Monday, May 16, 2011
Revelation Revisited: Bidip Bo!
Revelation #4 -- Gorilla Biscuits s/t 7"
From the start, the Gorilla Biscuits 7" was screwed with me. "Start Today" was a watershed moment in my discovery of hardcore -- what was a fairly frequent backwards progression did the GBs no favors.
Looking back now, the 7" seems a bit more honest in comparison to the very slick (in hardcore terms) album. But at the time, living in distant Tucson, I imagined the Biscuits as this amazingly tight outfit -- without any sort of perspective, I just figured they could knock off "Start Today" note-for-note in the live setting. I also thought the Reason to Believe album was an accurate representation of that band live. Catching both on third-generation VHS tapes later was a bit of a shock.
So in 2011, whither the Gorilla Biscuits (I note they're playing a few shows up in the northeast soon, and that makes me regret even more that I skipped them here a few years back)? I feel considerably more generous to this ep now, but that's not getting me to listen to it. It's good solid hardcore, goofily earnest like so many of its contemporaries, less polished than the band's recorded output would become. I can give it more of a nod now than my disappointed 17-year-old self could, but it's a museum piece -- not something that I feel really moved to listen to now.
The verdict: about the same as 1991, but my perspective's a bit different.
* * *
While on the pop culture tip, why not knock off a few more things? I saw "Thor" Friday night, and ... I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a movie so unreservedly. It's big, it's stupid, it's loud, it's so much fun. The plot makes even less sense than you'd expect from a movie that's about a comic book superhero version of a Norse god, but who cares. I never warmed to Thor as Marvel superhero, partly because of my DC bias, partly because I was never a big fan of Jack Kirby or Walt Simonson, the two creators that really defined him. I've missed out on most of the superhero revival in movies -- I think a half-asleep in-flight viewing of one of the X-men movies is all I've managed since the Tim Burton "Batman" -- but god, if they're all these good, I've got catching up to do.
And then books.
#11 -- "Murder in Amsterdam" by Ian Buruma
#12 -- "The Ball is Round" by David Goldblatt
The Buruma book is very good, taking a nuanced and uncertain view on one of the most touchy and sensitive subjects of the day, and I might write more about it if my brain weren't all THOR! and Gorilla Biscuits and beer right now. Give it a shot, okay?
Re "The Ball is Round," I already sorta kinda had a post in the hopper about why some sports (hockey, American football) have a remarkable paucity of good writing devoted to them, while others (baseball, soccer, I hear tell boxing) are just lousy with talented scribes. This is just more fuel for that argument -- between "The Ball is Round" and "The Inverted Pyramid" I've had two soccer books invade my all-time top ten list in the past few months. It's 70 gazillion pages (conservative estimate), it's a history of soccer placing the sport in context with the social developments of each era and location, and it's brilliant. It's hard to imagine this book being written about any other sport -- none comes close to soccer's global reach and collisions with the political world. Read this and then see just how embarrassingly inadequate most sports writing really is.