Janine and Lee Bullman have their say on some notable new books.


Title: Tim Book Two. Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Francisco.
Author: Tim Burgess.
Publisher: Faber and Faber.

Tim Burgess makes music. In Tim Book Two though, we’re shown that it’s a two-way street – music makes Tim Burgess. He is to be found often hunched over, flicking through a box of vinyl in the hope of finally scoring that Elodie Lauten seven inch or buying another mint copy of Eno’s ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. Tim is on a quest to track down the albums recommended to him by musical friends and heroes, wherever in the world he finds himself. The vinyl recommendations are then the jump-off point for ruminations on the music, the shops, the people, the gigs, the laughter, the tears, and the past, present and future. It makes for a fantastic book – required reading if you’ve ever lifted a twelve-inch square of plastic from a dusty rack with a smile that could be seen from space.
Title: Under the Big Black Sun. A personal history of L.A. Punk.
Authors: John Doe with Tom De Savia and Friends.
Publisher: De Capo.

Ever since Louie Louie had to go, punk rock has bounced back and forth across the Atlantic. At the end of the end of the seventies, in Hollywood’s back alleys and dive bars, punk meant Black Flag and The Germs and the journey to the Sunset Strip. And it meant X, the band John Doe plays bass for. The Californian punk scene of the time has since passed into legend. Outside of the records and some flyers and fanzines, very little documentation survives of what was obviously a vibrant, sleazy, dark and shiny moment. In Under the Big Black Sun, Doe collates recollections of some of the people whose grit, determination and glamour made the whole thing happen, shining light into some of punk rock’s shadowy corners and telling a story we needed to hear.

Title: Porcelain.
Author: Moby.
Publisher: Faber and Faber.

Prior to conquering the world with his album ‘Play’, Moby had paid his dues in the famously hedonistic environments of New York nightclubs like Mars, Palladium and Limelight. Even in a nocturnal world of misfits, Moby, a tee-total Christian vegan, stood out. In Porcelain he tells the tale of how a skinny kid from Connecticut survived the dance music underground. The New York of the time comes alive here, as Moby’s by turns funny, sad and always honest telling of his story shows us a city where artists could survive on next to nothing and take the time to find their sound. Eventually, the skinny Christian kid would go on to help make dance music ubiquitous; Porcelain shows us what he had to go through to do it.