You know what, there's a lot of people in this world with very little to do and too much money to worry about doing anything really creative or constructive. People who end up writing books like this.
I've got to tread carefully here as I was given this book as a birthday present by a friend. Very kindly meant and I appreciate the gift. But this is a very bad book. In fact it's terrible. I could say that its badness could become legendary. I remember that when I first read it (after rather a heavy luncheon) I thought that I was more pissed than I thought I was. None of the sentences made any sense at all. There was no form, no subtlety, no clear argument that was, in turn, allied to huge gobbets of indigestible prose. The whole book had the air of being hastily translated into English from Bulgarian by a sixth form student (again Bulgarian) who is trying to impress his teachers.
And I was disapointed, because I love Scott Walker.
Before this review becomes one long haughty dismissal (and before you get bored with this), I've got a propsal for you. We might as well both have a laugh. I'll let this book do the talking.
Here's Reed on Scott's legendary lack of productivity.
"Is Scott Walker best seen as a study in the psychopathology of creativity or is he simply an eccentric perfectionist, an artist who waits his time without feeling any real urgency to communicate to an audience? What seems to suggest that the last theory is untrue is the intensity and anxiety that Scott brings to each new project. It's not that the man or his work relocates from a passive space. Scott doesn't appear or sound like a man whose periods of inactivity have involved relaxation or attempts at self-harmony. On the contrary, he seems to be the sort of man who has to engage in a lot of self-repair in order to assume the concentrated focus necessary to initiate the writing and recording of new material. Does each of Scott's later albums represent the singer's return from a dysfunctionally depressive state to a short-lived period of creative activity? Is Scott at this moment incapable of working, or is he simply not interestedin the proposition?"
Or, in other words, is Scott a lazy sod or a nervous wreck? Discuss. Here's some more, this time, Reed's talking about Electrician, off the Nite Flights album.
"The mystico-S&M drama of the protagonist in the "Electrician" provides a song that infractions the listener's spiritual axis. Who is the weirdo "drilling thru the spiritus sanctus" in a room with the lights gone low? There's no way out for this individual who claims "if I jerk the handle you'll die in your dreams". The thrill here is in the expectation of slow extinction. The song suggests a psychopath about to sever the mains of human consciousness. It's perhaps the most agonisingly portentious of Scott's studies in psychological alienation."
Hmm. You see, though I'm a nut for rock and roll knowledge, I do think that you can take things too far. Especially when you have someone like Scott Walker. For the life of me I can never understand why people get tied up in knots about him. His records are wonderful, so why not be grateful they've been made? Why in God's name do people wonder about why he hasn't made more albums? If remaining silent for years is what he wants to do, then let him and stop carrying his burden around for him. Stop trying to tell him what to do ferfuckssake.
You know what, there's a lot of people in this world with very little to do and too much money to worry about doing anything really creative or constructive. People who end up writing books like this. What I suggest is that these people go and get a job for some experience of real life; preferably in a sweat shop, or a factory. Then I bet you they wouldn't write books like this. Think of all the trees you would save.
Words: Richard Foster