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 the city’s punk output held in particularly high regard today. So, why does a 384-page book on Toronto’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 are my personal favorite). If Please Kill Me, England’s Dreaming, We Got The Neutron Bomb, and American Hardcore are already on your bookshelf, Treat Me Like Dirt will scratch you right where you itch.