Andrew Bishop's Reviews > Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984

Rip It Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds
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's review
Jul 25, 2012

really liked it

A wonderful resource for lovers of postpunk! While it can be scant on certain details and adhere too strictly to Reynolds' overall thesis for the era, it remains the best guide to what these musicians were doing. Many of them are still alive so there's little excuse for those intrigued to not dig further into these stories. Paul Morley is a good example of someone from that time who has a differing view from Reynolds of what was up. Jon Savage's Joy Division documentary also provides a lot of context and information that Reynolds either couldn't or didn't want to fit into this book. Mark Fisher's various essays on punk (the influence of Blake on The Fall being a good example and anything of his on Joy Division being another) and goth (the influence of drugs on The Cure's death trilogy being one of Fisher's best essays and his essay on fashion and sexuality in goth via Siouxsie Sioux being another) are also superb theoretical resources that everyone should read. All fans of Wire are encouraged to read this book now for fear of missing out on some great reading. While Reynolds' prose is no match for Atmosphere, Peter Hook's bass, MES's hectoring, Tolhurst's drums on One Hundred Years, Death Disco, Gotobed's drums on I Should Have Known Better, John McGeoch, the unrelenting paranoia of Magazine, or the Teenage Jesus and the Jerks' marathon stab-a-thon "Orphans" that'd put Norman Bates to shame, he does keep the writing clear and sleek in accord with the spareness of the music. He knows what he's up against so the emphasis on what it all means at the time is commendable. I found the book to be lots of fun to read, but rest assured at the end of the day you'll be humming Orange Juice or itching for some Devo.

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