Books

'100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die '

Press photo (photographer unknown)

This is intended to appeal to Beatle fanatics, though it offers little in the way of new insights, facts, and stories.


100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

Publisher: Triumph
Length: 256 pages
Author: Gillian G. Gaar
Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 2013-06
Amazon

To my mind, there are two main categories of Beatle fans. There are the certified fanatics; those fans who can tell you exactly when and where John and Paul first met, Ringo's mother's maiden name, and can recite every lyric on every album verbatim. Then there are the more casual fans; people who regularly listen to Abbey Road, and who may have even seen Paul in concert, but have neither the time nor the inclination to join the ranks of the obsessed fanatics with an appetite for the most obscure of Beatles trivia.

Rock journalist Gillian Gaar's most recent effort, 100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die, is intended to appeal to Beatle fanatics, though it offers little in the way of new insights, facts, and stories, and instead offers a tired, oft-rehashed version of Beatles History 101. There's little new information in these pages; a Beatles fanatic myself, I found there was little to maintain my interest after the first few pages (yes, I know all about the Quarrymen and the Cavern Club and Brian Epstein and...). Furthermore, the author's tone is often dry and uninspired, with a confusing and often seemingly illogical organization of chapters and subheadings.

100 Things advertises itself as "the ultimate resource guide for true Beatle fans" though it might be better suited toward those with a nascent interest in the history of the band, or perhaps the children of Beatle fanatics struggling to understand their parents' obsession. The book is filled with interesting and important trivia surrounding the band, and would serve, I would imagine, as a decent introduction to the history of the Fab Four.

The simple fact is that there just isn't that much to appeal to longtime fans. Alas, reading this book is not necessary for Beatles fanatics to do before they die.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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