challenge to finance, so he downgraded the idea to an album of 100 love songs. When that proved excessively long, he trimmed it down to 69: A suggestive number that had the virtue of being visually appealing on an album cover.
Arcade Fire signed with Merge, based on them being nice people. They left their previous label for Merge and wrote this to Merge:
Hey Mac. We just talked to Alien 8 and told them we were going with you guys. It went pretty well. They knew all along what the situation was, so it wasn’t too much of a shock. You can make an announcement. (I am sitting in the studio and we are mixing neighborhood RIGHT NOW!) :) —Régine
On how major labels basically wasted money:
Glenn Boothe: When I worked at Sony, I used to have an $18,000 expense account. And I was expected to spend it. And a lot of times that meant me and my friends went out and ate sushi. Because it’s got to be spent. I used to date this girl who worked for a label, and one day she told me, “Yeah, I needed a Snapple. So I had a friend messenger me one from her office.” So instead of going downstairs and buying a Snapple, she spent $20 or whatever to have it messengered.
All in all: a very inspirational, tough and loving story about a little record label that spawned a lot of brilliant artists and releases, and still continues to run to this day, having now been up for 25 years. That's really something....more
Very well-edited, newly translated three-language edition (French, English, Swedish) of Wilde's quite short and very quickly banned play. The annotatiVery well-edited, newly translated three-language edition (French, English, Swedish) of Wilde's quite short and very quickly banned play. The annotations are very good, placing the script in a biblical and historical context, even noting where Wilde, for example, uses phrases in his other works. Not my fave tome by Wilde, but still very readable....more
This book is a two-level, highly programmed rollercoaster; as you feel deep sympathy and empathy for Lydon, it's as though he yanks that away from youThis book is a two-level, highly programmed rollercoaster; as you feel deep sympathy and empathy for Lydon, it's as though he yanks that away from you, as a person who's afraid of getting hurt and hence pulls away from you first; from sympathy and empathy to acting a narcissist. What plagued his first autobiography - "Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs" - was Lydon's inclination to constantly point out that he was first on a number of details; this is still the case, but not as irritating; it's even ludicrous in a few instances.
By the way, if you have read his first autobiography, this is not an add-on; this book basically contains the first book and then adds what differs from that publication date and this one's.
Having said that, the good bits over-weighs the bad, so to speak; Lydon's way of writing of overcoming, being a quite warm person, love and hate, being in a band and persistently trying to better himself - while taking the piss out of himself, is good.
From the introduction, as an example of Lydon's style:
INTRODUCTION MAY THE ROAD RISE WITH YOU Anger is an energy. It really bloody is. It’s possibly the most powerful one-liner I’ve ever come up with. When I was writing the Public Image Ltd song ‘Rise’, I didn’t quite realize the emotional impact that it would have on me, or anyone who’s ever heard it since. I wrote it in an almost throwaway fashion, off the top of my head, pretty much when I was about to sing the whole song for the first time, at my then new home in Los Angeles. It’s a tough, spontaneous idea. ‘Rise’ was looking at the context of South Africa under apartheid. I’d be watching these horrendous news reports on CNN, and so lines like ‘They put a hotwire to my head, because of the things I did and said’, are a reference to the torture techniques that the apartheid government was using out there. Insufferable. You’d see these reports on TV and in the papers, and feel that this was a reality that simply couldn’t be changed. So, in the context of ‘Rise’, ‘Anger is an energy’ was an open statement, saying, ‘Don’t view anger negatively, don’t deny it – use it to be creative.’ I combined that with another refrain, ‘May the road rise with you’. When I was growing up, that was a phrase my mum and dad – and half the surrounding neighbourhood, who happened to be Irish also – used to say. ‘May the road rise, and your enemies always be behind you!’ So it’s saying, ‘There’s always hope’, and that you don’t always have to resort to violence to resolve an issue. Anger doesn’t necessarily equate directly to violence. Violence very rarely resolves anything. In South Africa, they eventually found a relatively peaceful way out. Using that supposedly negative energy called anger, it can take just one positive move to change things for the better. When I came to record the song properly, the producer and I were arguing all the time, as we always tend to do, but sometimes the arguing actually helps; it feeds in. When it was released in early 1986, ‘Rise’ then became a total anthem, in a period when the press were saying that I was finished, and there was nowhere left for me to go. Well, there was, and I went there. Anger is an energy. Unstoppable.
There's a tinge of old-man's-anger in-between everywhere; this anger is clearly different than that of his older ways, especially when in Sex Pistols:
There have been conversations here in the United States about why every ex-President opens a library when politicians do not read the books. Hello, America! Kind of explains your politics. For me, reading saved me, it brought me back.
His meningitis and how it affected him is taken up:
Trying to blend back in was very difficult. That was a friendless first year, very friendless, and kind of lonely, because of the kids’ attitude – ‘Oh he’s sick, keep away from him!’ I hated school breaks and lunch because it meant I had nothing to do. No one would talk to me; the rumour ran around the school that I was a bit ‘out there’, and so that’s exactly where I found myself, cast out on the outside. I know what that loneliness is, it’s very, very fucking damaging. The only people that talked to me at break time were the dinner ladies. They were very kind Irish women – ‘We heard you were ill – how are you?’ I didn’t even really remember being ill, just – ‘Why am I here?’
On other music:
The Beatles – yeah, a couple of good records there, but my mum and dad had driven me crazy with their early stuff, so by the time they’d turned into Gungadin and his Bongos, there wasn’t much there for me. The people surrounding them were pretentious, with flowers painted on their faces and rose-tinted oversized sunglasses. The whole thing was too silly for words. I remember watching them on Top of the Pops doing ‘All You Need Is Love’, all that ‘la la la la-laaaa’ – oh, fuck off! No, I need a hell of a lot of other things as well. Don’t make me feel selfish for acknowledging a truth at a very early age.
And on taking the piss out of himself:
I can from time to time be a creature of excessive stupidity. I’m well aware of the warning signs and yet I’ll dive in and just go with it, but overdo it. I tend to lack subtlety. Maybe in later years I’ll catch onto that one, the idea of being subtle.
Football’s the kind of game where, if your team’s doing really badly, it gets you into the mode of having a laugh at losing. You can actually enjoy looking forward to the next tragic defeat. And there’s nothing else that gives me that ability. It serves an absolutely brilliant, beautiful purpose. It’s the theatre of emotions, not dreams. The biggest joy of being a football fan is that there is ultimately no joy in it at all. It can always get worse. Years and years ago, when West Ham got kicked down to the second division, I remember their fans singing this glorious chant: ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Bu-uuurnley, que sera sera.’ The humour was fantastic.
On Vivienne Westwood and Chrissie Hynde:
Chrissie Hynde tried to help me on the music side. She used to hang around the shop a year before I did, maybe even a couple of years before. She and Vivienne used to be close but they fell apart. One of the most delicious lines she said to Chrissie one day was: ‘The thing I don’t like about you, Chrissie, is you go with the flow – well, the flow goes that-a-way,’ pointing to the door. Chrissie would be in fits of laughter. The delivery was so funny, that she had to go, ‘Fine’. Vivienne can definitely deliver a good one-liner – no doubts about that mouth.
And yes, there is a lot of hate directed towards Malcolm McLaren here.
On the DYI essence of punk:
By now, the girls that would come to the gigs had their own creative genius just in the way they’d be dressing. There was a whole mob of girls that started wearing bin-liner bags, long before the press caught on. Because of the strikes, the garbage on the streets, it was the natural thing to evolve into. The authorities had run out of black bin-bags, so they started to make bright green and bright pink. Astounding colours, and perfect if you couldn’t afford topnotch alleged punk – you’d wrap one of them on, a few belts on it, and studs, and bingo, ready to go! ‘Right, where’s the boys?’
A very sweet paragraph on meeting the love of his life, Nora:
I first saw Nora at Malcolm’s shop in 1975. She came in with Chris Spedding, who was playing guitar with the likes of John Cale and Bryan Ferry at that time. He was very shy, and Nora wasn’t. He was worried about his flamenco shirts not quite fitting. Nora was fussing around, and somehow the screen in the fitting room fell, and there was Chris Spedding with his belly bursting out of a far-too-tight shirt. That was very typical of Vivienne’s clothing. She would never make them to fit, so you’d always have to order them a couple of inches bigger. Nora already had a daughter, Ariane, who’d been born and brought up initially in Germany, where Nora originally came from. Nora used to promote gigs in Germany, people like Wishbone Ash, Jimi Hendrix, and Yes. Then she ran away from the confines of German society, which was far too restricting and nosy. Everybody’s in your business. During punk, Ariane became Ari Up, the singer in the Slits. Her father was Frank Forster, a very popular singer in Deutschland, in a Frank Sinatra way. Germany after the War was very influenced by the American air bases, and that dictated a lot of the music that was popular. Over here, Nora brought up Ari really well, and got her to learn all sorts of musical instruments, which were always lying around. Ari was only about thirteen or fourteen when I first saw her bouncing around. Nora, I soon discovered, is a guiding light, and a creature of utter chaos. She was a very odd and different soul. Not at all like one of the average old hippie birds, who weren’t quite sure what punk was about. There were loads of them. That, or working-class girls out of the estate, full of ‘fack you’s. None of them seemed like options to me. But Nora – God, she shone in a room. From way across the other side, she shone, she glowed. Nora loathed me at first sight. At least, that’s what I thought. It was because of what everyone was saying to her. ‘Oh, you don’t want to talk to him, he’s awful’, propagating a myth around me. She was short, sharp, brutal, and very intelligent with her remarks, and a lot of that was based on what people had told her about me. But Nora being Nora, she was inquisitive. If people are telling her not to talk to anyone, she’ll talk to them, and I’m exactly the same way. I was told she was stuck-up, and so I found her deeply fascinating. Once we started talking, all of that nonsense came to light and we realized we had both been lied to. Everybody told lies, then. Shocking. I always loved the way Nora understands how to dress. She has a completely individual, incredible style, and that style is reflective of her personality. That drew me in. To the point that I never smoked cigarettes until I met Nora. She used to smoke Marlboro, so I started smoking Marlboro, too. So the afterglow ruined me for life. But then Nora gave up smoking completely, and here I am, still to this day! It was a topsy-turvy situation, for sure. We didn’t waltz straight off into the stars of romanticism. There were all kinds of heated arguments, but in those heated moments we discovered each other as human beings. I’ve got to be honest, before we met both of us played the field, but we found the field to be full of moos. And those moos turned out to be nothing more than muses, and that’s nothing to base a solid lifestyle on. It’s too vacuous. I don’t personally get the rewards of one-night stands at all. Just don’t get it, never did. I always left those situations feeling empty inside, and rolling over and going, ‘Oh my God, do you really look like that?’, and knowing that’s exactly what they felt too. I’d gone through the one-nighters period, but there was a point where it became a futile, boring, repetitive procedure. I didn’t know it at the time but what I was really looking for was a proper relationship, and that was slowly forming with Nora. There were girls leading up into that, longer than a week, shall we say, but something really good happened and clicked with Nor’, very seriously. We learned to really know each other, and that’s the best that any human being can ever look for, I think – the right person who truly accepts you for what you are, warts and all, and doesn’t make you feel ashamed of yourself for any reason at all. So self-doubt is gone, and that’s what the right partner teaches you.
More on Nora:
Once I make that commitment, it’s forever. That’s how me and Nora are and were. It’s quite brilliant how it worked out. I can’t imagine living without her, not at all, and it doesn’t matter what people tell her about me either; here we are, and here we will be.
That's lovely, I think, but this is an example of Lydon at his worst:
Back then, I suppose I was the prime target of the moment – and still am, in many ways, that’s never gone away and I have to be aware of that. It’s jealousy, ultimately. Jealous of what? God, if only they knew! Being Johnny Rotten was never easy. To maintain the integrity that I think I have is a daily grind.
On being open and not being anti-feministic:
Being open-minded to all kinds of music was Lesson One in punk, but that didn’t seem to be understood by many of the alleged punk bands that followed on after, who seemed to be waving this idea of a punk manifesto. I’m sorry, but I never did this for the narrow-minded. I was horrified by the cliché that punk was turning itself into. I didn’t – and still don’t – have too many punk records in my collection, because I never really liked them. Buzzcocks, Magazine, X-Ray Spex, the Adverts, the Raincoats – those, I liked. They were skirmishing on the outside of it rather than the typical slam-dunk bands that drove me nuts, because they all sounded the same, all chasing the same carthorse. I’m not impressed by macho bullshit bravado. It doesn’t have any content and it’s not actually aimed at anything other than trying to show off your masculinity. Failed! You had all these males-only bands trying to out-threaten each other. To me that’s the lowest common denominator. There were so many of them all doing the exact same thing, all of them completely stupid, not understanding Rule Number One: there are no rules. And yet this lot rigidly adhered to rules and regulations. They became the new Boo Nazis.
On the great PiL track called "Death Disco":
Mum had always been loving in a very quiet way. There wasn’t much said, but that’s all you need from your parents, the right kind of attention. Before she went, she asked me to write her a song, which became ‘Death Disco’. I only got to play her a very rough version. She knew what I was up to. I had to curtail it a bit, because what I wrote is very directly about death, so I wanted her to feel it was more about the challenge of an illness.
On singing competitions and The Cure:
As an aside, this idea of what a singer’s voice should be or shouldn’t be, is revolting to me. American Idol, X Factor – they all expect singers to do all the trills and all the runs, that singing instructors require – the gospel background. What a load of bollocks, man. Why can’t you just sing the way you FEEL? It doesn’t actually have to be what you would call musical, just how you feel in the moment, communicating something. The concept of tune, or tuneless, to me is bizarre. I know when I hear someone, it doesn’t have to be a G Flat Minor, perfect, but it has to be accurate. The emphasis of the words, and the tonality, and the pain in the sound that they’re procuring, and the message. If those things come across, tuneless doesn’t exist. Where being in tune counts very much, of course, is on boat cruises. That’s what American Idol is really trying to procure! Boat cruise singers! My God, hahaha! I always enjoyed this story about the Cure, because the singer, Robert Smith – he can’t bear aeroplanes. So the band took the QE2 to New York and the rumour – I don’t know what truth is in it – was that they played on there. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I love the idea!
A bit on Boy George, whose first autobiography, "Take It Like A Man", is one of my personal favourite autobiographies:
It struck me as deeply strange just how little music there was in the charts with any kind of relevance or political meaning. To me, someone like Boy George was the rare exception. All the people I like in music are the ones that have done something completely original, with a touch of genius, and I put Boy George in that bracket. He came up with something really great and challenging. At a time when punk had got staid and boring, out comes Culture Club. Fantastic. George would wear Indian menswear in a feminine way. The boy can sing, and he comes from the same background as me – the same hardcore rubbish. He’s someone that stood up for himself, no matter what he got into, and he’s intelligent, and therefore I like him. More respect, more power. He was the kind of guy there wasn’t really enough of to make the ’80s bearable.
On John Wayne Gacy:
The song ‘Psychopath’ is based on John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer – the famous one, the clown. How many hundreds he must’ve murdered. In my darker moments I’ve thought, ‘But for some kind of inner sensibility, I could quite easily be that way. I could go and kill people, aimlessly and pointlessly, and take some kind of gratification.’ I’m analyzing myself here and seeing that it is possible to be a serial killer, as indeed it is possible for any human being to be exactly the very thing that you think you hate and despise in someone else. What you’re really doing when you’re over-judgemental about those things, is you’re taking it out on yourself because you know your inner possibilities. We all are capable of the most ultimate evil. And because we are also capable of analyzing that, that is exactly why we’re better.
All in all, this book is entertaining, funny, irritating and good....more
Frankly, I expected a lot more from this, one of the most high-lighted criminal cases of the past years in SwedenThis story deserved better than this.
Frankly, I expected a lot more from this, one of the most high-lighted criminal cases of the past years in Sweden. A very high-ranking police whose main goal is feminism, is found to have raped and abused a number of very young girls over who-knows-how many years.
The good thing: the person who wrote this book is police, and was part of the investigation from the beginning.
The bad things: the book should have been heavily edited. The language isn't "gritty"; it's just bad. There's no excitement, and every chapter ends as a bad film noir cliché, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Imagine Raymond Chandler or David Simon without the good bits.
This book would been better if the author had just left his own personal dealings out of it, and the same goes for the dialogue shared with his colleagues; he should have been straightforward, or let an editor into his writing so that it would have run smoothly. I can't even count the number of times that I cringed while reading this, and longed for Hannes Råstam or another Swedish author that's dug deep into some case or other.
Portraying the main person as a Monster is just an easy way out, and I wish Trolle hadn't gone down that route. Everybody knows Lindberg did bad, but damn, this is just awful....more
The only strange thing that I find about this book is that it's both epic and wondrous at the same time that it's extremely common and its contents peThe only strange thing that I find about this book is that it's both epic and wondrous at the same time that it's extremely common and its contents permeates the lives of everyone I know, including myself.
The trees cannot often be seen because of the forest that's there.
I started following the @EverydaySexism account on Twitter about a year ago and have learned a lot about myself, how men work and - above all - how common it is for men to discriminate against women, and to sexually attack women, verbally and physically.
It's one thing to *know* this, but it is something else to realise it; I don't think I ever will, as I was born with penis. As such, the closest that I have come to being submitted to sexual discrimination is when I've stood up against sexism at the workplace.
Having said that, women are the target of 98% of all sexual violence, all over the globe. This book displays how women are targeted daily, through snide comments, groping, getting paid lower wages than men, being subjected to a plethora of offences from the minor to the major, in ways that men rarely are subjected to, but mainly commit.
The main three things, I feel, that this book addresses, are:
1. The fact that this pandemic is true and integrated into society in so many ways 2. It shows that one is not mad for recognising it, as one is not alone; there are so many reports from persons who have been subjected to daily sexualised abuse that all the "can't you take a joke?" are truly seen as the offenders, as they should be 3. It provides hope - it looks into what can be done, what has been done and what is being done.
The book is filled with hope, even though the contents are so depressing. But rather than focusing on the victims, this book is feministic; it focuses on the fact that all guilt, all "blame", if you will, should reside with the attackers, and not the persons who are being attacked.
Everything in this book is very well explained, and there are so many examples and good things in here, that I cannot possibly do it justice in a simple review. Buy it, read it, follow the project and better yourself. The book made me want to become a better person....more
The dialogue is everything in this book; the stories are OK, but the dialogue is the best. To me, Sam Lipsyte produces better fiction but the dialogueThe dialogue is everything in this book; the stories are OK, but the dialogue is the best. To me, Sam Lipsyte produces better fiction but the dialogue us the enthralling stuff. I tired of the book towards the end....more