‘Camden Joy’ could be the title of some imaginary anthology of Chris Roberts reviews from Melody Maker 1987-1990, and Camden Joy the author is almost as good as that. I first came across him a few years ago when I found a heavily marked-down copy of his The Last Rock Star Book: or Liz Phair, a Rant in a Notting Hill book exchange. Masquerading as a cash-in fan-biog – along the lines of Lester Bangs’ Blondie – it actually conjures a great compelling fiction from obsession, demented rock scholarship and the ghosts of 1968.

A few weeks ago I finally managed to track down the anthology Lost Joy, which provides the back story. Joy started out publishing screeds of abuse, Frank O’Hara reveries, and wistful memories of great unacknowledged rock bands by pasting them up on the walls of Manhattan during the annual CMJ festival. The idea of the guerilla rock critic actually proves more compelling than many of the texts, but it’s in some of his longer, conventionally-published, pieces that Joy came into his own. ‘The Greatest Record Album Singer Ever’, in the form of an evangelical pamphlet praising Al Green, proposes a weird paranoid racial fantasy where white boys grow up into black men, while ‘The Launch of the MJ-97’ imagines a new Michael Jackson being launched every year, like a sci-fi Windows upgrade. Joy seems to have some pretty conventional US rock-crit tastes underneath it all (Cracker, Frank Black, CCR) but for his desperate fabulism – imagine Dave Q after a dose of Barthelme – he’s worthy of further investigation: check out http://www.camdenjoy.com