Monday, 22 September 2014

Sam Sutherland, "Perfect Youth" (2012)

Subtitle: "The Birth of Canadian Punk."

Sutherland weaves a nice series of anecdotal tales culled from the memories of the Canadian punks who were "there" during the emergence of Canada's punk scene in the mid-to-late 1970s. His dogged determination in tracking down people who have left behind their punk roots (some to enter the sanctified realm of boardrooms, some to continue to struggle along in the music biz, and other who have simply moved to struggling...) is admirable and produces real insights into an era that is hard to source.

Sutherland's love of the subject, and of researching his subject, comes across in his writing. It is neither hagiography or shock journalism. It is simple and compassionate story-telling at its best. He conveys the spirit of the people, as well as of the music these people made, which is difficult to find. In this regard, Sutherland does a real service in providing something akin to a shopping list for those who want to find out more about Canadian punk, lends impetus to the effort to preserve these works and extend access to them, and increase awareness of the strong and important influence these bands had within their respective hometowns and (much to my surprise) internationally.

The book was received quite positively by critics, as can be seen in this National Post review, or one in Maclean's, this NOW magazine interview with Sutherland, or a similar author interview in Vice magazine.

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