Monday, 18 April 2016

England’s Hidden Reverse

Finished reading England’s Hidden Reverse over the w/end after a marathon 4-day read - that’s fast for me - but the book is rare among biographies of experimental musicians in that it’s compulsively readable, packed with stories of rampant drug-taking, unbridled sex and occasional bouts of ritualized violence. Highly recommended of course but I think I would have enjoyed the book even more had Keenan substituted Current 93 for Psychic TV - every time one of David Tibet’s lyrics was quoted, my respect for Current 93 eroded just that little bit more, while some of the best passages in the book were about the activities of TOPY. I can appreciate Keenan’s decision to concentrate on the triumvirate of Coil-C93-Nurse With Wound but I wished he had brought his text up to date to include Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown’s work in Cyclobe, and it’s a shame that The Hafler Trio and :zoviet*france: two other major players on the 80’s Underground didn’t earn a mention. Still, it’s an excellent chronicle, brimming over with terrific anecdotes and I especially enjoyed reading about Steve Stapleton’s legendary record collection, Clive Barker’s fruitful friendship with Coil, and the dreadful circumstances of the Dispatches witch-hunt. Needless to say this is essential stuff.

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