Review: Andre Williams – “Sweets and Other Stories” (Kicks Books)

Posted in Reviews on November 4, 2009 by brokenheadphones

And now we come to the subject of “Outsider Literature”, which subject I had hitherto never considered.  However, I hesitate to apply said sobriquet to this fine new outing from Mr. Williams, because the whole idea behind outsider art is that the artists have had no prior training in their chosen medium, and it could in no wise be implied that Andre Williams is not an experienced writer.  His legendary musical bona fides need not be recounted here; suffice to say Williams is one of those giants whose garments the rest of us feebly aspire to brush with our grimy mitts.

 

In this, Williams’ first literary work, he recounts the tales of two female protagonists (the eponymous Sweets, and another, unnamed heroine) from the Chicago neighbourhoods where he has spent the majority of his adult life.  Williams’ prose is dense, almost claustrophobic at times in its depiction of prostitutes, dealers, and other south-side hustlers out to make that fabled ‘Big Score’.  His deeply urban prosody was left largely intact by the editors, and so the work bears the unmistakable stamp of a truly unique literary voice.

 

Let’s be straight here: this ain’t no “East Of Eden”, but a solid and compelling story takes this book pretty far on its own merits.  Some of you also know that I am an aquaintance of Andre Williams; indeed, we’ve worked together several times in the past, but regular readers will know that I pull no punches here; if I didn’t like this book, you would know.  Anyway:

 

Fans of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines will find themselves right at home in the pages of ‘Sweets’: a headlong run through a gritty underworld written with the intimate veritas of someone who has most definitely lived there.  A bit expensive for its size (US$12.95 for 103 pages), ‘Sweets and Other Stories’ is nonetheless a worthwhile read and an excellent debut.  A+, y’all.

 

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New Theme

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2009 by brokenheadphones

I was looking at some design blogs and remembered that before my life went through thr windshield in 2008 I was talking about changing the theme here.  Of the themes freely available from WordPress, the GF and I liked this one the most.

Revised review: PF Flyer Center Hi

Posted in Reviews on October 1, 2009 by brokenheadphones

I stopped wearing them on 22nd September because the soles gave out.  I wish I knew how to import a picture so you could see these things.  I started wearing them on 3rd July and THEY FELL APART on 20th September.  THEY FELL APART.  AFTER 75 DAYS. That is a FAILURE, pure and simple.  Even Chuck Taylors last ninety.  I hereby resind my previous grade of A, and re-grade the PF Flyers Center Hi A BIG, FAT F.

Warren Brings the Wow

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2009 by brokenheadphones

Just go and look at this, alright?

Review: PF Flyers Center Hi Sports Shoe

Posted in Reviews on August 19, 2009 by brokenheadphones

Through measures arcane and unseen by myself, a pair of Center Hi sneakers (y’know, trainers, gym shoes, whatever) made by the PF Flyer company were obtained for me at the start of the Gories reunion tour.  Outwardly they resemble Converse Chuck Taylors, and the two are contemporaries, the Chuck Taylor taking its current form in 1928, and the Center Hi following from BF Goodrich in 1937 (The two were actually owned by Converse for a very brief time in the early 70s).

When I first got them, I tried one on with one of my ubiquitous Chuck Taylors to see if there was any difference in feel.  The first thing you notice, when lacing them up, is that there are more eyelets, 20 as opposed to the Converse’s 14.  Next you notice the heavier material the shoe is made from.  Combined, the two make the shoe feel far more solid on the foot, as if they’ll last much longer then the current six months for a pair of Chucks.

I stood up and started to walk around.  “What the hell’s the matter with you??”  My girlfriend (hereafter referred to as ‘The GF’) was looking at me like I was crazy.

“I don’t know!” I yelled, lurching around the room like a drunken giraffe.  “The shoe is making me walk funny!”

“Well, take it off, or something!  You’re scaring me.”

Instead of taking it off, I put the other one on.  The secret of PF Flyers lies in a patented rubber insert which changes the way you stand and walk (the “PF” stands for “Posture Foundation”), resulting in alleged reduced leg strain.

That was the day before I was to get on the plane.  After wearing them for a couple of months now,  I have to say I like these A LOT. They feel more solidly built than the Chucks, and the posture-altering insert is apparently doing it’s job, as I had no real issues over the course of the 15-city tour; my legs and feet felt fine.  In fact, they still do. My only issue is with the tread.  They’re like rolling on cheater slicks: effin’ awesome on dry concrete, but Ghods help you if you gotta make a sharp turn  in the rain.

I would love to be able to tell you how well they would wear under daily use, as in would they last longer than a pair of Chucks; however, that part of the experiment was voided by a sharp chunk of metal cutting the fabric somewhere in Italy.  I would be willing to try again, with another pair…

I’m gonna give the PF Flyers Center Hi a solid A.  This may be the shoe that finally ends my 23-year-exclusive run of Chuck Taylors.  These things are GREAT.

EDIT: I’ve noticed people keep finding this review, and I feel I should put a link to my REVISED review, here.

As Garage Rock as it’s Ever Going To Get

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 by brokenheadphones

So there I was, at a Garage Rock festival in Belgium, on tour with the Gories, wearing a freshly-minted ‘Back from The Grave’ t-shirt courtesy of Crypt Records. Shame you all missed it.

Yep, This Is Still America.

Posted in PWNED on January 2, 2009 by brokenheadphones

Happed across this today, which needs no further comment from me, save that when it comes down to it, “Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.”

(Can’t find the thingy that lets me use the c’s with the little curlicues on them)