Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW! POST-NATAL TRASH by Richard Meltzer (Illuminati, 1984)

Well, it ain't like I coulda trotted down to Borders to pick it up 'r better yet just stood and read this slim volume right off the racks. Given the number of pages (25 including the intro and "about the author" eyecatcher in the back) I most very well coulda, only this looks like one of those reads that just wouldn't make it to any local book store, esp. the kind that has a coffee bar and loads of self-improvement reads that always worked the opposite direction if any of the jamokes I know who read 'em are any indication.

A breezy read it is as well, this being part one of CANED OUT: The Authorized Autobiography of Richard Meltzer and a book that should have been on any true-to-form BLOG TO COMM reader's book list for well over twenty-seven years (which coincidentally is the number of years that this book has been in existence).

Avid FUSION readers will be familiar w/this since most and more (including the pix and other sundries that were lost to time) took up a good portion of that January 1973 issue with David Bowie on the cover. And yes, the pix were lost (a long and unfunny story about that and the story behind CANED OUT appears in the preface), but this is the read deal, unedited, slanderous and downright enveloping even if you don't consider Meltzer to be one of those Living Treasures of the sixties/seventies rockism scene who should be honored and appreciated in the here and now like he was in the there and then like I tend to think.

So you get a whole lotta juicy goodies, scandalous family trash that'll earn him a card table seat at the next Thanksgiving banquet (page 14-17, regarding mother Esther B. Meltzer, might be the best Mother's Day screed guaranteed to get mom's pacemaker more wound up than a microwave oven!) as well as equally evil daggers poised at father Elihu "Mueller" and sis. Why a major lawsuit didn't erupt over this is beyond me, though I'm sure some civil action would have made a dandy episode of one of those afternoon judge shows for pampered housewives and terminally unemployed yourself.

But really, there's nothing totally shock-your-socks and any longtime Meltzer aficionado who hasn't read this will most certainily like the thing. It does make for a fine trip through the gnarlier underside of Amerigan postwar living even if there seems to have been more honest, down-home information packed into some of Meltzer's FUSION-period reviews and columns than there would be in this slimline edition.

And before I split, let me say that even with the loss of visuals this book reads like a beaut, for rather'n deprive you of the snaps that were supposed to have been included Meltzer describes 'em for you, and since a picture is worth a thousand words a good two hundred or so words can also be as good as a picture which I think is a fantastic return on the word deal!


Anonymous said...

Settle a bet, will ya? Did more than the first two volumes of Caned Out (P-NT and Prickly Heat) ever see the light of day? I've got the first two, and always thought the others (partic. #3: Boat Ride Down the Maguire) were myths in the wind. Wikipedia sez otherwise, and they oughtta know, right?

Christopher Stigliano said...

Wish I could but I ain't so sure myself (looking for #2, the one where Coley mentioned with glee the passage with Meltzer's impassioned anti jagoff pledge). I'd say the money's with you though, but frankly, how could one not trust Wikipedia?

Anonymous said...

Where can any human besides yourself and Byron Coley ever read these books? Why don't they do that Print On Demand thing, that way you get a custom made book rather than a fricken .pdf file on your i-pod. Computer screens are bad for my eyes and don't encourage deep concentration, ya know? (part of the reason I print your blogs out and read on the toilet)

Durandal1717 said...

Now I have to say this comment confuses me a bit.... Is there a pdf of this offered here as well??? If so I'm frantically searching in vain.... And to think I thought I'd finally tracked down one of the Caned Out series....

Well, it sounds intriguing enough, even if it's still limited to tantalizing descriptions. I wonder if that one account reprinted in A Whore Just Like The Rest is taken from this book or one of the other equally scarce others.