Just a brief post right now about this book, which I truly think is one of the best books about music ever, though my recent reread of it is enabling me to catch assumptions and potential flaws more than I noticed in the past. Nonetheless, I think this is an instructive book to look through — again or for the first time — right now thanks to the existence of Simon R.’s postpunk tome. Not that the two specifically overlap or are meant to be complementary — in fact, one reason I’m looking forward to reading Rip It Up and Start Again now is to see where the differences occur and how.

At present — since I’ll have more thoughts in other areas after I read the newer volume — I’ll point folks to this brief ILM thread about the book, though it swiftly digresses (and I really must find that Eastern Europe travel book he wrote). But let me transcribe one of my favorite bits, which has little to do with the wonderful theories of modern pop discussed throughout but everything to do with great writing. During Culture Club’s 1984 Japanese tour, Rimmer finds himself behind a concert venue, near a payphone and unexpectedly beseiged by Culture Club fans who have learned of his work for Smash Hits and wish to get to the UK posthaste:

The fans have been in a huddle. Now they turn round and all begin chanting: “We want to go to Rondon! We want to go to Rondon!” The phone rings in the box. I pick it up and am greeted with a recorded American voice talking about Father’s Day: “A typical father is strong, self-willed, he cares for children…” Hurriedly, I put the phone down again. “We want to go to Rondon! We want to go to Rondon!” The phone rings again. “Did you send your father a card on Father’s Day?” Badly shaken, I slam it back down. “WE WANT TO GO TO RONDON! WE WANT TO GO TO RONDON! Uuuh! Uuuh! Uuuuh!”

Right then, a small mini-van bearing the group comes hurtling down the road. “Rimme-e-e-er!” taunts Roy (Hay, Culture Club guitarist) from behind a curtain as it careers round the corner and towards the stage door. The fans, on the look-out for a lavish limo and “Uuuuh!”-ing and chanting their desire to visit the United Kingdom, don’t even notice.

And then the phone rings again.

Frankly, who needs Lost in Translation?