Monday, July 20, 2009

Links (or a shameful stab at self-promotion)

I promise not to make a habit of this. However students and folks at various lectures have asked me where they can locate information on my reviews and books.

For a collection of movie reviews written when I wrote for Boxoffice (1996-2007) and (briefly) The Globe and Mail (1998-2000) can be found at Rotten Tomatoes. They gather original reviews from critics across North America. It's a worthy and well-organized reference site. My reviews can be found at My Boxoffice reviews can also be read at The old CBC Radio reviews (1998-2005) some of you have requested are no longer available. They were published on their old website.

For those interested in my pieces for Metro Newspapers, their archive has a number of reviews that I've written since last September. If you go to and search my name, the list of pieces will appear.

While my latest book, Artificial Paradise: The Dark Side of The Beatles' Utopian Dream, is heading for quick obscurity (if it hasn't already made the trip), I still believe it tells a familiar story using a pretty distinct focus. You can find reference to it here: -. Although it came out in January, the American publisher Greenwood-Praeger have done zilch to promote it. (Their marketing people even changed my title from Nowhere Land to Arificial Paradise because they thought "it would help sales." It's too bad they're not helping sales.) In truth, Praeger doesn't do trade books. Their stock-in-trade is University libraries. (It also didn't help that they were bought up by a bigger non-trade company ABC-Clio just as Artificial Paradise was coming out.) To be fair, they did do a handsome job of producing the book and they allowed me to go one hundred thousand words over what was intended. But none of that helps if no one knows it exists. However, one worthy soul, David Kidney, did review it for the online publication Green Man Review. David has reviewed all my books quite favourably, as well as intelligently. He persisted in getting a review copy from the publisher till they finally relented. His review can be found at:

You can also find a list of the other various books I've written at Speaking as a critic, I have no problem with people not liking any of my books. But some of the "critics" on these Amazon sites (especially those who "reviewed" Randy Newman's American Dreams) showed a startling inability to recognize that it was intended as a critical analysis of Newman's work. It would appear from their incoherent musings that they were hoping to find a book that merely lit incense sticks around their hero. Writers need to have a point of view. That's how and why their work gets published (at least for the moment). But I think since the Newman fans didn't know who I was, they could care less what I thought about his music, so they dismissed the book for what it wasn't rather than for what it was. Hence their curious scriblings which you can find here:

My favourite book to write (and the one written with the least distractions) was "Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica" for Continuum's "33 1/3" series. I highly recommend to fans of pop music to check out this series. Each book (or chap book, really) is about one significant record that moved the writer. Besides being an ideal series that introduces readers to a number of fascinating albums, most of them are perfect companions for those records. This one (about a completely uncompromising album) also drew surprisingly thoughtful and precise reviews on Amazon than the Newman one did. One guy even brings up some worthy criticisms that illustrates that he actually gets it. They can be found here The best and thorough review of Trout Mask is located at the Beefheart site Doc at the Radar Station:

Finally, producer John Corcelli and I have been hard at work on some new music documentaries at CBC Radio on Inside the Music. The series is called Revolutions Per Minute and last year we provided five programs on essential Canadian pop albums. They included The Band's Music From Big Pink, Joni Mitchell's Blue, Bruce Cockburn's Inner City Front, Daniel Lanois' Acadie and Broken Social Scene's You Forgot it in People. You can stream those programs at the site where Inside the Music has their program archives. Just enter here and follow the links to their archive. John and I have just finished two new Revolutions Per Minute docs on kd lang's Shadowland and Maestro Fresh-Wes's Symphony in Effect which will be aired this fall.

I think that is enough shilling for attention for today.

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