my Book

Book Details

Title:   Last Night A DJ Saved My Life
Author:   Bill Brewster, Frank Broughton
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   04.18.10

Other Books Read By This Author (0)

Notes History
Date Read Note
04.18.10 This is purported to be a history of the DJ written by two journalists for Mixmag. I largely liked it with a few exceptions. first, the negatives: Well, really first, a caveat: I'm aware that there's a "Centenarian" edition of the book out that supposedly updates the book and expands several topics into new chapters. I didn't read that version, so the things I didn't like could certainly be fixed in this new edition. OK. -It was written in 2000, right after dance music was a huge fad in America and the DJ seemed to be at the top of the world. So With 10 years of relative calm (at least here in the states) in mind, a lot of the prose has a sensationalist slant that probably traded on the excitement and media attention of the time. Subsequently, there are chapters like "The DJ As Outlaw" and "The DJ As Superstar" that are a bit overblown. -the history is great until it hits detroit techno. Then it accelerates to the point where it's basically a list of sub-genre names with paragraphs attributing their origins. The writing for Techno also seems pretty derogatory. -It's written by journalists. So everything has to have a snide remark worked in or some casual judgement involved. They also overly rely on these genre labels while at the same time purporting all music to be the same. For having all of these different labels, they didn't do a stellar job of explaining their differences. But mostly it's just the writing. After a while, it grates on you as if you had just read 30 issues of Mixmag. -The reggae chapters also seems a little short. Now the good: I had never heard of Northern Soul before. It was cool to learn about that. In general, the actual history stuff is great. It also gives a pretty good sense of how messy and organic these musical movements were. It's easy to classify them differently and imagine that each happened in their own isolated world but this book gives a really good sense of how the music morphed more smoothly and seamlessly than their labels imply. The early days of Hip Hop I was more familiar with but they still threw a few tidbits in that were new to me, mostly dealing with drugs. It's actually funny how directly the authors tie everything so directly to drugs. I also appreciated the attention paid to disco. I knew it wasn't all about Bee Gees but had no idea the extent of its underground movement before Saturday Night Fever hit screens. I suppose this is ridiculous to state but I also didn't know how gay it was. I mean, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles being dj superstars is one thing, but them getting their start by spinning at a gay bath-house in the 70s is another! It actually motivated me to netflix a doc on Levan to check out the Paradise Garage in more depth and see what I missed. All in all a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.



my Book