Thursday, September 29, 2016

next week's UK events - reminder + updated info

SHEFFIELD  Tuesday October 4th - 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm (as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words)
The Auditorium, University of Sheffield Student's Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG  
chatting with Lee Ford (BBC Radio Sheffield) +  Q &A  +  Rocky Horror Picture Show film

tickets and info - 0114 22 33 777 –

LONDON  Wednesday October 5th   - 7 pm - 10 pm
The Forge3–7 Delancey Street, Camden, NW1 7NL
chatting with Alexis Petridis (Guardian + Q & A + glam video clips + DJ Simon Price
tickets and info – 0207 383 7808 -

MANCHESTER  Thursday October 6th   -  18.45 pm pm - 10 pm
Home2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN
chatting with Bob Stanley (author Yeah Yeah Yeah+ Q&A +  T. Rex: Born To Boogie film
tickets and info: 0161 200 1500 -

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SHOCK AND AWE is imminent!

The UK edition of SHOCK AND AWE, hot from the printers - available to buy in bookstores and online from October 6th - pre-order here

The US edition of SHOCK AND AWE - arriving any day now - available to buy in bookstores and online from October 11th - pre-order here

German, Italian, and Spanish translations due 2017  

^^^^press release^^^^ 

At the dawn of the Seventies, glam smashed through the faded denim dream of the hippie era – an eruption of alien glamour, gender mayhem and thrilling music that changed pop forever.

SHOCK AND AWE takes the reader on a wild tour of the glam era, chronicling the exploits of its flamboyant personalities against a backdrop of social upheaval and political disillusion. Spearheaded by David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T. Rex, the glam movement reveled in artifice and spectacle. Simon Reynolds explores how artists like Roxy Music, New York Dolls and Lou Reed celebrated illusion over truth and self-invention over authenticity. Probing the genre’s major themes—fame, androgyny, narcissism, decadence, fandom, apocalypse—Reynolds tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded in subsequent decades: from Eighties art-pop icons like Kate Bush, Prince and Morrissey through to 21st Century stars like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj. 

SHOCK AND AWE is a defining work that stands alongside Reynolds's classic Rip It Up and Start Again, Retromania and Energy Flash as a milestone in cultural criticism.

^^^^the whys and hows of SHOCK AND AWE^^^^

"SHOCK AND AWE was the title right from the start – it instantly struck me as perfect because this is a book about the Seventies as arguably the last era when rock stars could be genuinely shocking and awe-inspiring.  Glam’s outrages - the taboo-breaking lyrics, the gender-twisting, the extreme fashion - triggered public tremors and private thrills alike. The kick-in-the-eye impact of the clothes, hair and make-up anticipated punk, but rather than gritty reality, glam was about glitzy excess and alien mystique.

"My goal was to capture the shock and the awe – the sheer excitement of the music, the images, the performances.  But I also wanted to probe behind the spectacle and examine the mechanics of hype:  the way that artists and their managers (figures like Alice Cooper mastermind Shep Gordon, or Tony Defries, the Svengali behind Bowie) engineered controversy and staged the star’s career as a public drama. 

"To fully convey glam’s impact in its own time involved reconstructing the conditions in which pop existed back then, so vastly different from the instant-access, stimulation-overload world in which we now live.  Fans relied on music magazines as their mainline to the world of their heroes. The photos, interviews, even the adverts for records and concerts in these music papers,  called out as beacons of strange fascination and dandy elegance – and achieved their effect through the contrast with the surrounding bearded dreariness of most serious rock at that time. 

"Interviews with the more arty and intellectual glam figures such as Bowie, Ferry, Eno, and others, and were portals into an intoxicating realm of exotic ideas and influences – such that being a devotee of these artists could be like enrolling in an alternative system of mind-expanding education.  For bored and isolated weirdos stranded in nowheresville suburbs or far-from-the-action provinces, the music paper interviews – along with the infrequent TV appearances and concerts – offered glimpses of a world of exquisite decadence and aesthetic adventure.  They suggested an approach to life in which personality was flexible and ever-changing: where your greatest creation might not be songs, but the fashioning of a unique self.

"Even more than sexual ambiguity or freakshow theatrics, glam’s defining themes – it seemed to me as I worked on the book over three years of research and writing– were  self-invention, narcissism, and fame. Many of the protagonists in SHOCK AND AWE wove a bubble of unreality around themselves and invited the fans to step inside that fantasy space, a dream-world in which the performer figured as a messianic hero and where his followers often dressed-up as mirror-images of their idol.  Songs increasingly became commentaries on pop stardom itself. Looking at glam in this way – as a saga that showed both the creative power but also the delusional dangers of persona construction – led me to see reflections and echoes across subsequent decades of pop: not just obvious glam descendants like Prince, Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga, but less likely heirs such as Morrissey, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.  In the book’s extended coda I look at these aftershocks: glam’s legacy as it reverberated through the Eighties, Nineties and into the 21st Century."


SHOCK AND AWE features artists including 
T. Rex - David Bowie - Alice Cooper - Slade – The Sweet – Mud – Suzi Quatro – Gary Glitter – Hello - Lou Reed - Mott the Hoople - Iggy and the Stooges- Jobriath - Roxy Music –  Wayne County - New York Dolls  - Wizzard – David Essex – Cockney Rebel - Sparks – Queen – Be-Bop Deluxe - Silverhead – Sensational Alex Harvey Band - The Tubes -The Runaways - Doctors of Madness - Ultravox - Kraftwerk – Brian Eno

     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ SHOCK AND AWE tour^^^^^^^^^^^^


SHEFFIELD  Tuesday October 4th  - 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

(as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words)

in conversation with TBA -  Q & A  -  video clips

venue:  The Auditorium, University of Sheffield Student's Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG       

tickets and info - 0114 22 33 777 – info

LONDON  Wednesday October 5th   - 7 pm - 10 pm

in conversation with Alexis Petridis (Guardian) – Q & A - film / video clips + DJ Simon Price

venue: The Forge, 3–7 Delancey Street, Camden, London, NW1 7NL

tickets and info – 0207 383 7808 -

MANCHESTER  Thursday October 6th    -  7 pm - 10 pm

in conversation with Bob Stanley (author of Yeah Yeah Yeah) – Q & A

showing of Marc the Bolan movie Born To Boogie

venue: Home2 Tony Wilson Place, First St, Manchester M15 4FN

tickets and info  - 0161 200 1500 -


BROOKLYN - DUMBO  Thursday October 13th  - 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

in conversation with Luc Sante (author of Lowlife + forthcoming book on Lou Reed) – Q & A

venue: Powerhouse28 Adams St., Brooklyn , NY 11201

info -  718 666 3049

BROOKLYN – WILLIAMSBURG Friday October 14th - evening

in conversation with TBA - video clips – Q & A

venue: Rough Trade NYC,  64 N 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

info -

MANHATTAN – MIDTOWN  Monday, October 17th  - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

in conversation with Asif Siddiqi –  video clips – Q & A

venue: Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus, Pope Memorial Auditorium
Lowenstein Center - 155 W. 60th St., New York, NY 10023 (Corner of 60th St. and 9th Ave.)

this event is open to the general public.


LOS FELIZ  Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 7:30pm

in conversation with TBA – Q & A

venue: Skylight Books, 1818 North Vermont, Los Angeles CA 90027

More US events to be announced.... 


  ... or at least, if not endorsing / encouraging, then at least accepting the existence and inevitability of theatricality as a social mech...