PLEASE KILL ME

THE UNCENSORED ORAL HISTORY OF PUNK

Punk's chaotic energy and revolutionary spirit come through vividly in this mesmerizing account of American punk. For instance, Kathy Asheton notes, ``I remember the day of his [Iggy Pop's] wedding because that was the day Iggy and I started our romantic relationship.'' Legions of groupies and other American punk scene denizens are similarly heard from here, as are central figures, including Iggy, Richard Hell, Malcolm McLaren, and members of the Velvet Underground, the Patti Smith Group, et al. During the heyday of hippiedom, the Velvets, the Stooges, and the MC5 distinguished themselves by their refusal to have any part of the peace-and-love agenda. Their unromanticized visions of boredom, violence, drug use, and weird sex had little commercial appeal. But the Velvets' Lou Reed and especially the Stooges' drug-crazed Iggy Pop became icons for a generation of disaffected kids who identified with the impulse to roll around shirtless in broken glass while howling ``I Wanna Be Your Dog.'' In the early '70s the New York Dolls continued the tradition, combining goofy glamour and short, fast songs; the overdose death of the Dolls' first drummer cemented narcotics abuse as a central feature of the punk life. Authors McNeil, one of Punk magazine's founders, and McCain, a former promoter of downtown New York poetry readings, definitively assert punk's all-American origins; British impresario Malcolm McLaren tells here how he molded the Sex Pistols after patterns set by the Dolls and Richard Hell. Despite the astonishing prevalence of drug addiction, the New York bands and scene-makers of the mid-'70s, led by the Ramones, had splendid instincts for music and style, and most subsequent pop culture is to some degree indebted to them. An essential accompaniment to the first, still-thrilling punk records, this preposterously entertaining document just reeks with all the brilliance and filth of the Blank Generation. (illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8021-1588-8

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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