Stevphen Shukaitis's Reviews > Rip it Up and Start Again: Post Punk 1978-1984

Rip it Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds
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Nov 16, 08

Read in July, 2008

This is a marvelous book. I had never thought about or realized the connections and relations between all the different tendrils of post-punk, avant-garde experimentation, and new pop (although with the latter the connections are a bit disconcerting to find out). Reynolds does a great job tracing out the evolution of the different bands emerging in the wake of the 'implosion' of the first wave of punk. For me one of the most interesting aspects is finding a way to keep open and maintain the kind of creative space that punk briefly opened but could not maintain as it became reduced to cliche and formula. Of course post-punk (or for that matter any other musical genre or expression) could be subjected to the same process, all the more requiring, as the title says, ripping it up and starting again. A sort of grammar of creative destructive and renewal. I could quibble about performers that it would have been nice to hear more about (Nina Hagen, Au Pairs, the Cravats, the more experimental bands coming out of the Crass Records milieux), but Reynolds has covered so many artists so well that might be a bit rude. Although apparently I just did it all the same. Nevertheless, an excellent book, particularly for those of us like myself who spent years trawling around used record stores trying to find records by artists who is the US remained fairly obscure, and thus didn't know much of anything about the relations between them.
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