Wolcott Teaser

An early review in Publisher’s Weekly of James Wolcott’s Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York:

Wolcott… arrived as a college dropout in 1972 and scored a writing gig at the Village Voice — a snake-pit of feuds and nude editing — that inducted him into the city’s hippest scenes. Chief among these was the punk-rock incubator at the bar CBGB, which affords him vibrant portraits of Patti Smith, the Talking Heads, and other punk luminaries against a backdrop of Hells Angels… Wolcott’s hip, closeup yet detached narrative falters during worshipful scenes of his mentor Pauline Kael, the New Yorker movie reviewer who elevated criticism to ‘a higher power’; his reminiscences of dishing and cackling with Kael at screenings and soirées feel claustrophobic and dull.

6 thoughts on “Wolcott Teaser

  1. Besides Kevin Avery’s Paul Nelson bio and Chuck Eddy’s rockcrit collection, this book makes all three the holy trinity of pop culture book events of 2011.

  2. There’s a very good chance I will do a Top 10 music books list this year as opposed to a Top 10 songs or albums list — I’ve devoted very little time and energy to listening to music in 2011 (new or old), but it’s been a bumper crop year for interesting music books; I can think of at least four or five more already I’d add to your list (not that I’ve read every last one of them yet).

  3. Can’t remember if it came out late last year or early this year but another music I love is “Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal” by Jeff Wagner.
    I also have the new Simon Reynolds book. Can’t wait to read that.

    Here’s a thought- which music writer memoirs would you love to read?

    For me- Kurt Loder ( I’ve read he’s working on one), Ken Tucker, Joe Nick Patoski (He’s written about a lot more than music) and a true Nick Toches memoir.

  4. I’m definitely up for reading the Reynolds book also — I just feel in the mood right now for that kind of tract (and I certainly don’t expect — or want — to agree with all of it). It hasn’t reached these shores yet. Other 2011 books on my mind (some of which I haven’t yet read… one of which isn’t even out):
    – Ellen Willis comp
    – Marcus on the Doors (really looking forward to this, actually, it interests me in a way his Dylan comp doesn’t)
    – Sheffield’s Duran book
    – Marcello Carlin’s collection
    – even a few bios I’m kinda interested in (Tim Riley on Lennon, Marc Spitz on Jagger, Keith Richards on Keith Richards)

    Music writer memoirs? Hmm, not many I can think of to be honest (though I’d of course read anything that came my way). First impulse was to say Meltzer, but he’s been writing it already for 40 some years. More than any other rock critic, though, I’d love to read a bio *about* him, not written from his perspective.

  5. (Oh, and I’m still finding my way around the Neil Strauss interview/collage collection, some of which I like quite a bit.)

  6. Good point Scott — I would like to read a Meltzer bio by someone other than Meltzer. You think I would like the Marcello Carlin book?

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