Charles Ubaghs (ed)
The Quietus Lithographic Corporation/Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
If you’ve ever wondered how The Quietus is able to keep serving up great music-writing – for free – then you’ll want to purchase this. It’s a fifth-birthday celebration e-book; an anthology. The 28 essays here celebrate the website’s ethos, wonderful, visceral writing that paints a picture, provokes a response, takes a stance but is never PR; is never that sad, obvious, clichéd if you like this, try this or you must buy this album kind of shit that gets hacked out in papers and mags and now – increasingly – online. All of it designed to keep advertisers and (presumably) readers happy.
The Quietus is unapologetic, its editors understand that good writing should be what sells – it should sell the piece; people should want to read something in longer form if it’s engaging, if it takes a risk, has something to say.
The Quietus has offered some wonderful reading for me across the last couple of years, this anthology was a way of catching up, consolidating – and of course it’s a chance to donate a little sum of money their way in the hope they can keep things going.
Jude Rogers deserves a mention here for pulling double-duty and serving up two wonderful, engaging, thought-provoking pieces. The assessment of Rihanna’s career as a brand/commodity and the misogyny around her place in the pop pantheon is an amazing piece of writing. I could give a fuck about Rihanna’s music – none of it means a shit to me but this was a hot piece of writing.
Rogers also tells of interviewing Dolly Parton, supplying both the feature/the interview and a countdown of the nervous interviewer asking an icon questions in real time. Wonderful.
A lovely piece on Vic Chesnutt is made all the more compelling when you know he killed himself three months after this interview.
There’s piss-taking and shit-talking and sincere how-much-of-a-fucking-anorak-am-I pieces; stubborn and funny and irreverent and happy-to-be-irrelevant but so sharply detailed as to never ever actually be irrelevant.
I loved this e-book anthology. I hope it’s the first of many more to come from The Quietus. And it’s a fine idea if other sites started to publish this way.
Of course in this get-everything-for-free internet culture there’ll be cynics and wags just waiting to point out that you’re paying for content you could have got for free. That you have in fact already been given for free.
Oh fuck off.