Sam Hunt: Off The Road
Colin Hogg (w/ Sam Hunt)
When I read The Spinoff’s review of this book – I laughed. I loved it. Brilliantly written – and I winced at the thought that it was probably true, but that I still wanted to read Off The Road because the book that started the friendship between Hunt and Hogg, and the book that Off The Road is an intended tribute to – Angel Gear – was a firm favourite; arriving in my life at the right time. (I even have my copy now signed by its author).
This revisitation/rewrite/attempted extrapolation won’t be in the house long enough for me to even think about getting it signed.
It really is a cheap trick.
There are a handful of chapters from Angel Gear lifted wholesale (we’re told this, it’s no huge deception – though it does feel like a way to reach word-count).
Hogg kicks off hoping for something – to memoralise a friendship. Maybe it’s a case of him finding, or always knowing, that there’s really little to the friendship beyond these men offering no judgment around behaving badly, a shared love of weed and wine, it could almost be a Little Feat song but it lacks the soul and heart and wit.
There are one or two moments where it seems almost sweet to read Hogg writing a living-eulogy to one of our greatest poets, our most visible, our most easily/instantly likeable. But for the most part this reads like Colin Hogg had two nights to pull together a book out of half-baked tapes of conversations because it was either meet a deadline or pay back an advance.
From early prosaic chapters that attempt to set a scene of rekindling a friendship, without really going anywhere – or meaning anything – this swiftly meanders through the lifted extracts from the previous volume to Hogg decided to simply transcribe rambling you-had-to-be-there Q&A-styled near-interviews. Except you didn’t need to be there, and you’ll be glad you weren’t, and you’ll mostly end up wishing you hadn’t bothered to read – even though you can breeze through this without using too much of your mental bandwidth.
It’s not that Hunt looks bad in these pages, it’s more that there’s just not a lot here, and nothing to take from this. A poem or three, some extracts of others, but it’s like a DVD of extras with no main feature.