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sid viciousSid Vicious The Art Of Dying Young
Mark Paytress
(Sanctuary)

Simon John Richie, nee Simon Beverley, nee John Beverley, nee Spikey John, more famously Sid Vicious (dubbed Mr Ferocious by Freddie Mercury) and finally – on his death certificate dated 09.02.1979 – John Simon Richie was a fuck up. Perhaps had he not met and fallen in lust with the equally fucked up Nancy Spungen or been raised by the parentally fucked up Anne Beverley or indeed found himself at the epicentre of the short lived and seriously fucked up year-zero UK punk maelstrom he may still be with us. But in truth Sid Vicious was simply an aggressive, violent, suicidal twat who may or may not have been able to play a little (even if he could play he flatly refused to in accordance with whatever spurious ‘punk’ idealism he insisted on upholding), he may or may not have been a ‘bit of a laugh’, although again his concept of humour generally involved major discomfort for some poor bugger and he did so little worthy of note with his life Mark Paytress struggles manfully to stretch his sad existence to 200 odd pages. An engaging enough read, sadly all this book really proves is what we already knew. Sid Vicious was fucked up.
Ruby Palmer

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Tony Visconti - The Autobiography:Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy
(Sanctuary)

A deep and undimmed passion for music is the underlying theme of this candid and well-written memoir from veteran producer Tony Visconti. Best-known for his associations with David Bowie and Marc Bolan – he helmed the recording of such respective artistic high points as Low and Electric Warrior – his long career has also seen him rack up studio time with performers as disparate as Thin Lizzy and Elaine Page. Visconti writes feelingly about his Brooklyn childhood and formative musical experiences – his accomplished bass playing found him work in countless local bands during his teenage years – but the book really comes into its own when covering his move to London in the early ‘60s. Hugely excited at being in the land of the Beatles, his gift for string arrangements and infectious pop production swiftly carried him from assisting on Procul Harum sessions to recording and engineering complete albums for T. Rex. While working with Bolan was clearly no walk in the park, his respect and affection for Bowie shines off the page. The only real criticism of this gripping memoir is that the last 15 years – during which he refound a focus lost in the ‘80s – are compressed into little more than 30 pages.
David Davies

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