Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shock and Awe UK events next week - reminder with updated info

SHEFFIELD  Tuesday October 4th - 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm (as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words)
The Auditorium, University of Sheffield Student's Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG  
chatting with Lee Ford (BBC Radio Sheffield) +  Q &A  +  Rocky Horror Picture Show film
tickets and info - 0114 22 33 777 –

LONDON  Wednesday October 5th   - 7 pm - 10 pm
The Forge3–7 Delancey Street, Camden, NW1 7NL
chatting with Alexis Petridis (Guardian + Q & A + glam video clips + DJ Simon Price
tickets and info – 0207 383 7808 -

MANCHESTER  Thursday October 6th   -  18.45 pm pm - 10 pm
Home2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN
chatting with Bob Stanley (author Yeah Yeah Yeah+ Q&A +  T. Rex: Born To Boogie film
tickets and info: 0161 200 1500 -

Monday, September 26, 2016

Couple of things I wrote recently:

- entries on Laraaji's Day of Radiance, Brian Eno's On Land, and Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Vol II in this fun and informative Pitchfork 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time list - which includes a lot of stuff I've not heard and a few I've not heard of. Prefatory remarks by Keith Fullerton Whitman + contributions from Philip Sherburne, Mark Richardson, Andy Beta + more. 

- piece for MTV on how Alice Cooper's "Elected" was a prophecy of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. The first of a bunch of pieces loosely linked to Shock and Awe

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WHEN MATES MAKE BOOKS - special bonanza post

Loath as I am to encourage anyone to buy a music book this season that isn't called Shock and Awe, it behooves me to note that at the moment there's a bumper crop - a bonanza - of books by mates (or near-mates). 

First and foremost, a brand new monograph on the year 1996 by my very old and very good mate David Stubbs. Not read it yet but I’m positive it'll be as rollickingly readable and sharply argued as we've come to expect.

Another good mate of longstanding is Kodwo Eshun, whose More Brilliant  Than The Sun is being brought out again by Verso in revamped and expanded form. Here's what I said about it on two previous occasions

Kodwo crops up again as co-editor - with Mark Fisher (another mate) and Gavin Butt  - of this anthology of writings about postpunk recently published by Repeater.  Looking forward to giving that a peruse.

Same era but slanted to a different post-  is the latest from Tim Lawrence: a richly researched study of  Manhattan's early Eighties post-disco club culture,  which I've reviewed in the current issue of Bookforum . With Love Saves the Day and the Arthur Russell book, Life and Death makes up a NYC nightlife trilogy.  

Subsection ahoy!


Not sure if I could really describe Greg Tate as a  mate having only met him a few times - but he’s a diamond geezer and a genius writer. This is the sequel to Flyboy in the Buttermilk (which I reviewed for The Wire back in the day) and I'm looking forward to getting my mitts on it.

Another not-quite-mate of similar vintage (we're all veterans of the Village Voice music section, 80s–90s-2000s) is Chuck Eddy. Fast on the heels of his first anthology Rock and Roll Always Forgets (which I reviewed for Bookforum) Chuck has another collection out: Terminated For Reasons of Taste: Other Ways to Hear Essential and Inessential Music.  Not sure I would ever buy a record on Chuck’s recommendation (expect the feeling’s mutual!) but certainly have long enjoyed reading him on loads of records that I'm never likely to hear and in a lot of cases probably would never even know existed. Lord alone knows how he manages to trawl so widely, roam so far from the zones generally monitored by our profession, Especially because he spends so much time trawling through the past too - correcting the real-time overvaluations and undervaluations he made as a critic at the time, digging into the $1 bins for things he missed back then, and just generally sifting and  re-sifting the old until it settles into new personal canons. Well, we're all doing that to some extent  - but not with such a restless and implacable revisionist drive, not with the same capacity or compulsion to reverse one's old attachments and judgments. 

Finally, Jean Hogarty's Popular Music and Retro Culture in the Digital Era examines much the same terrain as Retromania but uses an empirical sociological approach – she actually goes out there and asks the Kids about the ways in which they use the past in their present.  I may have moved on to new preoccupations, but it seems likely that retro will continue to be a fertile area for study and critical dissension.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

SHOCK AND AWE - coming soon

My new book SHOCK AND AWE: GLAM ROCK AND ITS LEGACY is out next month via Faber & Faber in the U.K. and Dey Street/HarperCollins in North America. Early in October I head out on the road for SHOCK AND AWE events – first some dates in the U.K, then on to New York, then back to Los Angeles for further appearances. Full details below.

^^^^from the press release^^^^ 

At the dawn of the Seventies, glam smashed through the faded denim dream of the hippie era – an eruption of alien glamour, gender mayhem and thrilling music that changed pop forever. SHOCK AND AWE takes the reader on a wild tour of the glam era, chronicling the exploits of its flamboyant personalities against a backdrop of social upheaval and political disillusion. Spearheaded by David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T. Rex, the glam movement reveled in artifice and spectacle. Simon Reynolds explores how artists like Roxy Music, New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Sparks, Cockney Rebel and many others celebrated illusion over truth and self-invention over authenticity. Probing the genre’s major themes—fame, androgyny, narcissism, decadence, fandom, apocalypse—SHOCK AND AWE also tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded in subsequent decades: from Eighties art-pop icons like Kate Bush, Prince and Morrissey through to 21st Century stars like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj.   More about the book.... 



SHEFFIELD  Tuesday October 4th  - 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

(as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words)

in conversation with Lee Ford (BBC Radio Sheffield) 

+  Q & A  
+   showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

venue:  The Auditorium, University of Sheffield Student's Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG       

tickets and info - 0114 22 33 777 – info

LONDON  Wednesday October 5th   - 7 pm - 10 pm

in conversation with Alexis Petridis (Guardian)

 + Q & A 

film / glam video clips 

+ DJ Simon Price

venue: The Forge, 3–7 Delancey Street, Camden, London, NW1 7NL

tickets and info – 0207 383 7808 -

MANCHESTER  Thursday October 6th    -  18.45 pm (doors open) pm - 10 pm

in conversation with Bob Stanley (author of Yeah Yeah Yeah

+ Q & A
+ showing of Marc  Bolan movie T. Rex: Born To Boogie

venue: Home, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First St, Manchester M15 4FN

tickets and info  - 0161 200 1500 -


BROOKLYN - DUMBO  Thursday October 13th  - 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

in conversation with Luc Sante (author of Low Life, The Other Paris + forthcoming book on Lou Reed) 

+ Q & A

venue: Powerhouse, 28 Adams St., Brooklyn , NY 11201

info -  718 666 3049

BROOKLYN – WILLIAMSBURG Friday October 14th - 7pm

in conversation with Mark Dery (author of All The Young Dudes: Why Glam Matters, England My England: Anglophilia Explained, and I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts)  

+ Q & A

venue: Rough Trade NYC,  64 N 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

info -

MANHATTAN – MIDTOWN  Monday, October 17th  - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

in conversation with Professor Asif Siddiqi (author of Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race and The Rockets' Red Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination)  

+  glam video clips 
+  Q & A
venue: Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus, Pope Memorial Auditorium
Lowenstein Center - 155 W. 60th St., New York, NY 10023 (Corner of 60th St. and 9th Ave.)

this event is open to the general public.


LOS FELIZ  Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 7:30pm

in conversation with Dean Wareham (author  Black Postcards: A Memoir /Dean & Britta /
Luna etc)
+  Q & A

venue: Skylight Books, 1818 North Vermont, Los Angeles CA 90027

Location TBA – date TBA (November 2016)

Classic Album Sundays LA -  discussing David Bowie’s Low 

More US events to be announced....