Sunday, 8 July 2007

Student Books Feature

These '5 Good' vs '5 Bad' lists were published in the Vice 2007 Student Guide. Obviously I don't really hate all of the novels/records/films that I slate. It's just to make a point: you don't have to digest the same shit as everyone else. Look around you.

1. Bad
James Joyce

Have any of you ever actually tried reading this? Nope, sorry, you’re lying. Dubliners is great, there’s like a dude who’s pants fall down and stuff and A Portrait Of The Artist… is cool in a kind of car crash way but the only reason this novel has made the cannon is because all of your professor’s don’t understand it. This piece of work single-handedly created ‘critical analysis’ and ‘meta-textuality’ because the only way you could write a paper about it was by referring to how different it is to other novels. Of course its different, it makes no fucking sense…

1. Good
Gravity’s Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon

Yes that’s right, this is where the Klaxons came up with the name for the song. Say what you will about them as a band but Simon Taylor has read more books than all of you put together. I used to work in a call centre with him and it was like he used to ingest them through his eyeballs. This novel is like your first acid trip where everything makes perfect sense and all the strands of life are sewn seamlessly together. Then the fear kicks in….

2. Bad
Crime & Punishment
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

‘Wow, yeah it’s like a total examination of the insecurities of the human psyche’. No its not. He kill’s someone and then frets his ass off. It’s like an 18 rated Laurel & Hardy. The only reason you name drop it is because it is written by a Russian whose name is hard to spell.

2. Good
The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler

Now this is what you’re really after. An edge of you’re seat, white knuckle, wisecracking noir thriller that not only defined a literary genre but a cinematic movement. Without this you don’t Chinatown and some guy called Tarantino is still working at Blockbuster and masturbating to foreign Kung Fu imports instead of making good shit like True Romance and Pulp Fiction.

3. Bad
On The Road
Jack Kerouac

This should probably have been number one actually. Every twat under the age of 23 who has picked up a book is suddenly an acolyte at the altar of Saint Jack the emancipator of intellectual thought. ‘His prose style like totally represents freedom dude’. No it doesn’t, he only had one roll of typewriter paper so he couldn’t go back and correct the cock-ups. He’s a drunk jock who only got in on the beat scene cos Burroughs and Ginsberg probably fancied a bit of rough. He spent his latter days at the bottom of a bottle in fag denial.

3. Good
Blood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy

Now this is the prose that beats the tick of time, the strange heartbeat of an American West long forgotten that somehow reflects today. Brutality, sweat, death and truth drip off of every page. It is subtitled ‘An Evening Of Redness In The West’ and inspired Earth’s recent return to form record Hex. Go read it now.

4. Bad
The Outsider
Albert Camus

This one is pretty much the like a combination of Crime & Punishment and On The Road. Every fucker has read this and suddenly starts wondering round smoking clove cigarettes and reading ridiculous Sartre plays that make no sense while trying to woo girls in the Library coffee bar with their new found appreciation of the self and existentialism. Inside they really want to head back to their hall room, build a zoot and watch Takeshi’s Castle.

4. Good
The Man Who Was Thursday
G.K. Chesterton

I almost didn’t want to mention this because it is my all time favourite book ever and I like to hold onto it like a beautiful un-spoilt little nest egg. Just thinking about it made makes me smile and want to laugh out loud. It is an insane crazed work of genius by the dude who wrote the Father Brown mysteries and involves anarchists and hot air balloons. Thursday… is so off the hook that explanation is rendered redundant. Go.

5. Bad
Craig Thompson

This is a the sort of wet Wednesday graphic novel that kids that know nothing about comics buy from Waterstone’s cos it’s been highlighted in the recommended zone. They read it and it’s all this heart on sleeve indie shit that probably appeals to people who know all of the Beat Happening’s lyrics by heart and then they realise it’s hidden power and give it to susceptible girls to demonstrate their ‘sensitive’ side. How does ‘sensitive’ and ‘I want to fuck you’ ever equate by the way?

5. Good
David Simm

Hahahahaha! This is it! An incredible odyssey through every possible facet of human interaction as experienced by a Viking aardvark based on Conan. In about 100 years time there will be modules taught on this piece of work. Simm is a genius and we should all do the ‘we’re not worthy’ thing from Wayne’s World whenever he is mentioned.

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