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


Hey Skinny! Great Advertisments From the Golden Age of Comic Books

Miles Beller and Jerry Leibowitz

Talk! Sing! Play! Reduce! Roar! Have Fun! Send Away Today! See sensational offers that leaped off the pages of comic books from the ‘40s and ‘50s, sandwiched between the adventures of Blue Bolt, Mighty Mouse and Nellie the Nurse. See! The Ant Farm, Nutty Putty, 50 Combat Action Toys for $1, and the Satellite Flashlight. See! The Original Kentucky Tavern Barbecue Ash Tray, Xmas Tree Lampshades, a Jaunty Jumper, a “Moon Glo in Silk” Jersey, and the Glow-in-the-Dark Necktie. A colorful glimpse into the lost, innocent world of lowbrow hucksterism. GR

Publisher: Chronicle
Paperback: 96 pages

Hillbillyland: What the Movies Did to the Mountains and What the Mountains Did to the Movies

J. W. Williamson

“The hillbilly lives not only in hills but on the rough edge of the economy, wherever that happens to land him. Meanwhile, in the normative heart of the economy, where the middle class strives and where cartoon hillbillies and other comic rural characters have entertained us on a regular basis since at least the mid-1800s, we take secret pleasure in the trashing of hallowed beliefs and sacred virtues—not to mention hygiene. Secret pleasure is guilty pleasure, and guilt begs containment. So we have made the hillbilly safely dismissible, a left-behind remnant, a symbolic nonadult and willful renegade from capitalism.”
The authors examine the hillbilly in American culture from European folkloric antecedents to hillbillies as portrayed in such movies as Stark Love, Sergeant York, Davy Crockett, Deliverance, Raising Arizona, and Crocodile Dundee and in such TV in shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Andy Griffith Show. NN

Publisher: University of North Carolina
Paperback: 325 pages

Hitsville: The 100 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazines, 1954-1968

Alan Betrock

Mini-histories and black-and-white cover shots of all the music mags teens craved in the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll. Includes both U.S. and U.K. titles. You could pick these mags up at the drugstore, man: Crawdaddy, Cheetah, Dig, Hep Cats, Hit Parader, Eye, Mojo-Navigator R&R News, Flip, Melody Maker, Rave, Tiger Beat and Sixteen. GR

Publisher: Shake
Paperback: 111 pages

Hoaxes! Dupes, Dodges and Other Dastardly Deceptions

Gordon Stein and Marie J. MacNee

Hoaxes have been perpetrated in every field of human endeavor. This volume chronicles dozens of amusing examples of political pranks, literary lies, supernatural scams, religious ripoffs, historical humbugs, scientific swindles, infamous imposters and more. Consider the 10-foot Cardiff Giant, the fake Fossil Man “discovered” in 1869. P.T. Barnum was so incensed at the money-making hoax, he had a copy of it made—and charged people to see it! Or the Vinland Map, purportedly drawn by the Vikings in America centuries before Columbus, which later tests showed couldn’t have been drawn before 1917. Or the fake Vermeer, Christ and the Disciples at Emmaeus (actually forged by Hans van Meeregen in 1937), which was brought into question when the face of Christ was discovered to resemble a photograph of—Greta Garbo! GR

Publisher: Visible Ink
Paperback: 244 pages

Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music

Martha Bayles

Lengthy diatribe on the “perverse” influences of artistic Modernism and Postmodernism in popular music. Surely one of the most prudish, misguided, shallow, reactionary, bitter and, yes, perverse (she likes Warhol but despises McLaren?) books ever written about popular culture by an obviously intelligent person. But at least she hates U2. Fun reading. MG

Publisher: University of Chicago
Paperback: 453 pages


Hollerin’ is one of the most primitive forms of folk music. When folks in North Carolina and elsewhere had to communicate across great distances, such as multi-acre cornfields or swamps, they developed a way of singing/shouting that is a wonder to hear. This is how information was passed in a friendly, neighborly way. At times barbaric, other times like an angelic yodeling, this is wonderful, weird, touching music. This returns the listener back to a time before telephones and radios, when the chief sounds heard were human voices, hand tools and an occasional passing train. It’s like an audio time capsule from a lost America. Hollerin’ gathers together masters of this quickly vanishing folk-form in 24 mind-blowing tracks. Songs sung out of love of life, of work, of necessity. Startling sounds you never knew the human throat could make. Music in its purest form. CS

Publisher: Unknown
Audio CD

Hollywood Hi-Fi: 100 of the Most Outrageous Celebrity Recordings Ever!

George Gimrac and Pat Reeder

What distinguishes this book from similar titles is that the writing is laugh-out-loud funny and that these guys actually enjoy these records. They are astute enough to spot such oddball wonders as the Crispen Glover album, the actually very cool post-”boy reporter” recordings of Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen on Superman) and Gloria Swanson’s self-produced attempt to bring Sunset Blvd. to Broadway in the 1950s. There is even a guide to stars with questionable vocal abilities who can only be experienced on video (including Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Jimmy Stewart). SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 128 pages

Houdini on Magic

Harold Houdini

This book is a collection of rare, firsthand material written by Houdini. The first section deals exclusively with handcuffs and restraints. Houdini was so closely associated with these devices early in his career that he advertised himself as “Harry Handcuff Houdini.” Nearly every other page is packed with great illustrations including the master in action, secrets revealed, handbills and dozens of bizarre skeleton keys, picks and locks. One chapter presents Houdini’s fascinating portraits of other great magicians in history. Here we meet such eccentrics as Dr. Katterfelto, “one of the most interesting characters in the history of magic. Magician, quack doctor, pseudophilosopher.” An article covers fraudulent spiritualists and mediums that Houdini dauntlessly crusaded against as a debunker. Included are instructions for 44 stage tricks. CS

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 277 pages

Humiliation: And Other Essays on Honor, Social Discomfort and Violence

William Ian Miller

Five essays on “the anxieties of self-presentation, the strategies we adopt to avoid loss of face in our routine social encounters, and the emotions—namely, humiliation, shame and embarrassment… “ We grovel, we crawl, we debase ourselves, wailing and begging. It’s grotesque. An Icelandic saga illustrates our need for these emotional theatrics: “It involves dismembering corpses for use in a ceremony that compels a higher-status person to take vengeance on a corpse. In that ceremony the threat of shame is made explicit by the person (usually a woman) bearing the pieces of the dead man: ‘If you don’t take revenge, you will be an object of contempt to all men.’ This is the ultimate in grotesquerie, but the grotesque and the dark comic world to which it belongs is… the defining substance of the humiliating.” It’s a good thing! GR

Publisher: Cornell University
Paperback: 270 pages

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Metal Lunchboxes

Allen Woodall and Sean Brickell

Metal lunchboxes are accessories that have defined American kids since the 1950s. For all of their seeming variety, there aren’t as many different designs as might be imagined. As of 1985, when their manufacture was banned because of their potential as weapons, only about 450 designs were ever produced.And of those, there are three variations each on The Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Alvin and the Chipmunks, Soupy Sales and Captain Kangaroo never got the full metal treatment (although they all did get vinyl lunchboxes). Who decided that Family Affair rated a box, while My Three Sons didn’t? The authors don’t even attempt to answer such questions.
What they have done is to photograph both sides of every metal lunchbox ever produced in America and to present them in full color and alphabetical order. The small amount of text includes facts about the boxes’ relative rarity, variations in design and trivia (the last metal lunchbox was a Rambo design). SA

Publisher: Schiffer
Paperback: 168 pages