Totally Wired: Post-Punk Interviews and Overviews by Simon Reynolds (Soft Skull Press)


This is a repress of a previously released book by British writer Simon Reynolds, perhaps best known for Rip It Up and Start Again, the definitive book on the post-punk era. Totally Wired is a companion-piece to that book, collecting Reynolds’ interviews with many of the artists featured in Rip It Up, with a few overviews of post-punk sub-genres tacked on to the end. Whether or not you’ll like it depends on how much Rip It Up left you wanting more. To me Totally Wired feels like exactly what it is – a less essential second pass through terrain Reynolds already explored to satisfaction. The final chapter, in which Reynolds “interviews” himself on post-punk, feels like a self-serving act of defense and ends the book on a sour note. After all, shouldn’t a book’s contents be able to speak for themselves, and not need an author’s voice interjected to wrap it all up neatly? It’s worth noting that his self-interview is easily the book’s longest. Despite this major flaw, some of the other people he interviews are too fascinating to ever make for a lackluster read, and whenever a book gives you a chance to go inside the minds of people like Ari Up, Alan Vega and David Byrne, you take it.

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