Led Zeppelin, Gods of Rock on the Celestial Staircase
By Rick Moody
Young rock enthusiasts of the 21st century, those of you who listen to your music on a little shiny thing with earphones and who read only on an LCD screen, come near and we your grandparents shall tell you of a long-ago time when men with Gibsons were the knights errant of the land, striding across stages shrouded in mist, soloing at great length! What’s that? You don’t really know what Led Zeppelin is or was? And you’ve never read that salacious earlier biography, Stephen Davis’s “Hammer of the Gods”? Well, do I have a story for you. Or at least this Mick Wall does, this fellow from England who has also written or co-written definitive biographies of Ozzy, Bono and Iron Maiden.
[I]ncluded herein is the famous story of the groupie and the shark, which has been dealt with elsewhere at some length. This bit of lore is now so upsetting and so repellent that it makes you never want to listen to the band again.
Late last year, Nielsen Business Media announced it would shut down two venerable trade magazines: newspaper industry-centric Editor & Publisher and book industry publication Kirkus Reviews. Just a few days into 2010, the news for both magazines is much more positive. The staffers of E&P have launched an exile blog while awaiting a possible sale, and Kirkus Reviews will continue publication for the foreseeable future.
John Guare, author of Six Degrees of Separation, on why drama is a brutal business – and why Amanda Knox is his new muse
by Emma Brockes
Made in Manhattan … John Guare nearby his New York apartment on fifth Avenue. Photograph: Frederic Lafargue/Rapport
The mysterious process through which life is turned into drama isn’t something John Guare cares to analyse. It happens spontaneously, he says, sometimes over the course of a weekend, sometimes six years after the inspiring event. For example, the 71-year-old playwright was transfixed by the Amanda Knox trial. “She’s a complete blank,” he says. “You can project anything on to her. Is she Henry James’s Daisy Miller, an innocent young girl who goes to Europe for experience? Or is she Louise Brooks, the woman who takes what she wants and destroys everything? Or is she Nancy Drew caught up in Kafka?” He looks through the window at a snow-bound New York. “It’s fascinating, but you can’t guarantee . . . will it be a play? I have no idea.”
It is more than 25 years since Guare, while dining with friends, heard the story that would become his most successful play. Six Degrees of Separation, which opens this week at the Old Vic in London, started out as an anecdote breathlessly conveyed with the opener, “Do we have a story for you!” A con man had charmed his way into his friends’ New York apartment and convinced them he was the son of Sidney Poitier. At the time, says Guare, it was “an incomprehensible event” and he forgot about it. “Then about six years later I was writing and I realised I was writing this play. I didn’t know whether Sidney Poitier did have a son, so I ran up the street to the bookstore and got his biography – no: four daughters, no son – and I put that in the play, too. It was a gift. It dictated itself. It told me what it was.”
Smith Magazine’s six-word memoirs have been lodged in the literary firmament since the 2008 release of “Not Quite What I Was Planning,” a pocket-sized collection that became a bestseller. The idea of a story in six words was inspired by an Ernest Hemingway legend — he is said to have won a bet about writing a short story in just six words with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”The latest book in the six-word memoir series, “It All Changed in an Instant,” is out now. It contains hundreds of micro-mini memoirs from people unknown and known. Smith got several people you’ve heard of — including Junot Diaz, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Silverman, Art Spiegelman, Molly Ringwald, Margaret Cho, and Tony Hawk — to give it a go.Of those that appear in the promo video above, James Frey’s stands out. His memoir “A Million Little Pieces” turned out to include outright falsehoods, and he was publicly admonished for his truth-stretching by no less than Oprah. For his six-word memoir, Frey writes: “So would you believe me anyway?”
Surveillance Video Shows 3 Dozen Terrified Kids Begging 55-Year-Old Martha Thompson To Stop The Bus
Woman Eventually Pleads Guilty To 37 Counts Of Child Endangerment
A driver is heading to jail after she was drunk behind the wheel with more than three dozen kids aboard.
And as a surveillance video shows, the children were screaming for her to stop.
The video shows the dangerous school bus ride last May in the Alfred-Almond school district in Allegany County. Martha Thompson, 55, had a blood alcohol content of .15. At the time, she thought the children were over-reacting.
Students can be heard screaming, “Put on the break!”
Driver: “Will you guys stop?”
Student: “Well you’re not okay, and I know it.”
The bus hit high speeds, ran over a mailbox and started rolling backwards downhill.
Student: “Turn the bus off!”
Student: “You’re backing into the freaking ditch; you’re making the little kids cry. Stop!”
Finally, the children opened the emergency door in the back of the bus to get out, despite Thompson pleading against it.
[Jeff] Koons’s work has always stood apart for its one-at-a-time perfection, epic theatricality, a corrupted, almost sick drive for purification, and an obsession with traditional artistic values. His work embodies our time and our America: It’s big, bright, shiny, colorful, crowd-pleasing, heat-seeking, impeccably produced, polished, popular, expensive, and extroverted—while also being abrasive, creepily sexualized, fussy, twisted, and, let’s face it, ditzy. He doesn’t go in for the savvy art-about-art gestures that occupy so many current artists. And his work retains the essential ingredient that, to my mind, is necessary to all great art: strangeness.
You can see this in his glorious phantasmagorical masterpiece, the large-scale topiary sculpture Puppy. This 40-foot visitor from another aesthetic dimension appeared in New York in the first year of the new millennium. It assumed the form of a West Highland white terrier constructed of stainless steel and 23 tons of soil, swathed in more than 70,000 flowers that were kept alive by an internal irrigation system.
Bloodthirsty ‘sport’ is dying a slow death across Spain, as younger audiences turn away
By Alasdair Fotheringham in Madrid
Already faced with a rapidly ageing fanbase at home and widespread incomprehension and rejection abroad, Spanish bullfighting has suffered another major setback after the Catalan parliament voted to outlaw it completely across the region.
The decision was so controversial that some deputies hunched over their desks to hide their fingers from photographers as they punched in their votes. After a narrow initial victory for the abolitionists – 67 in favour and 59 against – the law could become effective as soon as May.
Spain’s right-wing press was quick to attribute the result to Catalan separatists’ desire to dissociate themselves from an activity often considered as typically Spanish as tapas, siestas and flamenco. Unofficially, though, even before Friday’s decision, it seems bullfighting circles in the rest of Spain had given Catalonia up as a lost cause.
Over the past three decades, bullring after bullring has closed in major Catalan towns such as Gerona, Lloret de Mar and Tarragona, and in Barcelona only one of the original three rings remains. As far back as 1909, Barcelona hosted Spain’s first anti-bullfighting protest, and by 2004 more than 80 per cent of Catalans were opposed to the practice. “Banning the bulls in Catalonia would be like drawing up a death certificate for a long-dead corpse,” said Juan Ilian, a leading Spanish bullfighting correspondent for nearly five decades. “And even if they don’t, it’ll remain on its deathbed.”
1. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, 1972 2. The Smiths, The Smiths, 1984 3. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman, 1988 4. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls, 1989 5. Judy Garland, Judy at Carnegie Hall, 1961 6. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead, 1986 7. Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973 8. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection, 1990 9. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual, 1983 10. Antony and the Johnsons, I Am A Bird Now, 2005
“[The Big Lebowski] doesn’t stand for what everybody thinks he should stand for, but he has his values. He just does it. He lives in a very disjointed society, but he’s gonna take things as they come, he’s gonna care about his friends, he’s gonna go to somebody’s recital, and that’s it. That’s how you respond.”