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Alfred E Neuman

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  1. Like yourself, I read this book about 10 years ago. I used to love his stuff and went to see him perform a couple of times in the 80's. Obviously he's a very funny man with an unusual singing voice that adds to a talent for great musical comedy. If I remember correctly, though, when I read the book I was surprised to discover Otway's opinion that many of his songs were intended as a straight rock music (see section on his moving yet ridiculous ballad "Genieve") and were thereby unintentionally comic. Given his wild stage performance, he must have "cottoned on" to the comic angle somewhere along the line...
  2. Here's my list of favourite books: 1. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger 2. The Trial - Franz Kafka 3. Women In Love - D.H.Lawrence 4. Music and Silence - Rose Tremain 5. Ring of Bright Water - Gavin Maxwell 6. My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell 7. Galactic Pot Healer - Philip K. Dick 8. England's Dreaming - Jon Savage 9. The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler 10. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  3. You could try Classical Music for Dummies; one of those bright yellow books with the mildly offensive titles. This one is written by two conductors and as well as offering explanations to and recommendations from historical movements in classical music, it also gives tips for enjoying classical music concerts before going through instruments of the orchestra one by one (in depth) (including the triangle). Although I've not read it in full, I bought it for my mother for Xmas and spent an hour or so looking through it - it seemed genuinely well-informed as well as light and witty.
  4. Interviews from late 1990s with both original stage and film cast and crew relating endless little known facts and details, as well as reflections and opinions, fond and less-so. Where did Tim Curry find his inspiration for Frank-n-Furter? What became of Tim's 70s pop career? On which Rocky Horror cast-members were the characters of the 70s Thames TV series Rock Follies based? How did Rocky Horror influence punk rock? Where are they all now? Endlessly fascinating for the countless worldwide Transylvanians, the only drawback being the book's format of directly transcribed interviews that renders it less readable than prose.
  5. A precise and indispensable reference guide to all Radio 1 Sessions from the 60s to 90s (John Peel, Andy Kershaw, Janice Long, Richard Skinner, Dave Lee Travis etc) with 7 chapters of historical background and special features on unique sessions. Whilst the book covers all DJs, it particularly focusses on John Peel and therefore surely demands an updated edition following his death.
  6. Song-by-song analysis of XTC's music and lyrics, a band whose music seems to process all manner of avant-garde reference points into catchy pop tunes (from Struwel Peter to Captain Beefheart, Charlie Parker to the Residents). Indispensable for fans and a jolly useful guide for beginners too.
  7. A breath-taking rollercoaster ride through the brief explosion that was the Pistols' career, with political and personal background details that powerfully evoke teenage frustation in 70s Britain. THE book on the Pistols.
  8. Excellent guide to the pub rock phenomenom of the 70s...dudes in flares knocking out country and rock and roll classics as a down-to-earth alternative to the pomp and ego of stadium prog-rock.This feel-good music somehow birthed the feel-bad music of punk rock along the way (tho' we all know it feels good to feel bad... )Energetic and fun primer to a mini-revolution, written by someone who was there, man! (Will Birch, Virgin, 2003)
  9. An exhaustive instruction manual to the grand old dame of rock, with sections on albums, gigs, radio sessions, videos, movies etc and over 200 pages assessing his material on a song-by-song A-Z basis. Reliable and readable enhancement to the albums for true nuts or the Bowie-curious. (by Nicholas Pegg, R&H books, 3rd edition 2004)
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