X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography (Anglais) Broché – 30 octobre 2007
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
'X-Ray is that rarest of things: a rock star autobiography that is engaging, entertaining and well written, to boot' --Mail on Sunday
'Pop biographies rarely come more inventive than this' --The Times --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Présentation de l'éditeur
This subversively brilliant, one-of-a-kind rock autobiography ingeniously styled as a biography, is written by a nameless, faceless writer hired by an Orwellian entity called "the Corporation" to capture the essence of Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of The Kinks and one of the greatest rock and rollers of all time. The Kinks front man reveals his life and times to the young writer, often seemingly passing his stories directly into the writer's consciousness. Carnaby Street, "Top of the Pops," the Cavern Club, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and other fixtures of the times fade in and out of this compelling narrative. Part autobiography, part social history, part psychological thriller, this elusive and daring book exposes rock stardom as the heaven, hell, and purgatory it is.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
THE BOOK ENHANCES THE MUSIC
I only started listening to The Kinks within the past two years. With that being said, if you are or were a Kinks fan, then this book is definitely worth reading. The best part about it is the way it enhances the music. If you listen to the songs while you're reading and after you've finished the book, then you'll be in for a really enjoyable experience.
While we're used to having movies with accompanying soundtracks, this is almost like having a book with a soundtrack. In that respect, the book is similar to the rock opera format that Ray Davies explored throughout the 1970's. All of the themes that are commonly found in Davies' songwriting are present in the text. For example: the corporate machine, the decline of mom & pop, the appreciation for the little things that remind us how special the world really is (think "Autumn Almanac"), as well as figurative, emotional, and physical displacement.
In some instances (like when it comes to the early Brit-pop stuff The Kinks did) Davies will mention a song and by going back and listening to it (you can find some of the rare stuff on YouTube) it really helps set the scene - especially if you weren't around during that time and/or place.
The book really shines when it comes to enhancing Davies' late 60's to mid-70's work, such as "Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire", which is partially based around his family life and "Face to Face" which is a great piece in which he tries to reconcile changes in class structure.
Upon finishing the book, I listened to all of "Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One" and I couldn't believe how much better this already great album had become. It perfectly compliments both the fictional and autobiographical storylines, strongly mirroring Davies' meek beginnings ("The Contenders"), his time playing in the trenches ("Denmark Street" and "Get Back in Line"), The Kinks' eventual breakthrough ("Top of the Pops"), their bad dealings with publishers, agents, and record executives ("The Moneygoround" and "Rats"), Davies' nervous breakdown ("Apeman"), and culminating with what this journey has left him wanting ("Got To Be Free"). These might not sound like particularly fascinating subjects, but Davies' wit and candor keeps things interesting and he's always sure to break things up with a great road story or an anecdote about Kinks drummer Mick Avory.
The subtitle of this book, "An Unauthorized Autobiography" is not just some clever, meaningless title. As mentioned above, there is an overarching, fictional storyline woven throughout the various tales. If that worries you, then you need to remember the cinematic nature of Ray Davies' songwriting (he knows what he is doing). You also need to realize that approaching his memoirs in this way only serves to inject them with an extra level of Davies' signature quirky and sometimes cynical personality. Finally, if neither of those things appeal to you, then just know that the fictional portion of the book takes up very little space and 90% of the text is Davies' recounting tales in the same fashion that any other celebrity autobiography does. Maybe the fake storyline will work for you (I got caught up in it) and maybe it won't. Either way, it won't tarnish your experience.
The book is written in a conversational European English vernacular, so if you're from America like I am, you might not understand some of the slang, but it never gets too dense to navigate. Other than that, there are an unusual amount of typos throughout the book - even on the back cover. There are also these strange little stars at the bottom of some pages and I have no idea what they mean.
The only way I can rationalize these things is by saying that The Kinks' recordings aren't perfect either. I think it's because in both the recordings and this book you are getting Ray Davies - his unique and sometimes enigmatic choices, his various quirky voices, and his imperfections. Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way. In the case of the book, it makes you feel like he is right there with you.
CONCLUSION (or How to Listen to The Kinks)
The Kinks have a long and varied musical history. At first I was disappointed with them because I was expecting every song to have the same energy as "You Really Got Me" or "All Day and All of the Night". When that wasn't the case, I chose to keep listening anyway and their work grew on me tremendously. I really got caught up in their unique singing and compositional choices.
You'll find that albums like "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" feature strange musical arrangements (listen to "Phenomenal Cat"). I know they sound odd at times, but if you stick it out, you'll come to learn a different way to enjoy music - you'll start to appreciate that what you are hearing (no matter how odd sounding) are deliberate choices. These albums are crafted for the listener in order to communicate the atmosphere of the time - the sights, the smells, the attitudes, the fun, the hardship. They aren't just there to make you dance or to make you smile (though they'll do that as well).
If you want a better understanding of where music (and art in general) comes from or if you are curious about how an artist evolves, The Kinks, with their 40+ year career, are the band to listen to. If you're someone who just wants things to stay the same, then The Kinks aren't the band for you and, subsequently, this book won't be either.
If you love music and kind of like The Kinks, then do yourself a favor and check out their discography and grab an album or two from each decade. You'll probably find a new way to enjoy music. With time you'll learn to love them and this book will only make that love stronger.
It is not news to Kinks fans that the Davies brothers, Ray and Dave are song-writers the equal to and at times better than Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. The Kinks have given us around 30 albums of great songs containing everything from raucous rock to heart rending ballads. We are very lucky to have this talented man active and with us for he has a great deal to say in terms of vignettes about odd characters, poltical satire and social commentary as do many others. For anyone who has ever been in the music biz there are many lessons here about the fascinating and frustrating minds of musicians (not to mention the varied types of people associated with the business). Ask Beethoven.
I saw Ray Davies live recently. He was great and jumped around for about two & 1/2 hours. He did not really need backing vocalists because the audience knew all the songs and this pleased him greatly. He was glancing at, "X-Ray" now and then for stage patter material I suppose. He is a gentleman as far as I can tell from afar....he did respond to a letter I wrote once. I recommend this well written book (in spite of parts that must be fantasy), really enjoyed it, did purchase it from Amazon and GOD SAVE THE KINKS! *****
With, of course, a nice cuppa tea.
Anyway, this book can be as awkward as a post-"Muswell Hillbillies" Kinks album or as flat-out moving as "Days." I'll take that mix any day.
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