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‘Hang the DJ: an alternative book of music lists’ edited by Angus Cargill, Faber & Faber 2008

At first I thought this collection seemed to be of little relevance to the Agit Disco project. On closer inspection there is in the chapter Songs of Terror a selection by Roger Armstrong with the title ‘What is it good for? Ten Songs Surrounding War’. This starts with ‘Goodby Dolly Gray’ by the Big Four Quartet, published by Edison (7728) in 1901 and ends with Edwins Starr’s 1970 classic – ‘War’ What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!
A later chapter called ‘SOUNDTRACKS: from revolutions to all day drinking sessions’ gives us an essay by Hari Kunzru called ‘Yodo-Go a Go-Go! Ten Musical Moments in Revolution’. This is a cynical selection that often derides individuals or groups without even choosing a track.
Basically this just shows me the usual editorial bowdlerising trend of the last several centuries – leave out the political from assesments of popular music

The best essay that complements the sub-text of Agit disco is one by Jon Savage on sleeve notes. ‘The Kinds of AD 2000: ten greats from the golden age of sleeve notes’. This includes records with booklets – I think this is an area I’ll continue to explore. I picked up some good books with CDs recently. They often give a view into the usually invisible discourse that accompanies the playing of music. This may be unnecessarily separating off music journalism, and nowadays blogs. Maybe its just the symbolic confluence of book and recording I get off on.

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