Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto by Liz Worth (ECW Press)

Toronto punk rock never made much of a splash outside of the city limits, nor is most of it held in particularly high regard today. So, why does a 384-page book on the city’s punk history from 1977-1981 exist, and why is it such a damn good read? The bands in Liz Worth’s book may not mean much to most punk fans, but the book succeeds because the story of punk in Toronto is a microcosm of the story of punk everywhere. So, even if you have no idea who The Viletones, The Diodes, Teenage Head, Simply Saucer and The B Girls were, you can still enjoy this Please Kill Me-style collection of quotes from all the major participants, who seem more than happy to talk about how the city’s small underbelly of misfits and dilettantes started bands despite non-existent interest from record labels, radio, or concert venues. While Treat Me Like Dirt’s subjects never left much of a permanent mark on music, the book does its best to shine a light on their small accomplishments, and hopefully it inspires some people to check out Toronto’s best punk nuggets (Simply Saucer being my personal favorite). If your book-shelf already includes  Please Kill Me, England’s Dreaming, We Got The Neutron Bomb, and American Hardcore, then Treat Me Like Dirt will scratch you right where you itch.