history

Book review: Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I came to this book as many did, I suspect, because it featured on that list of David Bowie’s 100 favourite books which circulated a couple of years ago. (The list also is explored in a podcast, if you’re interested.)

It makes sense that Bowie would be a fan of this work, given that it’s an enthusiastic, bitchy exploration of early rock. After all, the work is titled for Little Richard’s protean good-time yawp from ‘Tutti Fruitti’, the song that made Bowie “see God”.

And a lot of cocaine, I guess.

After a couple of years of looking, I found a copy replete with terrifying cover. It was written in 1968 and revised in 1972. Kit Lambert, erstwhile manager of The Who introduces the work and sets things rolling: the text covers a brief period in music, but one of supreme importance for everything rock-related that came afterwards. All that’s covered is the period from Bill Haley’s initial popularity until 1966 – that’s it.

(more…)

Book review: Murder, Misadventure and Miserable Ends

Murder, Misadventure and Miserable Ends: Tales from a Colonial Coroner's Court.Murder, Misadventure and Miserable Ends: Tales from a Colonial Coroner’s Court by Catie Gilchrist.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Life in the nineteenth century, it seems, sucked.

That’s what I glean from Catie Gilchrist’s presentation of life through the coroner’s lens. Sydney, while not exactly a prison colony at the time, was still not really that cosmopolitan a place. With medicine and policing both rough and ready, corpses, violence and things taken care of in a how’s-yer-father manner, there was a distinct seat-of-one’s-pants approach to life and the grim reaper.
(more…)

Book review: George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America

George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of AmericaGeorge Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America by Cory O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, this is a bit of a hard one for me to review. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I liked Cory O’Brien’s previous book about mythology, so it stands to reason that I would like this.

And I do, let’s not argue about that.

But it feels a bit weirder to be writing about actual people with the same pisstakery that’s perhaps reasonable for mythological figures. (more…)