Sunday, December 4th, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 17
This week – books I’ve been sent over the past few months!
|Nicholas Zinner / I Hope You Are All Happy Now (Evil Twin)
This book is a collection of photographs taken by Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zinner whilst on tour around the world with his band. There’s candid backstage shots, a series of images of just hotel beds, city scenery, wounds… most interesting are the audience shots. The thing that struck me most about that chapter is just how WHITE everyone is. Seriously, no matter where you go in the world, indie kids are white. Except Japan. There, they’re Japanese. But seriously, I had originally sort of expected this to be a bit of a vanity collection from Zinner, but I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting life through his lens was. He definitely manages to convey the surreality of life on the road with a band (or his band, at the very least), actually getting past the carefully cultivated public image that the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s put forth. Worth a flip through at Chapters is you’re interested in off-the-cuff photography.
|Tm Riley / Fever: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Transformed Gender in America (St Martin’s Press)
As the title states, Fever attempts to document how starting in the 1950s, rock’n’roll redefined the perception of gender in America, but while it uses that as a starting point, it’s really just a selective history of rock music in general. Tim Riley starts out interestingly, pitting Elvis Presley’s hips against John Wayne’s stoicism, carrying on through the girl groups of Motown and Phil Spector and Tina Turner’s liberation from Ike. At that point, Riley’s thesis begins to waver a bit. He spends a fair bit of time analyzing Pete Townshend’s writing for The Who, and while interesting, there’s not really a strong to be made for the impact on gender issues made by Tommy or Quadrophenia (“I’m A Boy”, yes). A more interesting 70s case study would have been David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, but he’s only mentioned in passing. Similarly, if you were to read the analysis of the Carole King, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor on its own, you might not have any idea that it was anything but an essay on the artists and not part of a larger treatise. Also, an entire chapter is dedicated to Bruce Springsteen and though it did succeed in making me want to go back and listen to all my Bruce stuff, there’s not much argument to be made about his importance in gender issues beyond that he was a man’s man (but a sensitive sort). If I were actually looking for an in-depth study of the impact of rock on gender in America, Fever would be a decent jumping-off point, but it’s far from a definitive tome on the topic. Good reading as just rock history with a bit of an angle, though.
np – Trespassers William / Different Stars