Category Archives: Books

Google :: Copyright :: World Brain…what does it all mean?


I consider Sundance a nice warm-up to SXSW.  In doing some research about what’s playing and who/what we’ll be hearing about in the next week I found something that has fascinated me.  It’s a documentary called “Google and The World Brain.” 

There are several layers to the filmmaker’s synopsis:  copyrights for authors (can’t help but compare this to musicians) as well as the right to access of information vs. the monopoly of information.  I’ve long been a Google fan, but with the latest change to their search algorithm their stock has plummeted (in my book).  If the trailer intrigues you, definitely make a point to read a Q&A with the filmmaker over on IndieWire.    Ben Lewis has had a pretty broad view of the world throughout his career.  He claims the message of his film is ‘Down with technoutopianism!'”  Huh.  I think I just added a new word to my vocabulary!

Now I’m off to search for a copy of H. G. Wells’ “World Brain.”


History of a song


“If Leonard Cohen was the author . . . and John Cale was its editor,” writes Light, “Buckley was the song’s ultimate performer.”   alan light_cohen book

The Holy Or The Broken by Alan Light

I’ve lamented about the evolution of Cohen’s masterpiece and this book takes on the subject in detail.  I didn’t know exactly when Cale had recorded the track.  Buckley’s version came 10 years after the original recording.  Lots of goodies about the song that has become the go-to track in the face of national loss and hurt. 

Boston Globe Review

February 3rd – the day the music died


Lately I’ve been getting excited about some rock and roll books and biographies.  A friend reminded me that today is the anniversary of Buddy Holly’s tragic plane crash.  So, of course, I search Google news to see what’s being written about the event this week.  And what do I come across but an article featuring a new Buddy Holly book.  The Chicago Sun-Times reviewed a book by Illinois author, Gary W. Moore, Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John and My Lost Decade of Music.

And just as the author hadn’t been interested in Holly before last year, I wasn’t exactly interested in reading a Holly-related book.  That is, until I read the backstory.  The author explains taking his mother-in-law to a Buddy Holly impersonator show in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and how the story actually came to him.  It’s makes for a great read even if you decide the book isn’t for you [click here].  I think I’ll add this to my growing list (below).  If you have read any recent rock stories, feel free to recommend them.  And put on some Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper or Holly music today if you have time!

Rock ‘n’ roll book list:

  • Soul Mining – Daniel Lanois
  • Route 19 Revisited – The Clash
  • A Very Irregular Head – Syd Barrett
  • Life – Keith Richards
  • A Riot Of Our Own – The Clash
  • The Hacienda – Peter Hook
  • Just Kids – Patti Smith

Pop Songs = Life


I think most of us who share bonds over music realize how strongly we associate feelings, memories and lessons learned through the songs that mark that time and space.  Take high school; I can still tell you who borrowed my Rick Springfield cassette, who tortured us with freaking REO Speedwagon on bus trips to the ballgames and songs I recall listening to in Art class.

Many of us became familiar with Rob Sheffield when he took part on VH1’s “I Love the 80s” along with other pop culture shows.  His new book is entitled Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut.  I’d prefer a shorter title, but I’m not his editor. 

Each chapter features an 80’s song serving as a time capsule for the author.   Some of the usual suspects for the time period are there, and obviously, Duran Duran.  I’m looking forward to this read.

Sheffield sums up why he feels music is such a great bookmark in our lives [via Village Voice]:

It’s funny that music does a much better job of storing those memories, both at a personal and a collective cultural level. If you want to get a flavor of what 1985 was like, you can’t go back to the TV or the movies or the bestselling books. Nobody says, “Oh man, what were the Oscar-winning movies of the mid-’80s? Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, Out of Africa, I’m going to check those out.” Those movies were forgotten a few years later, but everybody still knows “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record),” even people who weren’t born when it came out.

If you enjoy this style of writing I have a couple of super entertaining blog recommendations for you.  Friends Christian (SOLAST) and Steve (Excerpts from a 70’s Teenage Rock Opera) write about their past musical adventures.  You may have seen them in my blogroll.  Steve has been re-visiting the journals of his youth and blogging the entries along with current day commentary.  And Christian writes along the same lines as Sheffield, with a band, concert or song framing his posts.  Check ’em out!

Manc music scene


jrobbFound the video of John Squire debunking the Stone Roses reunion from last week.  He simply said he appeared in an effort to stop the phones from ringing. 

Today Alan McGee writes a post reasoning why so many music fans would like to see the reunion.  Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why though:  it was great music.

And if you have an appreciation for the Manchester music scene you’ll want to read John Robb’s new book.  He chronicles 30 years of musical heritage.  Should be a fun summer read.