Monkee business : the revolutionary made-for-TV band by Eric Lefcowitz

Retro Future, 2013

Retro Future, 2013

 

Given that they were throroughly dismissed by just about everybody in the “serious”rock music business of the day, The Monkees enduring popularity must come as something of a trial for those who hoped and prayed they would disappear once their hit TV show vanished from the airwaves.  Prefabricated for television and the recording studio in the mid 1960s, their test-tube gestation and kooky boy-next-door image seemed at odds with the anything goes, sex-drugs-and-rock n’roll music scene into which they were catapulted. The problem was, once they got the hang of the whole music-making thing they started churning out some pretty decent albums, and as this chatty volume reveals they were deadly serious about their own success. Far be it from me to upset anybody, but I would also just like to mention that I was at Festival Hall with my sister when The Monkees visited Melbourne in 1968; settle down…..

Soldiers of song : the Dumbells and other Canadian concert parties of the First World War by Jason Wilson

Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012

Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012

With the centenary of the war to end all wars fast approaching in 2014, it’s fascinating to see research on some of the more out of the way aspects of the conflagration.  War is hell, but it’s amazing to see how the human need for something to hold onto in even the worst of times can manifest itself in the most improbable and gloriously odd ways. This book centres on some of the most successful concert-parties that sprang up in the ranks of the Canadian army during the First World War, particularly a troupe known as The Dumbells, and how their success brought some cheer not just to the front-line, but extended for a remarkable number of years after the war had ended. I would have paid good money to see their HMS Pinafore!

Cedric Morris & Christopher Wood : a forgotten friendship by Nathaniel Hepburn

Unicorn, 2012

Unicorn, 2012

This book, published in conjunction with a touring exhibition in England, focuses on the friendship of two artists who came to prominence in the heady world of 1920s Britain. Cedric Morris had a long and distinguished career as a painter and art teacher, while Christopher Wood’s blossoming career was cut tragically short with his apparent suicide when he threw himself under a train, possibly due to drug induced paranoia. Both men were involved, at one time or another, with the lovely St. Ives school of painting, and their at times charmingly naive post-Impressionist works do seem to inhabitat a very similar universe. Good to make their acquaintance.

 

Now this takes me back!

 

 

 

 

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