Fiction & Biography

ADDICTION lvll MOIP. ELIZABETH WURTZEL More, Now, Again ‘Vll'i‘igO $12.99 00

A criticism often levelled at the world’s biggest rock acts is that, once established, they are then condemned for evermore to writing dreary songs about the pressures of fame and life on the tour bus. The same could be said, albeit on a smaller

scale, of certain prose writers.

With her bestselling autobiography Prozac Nation, American journalist Elizabeth Wurtzel effectively dusted away earlier icons Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton to take her place as a hip contemporary heroine for depressed adolescents. Like those performance artists who paint in their own blood using their bodies as canvas, Wurtzel exploits her own pain, presenting it unalloyed to

her readers like a bleeding sore.

Her latest memoir More, Now, Again picks up from the moment where Wurtzel realises she’s achieved everything she’s ever dreamed of for her career, charting her painful attempt to write a second book and subsequent descent into

tranquilliser and cocaine addiction.

Having fled New York for the easygoing sanctuary of Florida, Wurtzel sets about hoovering up info for her thesis on history’s misunderstood femme fatales, taking the edge off her many neuroses by scooping up lines of Ritalin, Dexetrine and any other white powder she can lay her skull-ringed fingers on. Eventually, predictably, alarm bells start going off when Lizzie starts tweezing open her legs, finding abscesses the size of American footballs. Time to check into the exclusive private clinic.

It takes a very special kind of poet to write compellingly about drug-taking, by its very nature a

boring, solitary pastime. In her self-penned blurb, Wurtzel claims she wants to write ‘like rock and roll’, but too often this means repeating cliche's from films and TV,

songs and books.

Having wrapped herself in her Floridian cultural bubble, Wurtzel apparently has no ability to stand back and describe something in her own terms, instead resorting to undeveloped comparatives: ‘Oh, it’s just like that scene from Streetcar Named Desire . . . ‘; ‘lt’s like Bruce Springsteen says . . . ‘; ‘lt’s like Mick Fleetwood


If William Burroughs or Irvine Welsh described addiction more powerfully, there are better accounts of institutional life from Wurtzel’s beloved Ken Kesey or Sylvia Plath. And it is in the ‘Remedy’ section of the book


American Scream 'SIHQ‘L’ICK 8. Jackson $0.99. 0..



HICKS STORY . cvimiiii mu:

’Tlo m. not at m «M can} Sun “a.

Hicks needs a better messenger

96 THE LIST '~'- ." ‘-'



Author of Prozac Nation and Bitch

hope Se? dreams


An ageing goth flaunting her heartache

that the now straight Wurtzel fully reveals herself as snobbish and petulant and obnoxious and, yes, deeply unhappy and needy.

Of course, it would be easier to feel sympathy for her

plight, were she not starting from such a privileged position, constantly being propped up by an army of flunkies and family as she begins her redemptive journey. There are occasional flashes of interest here, such as when Wurtzel stops posturing and offers her opinions on the alienating effects of the 24-hour news

response to the Oklahoma bombing.

I."."i(,-" liiil llicks dieu o‘ l)£l’t(:l'(l£l°.!(i cancer in 1.994. 'ie ref: benind an anrrxalled conic-(1y canor‘ and a scene utterly devoid of anyone ready to step into h s satirical shoes. llis act \.'.'as tiniuue in so many \.'.'ays. Stand up co'nics are f'(‘;ll()‘.'.’l‘.(}(l for getting up on stage and needing to feel the love of an audience. Hill I licks cared more about getting "‘.is t iiign messages acr‘r ss than ilét‘.llt(l a crowd go borne XIII." a g'oy'.’ .n :15; lie'irt. Marty woqu ieaye 'n disgusted outrage after about fen urinates.

lhis is tlie first biography on I licks. the d flicilt 'riart and pioneering coibetlrari. ai‘u' it gust goes to snou'.’ that 'i:; matter now :lftn‘t'. an artist you are. :1 ’I’iesrt't naturally toloc.’ tl‘at tfirise writing about ,ou be siiv‘iian', taieriterr As the ferrite! con‘eu, <i’)!l‘:f;[;()ltfltrlil of lime ()rx.‘ Vow/t. (Lyntthia litre clear", knows 'lf:t stuff and has spoken to exeryorte .'.','io 'i‘.'ed throbgn that {l(7(:ll)i{lfll5‘, .','r;r‘.rleit'.i: career I zeiyo'ie rrxrtep‘. ilirth; "iirr‘t;elt,

Based on this limp memoir, she would do better to sustain her readership as a cultural observer and commentator rather than an ageing goth flaunting her heartache like a naval piercing. (Allan Radcliffe)

The effect is a pretty turgid trawl through his life from the humble beginning to the tragic end. this lack of uplift meaning that the moments of llicks being \.’||(-} in his personal life stand out a little sorer than they probably should: hrs attitude drove one ex lover into stabbing him in the neck.

But why was I licks so angry? ’lrue simply concludes that hrs parents made him that way. Naming him William Melvin l licks was a bad start. Bringing him up on a diet of discipline and Deuteronomy only fuelled that resentment People doing hini wrong "e\.'er‘l)er‘ates through this. from his conteini)oi‘aries plundering his act IDOIIIS I eary acolytes wrll 'l() doubt objecti to being dropped by the David letter/nan .‘Show for his 'unsuitable' material.

I or 'unsuitable' read ‘way too near the awful truth we must keep from public consurnptron'. llicks' tough message needs a better messenger. lHlIlet [)onaldsoni

Shelf life

C/ass/c novels revisited. This Issue: The Tale Of Peter Rabbit

Published 100 years ago. What’s the story the

yOungest son of a tatner efis

family, Peter Rabbit s warned by his ntof'ier "of to venture into Mr lvchregor's garden 1"»; Vindictive gardener had

previously n‘ade a pie '1..". <:.

Peter's dad}. One day. ~' his three siblings are gathering blackberries. naughty Peter narrigges under the §}<’1"(l(:l‘ fence an gerges h inself on Mr

McOregor's lettaces, frer‘c"

beans and radishes. Chased by the E;I(}‘.'(} Wielding gardei‘e". Pete narrowly escapes "is life but loses its snoes ar‘I: brand new b-ue jacket the shiny brass buttons. What the critics said I“: is the story of a wornar‘ who was expected to be iike Fiopsy. Mopsy. a"d Cotton tail. but who (lesre: to be iike Peter.‘ said Reinbert Tabbed.

Key moment I ost. StilfOl‘lltt}l)(}l|y£l(ll1(}(ll‘(l or‘ the verge of {ll\."":t§ or). or: hero's sobs come to t'ie attention of a grour: ct triendiy sparrows who. '1 a remarkable exampe ot animal soiidarity. urge Pete" “to exert hintseii‘. Postscript While :t;.i."(,‘f‘ Beatrix Potter did t'rueeu own a rabbit called Pete and a bunny ca ieu Benjamin Bouncer. i: :3' though: her cha"a::t~q:':5 monikers ri‘ay MIX-Q; itee“ inspired by ".a"**:s :>" headstones ". I ::'t;::tr"s

Brornpton C(Fl‘.‘t?’.t?";.. l'iese

:ncluded Jere'nar‘ I s".e'. Mr Nutkin. l\/lrl\/1::(‘ir‘e;i:>' and one Peter Rétltti‘tEft.

First line test ‘Or‘ce Hits," a time tl‘ere mere ‘orn' t'. Rabbits. and ther' names;

were Flobsy. Mops; COMOII‘IEW. and Petea‘ (Allan Radcliffe-


8.8mm POTTER

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