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‘The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions’ is the one gay sex manual that is TOTALLY SAFE FOR WORK
01:57 pm



The Mormon Church’s law of chastity prohibits masturbation and premarital sex. The Church even frowns on dressing in a non-chaste manner and—no surprise here—homosexuality is considered a major-league sin, a big “no no” to our friends the Latter-Day Saints.

Inspired by Mitt Romney’s run for the US Presidency, Portland-based photographer Neil Dacosta satirized the Mormons’ politicized stance on same-sex relations by coming up with The Book of Mormon Missionary Positions. Think of it as a chaste gay Mormon version of the Kama Sutra sex manual. Like most Mormon-related things, it’s still totally safe for work. These Mormon twinks don’t even get their ironed and pressed missionary kits off as they attempt to go beyond the missionary position.

I wanted to see some magic underwear action, but sadly, none was forthcoming.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Evil Demons, Devils & Imps from ‘The Infernal Dictionary’

A few lessons in French maybe required if you want to seriously study the Dictionnaire Infernal (Infernal Dictionary)—an A-Z on demonology and the occult—though Google translate may offer an easier option to access the histories of such demonic figures as the Azazel, Bael or Zabulon. Written and compiled by French occultist, demonologist and author Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy, the Dictionnaire Infernal was first published in 1818 to considerable success, and was reprinted several times before its most incarnation in 1863 in an edition that contained 69 illustrations by artist Louis Le Breton.

Breton’s illustrations became the main source for nearly all future representations of demons, monsters and fantastical beasts. De Plancy filled his dictionary with detailed histories of the hierarchy of demons—-from lowly pot boilers (Ukobach) to the Seven Princes of Hell, the Demon Regent Asmodeus, Astaroth and Lucifer. He also included historical figures associated with the occult or free thought—from various kings and queens to Napoleon and Nostradamus and even the renowned author Sir Walter Scott. A title page from the 1826 edition described the book thus:

Infernal Dictionary, or, a Universal Library on the beings, characters, books, deeds, and causes which pertain to the manifestations and magic of trafficking with Hell; divinations, occult sciences, grimoires, marvels, errors, prejudices, traditions, folktales, the various superstitions, and generally all manner of marvellous, surprising, mysterious, and supernatural beliefs.

Though originally a free thinker—he had been greatly influenced by Voltaire in his youth—De Plancy eventually became a Roman Catholic and parts of the Infernal Dictionary show his vacillation from skeptic to devout believer. Unsurprisingly therefore, later editions were edited to fit in with Catholic theology. However, the Infernal Dictionary is still a highly important compendium of demonology and the occult—in particular the 1863 edition with its fabulous illustrations by Le Breton.

An edition of the Infernal Dictionnaire has been scanned by the Internet Archive and can be viewed here.
One of the Seven Princes of Hell: The demon Bael with his three heads.
The demon Buer—President of Hell.
The Beast Behemoth.
More of Le Breton’s demons and pages from the ‘Dictionnaire Infernal,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes with James Bond in ‘You Only Live Twice’

The revolution of the sixties kicked off on October 5th, 1962. This was the day The Beatles released their first single “Love Me Do” and Sean Connery was launched on to the big screen as James Bond in Dr. No. Between these twin poles of movies and music the decade began. By 1967, The Beatles were the most influential band on the planet while Connery was the world’s best known actor, and iconic star of the most successful movie franchise of all time.

During the filming of the fifth James Bond movie You Only LIve Twice journalist and presenter Alan Whicker—best known for his rather snide, tabloid and often condescending reporting—made a documentary examining the success and cultural obsession with Ian Fleming’s super spy, or as he termed it “Bondomania.” Whicker bangs on about sex, sadism, amorality and violence, quizzing Connery, producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and screenwriter Roald Dahl—who disagrees with Whicker’s insinuation, describing Bond as a “tough, rather insensitive fellow who’s very good at his job.”
The Bond format of gadgets, girls and guns was set by the previous two movies Goldfinger and Thunderball. This time Dahl’s screenplay pushed the form to the limit—dumping most of Ian Fleming’s original novel and inventing his own comic book narrative—an action scene on average every five minutes—throwing Bond into unrelenting danger until the final climactic moments.

Dahl considered You Only Live Twice to be “Fleming’s worst book, with no plot in it,” and he therefore filled the movie with his own quirky inventions—rocket gobbling spacecraft, a volcanic island disguised as a mini Cape Canaveral, and so on. I think Dahl’s criticism harsh, as I am on the side who think Fleming’s books are actually superior to the films, as they reveal a conflicted Bond, insecure, violent, remorseful, smoking, drinking and popping pills to keep himself functioning. Fleming gave Bond an emotional narrative—from strong, confident agent to broken, haunted spy obsessing over his own mortality—which the films have generally ignored.

You Only Live Twice was the last Bond novel published in Fleming’s lifetime—he died of a heart attack, aged 56, two months after its appearance—the last novel The Man with the Golden Gun and the story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights were published posthumously. The film was to be Connery’s last Bond until Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The title comes from a haiku Bond writes when he is “reborn” as “Taro Todoroki,” a mute Japanese coal miner, to gain access to Dr. Guntram Shatterhand or rather Ernst Stavros Blofeld’s Garden of Death.

You only live twice:
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face.

More behind the scenes of ‘You Only Live Twice,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy
10:36 am


Flip Wilson
Kliph Nesteroff

I’ve been aware of Kliph Nesteroff’s singular erudition for a number of years now. Sometime in 2008 WFMU’s incredible Beware of the Blog (which sadly stopped operating earlier this year) ran a loooong article about the early years of George Carlin—which is to say, focusing on the years before the 1967 release of Carlin’s first solo album Take-Offs and Put-Ons, an era that most readers probably had hardly any notion about. After a while came similar articles dedicated to the early years of Woody Allen and David Letterman, both of which were similarly informative. All of these articles carried the cryptic byline “Listener Kliph Nesteroff,” which seemed random enough and lent the impression that the author was perhaps a housebound retiree, former Navy during the Korean War, something like that.

How happy for us readers—as the news may portend further publications down the road—to learn that Kliph is far from a grouchy old obsessive, but rather a charming young obsessive (well, maybe a little grouchy), who for some reason has acquired a taste for unearthing and preserving invaluable scuttlebutt from the early days of comedy. For years he has run an essential blog called Classic Television Showbiz and an amusing Tumblr called Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery. The former houses his long-form interviews with some of the important figures of midcentury comedy (many on the verge of being forgotten today), including Orson Bean, George Schlatter, Peter Marshall, a category that also includes an incredible eight-part interview with Jack Carter. Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery is every bit as entrancing, consisting mostly of context-free screen shots of puzzling images and text culled from the hours Kliph spends with the inexhaustible (and expensive! do donate!) resource known as the archives.

Suffice to say, in a few short years Kliph has put together a knowledge base on the roots of stand-up comedy that dwarfs that of anyone younger than, say, 50. By dint of curiosity and hard work, Kliph put himself into a position where he could see the linkages between the present and the past, could isolate the ways in which the patterns that structure the industry of professional comedy found their origins not necessarily in the ersatz “comedy boom” of the 1980s but in practices that stretch much further back.

It was incumbent upon Kliph, then, to write a book about all of this, and thank goodness, that’s precisely what he’s done. Next week sees the publication of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy, and I can say with confidence that this book will be an invaluable resource for decades to come, for anyone who wants to know about the full history of comedy, stuff that predates the days when Robin Williams was saying “Nanu Nanu” on national TV. Something very similar happened in baseball a generation or two ago, when a writer named Lawrence Ritter decided to hunt down as many players as he could find from the early days of baseball (around 1900)—those interviews eventually became a book called The Glory of Our Times, which was published in 1966 and had a massive impact on the way the sport’s fans regarded the heroes of prior generations. The highest compliment I can pay Kliph’s new book The Comedians (which is available for pre-order right now) is that I think he may just have written comedy’s analogue to The Glory of Our Times, the book that—if you have not absorbed its contents—all but demands that you hold your tongue on the subject of old-time comedy.

Kliph graciously set aside some time to answer some questions from DM.

You’ve discovered a whole new area of research to mine, at least for people of our generation. Soon it will just be called “Kliphland.” How did you get started investigating the midcentury era of comedians?

Kliph Nesteroff: As a teenager I was your typical hipster scum, collecting vinyl records and raiding local thrift stores. I collected soul music, garage rock, surf music - and comedy records. The comedy LPs were by far the most worthless. I would see the same comedy records in every junk pile: Rusty Warren, Woody Woodbury, The First Family featuring Vaughn Meader.

I was already interested in comedy but had never heard of these people. Why were they in every thrift store but never on TV or in movies? They must have been super popular at one point if their records were everywhere, right? So that made me sort of curious. Then I learned that after Vaughn Meader had the best-selling record of all time (not just comedy, but any LP period) he went crazy, schizophrenic, destitution, eating out of dumpsters, eventually wandering the desert on peyote before turning Christian and reinventing himself as a local country and western performer in Maine. Clearly there was a worthwhile story there.

I was already a writer and started stand-up at the age of 18. So, I guess the subject matter was just a natural combination of interests. The creative freedom Ken Freedman provided at WFMU allowed me to experiment and write on any topic of my choosing.

The kids in the audience at the UCB Theater probably have no idea that they’re enthused about an art form that was more or less invented by the Mob. You write that pretty much all comedians after Prohibition were working by the grace of one or another group of gangsters. That must have been hard!

Kliph Nesteroff: No, I wouldn’t say the Mafia invented the art form. In my book I have an anecdote from a 90-year-old comedian who argues they coined the phrase “stand-up comic,” because the Mob managed boxers they called “stand-up fighters” and called people they could rely on “stand-up guys.” But no, the Mob had nothing to do with inventing it. They simply owned 90% of the venues where comedians performed from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. So, you know, make the wrong wisecrack and you might suffer a broken limb.

You’ve spent a lot of time lately hanging out with some of the now-forgotten stand ups of the 1950s, who are now getting pretty old and crotchety too. They’ve been treating you pretty well, but they’ve probably been difficult at times too. Any stories to pass along?

Kliph Nesteroff: I don’t know. Old people get angry sometimes. I guess we would too if we had trouble peeing. Carl Reiner is considered the epitome of clean comedy, a guy who can write divinely funny scripts without cussing. I was at a Dick Van Dyke tribute once. I went to the bathroom and was at the second urinal when someone came in and went to the first urinal right beside me. It was a 90-year-old Carl Reiner. He braced himself with his left hand against the wall and the whole time he was at the urinal grumbling, “Goddamit Fuck! Come on! Go! Go! Just go! Jesus fucking bullshit, come on! Fucking goddamn fuck!”

You’ve unearthed so much valuable information about pioneers who helped forge comedy archetypes we all take for granted now, like Frank Fay and Jerry Lester. It must have been fun to spot and explain connections between, say, Bert Williams and Jim Gaffigan.

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, mapping the connections that haven’t been connected before is a little bit like playing God. Based on the reviews coming in, it sounds like I’ve laid down some kind of masterwork, a sacrosanct history of comedy, and that’s extremely flattering and gratifying - but wasn’t my intention at all. I was just writing whatever I felt was interesting. Comparing Jim Gaffigan’s under-the-breath comments to a similar gimmick the vaudeville comic Bert Williams utilized is just an easy point of reference to help the reader get it. Sort of the way lazy film critics explain new movies: “It’s Revenge of the Nerds meets Schindler’s List!”

It was interesting to read about Carlin’s drug use in such detail. I didn’t realize how central LSD was to his reinvention in the late ‘60s.

Kliph Nesteroff: George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lily Tomlin are considered the three revolutionary figures of comedy from that time. All three were primarily into cocaine in the 1970s, but before that Carlin and Pryor used LSD to positive effect. I think we as a society, y’know, as we hear The Beatles piped through at the local grocery store… we forget just how valuable psychedelics have been to expanding the artist’s inherent ability. Carlin and Pryor would have been fine talents regardless, they were born with that. But it’s because of their 1960s LSD use that their perspectives were forever altered, and why so many today consider them comic geniuses. LSD and other psychedelics can help our latent talents fuse new, uncharted neuro pathways and in turn create an original artistic temperament, unique perspective, prolific output. Groundbreaking revelations come from these experiences and they don’t wear off like a hallucination. Instead you possess new insight that will further your existing artistic ability. I mean, it’s hardly news that LSD is responsible for countless Aphrodites in music, illustration, filmmaking… But maybe the new news, as I argue in my book, is that it had the same important effect on comedy. If such theories are accepted, it’s usually in reference to the 1960s. Let’s not forget that it can still be used with the same revelatory intent today. To quote George Carlin: “More people should do acid.”

Flip Wilson was a huge deal in the 1970s, but he’s practically forgotten now. Can you describe his importance to the comedy counterculture?

Kliph Nesteroff: It’s mostly tangential. He was an early employer for Richard Pryor and George Carlin, using them as writers, and bankrolled Carlin’s best-selling comedy LPs. Flip Wilson’s significance was less on the counterculture than the mainstream. He was the very first African-American with a major network success of his own. You could argue Cosby with I Spy, but Cosby only costarred. Flip Wilson was the star of his own show… an African-American cokehead who had the number one comedy program in America. Think about that. Ten years earlier, Sammy Davis Jr, a guy who loved Sinatra’s racist jokes and endorsed Richard Nixon, could not get a sponsor for his own variety show because he was Black. Just a few years later and Flip Wilson was on the cover of every conceivable magazine. It’s incredible how quickly America changed. And despite the lunatics saying abhorrent things on cable news today, I think we’re experiencing another rapid paradigm shift akin to that era. Never in my lifetime did I expect to see gay marriage, marijuana legalization or a Black president. Nor could I ever imagine that Bernie Sanders would be a household name. Jerry Seinfeld kvetching about political correctness is not too far from Bob Hope complaining about hippie protestors. America is changing, brother. Sure, everything could dissipate like Jerry Rubin turning into a Wall Street powerbroker, but I think we’re only entering the Abbie Hoffman phase of this new era.

Order Kliph Nesteroff’s The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy from Amazon.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Day of the Dead’: Putting Malcolm Lowry to jazz

The loss of ignorance makes existence worthwhile. Two days ago I’d only vaguely heard of the late English composer and jazz musician Graham Collier (1937-2011) and would probably have never hooked up with his work if not for a tweeted image of his 1977 album The Day of the Dead that set me off on an Internet voyage of discovery.

Collier was a musician, composer and teacher of considerable note—which only underlines my paltry knowledge—and wrote a significant body of work before his untimely death. But my attention was drawn to this photo by the name of the author on the cover of the album: Malcolm Lowry—one of the great misunderstood and underappreciated authors of the 20th century, whose books demand to be read and kept permanently in print—currently only one of his books is available, not surprisingly it’s his classic novel Under the Volcano.
Little ole drink anything me, Malcolm Lowry and his classic book ‘Under the Volcano.’
Lowry’s Under the Volcano is the Faustian tale of Geoffrey’s Firmin, a British consul to Mexico, and his descent into a personal hell. This book inspired Collier to write The Day of the Dead, which was then described as his most “sprawling and ambitious” work as a composer.

Too often there is an awkwardness born out of improvised jazz and spoken word (listen to Jack Kerouac’s recordings) which can ruin good music and good words, but here Collier managed to wed Lowry’s words (culled from Under the Volcano and spoken by John Carbery) with his storm-tossed, intense music. It’s a revelation and has been deservedly hailed as his masterpiece. As critic Thom Jurek wrote of the album:

Collier’s vision here is focused, intense, and spiritually charged by Lowry’s work. This is not some jazz with text, where a written text becomes the thematic cause of a group of instrumentalists, but more a series of passages that offered great textural and spiritual depth and dimension by this obviously on fire group of musicians.

This is vanguard music, but it is far from “free jazz.” The gorgeous chromatic range is almost overwhelming as these players entwine around one another, and the text, further extending the entire notion of collaboration between literature and jazz.

The totality of this set makes for Collier’s most ambitious work yet, but also his most realized statement on record for a group of this size. This is the text for British and European big bands to follow.

Graham Collier creating ‘the text for British and European big bands to follow.’
Collier had an understandable obsession with Lowry, as the writer mined a solitary path against insurmountable odds. In fact it was incredible that Lowry ever managed to write anything as his fondness for alcohol often had the better of him—here, was a man who would literally drink anything, including aftershave and hair tonic.

But Lowry for all his demons was a man who understood and loved life—he thrived in the joy and complexity of existence, writing everything down in his notebooks before it was all too quickly gone.
Listen to Graham Collier’s ‘The Day of the Dead,’ after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Haunted: Mark Gatiss goes in search of the ghost writer M.R. James
02:30 pm


Mark Gatiss
M. R. James

In October 1893, members of the Chit Chat Society gathered in rooms at the University of Cambridge to share and discuss academic papers. But this particular evening, towards Halloween, the society had gathered to hear fellow and Dean of King’s College, M.R. James present something very different from the traditional academic fare—the first reading of his ghost stories.

Montague Rhodes James was a respected academic whose reputation would now be forgotten if it were not for his ghost stories. James’s chilling tales set the template for the genre which other writers have since studiously followed. Inspired by the success of his reading, James organized a small gathering every Christmas Eve in order to read his latest ghostly tales to a small group of friends.

James was following a tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas that harked back to pagan times when people believed the dead and the living communed during the long, dark nights of the winter in the lead up to the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year. It was a literary tradition set as far back as Shakespeare, and recently by Washington Irving (The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.) and Charles Dickens—whose A Christmas Carol contained many of the genre’s dearest tropes.
M. R. James and the classic volume of his supernatural tales.
However, unlike Dickens, M.R. James had no truck with benign spirits sent to do good—his ghost stories were filled with “malevolence and terror”:

...the glare of evil faces, ‘the stony grin of unearthly malice’, pursuing forms in darkness, and ‘long-drawn, distant screams’....

His stories were set in realistic and seemingly ordinary worlds where central characters are suddenly thrust into the most extraordinary of situations—a seaside holiday brings forth an evil wraith; a rose garden hides a brutal past; a hotel is host to a grim haunting.

James believed his ghost stories should…

...put the reader into the position of saying to himself, ‘If I’m not very careful, something of this kind may happen to me!’

Most of James’ tales follow a simple formula: reticent hero, usually a scholar, arrives at strange yet alluring location where he discovers some cursed ancient artifact that damages his life. His message—those who fail to learn from their history are doomed and will be punished for their ignorance. Such chilling warnings are wrapped in beautifully written tales of terror.

Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen, Sherlock, etc.) is a splendid host in this documentary M.R. James: Ghost Writer, in which he examines the clues in the life of the author of some of the greatest tales of terror. Beginning with James reading to the Chit Chat Society, he examines the influences that inspired the ghost stories, including one particular incident during his childhood when James saw a monstrous apparition—an event he later recorded in his tale “A Vignette.” If you enjoy supernatural tales and ghost stories, then this little documentary is for you.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Shocking!: Bizarre diagrams from 1931 illustrate the many ways to die of electrocution
11:20 am


Elektroschutz in 132 Bildern

Some of the diagrams from the 1931 German book Elektroschutz in 132 Bildern illustrate totally plausible ways one might die of electrocution, for instance touching a lamp while in the bathtub or using a hair dryer over a sink. Makes sense, right? But a few others are head scratchers, IMO. The peeing-off-the-bridge and the milking-the-cow ones seem like awfully long shot ways to die from electrocution.




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
This moody 1953 animation of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ was the first X-rated cartoon
09:42 am


James Mason
horror films
Edgar Allan Poe

I first read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” during library class at the local Catholic school I attended in Edinburgh. I was about nine or so, and had this devilish love of horror stories, detective adventures and science fiction. Each week our class was told to bring a book we liked to help encourage our reading—this was the one subject for which I needed no encouragement, my only problem was having enough time to read all the books I wanted to read. It was really a free period and usually a cinch for the teacher.

It was nearing Christmas holidays—the first snow had fallen and the trees were blackened fish bones against the sky. Our teacher, a florid Christian brother with squeaky shoes wandered round the class checking-up on what we were reading. He stopped at my desk, and pushed back the book’s cover for approval.

“Edgar Allan Poe? Edgar, Allan, Poe.” It didn’t sound like a question—more like a terminal diagnosis to an unsuspecting patient. “What would the Holy Father say?”

I had no idea the Pope was a literary critic, and so brightly enquired—what did the Holy Father think of Poe?

“Don’t be impudent, boy. That’s the kind of talk that will get you six of the best,” he said, meaning six wallops with a belt, “And this,” holding the slim paperback aloft between finger and thumb, “isn’t the kind of thing you should be reading in class. It’s unsuitable, far too macabre. I’ll have to confiscate it.” The book quickly disappeared into one of his pockets. “Now next time, bring in a proper book. I don’t want to see this sort of thing again.”

I was supposed to feel chastened, but didn’t. If anything I felt his whole response absurd, and for the first time realized books could be dangerous, and reading subversive.

Undaunted, the following week, I chanced my luck with an Algernon Blackwood, which only merited a tut and a sigh.
In 1953, esteemed actor James Mason narrated an animated version of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, which was the first cartoon to be given an “X” certificate by the British Board of Film Censors. It’s a rather splendid animation which was nominated for an Academy Award—though sadly lost out to Walt Disney’s Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. It’s a creepy and highly atmospheric little film that fully captures the terror and madness of Poe’s classic tale.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A beautiful story about Patti Smith from last night’s reading in Illinois
06:32 pm


Patti Smith
M Train

Patti Smith is currently promoting her latest memoir M Train. During last night’s reading at the Dominican University in Illinois, Smith was reunited with some very personal belongings, as disclosed today by a member of the audience who posts as “maxnix” on the Steven Hoffman Music Forums.

maxnix “wanted to share a quick story . . ” and posted details of this beautiful moment during Smith’s reading:

The family and I went to see Patti Smith last night at Dominican University in Illinois, reading from “M Train”, telling stories, etc. I have seen her do this several times, and it’s always a lot of fun and a moving experience. Usually, she takes a break and takes (and tolerates!) a few audience questions . . mostly “what’s your favorite poem” and the like.

Last night, however, a woman stood up and told Patti that she had a bag of clothes that belonged to her 40 years ago and would like to return it. Smith (and everybody) looked totally confused, but asked the person to come up to the stage and hand her the bag. Patti looked inside and just froze.

Turns out that 40 years ago the band’s truck was stolen in Chicago, all their equipment/clothes/personal things basically everything they owned. These clothes among them. So Patti pulls out these items of clothing and talks about them (the shirt she wore on the Rolling Stone cover, the Keith Richards T-Shirt you’ve seen her wear in a hundred photos) and then gets to the bottom of the bag. Here was a bandana that her beloved late brother had worn and then given to her, and she starts to weep. Before long, half the audience was crying with her.

Naturally, people in the audience were asking where/why/how?? but Patti just put her hands out and said she doesn’t care how, she’s just so grateful to have these priceless items back. Amazing. The rest of the program, after she piled everything on the podium, she couldn’t stop touching them, eventually slowly slipping the bandana into her pocket and proceeded to do a ripping version of Because the Night with her son on acoustic guitar.

What a night.

Read the whole forum discussion here. Below Patti discussing M Train on Democracy Now!.

H/T Mark Hagen

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘What is Punk?’: Children’s book answers that question with clay figures of Iggy Pop and the Clash
09:41 am


What Is Punk
Anny Yi
Eric Morse

Last year, DM told you about a marvelous children’s book called What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock. In that post I mused a bit at how odd it was, given that punk has been identifiably a thing for roughly 40 years, that there weren’t more books explaining that musical/cultural/fashion phenomenon to kids—there are, after all, members of early punk bands who now have grandchildren, and there’ve long been punk band onesies for the offspring (sorry) of the conspicuously hip.

Well, it looks like something IS stirring in those waters after all, because now there’s the wonderful What Is Punk? published by Akashic, the imprint owned by former Soulside/GVSB bassist Johnny Temple. Akashic became widely known among normals a few years back for the amazing kid lit parody Go the Fuck to Sleep, and have been in the pages of DM before for their publication of The Jesus Lizard Book and David Yow’s Copycat. While What Every Child Needs To Know About Punk Rock was co-written by a child development specialist and focused on DIY culture and rebellion against capitalist norms, “What is Punk?” is a different beast altogether, a whimsical primer on that movement’s early history written in verse by Eric Morse, a writer and publicist who in the oughts founded Trampoline House magazine.

Once upon a time,
there was a deafening roar,
that awakened the people,
like never before.

With their eyes open wide
they shouted in fear,
“What new sound is this?”
and covered their ears.


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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