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Posts for March 1, 2019

“’80s Indie Essentials,” from Apple Music. Really good, and has several things I didn’t know, as well as much I did. Perhaps too much Smiths, especially with Morrissey’s fall from grace, but they did make some good records.

I hadn’t even seen this story about Morrissey and his politics and collaborators when I made my last post. But I’m baffled by this quote:

Representatives for Lydia Night of California band the Regrettes offered no comment, but the 18-year-old told punk magazine Kerrang!: “I’ve grown up loving the Smiths – my cat’s name is Morrissey!”

Emphasis mine. When I were a lad — and, indeed, when it was launched — Kerrang! was a heavy metal magazine. A flagship of one of the enemy camps in the Punk Wars. Has it really changed, or is The Guardian just misinformed?

Or maybe the lines are more blurred than ever before, so it doesn’t really matter.

The Beats: a Very Short Introduction (Books 2019, 4)

The Beats VSI alongside a heart-shaped pottery gift
The Beats VSI alongside a heart-shaped pottery gift

Since I announced back in October that I’m writing a novel called Delta Blues: Beat Poet of the Spaceways, I thought I should learn a bit more about the Beats. Not that my character is necessarily going to be very like the actual Beats, and maybe her poetry won’t be like theirs either, but you need to know about what you’re using for inspiration, right?

Books in the “Very Short Introduction” series do exactly what their shared subtitle suggests, and this is no exception. You get a brief prehistory and history of the movement, then a look at the major novelists, another at the major poets, and then a piece on their influence.

In common with the last two books I read, The Clash get a mention, because Allen Ginsberg worked with them, adding spoken-word part to “Ghetto Defendant,” on the Combat Rock album.

I know more about the Beats now than when I started, and that’s exactly what I wanted out of this book.