MIKE ANDERIESZ Rainbow Climbing High (Boxtree 912.99)

It could happen innocently enough. You're looking fora Christmas present for your sister. You happen across this book iits subtitle Lite under the Rainbow Exposedi. You remember how she always used to enjoy the multi-coloured squabbling of Bungle. George and Zippy. You think she might like to poke gentle fun at her childhood TV watching. You think: "Ideal giltf

Stop right there. You will regret that decision. She will not thank you. This book is not funny. It is uninspirer‘l. It is desperate. You can see there might be a small amount of COII‘IC mileage in re-imagining innocent childhood puppets as grown-up degenerates. but lvlike Anderies/ doesn't have the Wit to push even this idea very far.

Unless you think the idea of Zippy being a DJ. George being a cross-dresser and Bungle being a doctor is hilarioust subversive. this book ‘-.'/III only depress you. Sorry folks. but nostalgia just ain't what it used to be. (Mark Fisheri

POLITICAL HISTORY KEVIN JEFFERYS Finest & Darkest Hours (Atlantic S‘.19.99l O...


'Events. dear boy. events.' is what Harold Macmillan said were ll‘.()Sl difficult about being PM. Kevin Jelferys

104 THE LIST '.'- 2’“, Na.


Journals (Viking $320) 0.0

It isn’t so scary that this book looks like a gravestone. We’ve already had the chance to pore over Kurt Cobain’s suicide note and seen photos of his muddy Converse Jack Purcells resting on the floor of his garage, his head smeared all over the wall behind him.

There is, however, a certain thrill that comes from seeing the germination of any creative seed and they are in abundance here: wildly enthusiastic fan letters to indie stars of the day from Cobain, rallying support for his fledgling band; a scribbled first verse to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’; even plans to release versions of their debut for the ‘jocks’ and the ‘real fans’. Cobain’s love of music and in places, of Courtney Love too is apparent, but judicious editing means little real insight into the latter day goings-on of Nirvana, other than his bitching about the corporate machine, where he comes across as sanctimonious with his hypocritical ‘fuck the

system’ outpourings.

This book illustrates further how Cobain didn’t want to be a megastar anyway. He wanted to be a cult hero - a Jad Fair, 3 Eugene Kelly or an Ian MacKaye - something he never made a secret of. With this in mind, it is arguable that Journals offers any real new insights into the important

thing: his music.

‘Don’t read my diary when I’m gone’ goes the legend inside. Then below it is scribbled: ‘When you wake up this morning, please read my diary. Look through my things and figure me out.’ It would appear Cobain himself had mixed feelings about these journals too. (Mark Robertson)

Gotta find a way, a better way . . .



We’ve managed to get our hands on five copies of Journals to give away. To get your mitts on one, just send us an email to or a postcard to The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TE. First names out of the hat will win. Please include a daytime telephone number and address. Deadline is 2 Dec 2002. Usual List rules apply.

seeks to reVisit the turning pOints in our recent history. from Churchill's inspired rhetoric to the untimely death of John Smith. The anaIySis is certainly seiind and the writing style clear but then the plot lines With which Jefferys begins make for such fantastic material: the Protumo scandal "sexual interCOurse began in 1963'): the Falklands conflict (‘a light between two bald men over a comb"): and the political assassination of Thatcher l‘the revenge of the unburied dead"). On the latter. academic AC Grayling recalls the old croc's tears as she left number ten: 'I thought only of her “no such thing 2 s society" war on human lives in the name of market economics. and rejoiced mightily that the lecturing. hectoring. callus succuba had been forced out at last. A very good riddancel' Ding dong. (Charles Adam;

SOCIAL HISTORY STEPHEN BARBER Annihilation Zones (Creation $12.95» 0..

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In: us! unocm

Think of the worst thing one human could conceivably do to another. Whatever yOll came up with there are much. much worse things described here. OK. a book subtitled Far East AtroCities of the 20th Century and part of a Modern Death series was never going to be all daisies and sunshine. Nevertheless. this attempt to reveal the true history behind the m2 ss extermination campaigns of Hirohito. Stalin and Pol Pot as a

monstrously harrowmg and disturbing book. not helped by Stephen Barber's gleeful wallowing in the pornography of Suffering as he recounts a litany of murder. rape. torture. experimentation and cannibalism.

With scarcely any dOCumentary or eye- Witness eVidence throughout. Barber's sometimes hilariously wrld claims (does he really expect us to believe Stalin anally raped Hitler during a meeting?) become little more than rants. In its less hysterical moments. though. Annihilation Zones is a stomach— churning read and a truly frightening experience. (Doug Johnstone‘i


Herzog on Herzog (Faber $111.99) .00.

Soccer playing. long distance walking and constantly travelling. Werner Her/og might be the least sedentary


filmmaker in cinema. He once suggested that cinema is more “athletics over aesthetics and he certainly practices what he preaches. walking 2()()()km around Germany on one occasion and. on another. found himself stuck on the treacherous 33()()m high needle. Cerro Torre. With Wild Winds whipping arouan him.

But Her/og's also not a bad theorist for all his {Hill-IIIIOI|(*}(IILIETI bias. He talks brilliantly about what he calls orientation in Cinema. the way you can focus on or disintegrate character

into space in a way that helps explain Herzog's gift for mental disintegration thrOugh spatial collapse.

At the end of Agiiirre. for instance. the space is no longer linear but becomes crazin circular. a mental state Herzog's always healthily countered by his own insistent need to search new lands looking (or ‘images that sit deeply inside us' all. And it all makes for rivelting reading. (Tony McKibbini

SHORT STORIES MARINA WARNER Murderers l have Known (Chatto & Windus $312.99) 0000


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Marina Warner's birthplace and home provides most of the landscape (or these short stories. London gives the colour and flavour of worlds inhabited by bohemian types. artists. writers and musicians. But in good short story tradition. the narrators are ever-distant; not quite fitting in. they observe life with a spy glass that has a tendency to turn inwards.

As someone who has described her writing as a way ‘to discover things: to learn how to think and to know what I feel'. each story reveals this quality of exploration. although resolution is ambiguous. But there are other voices that add to the stories' tone: American ones. Nathaniel Hawthorne's especially. whose otherworldly tables echo their unearthly presence. In the title story. ghosts slip in and out of modern bourgeois life.

And so Warner creates an intriguing blend of London. American imagination. reality and the supernatural. and it's an arresting concoction. (Ruth Hedgesi