Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Following our Bruce Springsteen special last week, this weeks books take it from New Jersey to California with the Red Hots.

ANTHONY KIEDIS-SCAR TISSUE: Remember a month back when I re-brought Johnny Cash's amazing autobiography because I was ranting about lending books out and never getting them back? Well, how wrong I was. After asking a good friend of mine for my Anthony Kiedis autobiography back, he went one better then just saying he would. He re-brought the book himself and posted it to me. I didn't mind that he lost it-he could have just said-but instead he graciously replaced my rain soaked (by my own walking fault) paperback out of shape, dog-earred copy for a brand new Bible big hardback. Kiedis frank, unapologetic, beautiful and brutal book sheds Californication sunlight on quite the life and career. From his own success in his 'socks on cocks' adult band, to sharing a bed with Cher in his youth. No, nothing dodgy went on in that case, but through all the women and drugs that did occur, Anthony points an honest finger at himself and poignantly shows us through his word works and lyrics how we dont have to go down the same lesson learned path. By the way of the Pepper frontman you'll see what this rock and roll life is truly about from destruction to redemption. This book has special meaning for me because years ago when I was in a lost place I decided to read my huge pile of unread books starting with this one. Since then I haven't stopped reading or writing since. It's given me quite the career opportunity. That was over half a decade ago. Thank you Colin and thank you Anthony. This is how much it means to me.

AN ORAL/VISUAL HISTORY: From some freaky styles to a band that gave stadiums arcadiums of rock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are captured perfectly here in photo. Perfectly if you don't mind seeing naked men with only tube socks and logos covering them up that is. Ladies this ones sort of for you and guys, hey it was 1.50 in a local book store. Like Dave Chappelle once said, " who can pass up a sale, I'll break a five for that". From the punk George Clinton beginnings to the Rick Rubin rebirth this band has been through a lot of rocks and rolls and it is all captured here perfectly on camera and by the writing of each band member and associate for some inspired, influential quotes. Even Lawrence Fishburne makes an apperance here in this matrix of words and pictures. As do testaments to former members and greats, including the late, great Hillel Slovak, Janes Addiction's Dave Navarro and THE Chili Pepper guitarist we want back John Frusciante. This behind the scenes, from the source material book is a must for all hot Pepper fans and is alive with the passion of each member and the bands legacy in red color and in hot rhyme. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


If you know me by now, you know I'm an autobiography, not biography man, but when it comes to bargain Boss books, well that's a different matter.

E STREET SHUFFLE: With Bruce Springsteen recentely stating he won't write an autobiography (we could certainly transcribe one from some of his songs epic live inspired introductions) one of the best books you could read is from Clinton Heylin. The man whose book work on Dylan could go page for page with Bob's epic songbook delivers another great here, chronicling Bruce's glory days from the greetings from Asbury Park, to the break up and reshuffle of the E Street Band. What resonates here is the attention to detail and events, marked by real, inspiring quotes from the band and the boss himself that make this as authentic and influential as possible. A run down of every official and unofficial Springsteen song of that era to conclude the last 100 pages or so of this book make this read one bootleg that the Boss would love. Sound good?

WALK LIKE MAN: With all the Bruce biograpies out there it's hard to pick one, but Canadian Robert J Wiersema may be the most inventive and therefore best. If 'E Street Shuffle' is best described as a bootleg then 'Walk Like A Man' is truly a perfect and proud mixtape. Time to make the pod playlist. Chronicling not only the boss muses life, but the life of our author too, Wiersema takes you on a tour of what it's truly like to be growin' up with the soundtrack of hard-working blue collared jeans and boot-cut America, that even translates up north and to a small, Asbury Park type seaside town that this Englishman writing this with dreams of New York resides in. Now I relate to Bob as much as I relate to Bruce, as each song-titled chapter from 'Rosalita' to 'My Hometown' details not only the Bosses journey but how each song by the man of rock related to Wiersema's life and times. From it's short but sweet chapters to it's footnotes more detailed than a Shakepeare playbook, this is truly a great read. Especially for a man who loves Canada just as much as he loves New Jersey's favourite son. Boss fans rejoice and come together. It's time to truly relate. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


We're all spies like Coldplay this week as we take it from Bond to Bourne with a secret service of thrilling reads.

THE BOURNE IMPERATIVE: So far we've had four brilliant Jason Bourne films as this spy looks to take over Bond for the modern age (good luck...have you seen 'Skyfall'), but there's around 10 thrilling books for readers and moviemakers to get around to and this one should be 'Imperative'. With an amnesic like beginning reminiscent of the original 'Identity' of Bourne, this is the perfect homage and story in it's own right. From snow soaked tension in a murderous wilderness to a blizzard of worldwide chases and undercover twists revealed to the light at the end of this book spine this is one taught and tense read. What else could you expect from a spy thiller that requires a Sherlock Holmes magnify glass of concetration and composure to get through? 007 may have owned the last century of secret services, but this spy hard work of Jason Bourne looks set to create a legacy that could last over the decades of this new milleniuum. One day they'll be talking about who will play the new Bourne like they do Bond.

CASINO ROYALE: Still, like the front of this book says, 'there is only one Bond'...and only one spy who out smarts them all with a suit and tie and pistol cocked with a license to kill. Plus as great as Daniel Craig and his new 'Casino Royale' beginnings are(certainly an upgrade from the original, unofficial 'Royale' offering), when it comes to Bond nobody tops Fleming, Ian Fleming. That's right Sean Connery and Roger Moore, when you look at Bond you see the man who wrote and created him. Fleming's first novel was a real find and scoop thanks to a free coupon from a newspaper (you know we've been on the hunt for great, bargain books and this is one of the best...ever) and reading this book on a park bench with a man playing an accordian nearby really set the European scene for a novel, quick, perfect Autumn afternoon read(the classic chapter names including 'Pink Lights and Champagne' even inspired me to write a song). Still, nobody lays it out like Fleming who just like Shelock's, Arthur Conan Doyle is a classic, creative writer aswell as a great story and character creator. The man who wrote President JFK's favourite book (the other (oh, there's more than one) Bond classic 'From Russia With Love') and 'Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang' gets deep, dark and descriptive from the subplots of murder and romance that make the ladies and gentelman's favourite Bond so compelling. From Bentley chases to the tension of torture, nothing is more gripping in this thriller than the gamble of cards and money itself. You have to hand it to Fleming, he plays it perfectly. No matter how great the Bond films are, nothing is more exciting and entertaining than the words that inspired it. The book always comes first...shaken and stirred. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


A name change, but the game still remains the same. A look at what books we've read during our 'Reading Week', this week two influential and inspirational, but different American figures.

CASH-THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Don't you just hate it when you lend a book to someone and they don't give it you back, no matter how many times you politely ask? It's a laugh that these days it would cost less money to buy the book again then to actually go meet them and get it, but it's the principle right? Anyway, rant over this is one book that's worth buying again. The autobiography from the man in black is haunting and moving, spiritual and inspirational and reflective and redeeming as the highwayman takes us down the roads of his life. The man who crafted quite the country strong career and life for himself, takes you through the prisons and the rings of fires that have defined his legend and legacy. He also takes you to the end and the rebirth of his career, with his revolutionary 'American Recordings' sessions with prolific Chilli Pepper and Beastie Boy producer Rick Rubin that redefined the late legend to another generation. Through all the thousands of albums he made and songs he recorded in different languages what translates the most his his love for life, family and friends. That's what strikes the highest cord that we can all relate to here without playing along. That is what makes the legend of Johnny and his music really sing. This is why you need to invest in 'Cash'.

BILL CLINTON-GIVING: Following his epic 'In My Life' autobiography of his presidency, Bill Clinton has wrote many books. Still it's the bargain, short read of 'Giving' that I found, that really stays with you the most. This is not about Bill, this is not about us, it's about others. He tells us 'How Each Of Us Can Change The World' in relation to charity that goes beyond money or preaching. The president does not seek to manipulate or control, but instead influence and inspire that all of us can make a difference with our means, whether they be financial or simply a few minutes of our time. Citing countless inspirational stories and others who have done so much for the world the ambassador of good charity doesnt even blow his own saxophone to all the incredible, underrated work he's done. He doesn't even go as far as to make us feel bad at what the better off have done for the worse. He just tells us like it is and gives us a guidebook on how we can start to do the same if that is what we are interested in. A powerful but subtle punch beyond politics. In talking about doing the right thing, Bill Clinton does it the right way. TIM DAVID HARVEY.