Thursday, June 02, 2016


Strange, but seeing the opinions of someone I haven't heard of before and (who knows?) might never hear of again on the printed page this late in the game really does something good to my rock et roll soul. Hearkening back to the personalist fanzines of the eighties and nineties, LIFE IS A RIP OFF contains the collected reviews of one John "Inzane" Olson, one per page and written between 2/18/09 and 1/31/13, packaged up like some old Science Fiction collection of primitive paens to Arthur C. Clarke but man, is this thing a whole lot more readable!

Olson has a pretty interesting style (kinda cluttered but I can make my way through the printed brush with ease) and his tastes are nice in that whacked-out fanzine style of the past when punks didn't seem that self conscious about liking the "wrong" hip kultural watermarks in fear of getting their credo knocked down a few pegs. Although I will admit that I approached this book (sent unsolicited) with some trepidation I find myself going back to it even if it ain't during one of my occasional toilet trips. It's great reading Olsen's mind-shifting opines which go from one subject to the other even within the span of a  sentence, and although the guy's tastes may be kinda loopy they're also kinda...SOLID. And at the same time as well and let's just see you do something like that!

There's a smattering of hardcore punk reviews, some jazz 'n blues, lotsa stuff that I don't think I could categorize in a millyun years and of course the obligatory Velvet Underground hosannas (and critiques) that really do place Olson as a sorta rooted in traditional underground rock fandom person who would have been in-place doing this sorta scribbling in the mid-seventies with the technology and platters available to him at the time.

Maybe even the early-seventies as well since the guy is wont to toss that good ol' "punk" tag around like the best CREEM writers, what with his praise of IN ROCK period Deep Purple as punkos supreme (which might just fit since hey. they had often been compared to the Detroit/MC5 hard-edged 1970 overkill and if you don't believe me just ask Mike Saunders!) not forgetting Jethro Tull via a review of the ISLE OF WIGHT DVD. Well, I know that such a brain in the rock scribing game as Charles Shaar Murray was hot on early Tull (as was none other'n the Electric Eeling Dave E.) so maybe we should drop our THICK AS A BRICK-honed pretenses and give those early ones a scrutiny even if classifying 'em as punks might have been just as silly as when Phil Collins (I believe) told Jane Scott that some of THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY was also punk supreme. Hey, at this late date in the game I'll take just about anything though who knows, I just might be downright ashamed if I happen to actually ENJOY it (.....shudder!.....).

Dunno where you can get this. Since none other than Bob Forward sent me this maybe he can fill us in. Howzbout it Bob???

1 comment:

Charles Hodgson said...

Unless the above is somehow an earlier take, this should have it all (well it does say 'complete'). My copy was just ordered earlier today, so I haven't eyeballed it yet. Should be good though.