Tag Archives: Sterling Publishing

The British Are Coming!: Beat Influence on The Kinks

13 Nov

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Today I’m continuing my discussion of Olivia Cole’s fascinating thesis that American media had a profound impact on post-World War II England, argued in her article “Won over by the West: The irresistible allure of Americana for post-war Britons” for the November 2013 issue of British GQ.

Cole points to The Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies’ “love/hate relationship with America,” referencing a Kerouac-like affair with the road.

A little background info that doesn’t appear in her article but might be helpful: The Kinks are the British rock band behind the songs “You Really Got Me” and “Lola.” They were formed in North London in 1964 — also known as the year The Beatles landed in America and set off the British Invasion.

In reviewing Ray Davies’ new memoir Americana: The Kinks, The Road And The Perfect Riff, Cole explains how the British band leader’s youthful obsession with “the cowboy heroes of Fifties Westerns” and American comic books “got him daydreaming and writing songs.” Growing up the seventh out of eight children — the youngest being Dave Davies, his Kinks bandmate — Ray Davies had barely even traveled out of his hometown of Fortis Green and dreamed of America.

Cole reports that the freedom of the road was at first alluring to Davies. Using Amazon’s preview, I read in Davies’ chapter The Empty Room:

In recent years I had become a transient observer, never settling anywhere and, after a life on the road, never committing to a place or a person.

Davies’ romantic relationships could not be sustained on the road. Cole refers to his failed relationship with Chrissie Hynde, but following the dissolution of his first marriage he attempted suicide. Rockin’ Town town put it this way:

First, his wife of nine years, Rasa, split taking the kids. A week later, Davies was admitted to Highgate Hospital and treated for a drug overdose that looked suspiciously like a suicide attempt.

Cole reports that Davies felt the loneliness of the road. She writes that he:

wonders to what extent the rock-star/beatnik lifestyle lets anything meaningful stand a chance.

Ray Davies, born in 1944, would have been thirteen when On the Road was published in the US. It does not appear from Cole’s article that the Beat Generation’s influence on The Kinks was explicit. However, Davies discusses the same jazz musicians that captivated Kerouac, the adventure and disappointment of a life on the road, and Americana.

Here is Barnes & Noble’s overview of Ray Davies’ memoir Americana: The Kinks, The Road And The Perfect Riff:

As a boy in post-War England, legendary Kinks’ singer/songwriter Ray Davies fell in love with America—its movies and music, its culture of freedom, fed his imagination. Then, as part of the British Invasion, he toured the US with the Kinks during one of the most tumultuous eras in recent history—until the Kinks group was banned from performing there from 1965-69. Many tours and trips later, while living in New Orleans, he experienced a transformative event: the shooting (a result of a botched robbery) that nearly took his life. In Americana, Davies tries to make sense of his long love-hate relationship with the country that both inspired and frustrated him. From his quintessentially English perspective as a Kink, Davies—with candor, humor, and wit—takes us on a very personal road trip through his life and storied career as a rock star, and reveals what music, fame, and America really mean to him. Some of the most fascinating characters in recent pop culture make appearances, from the famous to the perhaps even-more-interesting behind-the-scenes players. The book also includes a photographic insert with images from Davies’s own collection from the band’s archive.

The book was published by Sterling Publishing on October 15, 2013.

Tune in tomorrow when I talk about Cole’s discussion of Iain Sinclair’s take on the Beat Generation in his forthcoming book American Smoke.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

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May 2012 Mediabistro.com Book Club Party Recap

22 Jun

Last month I attended mediabistro.com’s Book Club party at Stone Creek Bar & Lounge, hosted by the always lovely Carmen Scheidel. I have so much fun every time I attend a mediabistro.com event, and May 16 was no exception. I got to catch up with various friends in the media industry, meet some new people, and hear some authors read.

The night’s readings included:

Susie DeFord reading her Brooklyn dog poetry Dog’s of Brooklyn.  As it turns out, Susie got her MFA at The New School too!

Jane Hodges reading from her informative Rent Vs. Own: A Real Estate Reality Check for Navigating Booms, Busts, and Bad Advice and answering the audience’s’ questions.  She said it’s not always better to own than to rent, despite the fact that many people still think home ownership is important.

Jillian Medoff reading a dramatic scene (oh how she hooked me in) from her novel I Couldn’t Love You More and sharing her experience as a writer dealing with the book publishing industry.

Here’s a picture mediabistro.com snapped of me at the event.

Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage

10 Jan

I feel so honored that natural health writer Shea Zukowski thanked me for my editing work in the acknowledgments in her book Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage, published by Sterling Publishing!  It’s really such a lovely book, filled with natural remedies and organic cleaners that sound good enough to eat.  More than just useful tips and recipes, the book is brimming with fascinating trivia on herbs and ancient cultures.

Here’s the description from the back of the book:

Herbs offer powerful, natural, earth-friendly solutions for all sorts of home, garden, and personal needs. This invaluable guide gathers hundreds of simple recipes for herb-based formulas that are safe and effective for use in every home. Herbs have been used for practical purposes for thousands of years—natural and proven, they are a welcome alternative to man-made, often toxic chemicals.

Plus, they are easy and enjoyable to work with: herbs can be crushed, boiled, layered, and/or mixed with oil or water or other handy household ingredients to make hundreds of useful home products, for everything from cleaning to personal care.

Organized by use, this convenient volume presents a wealth of helpful herbal solutions. For each entry, readers will find an introduction describing the best uses for this product, a full ingredient list, step-bystep instructions for preparing the formula, information on storage, and advice on how to use it.

A wonderful gift book and useful reference combined, Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage is an indispensable guide for a greener, healthier lifestyle.

What that doesn’t tell you is that it has instructions how how to make French Ironing Water, Just-In-Thyme Disinfectant Cleanser, and Rosemary Muscle Rub.  Don’t those sound so luxurious?!

Congrats to Shea Zukowski on the print edition and ebook edition.  It was such a pleasure to work on this book!  It’s inspired me to whip up my own all-natural products.