PHOTOGHRAPHY JON NICHOLSON Cowboys: A Vanishing World (Macmillan E25) .0.


Cowboys are a dying breed. Anyone who's read Cormac McCarthy's Al/ The Pretty Horses or Annie Proule C/ose Range wrll tell you that. Nevertheless. British phoIOgrarmer Jon Nicholson went Out West to disprove this view. Thing is. he found out it's true. though he hates to admit so.

Accordingly. his pictures of coway life in Texas and New Mexrco reveal a man torn between perpetuating the myth of his heroes and f;tl()‘.‘./lltg the sad reality -’)1 their existence on the edge of extinction Il‘. modern America. A picture of an empty bunkhouse in Wyoming with a sign nailed above the window reading 'hope cattle prices will rise again' says it all.

Nicholson's book is full of wrde vistas and big skies. rugged men at work and enjoying the rodeo. and enough spurs and stetsons to Justify a charge of fetishism but the skies are storm-laden and the men battered. x'reary and hurnourless. Melancholy nos algia. (Miles Fielder)


Hidden Music

Thorsons 5712.99) 0...

.Jallaludin Rumi. a mystic poet born in 170/ in the land that is ftf)'.‘./ modern day. ravaged Afghanistan.


has appealed to generations of readers. This inspiring collection, translated from the original Persian. is beautifully accompanied by Persian calligraphy and translator Azima Melita Kolin's paintings.

Rurni's timeless poetry raises universally relevant questions of existence. His deep understanding of the infinite was reached through love for his spiritual master. Shams. Rurni points out the virtue in the meditative duality of silence and acknowledges the limitations of ‘the robe of words' which he nevertheless

masterfully crafts within its strictures.

Rumi himself taps into the basis of his enduring relevance: 'If you let God weave the verse in yOur poem people will read it forever.‘ Hidden Music highlights Rurni's status as a seer and confirms the effect he will continue to have on future generations. (Helen Waddell)

COMEDY HISTORY WILLIAM COOK The Comedy Store (Little. Brown $314.99) 0...

In the c0urse of scores of interviews with organisers and performers. William Cook has managed to piece together not just the tale of The Comedy Store but a history of ‘alternative' British comedy since 1979. He traces the roots of the London laughter factory as a fledgling alternative to the Davidsons and Tarbucks of the mainstream through Ben Elton and Alexei Sayle to Eddie l/zard and Mark Thomas. and about a million others who all owe their success to the re— aligning of stand-up by




On The Way To Work (Faber 5225) 00.

Gordon Burn has earned a reputation as a fierce analyser of that old devil they call the human condition. Having previously written memorably about mass murderers Myra Hindley, Peter Sutcliffe and the Wests, he has now turned his attention to someone who, if you’ve believed his press, has been almost as heinous as the aforementioned nasties.

Like Burn, Damien Hirst is concerned with the fragility of existence. It’s there in his separated cows; it’s there in the dead head he’s snapped grinning beside; it’s there in the picture of him sprawling on the ground covered in a blood-like substance. Quite possibly, it is blood.

But in these transcribed interviews conducted over a period of nine years, the harder Burn tries to reveal the real man behind the sensation, the further away he gets. When asking the obvious but necessary questions - such as ‘what is art?’ - Hirst isn’t interested in offering a coherent or even sensible explanation.

Certainly, Hirst has made a play of being utterly obtrusive in all his media dealings to date, yet he promises to be unafraid of telling Burn all: ‘There is no off-Iimits.’

Most of this handsomely-designed book frustrates in this way. While there are some gripping passages (Hirst’s relationship with nicotine and his parents) this seems like an ambitious failure, adding little to our appreciation of two of the country’s finest creative talents. And Hirst’s habit of trying to nab this year’s Denise van Outen Award for Stupid Expressions really gets on your wick.

(Brian Donaldson)

these often naive pioneers.

The Comedy Store has played host to almost every established stand-up at one time or another and they are to be found here in occasionally indulgent detail. When reading this however. all you want to do is get up and go see some live comedy. which I suppose. is as good a reaction as yOu could want. (Mark Robertson)


CAROLE MORIN Penniless In Park Lane (John Calder $314.99) O...


Astrid Ash is a bitch of the highest order. Part— time model. full-time swinging micro celeb. she lives with her millionaire boyfriend and corrupt New

Labour MP Ginger. When he dumps her. she returns to her native Glasgow with her moaning mum and meaty—motifhed friends. Going stir cra/y at home she works out a ruse to smooth a return to Gingers penthouse and wreak horrid revenge.

What a talented. funny and downright addictive writer Carole Morin is. She writes with a vicious slice and venom of unkind honesty and spits out barbed one—liners by the bucketload. Perfectly structured in three economic episodes. this thin (a mere 1/113 pages) and perverse satire contains shades of Wilde and Plath honed to fit Morin's own bitter voice.

While the book lacks a sympathetic central narrator. Morin more than makes up for it wrth some subversive wrt. You nasty girl. (Paul Dale)


TV Go Home (f‘ourth Estate $77.95)) .00.

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