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Home » Books » PIEKUT, BEN: Henry Cow:The World is a Problem (hardback)

PIEKUT, BEN: Henry Cow:The World is a Problem (hardback)
PIEKUT, BEN: Henry Cow:The World is a Problem (hardback)
520 pp , 63 illustrations
This is an academically motivated, but for the most part straightforwardly told story that tries painstakingly to piece together what was going on in Henry Cow in respect both of its individual internal relationships, and in the way these intersected with the bandís collective negotiations across the interlocking spheres of the world at large (i.e. commercial, political, sexual, theoretical, practical &c.) It tracks the band chronologically from its inception to its orderly close, employing a wealth of testimony, interviews, contemporary documentation and private records. All the surviving members of the band co-operated, giving Ben whatever materials they were willing to make public - some more than others, which is why, inevitably, the perspectives of the more generous record-keepers are more prominent. Ben also interviewed everyone he could find who had ever worked or travelled or had significant contact with the band, listened to every bootleg and read every article and interview. The research is extremely thorough. For the rest, Ben has had to interpret, edit and, occasionally, take sides as he tries to fit what he has into a sociological narrative. No one in the band will agree fully with his analysis, but neither would they agree fully with one anotherís; subjectivities are profoundly complex. For most of the book, Henry Cowís actions and negotiations with the world are well served - itís a thorough and detailed history. But when it comes to their negotiations with one another the narrative necessarily takes the form of an attempt by the future, guided by its own biases and interests, to unearth things that were already hidden when they were current - by which I mean motives, hopes, ambitions, insecurities and the ties that bind and undermine. This aspect of the book is uneven because the testimonies are uneven. That clarified, I think every Henry Cow fan will want this since itís a cornucopia of invaluable information Ė just sometimes best read between the lines.

The price is high, but thatís academic presses for you, we civilians should be lucky they agreed to make a Ďcheapí paperback version.

PAPER         £20 plus shipping

HARDCOVER    £95 (I know, I know) plus shipping

Accounting and economy: with paypal, you can buy it if you’re feeling flush; with a credit card or cheque, we won’t take the money until the book is sent.

Price: £95.00