The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the Nineties. (2012) In 1990 alternative music was where it belonged – underground. It left the business of rock stardom to rock stars. But by 1992 alternative rock had spawned a revolution in music and style that transformed youth culture and revived a moribund music industry. Five years later, alternative rock was over, leaving behind a handful of dead heroes, a few dozen masterpieces, and a lot more questions than answers. What, if anything, had the alternative revolution meant? And had it been possible – as so many of its heroes had insisted – for it to be both on MTV and under the radar? Had it used the machinery of corporate rock to destroy corporate rock? To answer these questions, Entertain Us! takes you on a journey through the nineties – from Sonic Youth’s ‘Kool Thing’ to Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’, Nevermind to Odelay, Madchester to Nu-Metal, Lollapalooza to Woodstock ’99 – narrated in the voices of the decade’s most important artists. This is the story of alternative rock – the people who made it, the people who loved it, the industry that bought and sold it, and the culture that grew up in its wake – in the last decade of the twentieth century
Read an excerpt here.
Modern Art, Rock and Roll, and Other Stuff Your Parents Warned You About. (2007) The Culture Club goes beyond the standard histories of Rock and Roll to reveal modern music's hidden roots in Modern Art. From Alexander Rodchenko to Franz Ferdinand, Antonin Artaud to The Flaming Lips, John Cage to the B-52s, Jean-Paul Sartre to Saturday Night Fever, a century of heavy traffic between the Pop charts and the Avant-Garde is brought dramatically to life. The Culture Club reveals how Futurism, Constructivism, Surrealism, and all the other '-isms' of the twentieth century found their way into your headphones, and into your head.
Read an excerpt here.
he Romantic Movement, Rock and Roll, and The End of Civilisation as We Know It. (2009) Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone! uncovers for the first time the hidden roots of rock & roll in the Romantic movement of the 1800s. Picking up a clue in My Chemical Romance's 'Welcome to the Black Parade', the author follows it into a world where Keats meets The Cure, Wordsworth hangs with Weezer, and Byron exchanges haughty glances with Bowie. From Schopenhauer's darkest days to Queen's hits, Hey! Nietzsche! is a wild ride through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, with the best mix-tape in the world on your car stereo.
Read an excerpt here.
'The bigots, the hysterics, the destroyers of the self - these are the writers who bear witness to the fearful polite time in which we live... Ours is an age which obsessively pursues health, and yet only believes in the reality of sickness. The truths we respect are those born of affliction. We measure truth in terms of the cost to the writer in suffering - rather than by the standard of an objective truth to which a writer's words correspond. Each of our truths must have a martyr.'
kanye west | spike jonze | susan sontag
'Spinoza thinks that, if you see your misfortunes as they are in reality, you will see that they are only misfortunes to you, not to the universe, to which they are merely passing discords heightening an ultimate harmony. I cannot accept this; I think that particular events are what they are, and do not become different by absorption into a whole. Each act of cruelty is eternally a part of the universe; nothing that happens later can make that act good rather than bad, or can confer perfection on the whole of which it is a part.'
spinoza | bertrand russell | harmony | voltaire
'Sexual freedom, sexual liberation. A modern delusion. We are hierarchical animals. Sweep one hierarchy away, and another will take its place, perhaps less palatable than the first. There are hierarchies in nature and alternate hierarchies in society. In nature, brute force is the law, the survival of the fittest. In society, there are protections for the weak, society is our frail barrier against nature. When the prestige of the state and religion is low, men are free, but they find freedom intolerable, and seek new ways to enslave themselves... My theory is that whenever sexual freedom is sought or achieved, sadomasochism will not be far behind.'
lou reed | velvet underground | nico | camille paglia | sexual personae | sadomasochism
'In short, this power is exercised rather than posessed; it is not the 'privilege', acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions - an effect that is manifested and sometimes extended by the position of those who are dominated. Furthermore, this power is not exercised simply as an obligation or a prohibition on those who 'do not have it'; it invests them, is transmitted by them and through them; it exerts pressure upon them, just as they themselves, in their struggle against it, resist the grip it has on them.'
lorde | royals | power | privilege | foucalt | barthes |
'It is not untrue to say that chairs have seats and that rain falls downward. Many poets write truths of this sort. They are like a painter adorning the walls of a sinking ship with a still life... Those in power cannot corrupt them, but neither are they disturbed by the cries of the opressed.
'Quite certainly the radio is a foe!–and so are the gramophone and sound-film. An inexorable foe, irresistibly on the advance; opposition is a hopeless prospect.
radio | listening | schoenberg