Poole’s “Vampira” an interesting biography of the horror host, but thin on details

book cover - vampiraSoft Skull Press always presents a unique twist with its biographies or memoirs. It's never just a straightforward history of the titular individual, but rather an analysis of the environment which produced the subject. In the case of W. Scott Poole's Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror, the author uses the '50s horror host as an entry point to discussing the era's social mores and how the woman born Maila Nurmi challenged the status quo. The author has a wealth of information on which to draw. Sadly, little of it is regarding Vampira herself. There's minimal evidence of her television program, and what remains of her work is, essentially, bit parts in a few films. The thing for which she garnered her initial acclaim exists only anecdotally, leading to a great amount of speculation on Poole's part. This is additionally due in no small part to the fact that many of the stories about Nurmi's childhood and upbringing come from the woman herself. As the author himself states, it's much like trying to find out about Bob Dylan when he was just Robert Zimmerman, only there are no people to whom we can turn for contradiction or confirmation. If you're looking for a comprehensive story of Vampira's life, this is likely as complete as it gets. Sadly, it's a lengthy magazine article, at best. Poole does a lovely job in demonstrating how Nurmi and her character were something new and wonderful, but falls short of convincingly depicting the actress as a world-changing persona. I'll grant Nurmi created some iconic imagery that still resonates, but as a danger because she "embodied both ancient terrors and the modern threats of the sexual revolution" stretches credulity a bit. It's nice to have the full story behind Nurmi's relationships with the likes of Elvis Presley and James Dean, but there's more information on those tabloid stories than on her work in Plan 9 From Outer Space, arguable the thing for which she's most known these days -- and most of that verbiage is given over to discussing much Tim Burton's Ed Wood film got wrong, as opposed to details of the filming itself. Nevertheless, Vampira is an entertaining read, and one that knbows how to engage its reader and provoke some thoughts. It's not due out until September, but keep an eye out for it. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbQfqb2nGi8[/embed]

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book-cover-route-19Marcus Gray Side Effects Of Tetracycline, knows the Clash. His history of the band, Last Gang In Town, is one of the most exhaustive band histories I've ever read. Fact of the matter and a personal admission here: I owned Last Gang In Town for two years and never made it further than 100 pages in. It's a dense tome.

Gray's new book on the band, Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling, while an in-depth examination into the making of the Clash's magnum opus that leaves no stone unturned, still manages to be a rather easy read. Over 500 pages devoted to the making of one album might seem overkill, but at no point does Gray exhaust the possibilities of what can be explored, Side Effects Of Tetracycline.

Route 19 Revisited is divided into six sections. Side Effects Of Tetracycline craiglist, There's the lead-up to the band, with brief biographies of each member, as well as a punk history primer. Then there's a section on the band covering their history leading up to the album, followed by the recording of the album. London Calling is then dissected, track by track, followed by a section on the promotion of the album, as well as one on its lasting effects. Side Effects Of Tetracycline, The real meat of the book is the middle half, with the segments on recording, analysis, and promotion. The recording section, "Highway to Highbury," is a gear geek's dream, 100mg Side Effects Of Tetracycline. You want to know Topper Headon's exact drum set up. It's as follows:

"A slightly customized silver Pearl drum kit: 24 x 17-inch bass drum, 14 x 10 top tom-tom, and 16 x 10 and 18 x 10 floor tom-toms. He'd found that the Pearl snare didn't stand up to the beating he gave it when tuned as tight as he liked it to be, so used a Ludwig Black Beauty instead. His drum heads (skins) were Evans Hydraulic, Side Effects Of Tetracycline. All his cymbals were Zildjian: two 15-inch Heavy Rock hi-hats, plus a 16 and an 18 crash. His stands were Premier Lokfast Trilok, and he got Baker to bulk order the military-style premier sticks he liked..."

Fucking A, 40mg Side Effects Of Tetracycline, right. The same detail is given to every bit of the book. If you wanted to, it's entirely possible to recreate the exact sound the band had at the time of recording. Side Effects Of Tetracycline, You'll know everything but the brand of tape to which the album was recorded.

The track-by-track analysis covers everything: how the evolution of lovers rock applies to the song of the same name, what exactly "Clash Spannish" is, the historical provenace of the Death's Head, et al. If you've got The Vanilla Tapes, you could in theory trace the evolution of the songs from demo to completed number. It's astounding to see how Gray manages to take all of this material and still have it seem cohesive.

Gray's best idea is the division of the book into sections, Side Effects Of Tetracycline uk. The story of the band, into the album, into its production and eventual place in the historical record would be enough, but the examination of each track allows for greater depth of understanding, Side Effects Of Tetracycline. Unfortunately, coming as it does smack-dab in the middle of Route 19 Revisited, it's just awkward. Relegating it to an appendix would ensure that it wasn't really read, and it helps to read about the specifics of each track immediately after the story of their creation. In terms of content, it makes sense. In terms of storytelling, it's a pace-killer.

I know I tend to hammer on this point whenever an album history is published, 500mg Side Effects Of Tetracycline, but until someone figures out a way to analyze an album and place it within the story without it seeming like it's something anomalous, this is going to be a prblem for me. Gray does it better than most, however, making each track have its own little story. Any of those could easily have been a magazine article on their own.

Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling comes out next month from Soft Skull Press.

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book-cover-totally-wiredAnyone who's read Simon Reynolds's Rip It Up and Start Again Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint, can tell you that his account of the post-punk era is a riveting read that will send you scurrying to iTunes and your local record shop to delve deeply into the music of Factory Records and beyond. While Reynolds has a website wherein you can find footnotes for Rip It Up and Start Again, there's even more material that he compiled during the writing of the book.

That material is being released by Soft Skull next month as Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews. It contains interviews Reynolds conducted in preparation for writing Rip It Up and Start Again, as well as the "lost chapter" about SST and the Minutemen / Black Flag that was cut from the US edition of the original book. Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint overseas, After having read the SST chapter, I can understand as to why it was cut from the US edition of Rip It Up and Start Again. The analysis of how Black Flag went from being a fast punk band to hardcore to a sludgy, plodding proto-stoner rock band is fascinating, and one of the few instances where you can see an act progress from punk to post-punk, Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint. However, the jump in milieu from the UK to US is disconcerting, and while the material would've been an excellent addition to some of the recent California punk books like Kids of the Black Hole or Gimme Something Better, it just didn't fit in with the UK scene.

The interviews are essential for fans of the bands involved, Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint australia, and if you're just getting into any of the acts covered, you can get a deeper sense of how their sound developed, especially in how people in the production realm (like Martin Hannett with Joy Division) helped create a sound aesthetic for ther bands with whom they worked. The interviews with folks with whom you're not familiar are like every other interview you've ever read: interesting when the person has interesting points of view, boring as shit when they're boring as shit. 1000mg Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint, Ari Up of the Slits is intriguing, if a bit "we started everything!" in her interview, and offers a much-needed female perspective, while the folks from Cabaret Voltaire are just as pretentious as you'd think. Surprisingly, the gents from Joy Division end up being fairly grounded.

This is more a bathroom book than a straight read, Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint coupon, obviously. You'll jump around in it, reading the bits you're most interested in first, and only coming around to the other parts when you've read everything you wanted to. It's 100% worth having on your shelf, Erythromycin Opthalmic Oint us, however, and invaluable for fleshing out the stories referred to in Rip It Up and Start Again (specifically, you finally find out exactly why Martin Hannett had Joy Division's drummer Stephen Morris take his drum kit apart).

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