Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Dark Stuff - Nick Kent

Nick Kent was the star reporter of the New Musical Express back when I was an avid reader. The Dark Stuff is a collection of new, old and refurbished items from his vast output, specifically concerning those who have lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle a little too hard. It begins with a hundred-page account of the Beach Boys, put together over the years, there's then some unsatisfactory stuff about the Stones, Iggy (my personal fave), Lou Reed (my fave back in the day and again, not really up to the mark here.). The best bits for me were an excellent piece about Johnny Cash, who I didn't realise was as addicted as he was; Sly Stone, who I'd forgotten all about; and the penultimate piece about Phil Spector on the eve of his trial for murder.

It's the sort of book you pick up thinking it's perfect for reading in instalments. You are wrong. Kent is a compulsive read and once you start, you're going to finish. It's a window for a time long ago when drugs were either new or rediscovered, and musicians were able to achieve long careers. It's a bubble in history which Kent was uniquely placed to observe and record. A classic in its own right. 

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