Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 22/07/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Totally lost in music

Let's get the gushy fan stuff out of the way right now. Lost In Music by Giles Smith (out now in paperback from Picador, ISBN 0-330-33917-6, a measly $14.95), is one of the single best books I've ever read dealing with pop music, and I've read a lot of 'em. How can you not love a book with chapters entitled 'Nik Kershaw' and 'Andrew Ridgely'? How can you not worship at the shrine when someone describes the way you lie about the first record you ever bought, the need for keeping your record collection in alphabetical order? I haven't just read this book, I've lived it.

Barring the ten-year gap between our ages, there's a frightening amount of similarity between what Smith describes and my own experience, which is both reassuring and disturbing. Change the name 'T-Rex' to 'Wham!' and I'd be there, buying every record, soaking up the ambience, aspiring to the lifestyle. And when Smith describes obsessional record buying -- tracking down obscure 12" versions with minor live B-sides as a major part of your life -- I can only nod in agreement.

There are so many treats in this book, I can merely mention the ones that pop into my head now at random. There's a great discussion of going to university and working out which records you shouldn't take with you, because they'll project the wrong image. At least Smith did the right thing; he left them at his parents' house, knowing he'd be able to pick them up again later. Me, I've lost some records and deliberately hurled others over the years, and it's a constant source of anguish, especially when I see the same things on sale for $50 at my local store. (Still, I must have collectible tastes, or the words 'Ready To Be Ripped Off' stamped on my forehead.)

There's also an incredibly true-to-life discussion of how you can set yourself against certain artists for very minor reasons; someone you hate likes them, you get sick of the adulation they get accorded, there isn't enough time to listen to more records when there are already hundreds of CDs in your collection. Tell me about it; my mental U2 wall is unleapable.

If the only reason I liked this book was that I agreed so much with the author, I'd probably still be writing this. But on top of that, it's fast, it's funny, and it has a great jacket. I could go on, but you're better off spending your time reading Lost In Music. Just do it.

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