I’ll start my review by saying there’s only one big thing I can say to you about this book, which is not to read it. But you’ll want a synopsis, so here goes.
Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America By Althea McDowell Altemus, edited and annotated by Robin F. Bachin, 192 pgs.
Recommended for readers of American and women’s history, as well as for those who loved the narrator’s voice in Charles Portis’s novel True Grit.
Chris Clavin is probably best known for his involvement with Plan-It-X Records and a variety of folk-punk bands from central Indiana. In 2010, he convinced a few of his friends (and a few strangers) to move to Cairo, Ill. to create a punk utopia in a blighted, forgotten river town.
Nothing is cheap or illogical, a pitfall for many genre anthologies, and the stories are consistently entertaining throughout. I highly recommend this book for those who land in the horror/punk intersection of the Venn diagram, and for those who like a little yuck for their buck.
Marcade’s narration reads like a punk rock version of Zelig, as he appears in anecdotes with all the era’s heavy hitters. His friendship with Johnny Thunders, in particular, is an ongoing thread throughout the book. More important than the all-star cast is Marcade’s story, as he bungles a series of relationships, struggles to establish the Senders, gets a foothold, then succumbs to heroin addiction before finally getting clean and committing it all to paper.
The strongest aspect of Spoke is the photographs…. In reading Spoke, I read very little about the overarching theme of what the scene was about. There was no essay or narrative that brought everything together.
Dystopian lit and film are in vogue—stores and libraries are having a hard time keeping 1984 and Handmaid’s Tale on the shelves. But as Streetopia editor Erick Lyle notes, the flip side of the coin is the idea of utopia, which questions “when does the nonfunctional and intolerable status quo, endured for years, suddenly become an emergency that must be dealt with immediately at all costs?”
The theme is “This job sucks!” and it’s amazing the variety of tales that can come out of what might seem like a simple phrase.
The Bonnot Gang was a group of illegalists best known as the first robbers to use a car as the main part of a getaway.
The book covers the early days of Texas punk rock, where weird was king, hitting the road on an endless tour that encompassed the ‘80s, somehow beating all odds by getting first on a major label, then having a Top 40 hit, then their fade away in light of label hi-jinks and lawsuits.