Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vice v7n1 Literary Reviews

Dan Nelson

Is this Dan Nelson the same Dan Nelson that replaced Joey Belladonna in Anthrax? Does anyone still even listen to Anthrax? I am afraid that I don’t actually know the answer to either of those questions. I do however know that this is without a shadow or even a hint of a shade of a doubt one of the best books to cross my desk in ages. Not best as in reading it has changed my perception of day-to-day existence just best as in it is an amazing concept executed amazingly. You see, All Known Metal Bands is just that. A list of ALL known metal bands. I am not sure how you quantify “known” but there are over 50,000 band names in here, which are more than enough to fill at least a month worth of loo breaks. Plus I bet you haven’t really heard of Lymphatic Pleghm, Yigga Digga or Zabytye Tverdyni L Dov have you? Don’t even try and sit there and pretend that you have.

Iain Sinclair
Hamish Hamilton/Penguin

You might have already heard about this one. Iain Sinclair was banned from launching his love letter, requiem and valediction to the borough of London he has lived in for thirty years in Hackney itself because of its “controversial content”. The content in question being his opinions and theories about the ‘development’ of the area for the forthcoming Olympics. It is a something that Sinclair sees not as development, more as erasure and mismanagement. We mentioned the very same topic back in our Toxic Cities report so we are inclined to agree. The future aside it is for Hackney’s past that you might want to give this one a go. Sinclair tackles it with his usual brand of not-quite-truth, not-quite-fiction and manages to squeeze in Lenin, Stalin, Baader-Meinhof guerilla’s and Orson Welles. In other words: essential reading.

Laura Oldfield Ford

This has a really confusing time continuum. It starts in London in the future but not far enough in the future that the scratchy; pencil drawn tower blocks and crumbling estates look that much different from images of the very same kinds of places when it jumps back to the 70’s or forward again to the 90’s. The effect of it shooting around with bars of typed text guiding you through the intricate, hand-drawn scenes of a city in decay can be quite disorientating and wholly depressing. By the end I was quite glad to put it down. In a good way. Roll on issue 11.


I am pretty sure that ‘fododio e xerocado’ means something along the lines of ‘fucked up and photocopied”. Which is a pretty accurate description of the inside of this ‘zine: lots and lots of fucked up kids at punk shows photocopied in black and white and shoved into an envelope. The shows mainly appear to be in Brazil though which explains my rudimentary translation of the titles Portuguese. I went to Portugal once and all I can remember is the swear words. Swear words and how to ask for a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. They must also have a UK correspondent because there are shots from Fucked Up at the Barfly and UK Subs at the LA2. The best bit of all though is that the envelope is made out of brown paper. Brown paper makes everything seem hyper considered and classy. If you wrap flowers in brown paper they go from being a thought to a pre-meditated act. I’d wrap myself in brown paper if I could.

Chris Seddon

This one could have gone either way as, despite being amazingly well presented, it perpetuates a single joke: that it is a tribute issue to a made up musical genre called ‘HAM’. Written down that doesn’t sound so funny. Maybe it isn’t and I I’ve just lost any sense of humour but I was literally falling off my chair reading the mocked up interviews and fliers for nights at places like ‘Le Porcine’ in Marseille with lineups including Wiggy Fettel and Nicky Iberico playing HMNML to baying charcuterie loving French crowds. It’s a bit like that Cake episode of Brass Eye but about pork and not on TV.

Chris Leah

Being forced out into the wet, freezing, windy, rain sodden outdoors for indulging in the simple pleasure of slowly killing yourself has been a hardship the smoking public have been putting up with, reacting and adapting to in this country for a year and a half now. This has been ample time for Chris Leah to gallop around the UK taking shots that are hilarious, depressing and sometimes both at once. Some of the “you’re robbing us of our rights” commentary that accompanies the images grates after a while, even as a resolute twenty-a-day guy, but there is enough here to make it well worth seeking out. Even if only to show your kids the days when you could still smoke outdoors as opposed to only in a chained casket, in a basement, below the tube lines. Oh wait. They kill your chances of having kids too. Whoops.

Joanna Bowring and Margaret O’Brien

I have never read a Mills & Boon. There was however a white, corrugated, rotating, metal bookstand that stood by the service window at my local Post Office as a kid. Whenever I was paying the TV license for my mum or sending two ten pence pieces sellotaped to a bit of Rice Krispie packet in an envelope to join the Beano fan club or whatever you do when you’re seven I’d stare at the covers as I queued to get served. They seemed so strangely soft focused, innocent and almost welcoming. I could never get past the covers though and never picked one up so still have no idea what the stories are like. I always imagined them to be like sanitized Jilly Cooper minus the horses. Now that I have this bulky compendium of all the covers I’ll probably never know.

No comments: