Alan Licht BOOK review

Book Reviews
Alan Licht BOOK review
Feb 1, 2000, 16:08

AN EMOTIONAL MEMOIR OF MARTHA QUINN by Alan Licht; Drag City, 2002

I had an elaborate denunciation of this book all worked out months ago, but time and tide have pulled my resentment and critical thoughts elsewhere. And when you look at the number of pages Licht takes to make his points (76) and the price he wants for his thoughts ($11.98 list) it hardly seems worth the effort. What burns my spinach about this kind of social astrology, is the offhand arrogance with which anyone can sum up music and culture into tidy little ten year units that start with year zero and end with year nine. And once Licht started making arguments revolving around feeble summations of what “The Sixties” were supposed to be about I lost any regard I might have had for his perspicacity. The title realdy gives this book away; it is more about Licht's personal and apparently conflicted view of mass culture then it is about the self-generated culture of punk rock and its successors. Licht goes to lengths to find some meaning and pattern to it all and I feel more pity than contempt for someone who could come up with a sentence that begins “I knew grunge was over when….” Like the filmmakers interviewed in the Film Noir Reader3, I would like to think that the best music makers today are far too involved with the act of creation to be worrying about their place in the greater scheme of things.

Bruce Adam

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