Scratch 'n' Sniff

For the “Shrivelled Up” & the “Stupefied” I have written a serious & proper chorale. This chorale is a sort of bitter preamble, a kind of austere & unfrivolous introduction. I have put into it all I know about Boredom. I dedicate this chorale to those who don’t like me. I withdraw. Image © Simon Miller

A Mammal’s Notebook: The Collected Writings of Erik Satie

Erik Satie

“The first collection of Satie’s writings available in English… A pivotal character in the French avant-gardes from the 1880s to the Dada movement of the 1920s. Dismissed as a bizarre eccentric by most of his contemporaries, Erik Satie is recognized as a key influence on 20th-century music.”

Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Paperback: 192 pages


Mo’ Yo Mama

Snap C. Pop and Kid Rank

The last part of Yo Mama asked for quotes from readers and personal slams, and included an original authorship-and-release form to be used for upcoming books for which the contributors would receive credit. Most of this book consists of the authors’ own busts on mothers commenting on their appearance (“Yo’ mama’s so fat she influences the tides”) and intelligence (“Yo’ mama’s so dumb she has to take off her blouse to count to two”), as well as their personalities, behavior, hygiene, sexuality, social status and body parts. Finally, the last 13 ranks are the winners of the send-in-your-own, and are some of the best. CF

Publisher: Berkley
Paperback: 120 pages

Modern Music

Paul Griffiths

Writing about music is acknowledged to be hard. Writing a general history of atonal and aleatoric avant-garde music this full of passion and excitement would seem to be damn near impossible. This modest volume is a superb introduction to all the “serious” music and composers that have followed Wagner’s sublime Romantic bombastics. From Debussy’s impressionistic exoticism to the pioneering tape collage experiments of musique concrète, from the occult ecstasies of Scriabin to the Zen minimalism of John Cage, from the invention of the Theremin to the academic acceptance of the electronic compositions of Stockhausen, author Paul Griffiths’ contagious enthusiasm for his often-intimidating subject matter sweeps the reader into this 20th-century stream of sound. SS

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 216 pages


Richard Barnes

“The Mod way of life consisted of total devotion to looking and being cool, spending all of your money on clothes and all your after-work hours in clubs and dance halls. To be part-time was really to miss the point.” In 1962, a magazine called Town noticed a trend among teenagers devoted to a crisp new style and interviewed a number of fresh faces (among these was a 15-year-old Marc Bolan) who dubbed themselves “mods” (short for modernists). This was the first official recognition by the media. These youngsters were a part of the increasingly recognized market segment that had sprung into being after WW II dubbed “teenagers.” They obsessively collected records, with a decided preference for U.S. black vocal groups. They rode around on Vespa motor scooters with as many headlights and as much chrome as they could (il)logically attach to them. They popped amphetamines and paraded around like dandies. Numerous venues catered to them. This book is a pictorial feast featuring over 150 quality photos, advertisements for “mod” styles and reproductions of news clippings (as well as a firsthand account by somebody who ran a club which became a mod stronghold and watched it happen objectively). SA

Publisher: Plexus
Paperback: 128 pages

The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City

Jennifer Toth

A visit to New York’s creepy, actual underground where the “mole people” live. Underground New York is riddled with abandoned subways and tunnels, so many that the city has lost track of them all and has no real documentation of their existence. There, under the city, is where the “mole people” live—some in complete communities with appointed “mayors,” schools and children who have never seen the sun.
The author, a young Columbia University student, becomes obsessed with writing about these elusive people. She befriends a few “mole people” and goes underground with their help to learn more. There she meets a tunnel dweller they call “Satan,” and barbecues some fresh rat meat (“track rabbits”) with another. She also comes across a gang of drug-dealer hit men but manages to get away unharmed by offering to tell their story in her book—a close call. She also brings to the attention of many what the city describes as a “few homeless” living underground and finds the actual numbers to be in the thousands. She helps a few, but others threaten her life and things get scary for her aboveground. DW

Publisher: Chicago Review
Paperback: 280 pages

Moonshiners, Bootleggers and Rumrunners

Derek Nelson

The colorful history of illegal booze in America-making it, running it, shipping it and stopping it. “Filled with the exploits of shifty-eyed moonshiners tending backwoods stills; daring bootleggers hustling cars laden with ‘tax-free’ whiskey over rural highways; revenuers pursuing their quarry on foot, in cars and from airplanes; and rumrunners and Coast Guard ships engaging in the occasionally fatal ‘booze ballet.’” With a cast of characters that includes “Scotch-Irish immigrants, Revolutionary War heroes, blockade runners, pirates, hard-drinking pioneers, wealthy and vicious gangsters, devil-may-care adventurers, and ludicrously incompetent amateurs.” GR

Publisher: Classic Motorbooks
Paperback: 192 pages

Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland

David Koenig

The 40-year history of Disneyland is that of a feudal dictatorship riddled with gore, and though the author goes out of his way to try and give an evenhanded account of the park, the truth wins out and the evidence for Disneyland as a dystopian Circus of Death is damning. How else to account for the insidious People Mover (or “remover” as dubbed by employees), which at a deceptive speed of 2 miles per hour has managed to crush several skulls in half or cause numerous injuries resulting in multiple foot and toe amputations? Or America Sings, which ground 18-year-old hostess Deborah Gail Stone into paste between two counter-rotating theater walls?
But the rides are not the only malevolent entities: Disneyland seems to bring out the worst in people, or at least make them criminally stupid. Otherwise, why would employees ingest alcohol-spiked punch, pot brownies, and guacamole laced with PCP at a potluck birthday party and then operate the Matterhorn (which has been known to eject patrons under the best of circumstances)? And what goes on in the minds of those patrons who decide to squirm out of their lap bars and stand up in the middle of Space Mountain?
On the lighter side, mishaps which don’t end in death or disfigurement usually result in ugly lawsuits, like the sexual-harassment suit filed against one of the Three Little Pigs by an obese female midget who claimed that the alleged horny hog tweaked her breasts and squealed “Mommy, Mommy.”
And then there are the occasional riots, like the one staged by the Yippies in 1970, who stormed up Main Street chanting “Free Charlie Manson” and held a “Black Panther Hot Breakfast” at Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House. Add to this already Bruegelesque scene the multiple shootings, stabbings, drownings, bomb scares and Tongan vs. Samoan gang wars, and one can only conclude that Disneyland is an encumbered minefield straining its boundaries as its minions work at constant breakneck pace to stave off terminal devastation. MG

Publisher: Bonaventure
Paperback: 239 pages

Music Is My Mistress

Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington

“Duke” Ellington was as distinctive a personality off the bandstand as on. His refinement, dignity and musical statesmanship were much of what marked him as one of America’s most celebrated composers. Less an autobiography than a freewheeling memoir, this is one of the most entertaining books about jazz that one is likely to find. Those looking for Ellington to make a definitive introspective statement will be disappointed—this is a thick book of great storytelling. Ellington comes off like a benevolent king viewing his domain. He holds forth on subjects nonmusical and musical, and his recollections of his sidemen are as often personal as professional. He speaks at length about peers such as Chick Webb and Count Basie, and is frequently touching in his summations of his closest associates—his words about Billy Strayhorn verge on poetry. Ellington was one of the most eloquent men ever to make a living in mostly instrumental music. SH

Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 525 pages

Musique Fantastique: A Survey of Film, Music in the Fantastic Cinema

Randall D. Larson

Worldwide guide to horror movie soundtracks and their composers.

Publisher: Scarecrow
Hardback: 602 pages

My Troubles With Women

R. Crumb

A pioneer of autobiographical comics, Crumb has chronicled, some say complacently, his sex life and sex fantasies in many publications throughout his career. This book collects the choice of his “stories about relationships,” starting from his early sensual awakenings to the most recent marital developments. PH

Publisher: Last Gasp
Paperback: 68 pages

Mythomania: Fantasies, Fables and Sheer Lies in Contemporary American Popular Art

Bernard Welt

“The vulgarity inevitably associated with commercial success is not a dangerous opiate, distracting us from eternal truths. In America, vulgarity is the vehicle for the expression of eternal truths.” Includes essays on Star Trek, Michael Jackson, Pee-wee Herman, Dr. Seuss, and “The Dark Side of Disneyland.”

Publisher: Art Issues
Paperback: 127 pages