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


Staging Fascism: 18BL and the Theater of Masses for Masses

Jeffrey T. Schnapp

“On an April evening in 1934, on the left bank of the River Arno in Florence before twenty thousand spectators, the mass spectacle 18BL was presented, involving two thousand amateur actors, an air squadron, one infantry and cavalry brigade, fifty trucks (18BL was the model number of the first truck to be mass-produced by Fiat), four field and machine gun batteries, ten field-radio stations, and six photoelectric units. However titanic its scale, 18BL’s ambitions were even greater: to institute a revolutionary fascist theater of the future, a modern theater of and for the masses that would end, once and for all, the crisis of the bourgeois theater. This is the complete story of 18BL, a direct response to an April 1933 speech by Mussolini, who called for the creation of a distinctively fascist ‘theater for twenty thousand spectators.’”

Publisher: Stanford University
Paperback: 234 pages

Struwwelpeter: In English Translation

Heinrich Hoffmann

“Presents a collection of German cautionary tales, featuring such characters as Shock-Headed Peter, Cruel Frederick, Little Suck-a-Thumb, and the Inky Boys. Includes a brief biography of the author.”

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 31 pages

Subculture: The Meaning of Style

Dick Hebdige

Besides being one of the first books to undertake a comprehensive analysis of subcultural style in postwar Britain, it remains by far one of the most insightful. Subculture opens and closes on the figure of Jean Genet, imprisoned, as he fashions a shrine to the criminal element from contraband photos mounted on cardboard regulation sheets and adorned with wire and beads originally meant for the decoration of funeral wreaths. His particular aptitude for subversion—turning the scavenged bric-a-brac of an authoritarian culture against itself, rerouting its semiotic apparatus to suit some fringe cause or desire—is paradigmatic of subcultural strategy in general, according to Hebdige. In Genet’s work, the author also discovers all the key themes of working-class youth culture: “The status and meaning of revolt, the idea of style as a form of Refusal, [and] the elevation of crime into art.” It’s what they all hold in common, the hipsters, Beats and Teddy Boys, the Mods and skinheads, the glitter and glam rockers, the punks and the Rastafarians. Hebdige proposes style as a Freudian dream-work, rife with elements of condensation and displacement; or a bricolage reworking the anarchic compositional techniques of the Dadaists and Surrealists. No longer new ideas, admittedly, although they were when he first wrote them down. JT

Publisher: Routledge
Paperback: 195 pages

Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich

Edited by Lys Symonette and Kim H. Kowalke

“Today I give you a present: me. You take this present without qualms; it will bring you only good things. Let me be your ‘pleasure boy’ [Lustknabe), more than a friend but less than a husband. I’m in the world for you—that is self-evident, and you don’t need to feel obligated. You’ll now sense it. Give me just a small sign that you accept the present. Please.”
They were an unlikely couple. He was a short, prematurely balding, German cantor’s son with thick glasses that she thought made him look like a mathematics professor, and she was an Austrian Catholic coachman’s daughter, two years older and poorly educated. Escaping from an abusive father, she became a prostitute and then a would-be dancer turned actress in Zurich. Weill and Lenya needed one another on a “creative” level which defied ordinary emotional, erotic, or professional bounds. Their relationship always remained both tenacious and tumultuous, open to and always surviving many secondary sexual and romantic relationships.
Speak Low compiles the 375 letters, 18 postcards and 17 telegrams that survive; 296 from Weill to Lenya and 114 from Lenya to Weill. This deluxe edition also includes an autobiographical fragment of Lenya’s pre-Weill years and a postscript which focuses on her years as the Widow Weill, when she established herself as his leading interpreter and guaranteed the preservation of his memory. Also included is a listing of their pet names for each other, a biographical glossary, an index of names, an index of works by Weill and an index of works by others. JAT

Publisher: Sarpedon
Hardback: 615 pages

Tales of the Iron Road: My Life as King of the Hoboes

“Steam Train” Maury Graham and Robert A. Hemming

“Steam Train” first hopped a freight in 1931, and hasn’t looked back since. His wanderings have taken him into America’s hobo jungles and railway yards, traveling the tracks in boxcars with partners like “Slow Motion Shorty,” “Fry Pan Jack” and “Hood River Blackie.” In his life of traveling, he has experienced danger, uncertainty and cold, all fueled by hobo stew (he offers his personal recipe). He is the permanent Hobo King of the East, and he has been elected five times as the King of the Hoboes. “Steam Train” has become a famous spokesman for a vanishing way of life. SC

Publisher: Marlowe
Paperback: 222 pages

The Tapestry of Delights: The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R & B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras

Vernon Joynson

This encyclopedia of British pop and rock is very specific about what it covers (1963-1976) and for the sake of defining an area of coverage, it excludes early ‘60s instrumental combos and any punk or industrial groups which were starting up in 1976 and which the author sees as the beginning of a new era. Given those parameters, the author has done a mind-boggling job of managing to document nearly everything committed to vinyl by British artists (as well as others like Jimi Hendrix and Gong, whose careers were based largely in England) during the specified dates. Listings include the personnel (including guest musicians on albums), title, U.K. catalog number, year of release and highest chart placement where applicable. SA

Publisher: Borderline
Paperback: 600 pages

Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires,Mad Scientists and Other Denizens of the Late-Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed

Elena M. Watson

Midnight, 1954. A striking woman in a torn black dress slinks down a cobwebbed, candelabra'd corridor. She stops, shrieks hysterically into the camera, then solemnly says, "Good evening, I am Vampira." Her real name is Maila Nurmi and she was the first in a long line of television horror movie hosts, commonly seen on independent stations' late-night "grade Z" offerings dressed as some zany ghoul or mad scientist. This book covers the major hosts in detail, along with styles and show themes.

Publisher: McFarland
Hardback: 256 pages

Television Theme Recordings: An Illustrated Discography, 1951-1994

Steve Gelfand

Flipping through this alphabetical guide to TV theme music can be a mind-wrenching experience for the dedicated vinyl wiseguy. Some of the greatest music of the 20th century was recorded to accompany the mass worship of the “eye of hell”—Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn Theme,” Nelson Riddle’s “Route 66,” Neil Diamond’s “I’m A Believer,” The Ventures’ “Hawaii Five-O Theme” and Lalo Schifrin’s “Mission: Impossible Theme,” to name but a few—but what about “Kaptain Kool and the Kongs,” “Makin’ It,” “The New Zoo Revue” and “H.R. Pufnstuf”? Yes, they’re all here too-annotated, price-coded, and waiting for your disposable income. SS

Publisher: Popular Culture Ink
Hardback: 332 pages

Thames and Hudson Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Music

Paul Griffiths

A useful, compact and, except for a number of omissions, comprehensive reference guide to what has been Western classicism’s most musically explosive century-and it’s not over yet.
This deceptively tiny book contains basic information on: 500 composers from 30 countries (not all the greats but a whole lot of them including Mauricio Kagel, Steve Reich, Claude Debussy, John Cage, Pierre Schaefer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alvin Lucier, Oliver Messiaen, LaMonte Young, Iannis Xenakis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Edgard Varese, Igor Stravinsky, Harry Partch, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Henry); their major works (Hymnen and almost any other Stockhausen composition you can name, Varèse’s Poeme Electronique, Ligeti’s Atmospheres); important musical techniques and styles (Futurism, chance operations, dada, intuitive music, serialism, musique concrete, Fluxus, minimalism); elements and definitions (noise, organized sound, envelopes, resonance); performers (Aloys Kontarsky, AMM, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Musica Eletronica Viva); instruments (Russolo’s intonarumori, the theremin, ring modulator, trautonium); institutions (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Center); and “other people” (Jean Cocteau, Robert Moog). DB

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 207 pages

That’s Blaxploitation! Black Badass Pop Culture of the 1970s

Darius James

“That’s Blaxploitation! is not an exhaustive, encyclopedic or definitive work on the era and its films. Nor does it pretend to be. What it really is, is a celebration and a memoir with loads of unlawfully sarcastic ‘film comments’; hundreds of mediocre reproductions of black-and-white movie stills; bizarre, self-serving interviews; smutty comics; parodies; and promotional books of the era’s most popular films.”
Clutching that caveat firmly in your craw, this book can be a hoot. It has more to do with the aesthetic of zines (imagine Lisa Carver’s Rollerderby, only male and black) than serious film studies. It’s completely subjective and personal, which can be its greatest charm if not taken as a work of great thoroughness or scholarship. It looks messy and homemade, but then so do some of the best and funniest zines.
Among the topics that are tackled by this “tome” are: Shaft, Fred “the Hammer” Williamson, Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, Fab Five Freddy, pimps, Ralph Bakshi; interviews with Melvin Van Peebles, Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Iceberg Slim, Pedro Bell (P-Funk cartoonist) and the Last Poets. SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 195 pages