New music books: Luke Haines - Post Everything, Andy Kershaw - No Off Switch,
Simon Reynold - Retromania, Scott Weiland - Not Dead & Not for Sale
Semi-absent fans of former Auteur and Black Box Recorder man Luke Haines might have received something of a jolt on suddenly Googling him. The words on the second entry would have immediately caught the eye: ‘It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Luke Haines’, solemnly states a profile page on his official site. But as the semi-serious obituary reaches its conclusion by noting that boredom is the likely cause of death, you finally realise you’ve been had. In Post Everything: Outsider Rock and Roll (Heinemann), Haines follows up his Britpop-era memoir Bad Vibes with a typically caustic look at what came next for both himself and British music.
Another maverick in the music biz is Andy Kershaw, whose No Off Switch (Serpent’s Tail) details his championing of world music, his love of travel and a troubled private life. An equally fraught but more predictable tale of the massive highs and plummeting narcotic-fuelled lows of the industry comes from Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland in Not Dead & Not for Sale (Canongate), while Simon Reynolds’ Retromania (Faber) tackles our seemingly unquenchable fascination with reunions, reissues, reformations and resurrections. Reynolds wonders why this generation more than any other is so deeply captivated by the cultural artefacts of the immediate past.
Oddity of the month has to come from Belgian record collector Jan Bellekens, whose Covered! Classic Record Sleeves and Their Imitators (Vine House) asks why CD cover designers can’t stop dipping into the past for inspiration. Through the stories behind some of the 650-plus covers in this intriguing book, he suggests that such back-handed compliments could often be borne out of mischief, laziness or bitterness.