the best novel about working class northwest youth.
Jimmy James Blood by Missy Anne is a self-published first novel from a local Mason County author....morethe best novel about working class northwest youth.
Jimmy James Blood by Missy Anne is a self-published first novel from a local Mason County author. The Total Bummer Bookclub called Jimmy James Blood "Shelton, Washington's version of Bastard Out of Carolina" and that's pretty accurate. It is a working class coming of age story that uses the natural landscape of the pacific northwest to explore the theme of poverty and environmental destruction familiar to those of us who grew up in logging/timber towns. In that sense, it is very similar to The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy but also reminds me of Winter's Bone or maybe The Beans of Egypt, Maine. There's a little bit of S.E. Hinton or Over The Edge at work too but without the sappy romanticism. For me it evokes the heartbreakingly tragic Jon Jost movie The Bed You Lie In most of all, which remains the harshest yet most true-to-life portrayal of the northwest I have yet seen captured on film. The book really takes it to another level when the main character escapes to St. Louis where she learns about urban poverty. Shelton is just up the highway from Aberdeen. Missy Anne is the literary voice of the dispossessed working class NW youth that we've come to know so well through song. Intrigued? You should be! This is a fantastic book. I read the entire thing in one sitting. I still can't believe I know the person who wrote it. (less)
the review was first published in maximum rock-n-roll may 2012
Ellen Willis was a feminist and a rock critic back when rock-n-roll and feminism were ge...morethe review was first published in maximum rock-n-roll may 2012
Ellen Willis was a feminist and a rock critic back when rock-n-roll and feminism were generally thought to be opposed to one another. Growing up in the 70's and 80's, I remember this dichotomy well. As a teenage punk rocker I went through a heavy rock-n-roll stage in the mid-80's -- Black Flag had long hair, Red Kross and The Melvins covered Kiss, Saint Vitus were ripping off Black Sabbath and I was learning to play drums -- pretty soon I was skating to Led Zeppelin and Cream instead of JFA and The Big Boys. Maybe not coincidentally this is also when I started to question sexism within punk. I stumbled upon a used paperback published by second wave feminist Shelia Rowbotham called Women's Consciousness, Man's World (1973) that provided a feminist analysis of the 60's counterculture. Playing in an all girl band at the time, it didn't seem like the 80s punk scene was all that different in terms of male domination. I loved rock-n-roll and punk but there were not enough girls in bands and way too many in behind-the-scenes support roles (not to mention the groupie economy). I was totally boy crazy yet wanted a girl revolution and I didn't want to have to take sides! I started my fanzine Jigsaw as a possible solution to this impossible conundrum. Discovering Ellen Willis reminds me that criticism is a means of resistance, a way to change society by asking questions and writing yourself into existence. Her voice is essential to those of us who negotiate our love of music with our feminism.
This is not to say that Out of the Vinyl Deeps is full of political diatribes about gender/power. That just happens to be part of what Ellen Willis writes about here. Mostly, this is a book of stellar rock criticism by a super smart, aesthetically engaged music fan that happens to be a feminist and loves to dance and hang out and listen to records. Her ideas are complex but she is clear and not fancy or academic. Her writing voice is analytical and inward. Some of the hippy vernacular is there but she generally doesn't write in a conversational way; she's an essayist, so there's a traditional literary form to most of her pieces. Contrary to the narcissistic, kinetic, explosive style of some of the male rock writers at this time, she's self-aware, reflective and careful with her choice of words but her writing loses none of its urgency. Instead of telling her readers what to think, she offers her perspective, grounded in her experience, all the time questioning what things mean and why. I imagine her spending a lot of time being social and then purposively isolating herself in order to distill her experiences into thoughtful critique. The time spent alone necessary to write seems to have given her the space to be both a feminist and a rock-n-roll fan. The result is compelling and necessary. You get the feeling that her work truly mattered and made a difference in people's lives. It definitely enhanced the cultural narrative of her time, leaving us with a document that reflects both cultural struggle and aesthetic lineage, making it excellent for anyone interested in the history of feminist thought and rock-n-roll/youth culture.
Reading this book, I'm certain that it was necessary for Ellen Willis to write in order to exist. I'm not talking about survival in terms of food and water and paying rent, but cultural survival, carving out a space to breath in a world that hates women and spreads misogyny into every aspect of our lives, including our personal relationships, fashion, politics and even our favorite songs. By publishing her thoughts instead of keeping them to herself, she helped move things forward. In that sense, this is a radical book. I hope it inspires more feminist music criticism. We need it. (less)
don letts hung out with the clash, managed the slits, djed punk shows, makes films, was in big audio dynamite and was a part of the kings road proto-p...moredon letts hung out with the clash, managed the slits, djed punk shows, makes films, was in big audio dynamite and was a part of the kings road proto-punk/punk anti-fashion scene...this is a great book, read it if you are interested in cultural history, racism, punk, reggae, post-colonial london or the politics of style.(less)
This collection of primary sources from the 1970's Women's Liberation movement is made up of work that was first available through the underground pre...moreThis collection of primary sources from the 1970's Women's Liberation movement is made up of work that was first available through the underground press as mimeographed flyers, pamphlets or articles. The editors were participants in the movement: Baxandall was a member of New York Radical Women and Gordon was involved with the socialist organization Bread and Roses out of Boston. Their introductory essay offers a useful theoretical outline for looking at this period of women's history that addresses relevant issues of culture and the underground press explicitly. Works are cited in their original form as much as possible but there is no extensive bibliography or detailed information on the original publications themselves. It is noted that the editors did extensive research in private collections to get their material, so this is unfortunate.(less)