Richard's Reviews > Drugs are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir

Drugs are Nice by Lisa Crystal Carver
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Jun 25, 2007

Read in November, 2005

With Drugs Are Nice, Lisa Carver has created the first enduring memoir of her subculture and generation. Called one of Playboy's "favorite cultural observers" and Boston Magazine's "supreme cultural anthropologist," Lisa Carver's has written widely on popular music, art, and her own sex life (as a diarist). In Drugs Are Nice, she charts the birth of the movement she helped create, from the dizzying highs of European performance art tours to the genesis of the zine phenomenon. It's an extraordinary life, told by a writer only now coming into her own as a major literary voice.

In 1987 in the small town of Dover, New Hampshire, Lisa and her best friend Rachel--both seventeen--set up a punk show at the Veteran's Hall. When the headlining act got lost and drunk and never showed up, the audience was angry and the promoters hid in the bathroom. Then Lisa got an idea. The girls put on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, mounted the stage, smoked cigars, caterwauled, took off their clothes and hit things and people. Suckdog--called "the most interesting band in the world" by England's Melody Maker--was born.

Lisa Carver left for Europe at the age of eighteen, quickly becoming a teen publisher (of the fanzines Dirt and Rollerderby), a teen bride (to French performance artist Jean-Louis Costes), and a teen prostitute (turning her first trick a few days before turning 20). Hustler called Rollerderby "quite possibly the greatest zine ever," and The Utne Reader chooses Lisa Carver as one of the "100 Visionaries Who Will Change Your Life."

But when her baby was born in 1994 with a chromosomal deletion and his dad--industrial music maven and rumored neo-Nazi Boyd Rice--became violent, Lisa began to realize the life that needed changing was her own. A story of lasting lightness and surprising gravity, Drugs is a book about the generation that wanted to break every rule. A definitive account of rules broken, left intact and re-written forever, it ripens into the classic account of an artist and a mother becoming an adult on her own terms.
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