Entries by tag: real punks don't wear black

My town had created its very own East Village within the four walls of a cruddy downstairs eatery
I want you to post here how Facebook ruined your life. You see, my friend Tina (as in "Roger Williams In America" and "The Wind From My Head" in Real Punks Don't Wear Black) started a Facebook group last week called Campus Restaurant Revisited which she's been pressuring me to join. The thing is, I'm not on Facebook, since I don't want yet another social network hijacking my time. The Internet can suck the life out of you, another social network would squeeze me dry, and I'm not nearly caught up with the stuff I need to be doing anyway, etc. These days, a lot of people go to restaurants and coffeeshops so that they can bring their laptops and get the WiFi. Whereas, when I go to these places it's to get away from the 'Net. But...

It was like my little hometown had created its very own East Village* within the four walls of a cruddy downstairs eatery. This was in the Sixties, early Seventies. When the freaks were cutting school, that's where they went, and I get the feeling that for a lot of them that was their emotional home when what was happening in their nuclear family wasn't working for them. Like the East Village, the scene facilitated fucked-up behavior too, amid all the vast creativity, and you can be clingy and neurotic in your adopted families as much as in your real ones; but the freaks being so numerous and charismatic, they cracked open the social map of my entire high school. Wherever you were on the map, you never could settle into a place, because the places kept shifting. This could be rough on some people and it was rough on me, but it worked well for me too, in that it ensured I could never be smug, so it helped to create my brain. And for some kids it created space to flourish they'd never have had in a more steady setting. It also helped there to be a whole lot of interesting people in my world, wherever they found themselves, whether they were the freaks or not at all close to the freaks.

I wasn't one of the freaks; I was more a liberal veering into I don't know where. Didn't go into the Campus Restaurant much, basically 'cause I didn't know if I'd be welcome, though my guess now is that of course I'd have been. A year after I graduated I was back visiting town and I went to meet Tina at the Campus Restaurant, and after the two of us were done talking I saw my ex-friend and ex-nemesis Jeff (see "Junior High" and "Death Rock 2000" in Real Punks) and we had a really good talk, though what I mostly remember from it was that he was being self-derogatory in a way that I hadn't remembered him back when we'd been close; and it didn't dawn on me to see if it was safe to ask him the questions that I really wanted to ask. At one point when I was a senior I remember Maureen saying to me and Jay that Jeff was just a slug, and we gaped at her. Like, didn't she understand? This was JEFF KINNARD! He'd been to social life at Storrs Grammar School what James Brown was to soul. So the question I didn't even think to ask was what happened, how'd he change so that he'd be willing to give the impression to the beautiful Maureen Nolan that he was a slug? Why?

Anyway, Tina has sent me a PDF file of some of the posts from the group. I didn't see anything from Jeff there, though Peter Fish posted a photo of Jeff standing next to Mr. Pride, the art teacher. Most of the people posting I hadn't really known, and a lot of the names I don't recognize. But Tina is there, Tansy Mattingly is there, Steve Nesselroth is there, Tim Page is there, Larry Groff is there, Francesca Holinko is there.

hemming and hawing and the need for a discussion of social classCollapse )

So. Tell me about Facebook. Can I avoid friending people, and avoid getting them to friend me? Is it easy to ignore, if, like me, you're fundamentally compulsive and have no OFF switch?

*If I were ever to start one of these groups, it'd be "Strand Book Store, 1977-1980."

Kogan, Morley lead blowout UGA booksale!
In an exciting and innovative sales strategy, the University Of Georgia Press is conducting a CREATIVE NONFICTION SALE, to create room in the warehouse, no doubt. Titles include:

--Frank Kogan, Real Punks Don't Wear Black, sale price $6.24
--Paul Morley, Words And Music: A History Of Pop In The Shape Of A City, sale price $6.24

Sale ends 12 noon EST (I think they mean EDT, actually), August 1, 2008. Of course, you might want to act sooner in case supplies run out, though my book will not run out, as it does not have legs.

Real Punks Don't Wear Black will make an excellent stocking stuffer, turkey stuffer, and wedding present.

As a praise word, "punk" was far deadlier than "poetry" was
Just posted this on an old blogger thread that I found via Google:

Bug said: I've read it over thirty times now and am still no closer to understanding what the penman actually meant by this.

"through the process of our appreciating them[, we] turn them into nothing."

What does this mean?
Seriously. It's not a rhetorical question.

Wish you [rmd] had made more of an effort to answer this, as it is an excellent question that I quite sympathize with. In fact, it's what I was trying to understand way back then, and still am.

Anyway, if you're still in touch with Bug (whoever you are, whoever he/she is), I'll try to give a rudimentary answer, just with an example:

You will never in a million years guess which current pop singer I use in my exampleCollapse )

We Were Using It To Prop Up Tables, But We Finally Bought Tables With Legs

We're doing a creative nonfiction special sale on our website offering 50-75% off about 25 titles, including a few music titles. We'll be including REAL PUNKS in that sale at 75% off. I wanted to alert you know so that you could help spread the word and also to let you know that now is a good time to stock up on your own book if you need copies. We cannot offer a further author discount on top of the 75% off price. The sale will likely be up for a few months and should be active with a prominent link off our home page in the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to drive your friends and colleagues there.

If you want to place an order for yourself before the sale is active please just give me a call and I will take you order personally.

Hope you've been well.

Jxxx Mxxxx
Marketing and Sales Director
University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Drive, Athens, GA 30602

The reviews are cool but they burn out
In three months through June 2006 my book moved about 1,450 copies, so I said to myself, "It'll probably top out at about 2,000," which I guess wasn't too bad considering I didn't get many reviews, the most high-profile being Tom Breihan's Pitchfork rave ("Don't even attempt to fuck with Real Punks Don't Wear Black") that didn't even go up until July.

I got clobbered by returnsCollapse )

Interview with me
Interview with me posted here.

Real Punks Get More Reviews
Two more reviews of Real Punks Don't Wear Black (both really great):

Don't even attempt to fuck with Real Punks Don't Wear Black

Willing to be seduced by this silly woman

Real Punks Don't Wear Black
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Commentary on Real Punks Don't Wear Black (100% of the reason for starting this journal is so that I can link this post to my MySpace page, since MySpace doesn't really provide a good place to put reviews).

"He writes as if he's dancing, fighting, killing time, and trying to change the world."

"He treats the New York Dolls as his favourite philosophers and Ludwig Wittgenstein as his favourite band." (This link is the same as the one above it; I just felt like pulling two quotes.)

"Probably the best non–Lester Bangs collected-music-writing book I've ever read."

"Frank Kogan's Real Punks Don't Wear Black is a devastatingly good book."

"Frank Kogan's writing changed my life."

"It's painful but it's awesome like an opossum and my teeth, I don't floss 'em."

"Kogan is the ultimate example of the critic as an artist."

"...using e-mails, diary excerpts, and chat-room postings to vividly memorialise that moment of high-school satori when Kogan realised 'I'm so obsessed with my own mind that I can't think of anything else.'"

"Kogan is piercingly intelligent without ever being pompous, pedantic, or inscrutable." If only this were true.

"References body parts in his reviews."

"Raunchy rap lyrics and free-floating expletives!"

"People should buy it and make Frank Kogan famous."

"looks amazing at a quick skim."

[EDIT: Here are another two raves:

"willing to be seduced by this silly woman"

"Don't even attempt to fuck with Real Punks Don't Wear Black"]

And for those of you who don't want to click the links, here's how the UGA Press summarizes them (the first four are blurbs, not summaries):

"If Frank Kogan had assembled his writing a decade ago, by samizdat or whatever, it would be a cornerstone by now, read by every current and former teenage malcontent."
--Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York

"Doesn't this book at least partly fall into the 'academy is doomed/betrayed' genre (albeit way off on its own wing) vis-à-vis 'closing of the american mind'/'tenured radicals'? Certainly one of the questions it persistently seems to be asking is: 'what is college/knowledge for?' Obviously I think Frank Kogan's answer is a bit different from Allan Bloom's. Isn't it also about restoring the grand ambitions and claims for self of '60s rock-crit culture/counterculture: refusing to settle for a specialist niche, whether ivory-tower cultstud thinkage or leisure-industry enablage? (I am somewhat projecting my own dreams and hungers onto it for sure.)"
--Mark Sinker, author of if. . . . (BFI Film Classics) and The Rise and Sprawl of Horrible Noise

"Kogan is at his intellectual best when annoying academics like me. I would recommend this book to students and expect any self-defined 'popular music scholar' to have read it."
--Simon Frith, author of Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music

"Frank Kogan dares you not to listen to music in the context of your life. He knows that dare is impossible, and that in itself puts him head and shoulders above pretty much every other rock critic of the past couple decades. As do his tastes, which are impeccable, even though his format is the farthest thing from a consumer guide. As does the fact that he has more ideas worth stealing than anybody else writing about music; in fact, I kind of hate that this book is coming out, because now everyone will know where I stole all of mine. The book is a mess, full of trap doors, just like the music Frank likes best. He knows none of it is as simple as people pretend."
--Chuck Eddy, Village Voice music editor**, and author of The Accidental Evolution of Rock'N'Roll: A Misguided Tour through Popular Music and Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe

**now deposed

"A devastatingly good book."
--Tom Ewing, Freaky Trigger

"to label Kogan a music journalist understates the philosophical and exploratory qualities of his verbiage ... He draws out pre-conceived notions and puts them under the microscope. It's in this process that Kogan truly shines as not just a critic of music, but of the culture at large ... The voice in his head spills out onto the printed page with both style and substance. Witnessing his words in action as they unfold is at once baffling and alluring"
--Creative Loafing

"Kogan's autodidactic obsession with making a precise point reminds me a lot of the short stories of Woody Allen. With both writers, we are treated to large quantities of self-deprecation that result in humor which makes the traveling through discussions that might otherwise get dry a fascinating trip...an inspired look into the world of sounds we make and the attitudes of those who make them as well as the dances we do because of them."
--Denver Daily News

"Kogan - himself part of a distinguished lineage of committed contrarians which includes Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs, and Chuck Eddy - laid the intellectual foundations for the 'Blogging' era with his interactive fanzine...this first collection of his work promises (and delivers)."
--The Independent (UK)

"Kogan is great, for instance, at explaining the dynamics of punk clubs: why the performers have to insult their audiences or else they're 'contaminated' by their acceptance. Unlike most music critics, Kogan's omnivorous, willing to consider music that makes him 'feel things that I don't want to feel, so I have to rethink who I am, where I place myself.'"
--Publishers Weekly

"Kogan's collection ... comes alive in his well-told reflections, where he examines when and how we define ourselves through choices in music. His rockin' auto-analysis shares a quality with his inspirer, Richard Meltzer, though Kogan straddles the line between the gonzo poet and the upper-crust of rock critdom"

"Kogan is piercingly intelligent without ever being pompous, pedantic or inscrutable ... Kogan is funny, perverse and contrarian without resorting to shtick or insincerity ... [Real Punks Don't Wear Black] never fails to be an illuminating and entertaining ride."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"the best writing needs to be as sharp, romantic, challenging and catchy as what it's trying to describe, but also willing to be as profane, stupid, noisy and contradictory. And that's why Kogan's brilliant, all-over-the-map collection Real Punks Don't Wear Black has something to offer people who - unlike the author - don't fret much about whether Mariah Carey is great or god awful or what ... you get 'music writing' that's also about the social terrors of junior high school, about the lure and numbness of the suburbs, about how communities are created and threatened, about bohemian self-hatred, about the limits of deconstruction and ultimately about what music writing - in fact, all writing - can and should do ... [Kogan] writes as if he's dancing, fighting, killing time and trying to change the world."

"Kogan has a way with a turn of phrase ... but he can also go the distance, endlessly questioning preconceived ideas and leading the reader to question them herself ... Frank Kogan's writing changed my life."
--Austin American Statesman

Here's the listing at the University of Georgia Press Website. And Amazon.

And you can comment or read comments on Real Punks Don't Wear Black here.

[A couple more reviews linked here.]

You are viewing koganbot