by Nick Spacek
Greil Marcus' compendium of punk writings, In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992, is the sort of book that everyone needs on their bookshelf -- or, more accurately, in the bathroom itself. It's a collection of mostly short and pithy columns from the front lines of punk, which have unfortunately been rewritten.
According to Marcus' introduction:
Most of the pieces in this book have been rewritten to some degree, not to change judgments, but to correct factual errors, improve clarity, or flesh out passages originally cut for reasons of space or editors' incomprehension.
That's a damned shame, actually. The idea behind a collection such as this is that the pieces trace a writer's developing voice and ideas over a period. When things are corrected in situ, rather than via footnotes, the tone is changed, and the book is no longer what it claims to be.
Still, the ability to following the developing career of Elvis Costello, from the fresh impressions of someone to whom Costello was new and exciting to someone who was intimately familiar with each and every artistic step is very much worth the read. If you can pick it up used, it's worth adding to the library.