Best of Punk Magazine, The: Edited by John Holmstrom and Bridget Hurd By Billups Allen

The musemization of punk rock has been on my mind a bit. Regrettably, I’m having years where I see more punk rock documentaries than bands. Biographies are popping up regularly. Pretty soon, even bass players will be writing their stories. This collection of articles, comics, and reviews from the seminal Punk Magazine looks more like a museum book than a punk zine. However, for the price of thirty dollars, you get big reproductions of seminal comics and artwork. The content is hand written. Much of this material has not been rereleased and the original zines take high prices online. The book reprints mostly the features from each issue. Extended essays about the timeline of the production preempt every few issues. These stories add context and tone about the scene that really makes the story of Punk come to life. I found these segments informative and entertaining. It’s getting hard to add much new insight to this point in music history with all the material coming out about it. Not that I’m against intellectualizing about punk rock. Punk was in the right place at the right time so many times that the story was a fascinating read. What you lose is that the zines are not complete. It would be nice to see a typical album review section or to be able to experience some of the regular magazine business. The sacrifice is worthwhile. Early interviews with the likes of The Sex Pistols, The Dictators, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Lou Reed, and Eddie And The Hot Rods are endlessly valuable if you are into the era. It’s a no brainer unless you just don’t like this period of music, in which case, there’s not much there for you. As for the museum book quality, I found a place for it on the bookshelf next to the Sniffin’ Glue book, fifty pages of which one fell out before I even finished reading it. Now that’s what I call anarchy. –Billups Allen (HarperCollins)