Book Review: And I Don't Want To Live This Life by Deborah Spungen

 Sid and Nancy...the names are synonymous as heroin and track marks. Few of punk rock's most sensational stories are as compelling as this one. Hard-edged proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Being a punk rock fan nearly since its inception, I had of course heard the basics of the Sid and Nancy story, and fell in love with Alex Cox's 1986 film of the same name. I had no other curiosity about the tumultuous existence of Nancy Spungen, mostly because she has most always been depicted in a most unflattering light.

So when this book came across my path, my first thought was that it would be great for the shops. But as I glanced thru the blurbs on front and back cover, I found myself opening to the first page and scanning the first few lines...

Well I was immediately sucked in. In fact, I didn't put it down for 50 pages (which is a lot for me as I'm a bit of a slow reader). It was completely fascinating from the very beginning, and I proceeded to inhale it every free minute I had for the next 48 hours, until it was finished. (Also no small feat for me at 430 pages in such a short time, I'm a busy lady).

I can easily and honestly say this is one of the best books I have EVER read, and I'm old and have read a LOT of books in my life. Not only is the story absolutely, insanely insane, but it greatly appeals to the writer in me in a non-fiction capacity. See, Nancy's Mom was not planning to be a writer, she had many other ideas for her career as an educated, middle class person. But this story begs to be told, not only because of the notoriety surrounding Nancy's short, wild life, but for the family and friends that survived the affects of the devastating tornado that was Nancy Spungen--truly from the moment of her birth.

I'll give no other details here, because you MUST read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that you will in no way be bored, even if you only have a casual interest in Sid & Nancy, or if you're a hardcore fan. And if you're so inclined, you can even purchase the copy posted here. Sadly I only have one available at the moment, as I'm not giving up my copy for anyone or anything. But I am always on the hunt for more.

 Shown here is the harder to find first paperback edition which has (I think ) the best cover art. Grab it quick!

Price + Shipping

Book Review: The Trouser Press Record Guide by Ira A. Robbins

 Originally published in 1983, The Trouser Press Record Guide: The Ultimate Guide To Alternative Music (4th edition 1991) packs a punch for those of us who prefer the sprawling wilderness of the post-punk era to today's paltry offerings labeled as 'new music'. With a focus on the often unknown bands, to the well-known within the Punk, Post-Punk, New Wave and otherwise alternative bands from all over the radar. Robbins and his crew offer highly opinionated, but detailed information, providing much more insight than the usual fare given in a typical issue of Rolling Stone.

The added beauty of the book is the additional info of vinyl releases for each band, as, if you remember, the majority of popular (and not so popular) music ceased to be pressed on vinyl when the almighty CD began its reign near the end of the 80's. Leaving vinyl production (mainly) to the rare artist who insisted on a vinyl pressing or special vinyl-only release.

I am not in the habit of posting pre-written material for my blog, however, the following review by Timothy P. Young sums it up pretty well:

"What makes this book great isn't the reviewing they do (concise and well written, always) but rather the fact that Trouser Press provides histories for each band before jumping into their material, and traces the progression of bands through their careers... If you want to understand the individual formations of bands, their original vision, how and why they changed and a full critical accounting thereof, buy the Trouser Press Guides."

If you would indeed like to purchase this buried treasure of the alternative dark ages, Amazon currently has it available for a price suitable for all budgets here: The Trouser Press Record Guide 4th Edition . Ira Robbins has since published a 5th edition called The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock: The All-New Fifth Edition 1997 of course including the 'influential' bands of the 90's Grunge movement. And you can bet your most valuable record I will be purchasing The Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records for myself this Christmas.

Trouser Press began as a fan-zine in 1974-1984 publishing 95 issues featuring rare interviews, reviews, obscure photos and much more in its 10 year life span. Highly recommended.

Reading The Classics of Gothic Fiction: Dracula by Bram Stoker

You would think tackling a classic like Dracula would be a difficult job, and it's true that it's taken me a while to get to a place where I could decide what I wanted to say about it. I mean this is a worldwide, beloved classic of gothic fiction; the parental story that has birthed an unfathomable amount of other books, films, art in its many forms, and the list goes on....Then why am I so disenchanted with it? Why have two solid, serious attempts to read and absorb this most famous of stories, both lead to only getting 2/3 the way through the book? I simply cannot bring myself to finish it. Am I missing the most crucial parts? Perhaps, but I don't think so. At least if any of the films are any indication. I know that literature of the period in which Dracula was written are notoriously slow-burns. In other words they take a long time to get to the good stuff, or the really scary stuff, or the big payoff at the end. In fact I read a lot of Edwardian/Victorian gothic fiction, so I'm well used to the language and styles of writing in those periods. Well, I gotta say, after seeing the many film versions of Dracula, I know how it ends well enough to get the gist.

Am I jaded by my love of the films of Dracula? Most notably Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 effort which is labeled as Bram Stoker's version, and happens to be my favorite? Maybe so. But where is this great love story between Dracula and Mina in the book? Each diary entry (for the most part) is so long and laden with overly descriptive passages that my mind constantly wanders, or I start skipping through the blah-blah-blah parts.

With all of that being said, it did start off well, and I was really enjoying it up to about the halfway mark. I love the language of the 18th & 19th Centuries, with their flowery descriptions and proper dialogue. Easily painting pictures in the mind of that most intriguing time in history. So WTF? Why can't I bring myself to finish it? Maybe I'll revisit it someday, and the third attempt will be the one that takes, but until then, I guess it just looks pretty good on my shelf.

Friday Night Videos Week 2: Darkwave Delights

I'm about to do something I NEVER do, and that is promote a Facebook community. First off, you should know that I believe Facebook is the devil. I absolutely abhor it on so many levels...but being a small business, it is a necessary evil. Granted, I spend as little time there as possible, choosing to give most of my daily social media time to Instagram. Yeah, I know they're owned by Facebook. But enough of that...

So I guess you could say I'm cheating this week with my Friday Night Videos, as I have not made this list, but it is SO GOOD I just had to blog about it. It would have taken me months to compile a list as extensive and diverse (within the darkwave etc. genres) as this. So have a look at Old School Legacy: Gothik New Wave Post-Punk on Facebook, you'll be sooo glad you did.

I wish I could figure out how to post the video list here and have it play continuously, but I'm not that technologically astute, so the link to their videos will just have to it is: Old School Legacy Video List

Until next time, enjoy!

Book Review: Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

Here's another book review for you,.. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds is the latest text I'm devouring, and so far, so good. I like that the chapters are segmented into groups of bands, sometimes by year, and sometimes location. Simon has definitely done his homework, but it helps to have been there, in the UK. where most of the Post-Punk scene developed. It also helps to be old enough to understand the movement, yet young enough to dig it. 

Chapter 16 particularly intrigued me; Sex Gang Children: Malcolm McLaren, the Pied Piper of Pantomime Pop. His recount of Malcolm's devious dealings differs greatly from, say Adam Ant's version in his autobiography: Stand and Deliver. I had always thought that Adam was being rather gracious regarding his version of how the original Ants left and went to form Bow Wow Wow under Malcolm's tutelage. I suppose we'll never really know now...

This particular edition came from the UK, because a little research birdie told me that the US version is missing over 200 pages of info. I'll never understand why publishers do this, but whatever. I ordered my copy from Amazon UK, and it was really reasonable. There is a companion book to this called Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews  which I will no doubt invest in soon.

If you're a Post-Punk junkie like me, you'll love the in-depth info Simon provides on the actual bands themselves, and the records they put out in the day. There's a great index in the back, as well as a thorough timeline on the Post-Punk history, for quickie reference.

Pick this up and play some records.

Reading the Classics of Gothic Fiction: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 A few months ago, I decided to read some of the most famous titles in Gothic Fiction. I'm beginning this venture with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Now I read a lot of 19th Century stories, and already love the language and style of the Edwardian and Victorian eras, so I had a pretty good idea that I would love it, I just didn't know how much.

I'm not going to bother rehashing the story, we're all familiar with it. So I thought I would just show several beautiful editions of the book, and perhaps talk about a small point or two...

Something I just have to bring up, is how different nearly every film or TV adaptation is from the book. And I'm talking about major plot points...but I'll get to that later. First, let's get a gander at a few vintage editions I have had in the shops and one or two from my personal collection. Check it:

Frankenstein turned out to be one of the best books I've read in the last year. It will be one I reread several times from now on as well. These kinds of books do not come around very often for me, I'm old and lose interest easily. But this book is one of those rare treasures that grow and change with you, and I can't wait to read it again.

Entering the World of Podcasts: An Ongoing List of Favorites

 Here's a useless fact about me: I am always late to the party. But the upside of this is newly discovering cool things that most people take for granted. It has been this way all of my life, and I suspect, will be for the rest of my life. So keep this in mind...

I have just recently entered the world of podcasts, for the first time. Jeezus there is so much out there it's staggering, And overwhelming. And more than a little frustrating finding a really good one. Am I just too picky? Too old? Why would I want to listen to you and your friends drone on about nothing, and offer nothing in the way of interesting information? This is what I'm coming across more often than not, and no one is more surprised than me to discover how much people make these things just to hear themselves talk.

So the purpose of this post is not to bash the many useless ones I've come across so far, but to talk about the very few I have found enjoyable and informative. This really must be a different world, one you have to seek out and explore to bring into your own world. But enough of my yakkin...

First up is Mick Garris' brand spankin new podcast Post Mortem. Truth be told, this is the first podcast I have ever listened to in its entirety. Maybe that's why I'm having trouble finding any that live up to this one. Granted, there's only been one episode so far, but when the first guest is Rob Zombie, I guess that's kinda hard to beat. Can't wait for the next episode. UPDATE: This is a bi-weekly podcast, and you'll find yourself wishing it were more frequent. And that each episode were longer.

Next is This is Horror Podcast. When the description states that this is a show for readers, writers and creators, you've pretty much got me snared. Add a bloke with an East End London accent and an endearing lisp, now I'm really interested. In just one episode, I learned so much! These guys are writers or creative types, and often interview other published writers for insight into that world. Thanks guys, I'll be listening. UPDATE: I have since been so enjoying the This Is Horror Podcast that I have become a Patreon supporter of the show. For a monthly contribution far less than the cost of a Startbucks coffee, you can show your support and help keep the show on the air. LOVE IT!

Next up is Crypt of the Macabre. Ok, these guys had me at Slimey Limeys. They focus on Hammer and British horror films exclusively. And how could I not love a podcast that celebrates Peter Cushing on a regular basis? Their format is one I find appealing, like something I might like a LaCreeperie podcast to be one day. It's an idea I've been tossing around for a while now. See, I should clarify that I have of course heard of podcasts, I'd just never gotten into listening to them before now.

Next up is The Damn Fine Cast which is a podcast mostly revolving around (horror) soundtrack releases on vinyl and otherwise. Being that the guys are British, I could listen to them talk about geometry and I'd still be fascinated. But lucky for us they keep the pace moving and stick to the facts while playing snippets from the featured soundtracks, and even an occasional film. Look for their off-shoot podcasts too, they are all worthy of your ears. And I swear Tony sounds like Neil Gaiman! Also, he has just introduced me to Dungeon Synth; dark/medieval ambient music which is right up my alley OMG.

Another great one is Beyond the Darkness from Darkness Radio. This one covers all kinds of creepy topics, real and imagined. Always interesting, with great production value. Dave and Tim have frequent guests, spooky stories, horror film reviews and lots of true stories. Top notch!

Lastly, (for now) is the Mysterious Matters podcast. This one took me a little while to warm up to because the host's voice is...unusual. I wasn't sure if it was a computer generated voice at first, but realized nope, that's just how Bob talks. No matter, his guests are enough to get you hooked, with the subject matter covering all things strange and unexplained. But then the guests do a wonderful job explaining things that seem otherwise difficult for our puny brains to accept. I have found myself playing it for hours nonstop.

This post will continue to include new podcasts I come across and want to share. If you guys have a favorite, let me know! And I'll seriously consider adding my own podcast to the masses in the future.

Book Review: Record Collecting For Girls by Courtney E. Smith

The first mistake Courtney E. Smith made with her book Record Collecting For Girls is giving it that particular title. Unless her plan was to trick vinyl lovers into reading it...because I'm here to tell ya it doesn't have anything to do with collecting records....vinyl that is. And while I read the reviews before I purchased it, I guess I had some glimmer of a hope that people were just failing to mention the lack of vinyl part.

The second mistake made by the author is the overwhelming lack of valuable content. This 'book' reads like a personal diary of sorts, and how it even got published is a mystery to me...unless she just called in some big favors from PR, Editing and Publishing friends she had in college or at MTV. It lends itself perfectly to one of my biggest pet peeves; the latest glut of "girls with vinyl" photos that seem to be clogging every social media known to mankind. I'm talking about the ones featuring 'models' who clearly don't have a clue about what a record is, evidenced by how they are placing them over certain parts of their body, or just trying to look sexy while putting their hands all over the record(s) in a very uneducated manner. All fluff, no substance. But I digress...

If you're interested in the long haul, read on, as I cannot help but to respond directly to certain parts of the book...the music fanatic in me just won't allow it to rest until I get some things off my chest. Most of this is directed at the author herself, or in some cases it's just me ranting out in general.


Do not ass-u-me all of your readers listen to the force-fed selections on the radio and on television. Saying that you had a hand in what was put out there (She worked at MTV in the early 2000's, when everyone I knew had long since given up on MTV) is fine, but not all of us subjected ourselves to the bulk of such drivel. That being said, I am a fan of Franz Ferdinand et al, but that certainly wasn't shaping what I was listening to at the time. If you're going to ass-u-me anything, be it that your readers will perhaps have more sophisticated musical tastes than even yourself.

On 'Guilty Pleasures'...

While I appreciate that we all have them, and can readily groan at each other's reluctant confessions of them, it's more than a bit of a stretch to proclaim that your admitted love of the Pussycat Dolls (God help us) is "punk as fuck". Do not attempt to throw around that precious four letter word in such a blase` manner. Perhaps it's an age thing, or out of pure respect I have for that momentous movement, but please do not think for a moment that The Pussycat Dolls and Punk belong in the same UNIVERSE. Seriously.

Also, I don't know one person who would put DEVO on a guilty pleasures list. They have earned immunity by being pioneers of a sound that continues to be emulated 30+ years later. Be careful how you lump others into the mix too, such as Sid Vicious, because each of these artists have too loyal a fan base to ever be demoted to a 'Guilty Pleasure'. Oy...

The Smiths Chapter

I'll keep this part short and sweet, which is what you should have done. The Smiths chapter was way too long, even for avid fans of the band, of which I am one. Make your point, or as I like to say, 'state your purpose' and move on. Don't risk alienating or losing your readers who may not be even casual fans. But I'll give you this; you've got coconut sized balls to put in print your thoughts about a 'boy' who listens to too much (what's the definition of too much, anyway??) Smiths, and your warning us to stay away from such 'boys'.

A Vinyl Point...Finally!

The author brings up an excellent point in that digital music is what you listen to while doing five other things on your computer. Playing an actual vinyl record requires (or at least suggests) you to really pay attention to the music, while the physical demand requires you to put the needle on the groove. I believe these are just two of the many reasons why records seem to posses an irresistible pull. Something within the grooves awakens the obsessions within us, and unlocks deep, dark desires while giving our ears a sensory treat. But them's my words, not hers.

Final Note

I'm not even going to go into the whole "Beatles vs. Stones" chapter, as that's a tired argument and not one I'm interested in at all. Yes, both of those bands were my introduction to music and rock-n-roll in general too. They both have my utmost respect. But an entire chapter about your how's and why's of who is better or more relevant is simply just...y-a-w-n.

As I said earlier, this book reads more like a personal journal or diary, and probably should have been kept as such. Certainly, the editor was sleeping on the job by allowing the many glaring grammatical errors and awkward sentences to remain, but kind of proves this was a 'who-you-know' kind of effort, if you catch my drift. All scathing aside, I'm glad I read it for nothing more than as an example of what kind of book I don't want to write. And yes, dear readers, yours truly is writing a book on record collecting. For reals, not just for girls.

Friday Night Videos with LaCreeperie Week 1: Gothy Goodness

To my surprise and delight, several followers of mine have asked for the playlist link to our newly instituted Friday Night Videos weekly venture. I decided to make blog posts of them, in case this becomes a regular thing. Time will tell...

This is by no means a full list of my gothy favorites, just an impromptu gathering of some of the videos I play often while working on your LaCreeperie orders and other businessy stuff.

If this goes over well, I'll make another one next week. If you like, please follow my new channel and we'll see where it takes us.


Book Review: Who Killed Mister Moonlight by David J of Bauhaus

 After reading a glowing review of this book in a UK music magazine, I knew I had to give it a shot. Being the late bloomer that I am, Bauhaus had only had a minimal spot on my favorites list before I took the time to fully explore their discography. The exception to this is Peter Murphy, who has, up until recently been very high on my favorites list...but that's another blog post.

I was hoping for some insight on Bauhaus with this book, and I got it. I was hoping for a little inside dirt on the band, and I got it. But there's a lot more to this book than just dirt and reliving the exalted past. David J is a very introspective writer, and I appreciated his openness and honesty, even when the road was rocky. And, of course, the road was indeed very rocky.

If you have even only a casual interest in Bauhaus, I'd still recommend this book because it gives a great overview of the times, knowledge of how the record companies really work, and a little taste of the esoteric. The occult, in this case. Which may be a slight turn-off to some, but David doesn't spend too much time on this subject, so don't go running for the hills if that isn't your cup of tea. You can simply skip over the chapters/areas where he discusses it, and not miss anything too critical.

The one problem I had with the book was the glaring number of typos, misspellings, grammatical errors and the like, It astounds me that in this day and age, these things only seem to be getting worse. It's like it's an accepted flaw, and I just can't see my way through that. As an amateur writer, I would be mortified if the book I had poured my heart and soul into were printed full of these kinds of mistakes. Rant over. Give it a read, and put on a Bauhaus (or David J) record while you're at it.