My review of this one was quite funny, I thought, but not actually very helpful, so I thought I'd add an actual review of the actual book, in case somMy review of this one was quite funny, I thought, but not actually very helpful, so I thought I'd add an actual review of the actual book, in case someone wanted to actually know about it.
First point : how remarkable that the publishers list Ray Bradbury and Robert Bloch on the cover ("includes stories by") - these two are no longer modern, so I'm impressed that their names still ring out, as the slingers in The Wire say.
Second, of the 34 stories, five were crackers and have been added to the official list of PB's All Time Favourite Stories, which resides on this PC's desktop. They are :
Classical Scenes of Farewell by Jim Shepard (I need to read more of this guy)
Life with Father by Bentley Little
Intruder by John Boden
Willow Tests Well by Nick Matamas
The Mannerly Man by Mehitobel Wilson
Those were the ones which went over th edge of the cliff, howling. They took lunatic ideas about lunatics and found a fifth gear on their stick shifts.
A lot of the rest were okay, but as is the way of big anthologies, some were so bad I can only assume that the authors had got one of John Skipp's family members held hostage, or maybe he just owed them for saving his life, that would be the only explanation why they are here.
Maybe on kindles you can just download the individual tracks like on itunes and you don't have to buy the whole album. I don't know, I can't keep up with all this stuff. ...more
Newton’s Third Law of thermodynamics says that things cannot be held up indefinitely. This applies to traffic jams and also especially if you’re over Newton’s Third Law of thermodynamics says that things cannot be held up indefinitely. This applies to traffic jams and also especially if you’re over the age of 50 when the evidence will be clear even to non-physicists, just look in the mirror. The angle of dangle is in inverse proportion to the square of the hypotenuse; and the radius is constantly half the diameter and twice the circumference except for catwalk models when it’s the reverse. These are things known to the tiniest schoolgirl.
Newton’s Second Law says that long and thin is always better than short and stubby. He omitted to add : except for babies. Whoever wished for a baby with long thin arms and legs? That wouldn’t do at all. It would be put out in the rushes for a stork to bring up as one of its own. I wanted to form my own band when I was a teenager. It would have been called Tolkien Heads and we would have issued Burning Down the Shire and (We’re on the ) Road to Mordor as our first single. Or possibly The Elf Pistols (First album – Never Mind the Hobbits!)
So many many many many people wish to write, you know, “write”, but have no idea what to write, so, bereft, they take their cue from LIFE ITSELF as it ephemeralizes past their noses. There’s this desire, and there’s this keyboard. And here’s this 190 pages.
Speedboat is writing. Various paragraphs with no discernible order to them, making innumerable semi-interesting, semi-amusing or just banal, crushingly banal or ordinary ambient banal (hard to tell often). Stoned on life in New York, early 70s. This guy, that cop, this street, that office. A flight. A piano. Tiny Tim. The one with the ukelele. He turns up.
The tone is pretty much what Donald Barthelme (a Speedboat fan) was also doing, but he was funny. And on through the decades, not so far from what George Saunders is doing right now.
Any fan of Speedboat could write as good a book as Speedboat. But that doesn’t make it good. I believe that’s Newton’s 14th Law of Thermodynamics. ...more
Self-regardingly box-ticking like a preening popinjay of American literary workshops (oh how I loathe that word), We the Animals bounds into our reade Self-regardingly box-ticking like a preening popinjay of American literary workshops (oh how I loathe that word), We the Animals bounds into our readerly arena like a snow leopard but it turns out to be your neighbour’s moggy with an off-white rug draped over it.
I thought it wasn’t anywhere near the five-star foams nor yet the one-star fleshtearing burn-the-witch gnashes neither. It was a damned 3 star not-bad what-else-have-you-got kind of God-damned normally novelised autobiography/shortstorycollection bookmeld which has been going on since at least Dandelion Wine by Ray (now there was a writer) Bradbury in 1957 and prolly way back b4 that too, I could wiki that but I dint.
The thing is, we is totally spoiled with great current American writers of Heisenbergian crystal blue prose, you have heard me radiate on this subject many times so I will just mention in passing MatthewKlamRustyBarnesJunotDiazDonaldRayPollockHarperJordanGeorgeSaundersAlissaNuttingthat’s enough but I could GO ON and Justin Torres is all right but not there yet.
Boxes ticked in this novel :
Voice of an ethnic minority – check Gay – check Extreme poverty – check Working class – check Arse-end of America – check Elliptical style beloved by little magazines and award ceremonies – check
We will see about Mr Torres when he produces his Difficult Second Album. ...more
I have to declare an interest here - my friend Malcolm Kirton wrote the foreword to this elegant and entirely insane second volume of Mr Guerrieri's mI have to declare an interest here - my friend Malcolm Kirton wrote the foreword to this elegant and entirely insane second volume of Mr Guerrieri's monumental Faheyography. Those who were unhinged enough to buy the first volume will need to encouragement or review of this second one.
Here's an appreciation of Fahey I wrote after he died in 2001.
DEATH CHANTS, FLANG DANGS AND TURTLES: A SHORT APPRECIATION OF THE DIFFICULT LIFE AND CURIOUS PERSONALITY OF JOHN FAHEY (1939-2001), GUITARIST
JF played steel string open-tuned syncopated acoustic guitar in a style he called "American Primitive" which he borrowed from the black and white players of the 1920s and 1930s and developed into something uniquely uplifting, rare, and strange. He did this for over forty years and over forty albums, beginning in 1959 with the legendary "Blind Joe Death", "the most famous obscure record ever made" as it was called.
Fahey was the living embodiment of Nik Cohn's advice to aspiring artists: "Get obsessed and stay obsessed." The obsession was with the acoustic guitar, and what adventures could be had with it. He grew up in the mild pastures of Takoma Park, a suburb of Washington DC, first becoming interested in bluegrass and classical music, and then experiencing a kind of road-to-Damascus conversion to black gospel and blues on hearing "Praise God I'm Satisfied" by Blind Willie Johnson. That was the beginning. But the kind of guitar-playing Fahey had in mind was going to get him nowhere. He wasn't going to rock and roll, he wasn't going anywhere near Andres Segovia, didn't want to join a folk group either, and he wasn't a hot bluegrass stylist. "He wasn't doing any of those things people made a living at on that instrument in those days" said Dick Spottswood, baffled friend.
Using ignorance as a weapon, the 20 year old Fahey borrowed $300 and issued his first album himself, in 1959. 100 copies were printed. He didn't know how he could get a real record company to take any interest in him, and he couldn't be bothered anyway, so he did it himself. (This was in the days when forming your own record company was "like making your own car" , as ED Denson said later). The record was called "Blind Joe Death" and it became, as one reviewer put it, "the most famous obscure record ever issued".
BJD wasn't just a remarkable precociously original statement of great power and grace, it was also a ridiculous in-joke. One side of the white label said "John Fahey" and the other bluesier side said "Blind Joe Death". Some early listeners fell for the hoax and assumed there really was an old bluesman called Blind Joe Death. Traces of this legend can still be detected lingering amongst the more senior folklorists of America.
Four years later, under one of his various pseudonyms, Fahey himself described the music on the record:
"From listening to these selections it is apparent that by April 1959 Fahey had absorbed direct influence from the works of Elizabeth Cotton, Two Poor Boys, Sam McGee, Barbecue Bob,Charlie Patton, Sylvester Weaver and Walter Beasley, Mississippi John Hurt or Frank Hutchison, and the Carter Family; not to mention the Episcopal Hymnal.
His amazing capacity for assimilation and synthesis thus became evident early in his recording career. It is all the more amazing for the obscurity of the work of those artists before the inception of the Origin Jazz Library. It is clear that John owes a debt to the Harry Smith Anthology".
Ah yes, the Fahey's music - what was he actually playing? It's a dizzying blend of the dissonance of Bela Bartok and the syncopation of Mississippi John Hurt. He borrows, adapts, twists and bends melodic ideas, phrases and passages from black and white folk traditions, and from Western classical music (such as Sibelius and Saint-Saens) with an insouciant, reckless freedom. He buries tunes inside other tunes and hammers them into different shapes. He plays with tempo and tension. Not so much an original composer, he's more of an alchemist, and completes his transformations with intriguing or bizarre titles: The Downfall of the Adelphi Rolling Grist Mill, When the Catfish is in Bloom, The Transcendental Waterfall, The Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip XIV of Spain, Orinda-Moraga, The Death of the Clayton Peacock…
It took three years for BJD to sell out, and Fahey, by now a theology student, decided that he should record a follow-up. With a very straight face, he described it as follows:
"In 1963, John recorded his second LP, saddened that Death was not there to share in a triumph that was as much his as anyone's. The extent of that triumph may be seen in the fact that our Directors, without hesitation, issued (in part) the following statement in a June press conference:
'It is a measure not only of the tremendous gain in maturity, stature, and international reputation of Mr. Fahey, but of the vital and expanding folk market in this nation and across the seas, that we have, without precedent, decided to issue an initial pressing of 300 copies of DEATH CHANTS, BREAKDOWNS, & MILITARY WALTZES'"
The elaborate sleeve notes which accompanied Volume Two set the pattern for the rest of the 1960s : they wove a bizarre mythology around the lives and characters of Fahey and his friends, and they mercilessly lampooned the earnest folklore of the day. Here he is having fun with a track from the next album, "The Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites" :
"GIVE ME CORN BREAD WHEN I'M HUNGRY is a childrens skip rope song from Afghanistan. Many Afghans moved to California following the merciless suppression of their nation by the evil red forces of Great Britain in the 19th century. Shortly after their arrival, they taught the miners in Plumas county how to ski and thus introduced the sport to this nation. John learned the song from a group of children whose parents were attending the National Afghan Liberation Day festivities. Believing the San Francisco Bay Bridge to be an entrapped goddess which will return them to their native land, the entire Afghan population solemnly gathers together on May 22 and, standing on the span, they pelt the shore with rotten eggs so that it may wish to release the bridge."
Fahey moved forward through the 60s on several fronts at once. He resented being pigeonholed with folk/blues artists ("I'm not a folk, I was never a folk, I come from the suburbs") and living as he was in Berkeley, California, he disliked hippies, which was tough because they were they only people who listened to him. So he had agressively short hair and wore suits throughout the 60s. Speakin in 1985, he said "There was only one good thing about the 60s - they were 20 years closer to the 30s than the 80s."
With fellow blueshounds Bill Barth and ED Denson, he rediscovered the spectral Skip James and the earthy Bukka White, both of whom had recorded in the 20s and 30s and were missing, presumed dead. (Skip James! a true legend! Pulling no punches Fahey later commented "I hated him and he hated me").
In his music Fahey continued to experiment with anything that came his way. He knew a flute player, so flute/guitar improvisations would appear occasionally; he made friends with Al Wilson (of Canned Heat fame) who owned a veena, so a gorgeous veena/guitar duet appeared in 1966 (which wasn't Fahey's first excursion into Eastern music - that came in 1964 when he adapted Ravi Shankar's theme from the Apu trilogy and turned it into a mesmerising tune called "On the Banks of the Owchita".) He also made a series of found-sound collages involving gamelan orchestras, Tibetan monks, singing bridges and the like, and issued them with titles like "A Raga Called Pat Parts 1-IV". He was esoteric and he played snappy two minute versions of "Bicycle Built for Two" as well. He was a serious man with a great sense of humour. The joy you can hear in his exuberant genre-bending experimentation can only be compared with the Incredible String Band.
His eccentricity was nowhere more evident than in live performances. In fact, he didn't play for a paying audience until 1964, perhaps conscious of the fact that he didn't sing. In the mid-60s, if you played acoustic guitar, it was because you were a singer. Fahey did not sing. He also was never really convinced that playing to an audience was such a great thing either. He would regularly transgress the conventions of what performers were supposed to do, as for instance, when he brought live turtles on to the stage, explaining that their habitat was being destroyed in California; or when he asked the audience on another occasion for a wife. Sometimes when it was time for the intermission he would stay on stage, smoke a cigarette and stare at the crowd. On another (bootlegged) evening he seemed to become depressed during the performance, and began a rambling monologue about how disgusting his own life was and that maybe he and the audience should commit group suicide (this was before Jonestown).
Oh yes - he had a thing about turtles. He just liked them… a lot…
The record label Fahey invented for his first two albums became a real one when he issued new lps by Skip James and Bukka White,and then a string of other less obvious artists, such as Charlie Nothing and his Psychedelic Saxophone and One String Sam. (Finally Takoma got lucky when Leo Kottke sent in a demo tape. That one was a hit.)
So the 70s lumbered on - more records, most of them brilliant, and some by "John Fahey and his Orchestra" (another experiment, this time with some Dixieland jazzmen). Takoma Records was sold to Chrysalis. Fahey got a drink problem, then in the 1980s his health started to deteriorate. Fewer records, some not so good now, and bad live performances. By 1987 he could say "I'm making more money losing weight than I am playing guitar. My father-in-law pays me $100 for every pound I lose." He was only half joking. Divorce followed, and at the end of the 80s Fahey hit the skids, and wound up living in cheap motels in Salem, Oregon, and when the money really ran out, in men's hostels. When the Salvation Army hostel objected to some of his personal habits and threw him out he lived in his car. In a poor-taste reprise of the lives of his revered bluesmen, he pawned his guitar several times.
And then history repeated itself, as when he and his college kid pals discovered Skip James in a hospital, guitarless, ill and broke in 1963, so in 1994 Byron Coley, a young reporter from Spin magazine, tracked him down, and self-consciously re-discovered John Fahey. And it worked. The double-cd best-of issued by Rhino, also in 1994, called "Return of the Repressed", and Coley's article in a national rock mag ("The Persecutions and Resurrections of Blind Joe Death") kick-started Fahey's career - suddenly a whole lot of people wanted to hear those dancing, mesmerising "stabilised improvisations", those sparkling fandangos and two-steps and flang dangs.
Fahey however had other ideas. Just as he got his audience back, he decided that ALL his old music was bogus. "Most of it was kind of cosmic sentimentalism," he growled, calling "pretentious" and "dishonest". In quick succession he issued three cds ("City of Refuge", "Womblife" and "The Epiphany of Glenn Jones") which were nothing like the previous 35 albums. Melody, syncopation and harmony were jettisoned, relics of a previous life. The reviews ranged from: "sounds like what you might get if you gave a six-year- old an acoustic guitar and a white noise generator – except there would be in the six-year-old’s work a genuinely positive and creative exuberance that is conspicuous in its absence here.” to
"The guitarist’s warm, seemingly haphazard strumming is filmic in sound, like a silent movie whose characters’ voices you have to imagine slipping in between and on top of his impassioned playing…”
If that wasn't enough for fans to take in, he announced that he was through with the acoustic guitar and at the age of 59 was going electric. Oh, and he formed another record label, called Revenant, which specialised in re-issuing "raw" music. Fahey was up and running, and it was like he had a premonition that his time wasn't long.
He died unexpectedly on February 22nd 2001. People only tell you what they really thought of you when you're dead, and just as well, really. We have learned a whole lot about the irascible, cranky, curmudgeonly, warm, aloof, arrogant, truth-telling, myth-making, inclusive, obstinate, demanding, generous, garrulous, friendly, visionary and very peculiar old American primitive since 22nd February. But we knew the only important thing already. It's the first 30 seconds of "The Yellow Princess" of course. ...more
Lucinda, we know each other for years, but this is the first time you come to me for help. I don't remember the last time you invit DON PETER RABBIT :
Lucinda, we know each other for years, but this is the first time you come to me for help. I don't remember the last time you invited me to your house for coffee...
What do you want of me? I'll give you anything you want... I ask for Justice. Make the two bad mice suffer as we suffer. How much shall we pay you?
DON PETER :
So now you come to me and say Don Peter, you must give me justice. And you don't ask in respect or friendship. And you don't think to call me Bunfather; instead you come to my house on the day my 14 daughters are to be married and you ask me to do murder...for money. But if you come to me with your friendship, your loyalty, then your enemies become my enemies, and then, believe me, they would fear you...
One early medieval story says that humans are like a bird who flies in one window of a great hall where a vast banq THE UNAPPEALING ATHEIST PROPOSITION
One early medieval story says that humans are like a bird who flies in one window of a great hall where a vast banquet is in progress. The bird only has time to catch a glimpse of all the festivities before it flies out of the other window. That’s us : we rapidly pass from non-existence to non-existence. Is that going to be a message many people want to hear? No. Is that why religion with its vivid promises of afterlife joy (for you, and, hopefully, misery for your enemies) may still be attractive to most people? Yes. That and about a thousand other reasons. It’s a good thing that atheists are now making themselves heard after centuries of oppression but I don’t like the way the argument has gone.
THE PROBLEMS OF THE WHOLE ATHEIST DEBATE THING
1. At the heart of it there is a meaningless question: do you believe in God? The believers don’t or can’t define what they mean by the word. Everyone appears to assume that the word God has the same meaning for everyone. That is not true. A lot of these debates are between people who never define their terms, so what they’re talking about is anyone’s guess.
2. The nature of belief : the majority of believers have not converted from one religion to another, they were born into a particular religion. They have never for one second considered the possibility that a different religion might actually be the true one. The very idea is obviously absurd for this great majority of all believers of all religions. How can a debate be had within such a confined space?
3. I have been waiting for a thousand years to be able to say this! That’s what it sounds like when you read these bitter, angry litanies of the horrors inflicted by the Christian Church on the people of the world. In essay after essay they are trundled out like the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds (a famous waxworks exhibit in London! I bet you knew that!) . And after they get done with the followers of Jesus, the current grisly gang of jihadis provide many non-Christian examples of religious bloodlust. Okay, it probably needs to be said (but Christopher, not 15 times over) but this is not a debate about belief.
The atheists denounce Christianity and Islam (the two main disturbers of the peace in this book) as if, with their suppression, none of this xenophobic, misogynistic and fratricidal violence would ever have happened. If these two religions had just fizzled out, like thousands of others, then mild pleasantness would have descended and scientists would have been busily inventing motor cars and packet soup before the 13th century. But what would have happened instead of Christianity and Islam? Imagine that the Roman religion persisted in the West and the local animist cults continued in Arabia and the Middle East, alongside Zoroastrianism. Would humans have avoided wars of conquest, disease, ignorance, slavery and all the rest of it? Not at all. There would have been different names on the shops but they would have been selling the same bloody goods. The atheists are cynical about religion but uncynical about human nature.
4. And then there’s being caught in the crossfire: the non-specialist reader of the atheist debate will be scoffing aspirin very quickly, to ward off the throbbing headaches caused by the sesquipedalian jawbreakers of the cosmologists, the theoretical physicists and the biologists on the one side and the theologians on the other side. If I wrote what I know about quantum uncertainty, Planck time and fructose on the back of an average sized postage stamp I would still have room left over for the ten commandments and the lyrics of Like a Rolling Stone. A lot of this stuff is above my paygrade.
So, this book is only semi-useful and sporadically entertaining. Christopher himself can always provide a few zingers:
To be charitable, one may admit that the religious often seem unaware of how insulting their main proposition actually is.
Or - religion is based on
our willingness to be persuaded against all the evidence that we are indeed the centre of the universe and that everything is arranged with us in mind.
And I did really enjoy Richard Dawkins leaping all over the anti-evolutionists’ two favourite topics – first, The Worship of the Gaps, which refers to the gaps in the fossil record, which allegedly prove that evolution is wrong. RD says that when a new fossil is found which fits in one of these gaps, the creationists then proclaim that there are now two gaps where before there was only onE! And second, irreducible complexity. The creationists difficulties with things like the human eye or Venus’ Flower Basket, or Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia trilobata) (all examples taken from a book by the Watchtower Society called Life – How Did it Get Here?) are dealt with as follows
The logic [of the creationists] turns out to be no more convincing than this: “I [insert own name] am personally unable to think of any way in which [insert biological phenomenon] could have been built up step by step. Therefore it is irreducibly complex. That means it was designed.”
MAYBE THERE ARE BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TIME
There are always interesting bits and pieces in a collection of essays by such big names as these. In one, Ian McEwan casually tossed out that one poll showed that 53% of Americans believe that the universe is less than 6000 years old. I boggled at that. He was then quick to point out that
In Pennsylvania, Kansas and Ohio the courts have issued ringing rejections of Intelligent Design and voters have ejected creationists from school boards.
He also explains the enduring appeal of the belief that The Apocalypse ™ will happen in your own lifetime (44% of Americans) – he says that this is an indication of how difficult it is for many people to accept that they aren’t special. You see this in the harmless fatuousness of generational narcissism – (kids of today, they don’t know what music is!) but when people really expect The End of Times to be about to really happen it’s like – I’m not going quietly! When I go, the whole of time and space is coming with me!
Since this book is partly about a bunch of teenagers trying to get accepted into a top dramatic academy, I have an excuse to tell you a recent sad-but Since this book is partly about a bunch of teenagers trying to get accepted into a top dramatic academy, I have an excuse to tell you a recent sad-but-true anecdote, which featured my daughter’s fellow-Corridor (that’s their band) named Helena. If you’ve seen the youtube videos (and they really want you to!) she’s the very tall, very thin, quite pretty and extremely blonde one. She’s a good actress (I’ve seen her in school plays) and a good singer & dancer and she’s totally in love with acting. So with all that going on she thought she’d be able to get into a top dramatic academy. (This is the frantic year when they’re all applying to university). So she went to the first audition. She’s been used to acting & performing with a lot of different types of kids, it’s an extremely mixed school. The casts of all the shows she’s ever been in (a lot) have been black, brown, short, tall, all kinds of kids, all jazzed with acting like some kids are. When she came back from the first audition she was devastated. She was thinking : I’m sunk, I’ll have to think of something else. Why ? Because when she walked into the room and met the other wannabe actors, they were all extremely tall extremely thin extremely blonde pretty 18 year old girls. No one else had applied. The whole room was full of Helenas.
I thought I’d read The Rehearsal because I just didn’t fancy the 2000-page-long Luminaries, all the reviews gave me the idea it was a little bit too meta, a gigantic brainy well-written shaggy-dog story, or maybe a shaggy-god story, which would be worse. So I thought, let’s try the first slender novel instead. Maybe that will inspire me. But it uninspired me.
This story has two parts to it. The kids auditioning for the academy is one and the scandal of a girl being sexually abused by her music teacher is another. Both of these plot strands are groanworthy, especially the latter, because we have had a lot of this kind of thing in the history of fiction. Tampa, Notes on a Scandal, Innocents, heck, it’s a sub-division of fiction :
Here it’s the psychological aftermath of the abuse rather than the thing itself, but still, you get to wear the been there done that t shirt.
Dull subjects can be made into great novels, everyone knows that. Look at Ulysses – guys wander about Dublin and drink in pubs. Molly Bloom shags her boyfriend. End of story. For 900 pages. Look at Moby Dick. Boy meets whale, boy loses whale, boy can’t take no for an answer and pursues whale. For 900 pages. Look at Jean Rhys’s four novels – woman mopes around. That’s it. But this one…. I could tell Eleanor Catton could turn a deft phrase and make many astringent observations, but I just didn’t want 300 pages of deft phrases & astringent observations about teenagers and their trembling psyches and undulating nether regions. Not right now, and maybe never. ...more
Autobiographical novels – they should all of them be loaded onto one of those huge barges that take garbagey r SOME NOTES ON THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL
Autobiographical novels – they should all of them be loaded onto one of those huge barges that take garbagey rubbish out into the ocean and set on fire and the charred remains dumped somewhere ecologically safe, anywhere, so long as I don’t have to look at them anymore. Ugh – how ultimately tiresomely obvious and 100% unimaginative and egomaniac is this author that all they can do is write this thing about themselves having rites of passage and being young and confused or whatever in Ohio or Minsk or Adelaide and having bad sex or wanting to have bad sex. Come on, you creative types, what are we paying you for? Make something up! It’s bound to be more interesting that your dreary upbringings which you may have thought so uniquely unique until you read all the other autobiographical novels and found that wasn’t so.
Of course there are a few autobiographical novels that in spite of these large handicaps must be rescued from the burning barge of shame. I mean, clearly Dandelion Wine, The Bell Jar, and Sons and Lovers, and Eighty-Sixed (that’s too funny to die), and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and also Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. Oh, also Slaughterhouse-Five, A Death in the Family, Oranges are not the only Fruit, Trainspotting, Bastard out of Carolina and The Buddha of Suburbia. No one be throwing those on a barge. But all the others can go go go.
Well, no, not Jean Rhys! What do you take me for? We would never want to be without her four droopy gateaux of gloom. I’m sorry there aren’t any more. I would love to have read her novelised account of being thrown in jail for common assault and finding herself in Holloway prison. That would have rocked. But you can’t have everything.
SOME NOTES ON THIS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL
This slender morsel covers the 18-to-19 year old Jean. She vaguely tried to be a chorus girl in travelling productions, then vaguely thought a rich boyfriend would support her, then vaguely drifted from one boyfriend to another. The place where it isn’t exactly prostitution but it isn’t exactly not.
JR immerses you into her languidly morbid mental meanderings to the point where you think – this kid needs a good talking to. Then someone says to her
“Oh shut up about being tired,” she said. “You were born tired.”
We think she’s just a maudlin drifter, but then we get a flash of horror when she realises she’s now one of the poor, and the viciousness of the image:
The ones without any money. The ones with beastly lives. Perhaps I’m going to be one of the ones with beastly lives. They swarm like wood-lice when you push a stick into a wood-lice nest at home. And their faces are the colour of wood-lice.
She was that strange being, a white West Indian. This novel is continually stream-of-consciousing back into her childhood:
I wanted to be black. I always wanted to be black. Being black is warm and gay, being white is cold and sad.
This is a sad novel, as all JR’s are, except Wide Sargasso Sea, which is angry. It was written in 1933 “on two bottles of wine per day”. Do I recommend it? Well, everyone should pick one JR novel, and if you like that you’ll be back. She has the same sweet glass of poison waiting for you each time. ...more
The Great American Songbook is around 300 songs written between 1925 and 1945, mainly by male Jewish American songwriters*. This book is about its ris The Great American Songbook is around 300 songs written between 1925 and 1945, mainly by male Jewish American songwriters*. This book is about its rise and fall (“By 1946 the magical coincidence of quality and popularity was over”) and kind-of rise again.
I agree that these songs are great, but I had to learn that slowly. I had to find out that going backwards in musical time was as exciting as going forwards.
The usual narrative of American music is that the Gershwins & Porters & Rodgers were all killed off by rock & roll. The hound dog done ripped out the entrails of your funny valentine. But it wasn’t so. There was a weird period from 1945 to 1955 during which swing died and fewer standards were written and pure crap took over, notoriously exemplified by "How Much is that Doggie in the Window", "Come on-a My House" and "O Mein Papa". We know "Come on-a My House" was crap because its singer Rosemary (aunt of George) Clooney told us in her autobiography:
I thought the lyric ranged from incoherent to just plain silly. I thought the tune sounded more like a drunken chant than an historic art form and I hated the gimmicky arrangement. It was orchestrated for jazzed-up harpsichord, of all things, with a kind of calypso rhythm.
Producer Mitch Miller (the dark lord of this book, “too much power and not enough taste…as responsible as anyone for turning pop music into jingles”) played the demo and said that’s what she’d be recording at the next session. She said : I don’t think so. He said:
Know what I think? I think you will show up because otherwise you will be fired.
This crap song was a giant hit.
And Patti Page herself chipped in with a pretty reasonable observation :
There are more people that aren’t hip than those that are, so you’ve got to please those that aren’t.
Anyway, the sophisticated standard was on its knees by 1955 and then rock & roll turned up to deliver the final boot in the mush. Boy, those older 50s guys hated rock & roll. Here’s Vance (Hidden persuaders) Packard:
Our airways have been flooded in recent years with whining guitarists, musical riots put to a switchblade beat, obscene lyrics about hugging, squeezing and rocking all night long
This book staggers around the chronology of 20th century popular music like a drunk trying to find his way home. There’s too much showbiz nuts & bolts and not enough aesthetic consideration in here for me. So many names you never heard of, industry disputes which were really something in 1941, this about disc jockeys, that about song pluggers. I could live without any of this stuff but it comes with the territory, I guess. Right at the end Ben begins to enthuse about new great songwriters of the mid 60s (the usual suspects). And then he stops. I wanted more.
I kind of think this book is like notes for a larger greater book waiting to be written.
*Why Jews in particular? Ben Yagoda is a little mystified. “No simple explanation”, he says. It raises the interesting question as to whether it’s racist to say that a particular ethnic group is simply better than other groups at some things. Kenyan long distance runners, Jewish American songwriters, Russian chess players.
It started with Manny’s review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... which itself started as an experiment that had nothing to do with Hitler or Mein Kampf. Our mutual friend Lilo had posted a one star review on Amazon of Er ist wieder da (Look Who’s Back) by Timur Vermes, a “satirical” novel about Hitler. She told people NOT to read it. Amazon deleted her review. Manny wanted to find out how far this censoring policy was being taken (we all remember the great Goodreads censorship craze of 2014 and we all know who owns Goodreads). So Manny chose Mein Kampf and wrote a one line non-review urging people NOT to read the book to find out if his non-review would be deleted. He then described what happened next in his Goodreads review. It wasn’t deleted, but many interesting things happened. The comments section of this Goodreads review then took on a life of its own, and became one of the most interesting discussions ever on Goodreads. (Someone should make a best-of-Goodreads-comments-sections list!)
Then, in another part of the forest, I came across a book called How to Read Sade, which I read and reviewed. It was part of a series of “How to Read” books, which included some of the usual suspects – the introduction refers to them as “great thinkers and writers” – so you have Darwin, Freud, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Jung, Marx – and HITLER.
What was he doing there? I was curious to find out. And also I thought that whereas I agreed with Manny to the extent of never wishing to go anywhere near Mein Kampf itself I could allow myself to read about Mein Kampf. In approaching the infectious object I would be donning the disinfective space suit of criticism.
ON TO THE AMBLE ITSELF
And this is exactly how it turned out. Neil Gregor gives us a very solid, useful essay about Hitler’s book, showing us clearly where its arguments repeat previous writers and where they suddenly become radical and original, and how Hitler’s political views were, like those of any paranoid conspiracy theorist, fairly coherent within their own system. He is at pains to say that of course Hitler was not like Wittgenstein or Freud, not any kind of great or important thinker. (True – so, really, what WAS he doing in this series?) Page three asks the question “Should we read Hitler at all?” The answer is – if we wish to understand how the Nazi ideology was formed, here is the big kahuna of foundation documents. All 650 pages of it. But be warned:
The reader will not struggle to find logical inconsistencies and self-contradiction. Some passages border on the incomprehensible.
Still, we need to confront Mein Kampf:
To dismiss Hitler’s ideas as merely eccentric or deranged is intellectually and morally lazy – it enables us to talk about Hitler in a way that avoids raising more awkward questions about the genealogy of his beliefs of their place within the intellectual traditions of western modernity.
HITLER’S BRAIN IN ACTION
Hitler was against a lot of things and he was for one thing. Which was, as you know, the German race. But not any old German race – the one which was flourishing in that golden age of the First Reich, whenever that was – around the year 900 probably. Whereas many Germans were happy to see their country embrace industrialisation and become industrially powerful (1880-1910) Hitler hated all that. Capitalism made people think only about themselves, getting on, making a buck, founding a company, manufacturing steel – but what they should be thinking about is the German race, not themselves. The race is everything, the individual nothing.
Germany was constantly being undermined by new forces. Internationalism undermined the nation-state, whether by the capitalists, who owed their allegiance to no one, or the communists, who preached the unity of all workers in all countries and rejected the whole nation-state concept. Hitler thought that both of these powerful economic-political-internationalist drivers were run by “the Jews”.
Throughout Mein Kampf we see medical imagery. The nation state (Hitler’s term was “the racial state” because there was only room for one race in his state) is thought to be like a body, prone to outside infection. There’s a whole lot about parasites, poisons, viruses, noxious bacilli, plagues and so on. At the same time, the state is involved in a constant life-and-death struggle for survival with other nation-states. To call these ideas “vulgar social Darwinism” as Neil Gregor does is probably right but surely pollutes the name of Darwin, so I hesitate to do so.
So you see where all this is going – Hitler is obsessed with Germanness and believes that being extremely German is what makes Germans great. There was absolutely no room for racial minorities in Hitler’s reich. No multiculturalist he. But even if you were 100% German you didn’t get a free pass, you had to be fit and healthy too. Maximum Germanness at all times! How can you be maximum if you have only got one leg?
Hitler had some radical ideas on how to achieve maximum Germanness. He states in MK that unfit Germans are to be strongly discouraged from having any children, and fit & healthy ones are to be instructed to have many children.
The racial state… must see to it that only the healthy beget children.
Well, there’s a chilling line. There’s the forced sterilisation programme, there’s T-4, the euthanasia programme, and there is the first experiments with carbon monoxide in a converted van at the Brandenburg an der Havel State Welfare Institute in February 1940.
Neil Gregor has done us all a favour, he’s slogged (carefully and slowly, he says) through MK and Hitler’s little-known Second Book (unpublished until 2006) and come up with a very clear account of how Hitler thought about things rendered down to 110 short pages. I think that’s about all anyone could stand.
I’ve only had this two days and it’s 503 pages long so I haven’t read more than 60 pages or so but I can review it already because every page is the s I’ve only had this two days and it’s 503 pages long so I haven’t read more than 60 pages or so but I can review it already because every page is the same same same same same. Mr Sutherland takes a novel and summarises you the whole plot, including the end, in a slightly waggish manner. You have to go over these entries with a magnifying glass to find any clue to whether he actually liked it or not. You might assume that he did, because it’s included here, but THIS ISN’T A GUIDE.
Check it out : in the preface, he says
This book is not a guide, a reference book, or a “best of” compilation
Now, what does it say on the title page… here, lemme quote that for you:
A GUIDE TO 500 GREAT NOVELS
I guess John Sutherland musta had a slapped-brow head-desk moment when he got his preview copy.
"I told them, I told them"
Awright, so leaving that ridiculousness aside, what is this thick wedge of a book? He says
The intention in what follows is to share a lifelong enthusiasm for that wonderful human invention, the prose novel.
That sounds good, right, but oh my, grinding slightly sarcastically through the plots of 500 books with virtually no hint as to why you should be interested in the said novels is no way to light my fire, and as regards novels, I am like the Australian bush in high summer, I don’t need that much encouragement. John Sutherland must think these entries sparkle with his lifelong enthusiasm for novels, but maybe it’s the same enthusiasm that undertakers have for corpses – they love them and care for them deeply but you’d never know to look at them. Professional and reserved at all times.
I guess this not-guide does have a point for me however, and maybe for you too, given that we can’t read all novels ever (sorry if that has given you a twinge). It does mention a whole host of novels I’d never heard of or, if I had, never had any intention of reading.
Examples from first category:
Hanta Yo : Ruth Beebe Hill Left behind : Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins Outerbridge Reach : Robert Stone Independent People : Halldor Laxness
And second category:
The Rats : James Herbert Riders of the Purple Sage : Zane Grey The Groves of Academe : Mary McCarthy The Good Earth : Pearl S Buck
So it’s kinda useful for that. Anyway, I do like books about books, I know they’re a bit porny but hey, this is the site where people like to sniff books, follow books in the street, stalk books, dress books up in see-through clothes, probably marry books for all I know. ...more
Well, we like it, great stories, great stuff, I’m sure it’s gonna be another strong seller, but the thing is the title
What about the title?
Well, er… Psychos, Serial killers, Depraved Madmen and the Criminally Insane…
Yeah? What’s wrong with that?
Well, we er we think we might have an issue with that from some quarters
Uh huh? What quarters be that?
Well, ah, the mental health advocacy groups, you know… they might not see it as, er, mental health positive, you know. They might could be saying that it you know gives a kind of stereotypical lurid spin to mental health issues which they’ve been trying to eradicate from the popular mind for decades. Like that, John, you know.
Yeah? Well, that so. Hey well, what say that when one of these advocacy group spokespeople call you up, you tell them that I know where they live, and if they cause me any grief I’m going to come on down there and catch their family pets and grind em up and feed em to their children like they feed those pate de foix gras geese with those tubes down their throats, you just tell them that, Harold.
Oh, John, ha ha, I don’t know whether that would be so wise
Yeah and when I got done doing that then I’ll stick their kids down in my cellar with blinkers on their eyes which I’ll only remove in order to show them documentaries about the Khmer Rouge and Charles Manson. For five years. Then I’ll let them go. They’ll be really different coming out to they way they went in. Is that what these people want? Is that it? IS THAT IT?
Oh now John, heh, now then -
How did you get my number? HOW DID YOU GET MY NUMBER?
How strange to discover that John Phillips, main songwriter of The Mamas and the Papas, whom we associate with sunny harmonies and gentle hip-dippinesHow strange to discover that John Phillips, main songwriter of The Mamas and the Papas, whom we associate with sunny harmonies and gentle hip-dippiness, should write a monograph on the works of the Marquis de Sade. I must have listened to “Monday Monday” a million times and failed to detect any hint of sadomasochistic cruelty lying beneath the plangent melody, but it’s clear from this essay that Phillips was steeped, soaked and smooshed in all aspects of the Marquis’ revoltingness.
De Sade is famous for writing the four most-violently-pornographic novels of all time – only Brett Easton Ellis can really hold a lighted candle to these remarkable creations: Juliette, The New Justine, The 120 Days of Sodomy, and Philosophy in the Boudoir.
But de Sade is confusing. His famous novels consist of vastly repetitive cartoonlike scenes featuring giant dildos, fountains of bodily fluids, coprophilia, burnings alive, disembowelments, babies, yada yada yada, the very stuff you were expecting, but more so. (John Phillips helpfully informs us : “Sadeian eroticism is not confined to the transgressive use of bodily waste” - a useful reminder.)
How much of this stuff is supposed to be satirical, deliberately non-realistic or indeed straightforwardly pornographic is a matter of dispute. (But you would have to be a right sick bastard to get off on de Sade, really.) Breaking up the unpleasantness, there are many passages of elegant philosophical debate, which usually seek to skewer some commonly held 18th century view, such as that society needs laws, or that the weak should be protected, or that there is life after death. All this common-place wisdom is ripped asunder with gusto, much like the next virgin to enter the room. But – again – is this de Sade playing wicked devil’s advocate here? Will the real Marquis please stand? We may remember that in one of the most amazing twists of a truly amazing life, when de Sade was finally sprung from jail in 1790 after the revolution, this most haughty of aristocrats became a judge working for the National Assembly and an active member of a far left political party.
Because the violent misogynistic fantasies are bundled together with the severe materialistic philosophy, I’d say de Sade, by being almost the first openly atheist author, put back the cause of atheism about ten thousand years. The godly sort were likely to conflate the two - as does de Sade and say there, if you don’t believe in the Lord you’ll be a-sodomising your own grandma in a trice. But this is false logic. You may indeed a-sodomize your own grandma, but your atheism did not lead you to this act – it was your incestuous gerontophilia.
John Phillips does not even begin to address a central point raised by de Sade’s work, which is – why should pornography tend towards violence? Reading de Sade gives you the notion that the only way to live freely is to live violently, that if you reject the despotic state you are then able to become the despot to the weaker subjects in your own life, i.e. women, children and priests, because that’s nature’s way. De Sade’s libertines are all male, except for Juliette, who sports a giant strap-on a lot of the time and so becomes a ladyboy with a real mean streak. Instead of confronting this unacceptable and omnipresent aspect of de Sade, Phillips tries to kind of justify his methods:
acts of violence in de Sade always have a philosophical underpinning and a philosophical context. Such acts are not presented for their own sake, as they would be in some modern forms of pornography, for example, but as exemplifications of a philosophical point, or as a pretext for a philosophical debate.
(Yes, he does overuse the p word.)
Phillips tries really hard to describes de Sade’s attitude to women as “ambivalent”, but he has to acknowledge that
The overwhelming majority of de Sade’s female characters are consistently represented as objects : objects of desire, and yet of simultaneous contempt ("I get pleasure from women, but I despise them; more than that, I detest them as soon as my passion is sated" says Jerome in The New Justine)… the breasts and the vagina of their female victims are repeatedly bitten, pricked, whipped and stabbed. Sade’s libertines frequently declare their aversion for the female genitals, which they insist be kept hidden from view.
Instead of calling a spade a spade and honestly admitting that de Sade’s work is misogynistic and – well, could be that de Sade himself was, too, if that’s not too much of a stretch - he faffs about in a ridiculous fancy mystical way, like this
What Jerome and others hate about the female body is a kind of absence, one that is manifestly physical. Absence is equally characteristic of nature itself, which the libertine also hates because it works in an apparently motiveless and arbitrary fashion… Nature, then, is responsible for female absence, which itself inescapably becomes a metonym for nature’s absent causes.. The female body is the sign and symbol of nature’s disappointing nullity…
What bollocks, Mr Phillips, what pure bollocks. I should stick to “California Dreamin’” in future.
Note : my review of Justine is here and my review of a great biography of de Sade is here.
We now have around 90 years of recorded music – before 1925 it’s not that good, partly due to the poor songs ("Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way", "My WordWe now have around 90 years of recorded music – before 1925 it’s not that good, partly due to the poor songs ("Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way", "My Word you do Look Queer", "Ma He’s Making Eyes at Me") but mostly because they had to yell down a horn to record anything before 1925.
The way popular Anglo-American music evolved over the decades was fast. Genres were borned, fizzed awhile, then phoenixed into something newer. I see this as a spectacular collaboration between Scottish, Irish and English people, black American people and white American people – five distinct cultures (along with a jillion subcultures) colliding, stealing, joyfully re-stealing, enhancing, rewriting, improving and getting impatient with and changing around each other’s music.
Folk into hillbilly, string band, bluegrass, old timey, morphing into Nashville countrypolitan, and outlaw and newgrass, meantime race records, the original name, umbrella for gospel, jubilee quartet and country blues which citified and somewhere decades later anglified into blues rock and heavy metal – whilst at the same time race rechristened rhythm & blues became soul; jazz beginning with Dixieland getting fancier with swing and druggier with bebop, and god save us from free and fusion; black music doesn’t stand still for long, look at all the microgenres of dance music (hardcore handbag! Trip hop! Ambient frog! Terrorcore! Only one of those is made up!).
The Carter Family were like the bedrock laid down as a place to stand for all the other musicians to leap off of, like the Beatles of country music if the Beatles had been mostly women singing glum religious songs and laments about mothers dying in little log cabins and children in train wrecks and the United States Postal Service wrecking people’s lives by misdirecting mail. Don’t buy a ticket to ride from the Carter Family. It will end in tears. If they want to hold your hand it will be because they’re going to be hanged tomorrow and you’re their whitehaired mother who’s a thousand miles away. Their antique, starchy but for all that moving and lovely songs reached back into the previous century as AP Carter mostly stole them from Victorian songbooks.
I thought a graphic novelisation of this curious story would be a blast, and it kind of was, but there was one big pain in the neck which I must call attention to: phonetic speech. Like when you pick up Wuthering Heights for the first time and are confronted with the outrageous Nellie Dean :
‘“T’ maister nobbut just buried, and Sabbath not o’ered, und t’ sound o’ t’ gospel still i’ yer lugs, and ye darr be laiking! Shame on ye! sit ye down, ill childer! there’s good books eneugh if ye’ll read ’em: sit ye down, and think o’ yer sowls!”
I imagine many a reader has dropped this classic like a rat mistaken for a chihuahua after a few pages of that. In this graphic novel we get :
Put thet out! It’s pyzen! It’ll roon y’r fine singin’ voice!
You ever flied in an airplane?
No, but I been on a motersickle.
‘S this all y’do when I’m not here? Just lollygag around pickin’ daisies?
Thing is, it kinda makes ‘em sound a bit like dim-witted-hillbillies, which no-one wanting to read this book wants to think like. Shore, it were a artistic decision, but I warn’t tickled pink ‘bout it, no sirree.
If you’re thinking of writing a novel, don’t do phonetic speech! It’s never good!
The Carter Family - they didn't smile much....more
This book has been on my radar for years, always wondered what it was all about. It gets a namecheck in Fourth of July Creek and that was the reminderThis book has been on my radar for years, always wondered what it was all about. It gets a namecheck in Fourth of July Creek and that was the reminder I needed.
What’s it about? It’s about what’s happening right now, baby! Rapture! End Times! World’s greatest come-back tour! Heck! More heck!
I don’t understand how evangelicals like Hal Lindsey and his zillion followers think about God. Here’s the Bible and it contains this prophecy which literally will tell you what’s going to happen to the planet Earth in your lifetime but you have to be able to read it correctly and puzzle all the pieces together. When you do and the light dawns it’s like whoah, dude.
This writer doesn’t believe that we have prophets today who are getting direct revelations from God, but we do have prophets today who are getting special insight into the prophetic word.
Who might one of those guys be? I’m guessing Hal Lindsay.
But if God wants us to know about this stuff (and he must or he would have stretched forth his hand and squashed Hal Lindsey like a bug before he got to writing this book) then why allow the Bible to be composed in such a cloudy, uncertain, frankly difficult style? Why not lay it all down in black & white?
Say, something like this:
Isaiah then spake forth Hear ye O Israel, hear ye the word of the LORD. In the fifth decade of the 20th century after the birth of the Messiah whom ye will rejecteth in the hardness of your hearts, there will arise Adolf Hitler and he will smite the nation of Israel. Yet a remnant shall be saved and shall returneth to Zion. But wars and strife and tumults shall besiege thee O Israel, even from the hills of Lebanon, and the pharaoh in Egypt that shall be named Nasser.
But the Lord shall dash the enemies of his people like a pot that is broken on the earth, mainly through the considerable grants of military assistance from the American Congress which shall includeth M48 Patton tanks and A-4E Skyhawks, and also the impressive combat skills of Ariel Sharon and Moshe Dayan.
But instead of being clear and naming names, God dodges, ducks and weaves like a middleweight boxer, he blows smoke like a 20 year old tractor, he’s foggy like a day in London Town (1895 – we have the Clean Air Act now). It’s like he doesn’t want us to understand, or he only wants people like Hal Lindsey to understand. Aw God, why you have to do like you do?
The general idea of this book is to sketch out how the political situation of mid-1970 (when it was written) was predicted in Biblical prophecy, and what we may expect for the next few decades. He labels a few vague and cloudy references – the power in the East is China, Russia is The Kingdom of the North - so far so unexceptionable. But then he goes off his trolley completely by telling us that the Roman Empire is to be revived, right, and that this had already begun to happen, and is called, wait for it, the European Common Market! Yes, this is the successor state to the Roman Empire! And from this terrific revived empire there will burst forth a great world dictator who will be the Antichrist.
To gain power, this great European dictator will use a new “one world religion”, which will not be Christianity or anything else which exists now (sorry, Islam, it won’t be you). According to Hal it will be a combination of classical astrology and the Age of Aquarius, which, of course, was big in 1970:
Some may scoff at the idea that idol worship will become prevalent. Even in America, however, there are growing cults which actually do worship stone and metal idols.
Hal quotes a “major television station” which authoritatively reported
Nearly every respectable high school these days has its own witch
Anyway, for three and a half years (very precise) the new World Dictator will be a great success, resolving all world problems and ushering in global peace. Then he will declare himself to be God and things will turn ugly.
This period of time will make the regimes of Hitler, Mao and Stalin look like Girl Scouts weaving a daisy chain
we believe that Christians will not be around to watch the debacle brought about by the cruellest dictator of all time
That’s because the Rapture™ will have happened, and all Christians will be taken up to heaven and given a new body:
Just think how excited a woman can get about a new wardrobe. How much more excited we should be about acquiring a new body!
Hal (in my mind adopting the same tone of voice as his namesake in 2001 A Space Odyssey) says there is something that needs to be done before the Rapture and the 2nd coming and so forth can happen. The Third Temple has to be built, on the original site of the previous Temples.
There is one major problem…. That obstacle is the second holiest place of the Muslim faith, the Dome of the Rock… Obstacle or not, it is certain that the Temple will be rebuilt. Prophecy demands it.
Sorry, guys. If you would be so kind as to dismantle the al-Aqsa mosque and take it some place else, so we can get on with the end of the world, we’d be like, thanks, that’s awesome. Really. We’ll do the same for you one day.
Hal says : “There will soon begin the construction of this Temple.” (p57)
Well, ha ha, what is soon? This book was written in 1970, so it’s 45 years later, and really, there seems to be no movement with the dismantling of the mosque. I don’t think the Jewish authorities have even submitted a written request to the Grand Mufti. No earthquakes either. 45 years later for me is not soon. You said you’d go to the supermarket, we’ve run out of cat food. Yes, I will, soon. In 46 years’ time.
It’s clear that Hal suffers from the theological version of GENERATIONAL NARCISSIM. This is a widespread affliction, characterized by the strong belief that your generation had the best music/movies/drugs/sex/travelling opportunities/mortgages/fashion etc and those who came after your gilded generation are a sorry bunch who don’t know what real music/fashion/sex/mortgages are. In the brain of Hal Lindsay as he was writing this book, his generation was just about to have the BEST APOCALYPSE. They would see with their own eyes the 2nd coming, it was gonna happen in a few months… couple of years at the most. Rilly. So, like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock AND the gosh dang Apocalypse, all before you’re 30.
If I didn’t know him better, I’d think young Hal Lindsey had been eating those mushrooms again.