30/06/2021

Reading - June 2021

Guitar Magazine (July 2021 / Issue 394)
I read somewhere that all guitar magazines feature an issue with Jimi Hendrix on the cover at least once every twelve months, in the knowledge that it will be that year's best selling issue - as good an illustration as any of the somewhat narrow world of guitar, sadly. Therefore, it strikes me as a brave move to put a woman on the cover, in this case Annie Clark of St. Vincent. I don't know her music but they say she "might well be the most important guitar player on the planet today" so I should go and listen to some. Elsewhere the Ivison Guitars Dakota model looks rather nice, although if I was plonking down that kind of cash I'd get the '59 DC, no question.
Noises Off by Michael Frayn (1982)
I saw this in the West End with my parents in the early 80s, so therefore the original production - although possibly not the original cast, since it ran for five years. C and I also saw it again more recently, although I can't remember where. It's a fantastically well-crafted play and laugh-out-loud funny on the page - and even more so on stage, of course, although sadly the few staged examples I can find on Youtube fail to do it justice, and the film version got poor reviews.
Be My Enemy by Christopher Brookmyre (2004)
I swore off Brookmyre for 2021, just to reduce the over-familiarity, but clearly didn't manage. I remember struggling to get into this book for ages but now it's one of my favourites - the combination of Jack Parlabane and Tim Vale is irresistible and the plotting and characterisation as good as ever. I'm disappointed to find that Chris Brookmyre has chosen to revive the Parlabane character as a divorced man in later books, which, based on a reading of their plots, are unremittingly depressing. I don't why he decided to remove the humour from his novels, as without it they are just fairly standard fare.
Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (2002)
It's easy to underestimate just how famous Michael J. Fox is. Here's something I didn't know until I read it just now on Wikipedia: at its peak, the sitcom Family Ties was watched by one-third of American households every week. That's a lot of people basically tuning in to see Fox, who was the lead character, and it's easy to understand why, as he is such an engaging person in every role he plays. This comes across in his book: he's honest about his illness and honest about his failings, including the one where he hid his illness for nine years.
How To Get Rich  by Felix Dennis (2006)
An entertaining read that lifts the lid on the reality of becoming and staying seriously rich. It comes across as slightly throw-away in places (Dennis says towards the end that he wrote it in eight weeks), and in others as a bit of a diatribe against various targets, not least the kind of people who write "how to get rich" books! Nevertheless, full of truths (at least, they seem so to me) and valuable insights.

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