**** Designer Magazine's Book Selections For The Month ****
2Stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham
This book is the sequel, or in Oldham's own word 'the continuam to his first book "Stoned". In 1963 Oldham discovered an unknown rhythm and blues band called the Rolling Stones and became their manager and producer. In just five years The Rolling Stones became the Beatles only serious rivals and conquered Britain and America and the rest of the known teenage world, outraged the moral guardians of the time and suffered a knock as society took its revent in a serious of notorious drug raids and court appearances. By 1967 they had split with the manager who had moulded them and invented their outlaw image. This second book continues to tell that story with Oldhams own storytelling and by way of a series of interviews and reminiscing by scores of people who took a major part in the whirlwind of a decade that was the nineteen sixties.
Oldham himself remembers how the Stones were having a non productive recording session for the single "We Love You", probably the result of the possibility of Mick and Keith being detained at Her Majestys Pleasure until Beatles John and Paul showed up at the studio. After being there only a matter of minutes "they picked up the cans and sniffed each other like two dogs in heat for the right part" and "just glided in and changed a runway into an aeroplane with wings". He reckons the Stones were "gobsmacked and had just been given a lesson from the guv'nors as to what this recording thing was all about"
His asumptions on doomed Brian Jones are revealing. At the end of several pages devoted to the late Stone, Oldham remembers being asked to compile a radio advert in the mid 1980's from tapes made in 1966, to promote the first CD reissue of Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) and the rest of the Stones / Abkco catalogue. While the other four Stones were in good humour and had the ability to laugh at themselves, "Jones voice was totally scary and gave me the real chills. It came from a dark and different frequencied, disconnected place and shared none of the joy and mirth of the rest of the group. Brinan had his own sound, underground, that I could not edit into Mick, Keith, Charlie and Bill. It didn't belong".
But this 456 page book is not all doom and gloom. There are many light hearted recollections that the Stones were "not to the celluloid manor born" after realising that they didn't have the personalities to follow the Beatles to follow the Beatles into the movies
Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore
How do you follow up a book as momumental as "Stupid White Men"? You could say it's impossible, but sure enough Moore has done it again with "Dude, Where's My County?". Still Bush whacking and Blair baiting he looks at Bush's connection with the Bin Ladens over the past 25 years, claims that the American people are Liberals and it's only the media driven image that tells us any different and calls for an action plan of how we can make the world a better place if we admit to the right that maybe we us lefties can be wrong sometime....oh and he calls for Oprah to be president of the United States.
With Moore it's pardon the pun, more about the way he tells them rather than what he's actually saying. Every single snippet of information has been available in more weighty books for the past 12 months so essentially what Moore offers is diet politics or politics lite. Easy digestable snippets with enough humour to keep you reading through to the end of the book. Still the fact that Moore is actually getting the general public interested in something outside tabloid culture is something to be applauded even if he doesn't have the knowledge base of say Tony Benn or Mark Thomas over here in the UK.
Thoughout November Moore is touring the UK to rally up the troops to take down Bush at the next election. It might be all in vain but at least we can say we did out best.
John Lennon & The FBI Files by Phil Strongman and Alan Parker
Bands come and go proclaiming the Beatles as the greatest band that ever lived, but how many of them actually tap deeper than writing good time guitar pop songs? It's easy to forget that there was more to the Beatles than "She Loves You", "Help", "Yesterday" etc. George's fascination with Eastern religions, Paul's strict vegetarian lifestyle and ethics and of course last but not least Lennon's political beliefs which are explored in Phil Strongman and Alan Parker's "John Lennon & The FBI Files".
With unprecedent access to the complete FBI files the authors present a book which doesn't try to tell the whole Beatles story or even focus on the music of the legendary four piece. Instead they look at how Lennon may have been killed by the FBI through a brainwash program similar to the concept used in Clockwork Orange rather than a crazed gunman. Going on to compare the death of Lennon to that of Princess Diana and John F Kennedy the book explores the political climate around the time of his birth through to the incidents which led to Nixon trying to get Lennon deported to his connections with left wing fractions in New York.
While "Lennon & The FBI Files" is certainly an interested read and a different take on the phenonema it's perhaps overly factual and could have been improved had some information been placed in an appendix or in footnotes.
The Secret Life Of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna
I first starting reading the work of Oscar Wilde through being a fan of the The Smiths and to date I credit reading "The Complete Works Of Oscar Wilde" as the reason I got through my English GCSE's. Before that it was only the music press that interested me in terms of regular reading and Wilde's love of language took me down a route of devouring books with a passion.
While Wilde's books were inspiring, his personal life was equally as colourful. Bored of his domestic life at home with his wife Constance he regularly trawled the streets looking for rent boys and young men and as most people know it was his love affair with Bosie which led to Wilde being locked up in gaol. Through exhaustive research and intereviews with Oscar's grandson Merlin Holland, Neil McKenna argues that Wilde's life and work can only we fully understood in terms of his sexuality.
At over 450 pages long this is a book for the Wilde devotees. With such a specific subject perhaps fans wanting a general overview of his life could read various other biographies before attempting this book.
Hell by Jake and Dinos Chapman
The Chapman Brothers are part of the new breed of artists which ask the question what is really art? Without the accompanying pictures it's hard to describe the likes of "F*ck Face" or "Two Faced C*nt" which depict fibreglass models of children with elongated penis' for noses and other such orrifices for the nose. Completely naked except for Fila trainers on it's suppossed to be a comment on consumerism and other pictures features dead bodies with the McDonald Arches clearly on display.
The book is accompanying the Turner Prize Competition nomination and their exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. At £20 for the book it's hard to say whether it's worth it as unless your an avid fan of the art works you're not going to look at the photo's and etchings more than once.
Sick Of Being Me by Sean Egan
Over the past couple of years Sean Egan has contributed interview features to Designer Magazine, so when we heard he was releasing his rock & roll novel "Sick Of Being Me" we thought we'd let him explain the story of how the book came to be in his own words. The book centers on the character Paul Hazelwood who experiences love, loss and drugs. For the full article on Sick Of Being me click here
All books featured in Designer Magazine's Book Club are available from Waterstones
You can also make purchases online from www.randomhouse.co.uk
BOOK CLUB ARCHIVES
* Talking Cock by Richard Herring
* Hitler & The Power Of Aesthetics by Frederic Spotts
* Fascism - A History by Roger Eatwell
* Do You Mr Jones? Bob Dylan With The Poets & Professors by Neil Corcorran
* I Can't Be Satisfied - The Life And Times Of Muddy Waters by Robert Gordon
* Footnote by Boff Whalley
* Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser
* Clubland Confidential by Frank Owen
* Web Of Deceit - Britain's Real Role In The World by Mark Curtis
* Deep In A Dream: The Long Night Of Chet Baker by James Gavin
* Publisher Profile: Seven Stories Press
* The Book Against God by James Wood
* Jesus by A.N. Wilson
* The Invisible Grail by John Simmons
* Tilting At Windmills: How I Tried To Stop Worrying And Love Sport by Andy Miller
* The Making Of Poets: Byron And Shelley In Their Time by Ian Gilmour
* The Long Suit by Philip Davies
* Talk Of The Devil by Riccardo Orizio
* This Is Craig Brown - The Very Best Of Craig Brown
* Practical Astrology By Numbers - Simon G Brown
* Sound Recording Advice by John J Volanski
* Gangs Of New York by Herbert Asbury
* Revolution – The Making Of The Beatles White Album by David Quantick
* Adult Entertainment by Chloe Poems
* Where Did It All Go Right? by Andrew Collins
* Hip Hop Immortals – Vol 1