level of mild interest is too much of a time-
FAMILY DRAMA WILLIAM KOWALSKI
Somewhere South Of Here IDOubleday 539.99) 0...
Somewhere South Of Here is a place where dreams are important and angels exrst. Riding there on the back of Billy Mann's steel-grey 1977 Kawasaki KZ 1000. the Journey is all too inViting.
In this touching sequel to Eddie's Bastard. Billy takes off to Santa Fe. New MeXico. Hunting for his mother and searching for the secrets behind his own abandonment. he discovers a place pulsing with the heat of roasting chillies and an entrancing circus woman named Consuelo.
Somehow William Kowalski makes storytelling seem so ridiculously easy. His simple words gently Wind their spell. dancing lightly around your head like the guardian angels they describe. His plot braves the tightrope of plausibility. allowing us to really experience the spontaneous madness of Billy's nineteen-year- old life.
ALI SMITH Hotel World (Hamish Hamilton £10.99) 0....
Ali Smith has been exploring the connections that exist between seemineg divergent characters since her first book Free Love. Here. the author uses the social and phySical structure of the Global Hotel to discover the link between five women. four Hung and one dead.
Each segment of the
book is rendered With devastating Wit and blade-like observation and Smith never allows her thematic concerns or her elegant. poetic prose to distract from the power of her characters' stories. Ultimately. it's the author's compaSSion for these iiidiyiduals that draws the reader in. making Hotel World a profoundly movrng and life-affirming book. (Allan Radcliffe)
ROMAN HISTORY STEPHEN BARBER & JEREMY REED Caligula: Divine Carnage (Creation Books €9.95) 00
CAHCULA r r.
Subtitled 'AtrOCities Of The Roman Emperors'. and With a forward by the dubiously named James Havoc. there's no mistaking the sensationalist aim of this book. It's surprising to learn then, that Barber and Reed are both well- respected. award- winning authors. This begs the question. why does this book read as if it was written by someone whose sole writing experience comes from working on a heavy metal fanzine? There is no bibliography to speak of. which detracts from any authority this alleged history might otherwise have. and it leaves you wondering if the lurid accounts of the emperors' deeds are actually a product of the authors' feverish imagination. In addition. little attempt is made to explain why the emperors acted the way they did. which is a further downside. However. if tales of bestiality. incest. torture and murder are yOur thing. you probably won‘t care about insignificant details like truth and competent writing skills. (Kirsty Knaggs)
The Pursuit Of Happiness (Hutchinson CIO) 0...
Happiness is a state of mind. one that we constantly crave. A romantic's View would be there is one person out there that you should be With. one person that fulfils your Wildest deSires. Sometimes though. when you find this person. happiness isn't the emotion that springs to mind.
Set in the McCarthy Witch-hunt era of post- war New York and describing the intertwining of several lives through the years. it starts With the death of Dorothy, mother of Kate. A mysterious woman called Sara — who claims to have known her dead father — makes contact with Kate and seems to know everything ab0ut her. What unfolds is an impassioned tale of unrequited love involving her father, beginning with twelve hours of passion on Thanksgiving night 1945 and ending with a betrayal of Eric. Sara‘s ex-communist brother.
Douglas Kennedy's beautiful. descriptive language. paints a touching landscape fuelled with every emotion available including. occasionally. happiness. (Aly Burt)
Mike Cawthorne Hell Of A Journey (Mercat Press E 72.99) Evocative description of solo Highland trek.
Steve Bell & Brian Homer Chairman Blair '3 Little Red Book (ll/lethuen E6. 99) Pre- election hilarity. Malcolm Gaskill Hell/sh Nell (Fourth Estate £75.99) Religion and superstition in 20th century Britain. Andrew Vachss Safe House (Canongate £5.99) Urban paranoia for strong stomachs. Ted Heller Slab Rat (Abacus £7. 99) Joseph's son concocts Bridget Jones as if dreamed up by Jay Mclnerney.
ROCK POP OBABEN Marblehead (Human Condition) 00.
Apparently more inspired by comedy art duo The Boosh than comedy rock troupe Bush (the album cover has a treatment of the former wandering off. hand-in- hand). Obaben have eclectICism on their side but are missing one knockout moment. ‘Beauty Blinds' attempts to be Nick Cave in a party atmosphere but ends up like a soporific Ricky Martin. Much of the album does this: falling way shOrt of decent ambitions. And while “Sin Descanso' and ‘She Tells Tales' could have Jarvis Cocker and Supergrass. respectively, meeting the band in court. the shimmery instrumental ‘Luke. Who Is He?‘ is well worth spending some time with.
Gorrillaz (Parlophone) O...
A brilliant idea. and like the best ones obvious really: rip the piss out of manufactured pop bands by creating another manufactured pop band. one that's good. not just about shagging us out of our hard-earned. Spice Girls were bad. but Hear'say's just fucking cheek. Blur's Damon Albarn and comic artist Jamie Hewlett (of Tank Girl infamy) are the Stock. Aitken and Waterman of Gorillaz; three ugly boys (2-D, Russel. Murdoc). one cute Asian girl (Noodle). Their debut's ‘cool as' packaging ought to be enough to encourage hand into pocket. but the fifteen
hip hop/punk/indie gwtar tracks rock on their lonesome. Bonus: we are promised live dates soon. (Miles Fielder)
ROCWPOP AIMEE MANN Bachelor No. 2 (V2) 0...
Why Aimee Mann isn't a
huge star is one of life's great mysteries. She has
been hovering on the edge for years now, but
has never quite managed to make it big.
. Her Grammy-nominated
soundtrack to Magnolia.
some tracks of which are included on this
album, has helped to raise her profile. but the universal acclaim she deserves still eludes her. Crystal-clear vocals. intelligent lyrics. guitar— based melodies and soaring harmonies invite comparisons to Sheryl Crow. but she has her own distinct style. A hauntingly beautiful album which evokes both long, hot summer days and cold. rainy nights. Buy it now. (Kirsty Knaggs)
ROCK/POP KRISTIN HERSH
Sunny Border Blue (4A0) 00..
You get sick of that irritatineg ernest. musically simplistic female singer-songwriter cliche. You know. the kind Phoebe from Friends takes the piss out of; Tracey and Beth. Not. no, never is this the case with Kristin Hersh. She distanced herself
from Throwing Muses with the heart-rending. stripped-down sound of Hips And Makers. Here. Hersh writes. performs and produces again and remains personal and candid, but the bare acoustic sound builds back towards the Muses' sonic melody; listen to ‘37 Hours' and 'Trouble'. And she sings raw like no one else; On ‘Flipside': ‘Maybe dead's like being really high without the low but I enjoy the hangovers here'. Ouch. (Miles Fielder)
Gerrymander (Roundabout) 000
This competent debut album from impish four- piece Pushkin is supposedly imbued with the spirit of Hank Williams. Lee ‘Scratch' Perry and ol' Charlie Bukowski. but by
criwens you wouldn't
know that from listening to it. A passable stab at
rock. Gerrymander sounds alternately like Nine Inch Nails on uppers. Feeder with
i electronic gadgets and
Gary Numan down the disco. Probably. Both
the singles here.
'Geisha' and “The Space Dog Lives'. establish pretty funksome
. grooves. but elsewhere , the sameyness of
material tends to get
tedious. with the
exception of the excellent riff-heavy goon rock of ‘Boondocks'. (Doug Johnstone)
Hm)“ Let us spray say Gorilla:
29 Mar—12 Apr 2001 THI LIST O7