Pick up Dum Ditty Dum #2: March 24,1987 if you’re ready to rock

Dum Ditty Dum #2: March 24, 1987

zine, Gene Booth & Jack Henrie, 24 pgs, Other Forms, dumdittydum.com, $10

For their Dum Ditty Dum series, Booth and Henrie pick a year in the rock era of 1950-2017 and create a zine around what happened in music at that time.

In general, I find writing in academic-speak about pop or “low” culture has become a schtick. It reached its zenith in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and, at least to me, usually comes off as chasing this already-attained prize, or as the lingo of caffeine-hyper music or movie junkies phrase-jousting to see who can make the boldest claim about who influenced whom, or when an icon lost touch (see Renton and Sick Boy’s “cannae hack it anymair” conversation in Trainspotting). In March 24, 1987, Gene Booth and Jack Henrie flirted with annoying me in this way, but ended up entertaining me instead.

The following quotation should let you know whether this zine is for you: “Metal does not disavow (what) rock (has become), but thrash disavows (what) classic metal (has become), thereby implicitly severing itself from the rock tree. Thrash rips up its generic antecedents, unlike punk […] Thrash might borrow from punk, but only because they happened to be neighbors in mid-eighties NYC. Thrash thus becomes a potent double negative, flipping off both sets of forebears, rock and metal alike, this two fists, one hidden and one held high.”

I like these ideas and the way they are presented, yet the passage does remind me of times I have moved seats in a bar or restaurant to get away from the nasal arguments of a table of music or movie know-it-alls. That I like the passage nonetheless is a testament to Booth and Henrie. Intellectual music criticism being so fraught with pitfalls, know-it-alls are less irritating when they do, in fact, know a lot.