ROCK HISTORY | 1971 – NEVER A DULL MOMENT BY DAVID HEPWORTH

1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year1971 – Never a Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year by David Hepworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story of the ascent of rock music is lovingly told by the author, who turned 21 that year. The context behind many of the classic rock artists and albums is vividly described. Well researched with detailed accounts, the reading enjoyment is enhanced by a Spotify playlist of course!

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BOOK REVIEW: UNITED STATES OF JAPAN (BY PETER TIERYAS)

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Synopsis
Decades ago, Japan won the Second World War. Americans worship their infallible Emperor, and nobody believes that Japan’s conduct in the war was anything but exemplary. Nobody, that is, except the George Washingtons – a shadowy group of rebels fighting for freedom. Their latest subversive tactic is to distribute an illegal video game that asks players to imagine what the world might be like if the United States had won the war instead.

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BOOK REVIEW: IF THEN (BY MATTHEW DE ABAITUA)

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Superficially, If Then, English author Matthew De Abaitua’s 2nd novel, appears to be about the singularity. In scifi lore, that subject revolves around the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent machines. Examples of which have been found in stories like Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream and movies like Terminator and Matrix.

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GEEK OUT! PHILIP K DICK’S THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH REMAINS RELEVANT 50 YEARS AFTER PUBLICATION

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2015 is the 50th anniversary of many critical events – as we are often reminded. However, as a fan of mind-bending science fiction, I would also like to point out that 1965 was the year Philip K Dick’s novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was published. Along with other Dick classics like Ubik & Time Out of Joint, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch questions the very nature of reality itself with the story revolving around the use & experience of simulated reality by its key characters.

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THE WORD: MINISTRY OF MORAL PANIC – SINGAPORE STORIES FOR THE MILLENIALS

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I must confess that the only prose I read nowadays are rock bios. Even back when I did read fiction, it was science-fiction that I preferred (and still do). What to do? I am a serial escapist after all (as this webzine aptly proves).

Of late, I have been lecturing on the Art of Story – breaking down the elements of story-telling to 17 and 18 year olds who mostly do not read books, and whose main exposure to stories is via computer games, film/TV and even comic books.

Well, in the course of this module, I’ve had had to read short stories by several Singaporean writers (like Alfian Sa’at and Daren Shiau) and whilst the writing is good, I found sometimes the focus and range to be too narrow (although that is probably the intent) and the emphasis on nostalgia at times claustrophobic.

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PLAY ON: POWER POP HEROES BY KEN SHARP

Writer Ken Sharp’s new book Play On!: Power Pop Heroes Volume One is available for pre-orders for 1 month with a cut off sale date of October 28th.

In the first installment of a three-volume series, Ken Sharp honors the musical innovators who built the genre’s foundation. Featuring a foreword by Eric Carmen of Raspberries, the 480-page book culls exclusive extended interviews with 20 artists that defined the genre, including members of the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, the Zombies, Bee Gees, the Turtles, the Left Banke, Small Faces, the Move, Jeff Lynne and others. Also covered in this volume are representatives of the first generation of dedicated acolytes who followed the progenitors’ trail: Badfinger, Raspberries, Big Star and Emitt Rhodes.

 

Available exclusively from http://www.ken-sharp.com/power_pop/index.html

A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAZZ ROCK BY MIKE BARON

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Writer Mike Baron makes an interesting point about how marginalized the Jazz Rock ‘genre’ has become since its heyday in the 70s in his introduction to this book.

“The number of classic bands who have inspired youngsters continues to grow. Beatles imitators are legion. The Beach Boys have a growing and powerful following spearheaded by Explorers Club. Grateful Dead jam-type bands cover the hills. The Quarter After worship the Byrds. But one group is conspicuously missing. Where are the new jazz rock bands?”

Baron doesn’t really answer this pertinent question so much as to suggest that perhaps Jazz Rock as a ‘genre’ lost ground once the post-punk / new wave of the 80s arrived to drive many of these original Jazz Rockers to seek greater commercial attention by moving their music to the Middle of the Road (like Chicago).

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POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: EILEEN CHAI

Violinist Eileen Chai recently launched her book Teach A Life For Life and we caught up with her to find out a little bit more about the words and the music.

Why did you decide to write a book?

Teach a Life, for Life contains life lessons learnt in my journey through sports and music. It was written because I wanted to tell my story so that people could reflect on my life lessons learnt, which might help people self-explore, discover and find their own paths, and learn from their past to make good for the present and future. 

Secondly, I wanted to share with people, family and friends who have helped me in my life journey through sports and music. In a way, to give thanks to my family, teachers, coaches and friends.

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EILEEN CHAI – TEACH A LIFE, FOR LIFE BOOK LAUNCH

Those of you who follow Power of Pop will know the name Eileen Chai as belonging to the violinist of my backing band, The Groovy People. But there’s definitely more to Eileen than that! Not only is she an accomplished musician in her own right but she was an athlete that represented Singapore in three different sports viz gymnastics, diving and track & field! Now add author to her list of gifts! Eileen has penned a book chronicling her life journey in sports and music, called “Teach A Life, For Life” which represents her personal philosophy in life. Concurrently, Eileen will be releasing her three-track EP, Spread Your Wings, which includes a track co-written with yours truly (the title track).

Eileen will launch her book this Saturday (14th June) from 6pm – 8pm at Balaclava @ ION where she will perform the three songs from her EP as well as autograph her new book for you. If you haven’t got a copy yet, you can do so at http://www.eileenchai.com/buy-the-book.html.

THE WORD: ANNIHILATION

When does nature become unnatural? That is the question posed by author Jeff Vandermeer in Annihilation, the first installment of a proposed trilogy (entitled Southern Reach), all three parts to be published in 2014. In brief, the story involves a team of four (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization. They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma.

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GEEK OUT!

MAGIC WORDS: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF ALAN MOORE (by Lance Parkin)

It’s difficult for me to be objective about the writer Alan Moore. After all, the man had been responsible for many of my favourite all-time comic book stories viz. Watchmen, From Hell, Marvelman/Miracleman, V for Vendetta, Top Ten, Saga of the Swamp Thing and so on. Apart from Philip K Dick, Alan Moore is my favourite writer. Period.

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