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DESPITE EVERYTHING: COMETBUS Paperback – February 25, 2015
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I'd go visit my brother, Bobby, in Berkeley in those days when the punk scene was full tilt and he was doing stuff for Aaron and Cometbus. It was a strange scene up there in those days but fun at the same time; I have the photos to prove it.
Buy this book to relive it or get a feel for what it was like. The artwork is top-notch stuff from some overlooked underground artists and Aaron's writing is outstanding. It's an enjoyable read down memory lane!!
This will give you a good picture of punk life in California of a few years ago, so it makes a good sociological snapshot as well as travel book. Good stories, good comics, well worth the money.
I liked this book.
If you're a person like me who has radical beliefs and politics, but who also enjoys living a quiet, straight-laced, lifestyle; if you worry about things, and have episodes of social anxiety, and if you're a worrier in general and like to stay at home and hang out with your close group of friends and sometimes have trouble meeting new people or think people enjoy being left alone, than this book can sometimes make you feel bad about your life choices and the decisions you've made. This happens mainly b/c Aaron just went out and lived this crazy hand-to-mouth existence in the service of experiencing the world and the people in it, challenging the very existence of social norms as a concept. And that's why the book is so great. It's filled with great stories and anecdotes and is totally imbued with this sense of freedom and wonder. The world that Aaron lives in is so real and vibrant, populated by people dealing with real struggles and real issues. And Aaron is totally tapped into his own empathy and sympathy for those people. He totally loves life, and is lucky for it. And readers are lucky that he put it on paper over and over again in Cometbus.
This book, like the 'zine, is, IMO, a classic piece of American writing, and hopefully, someday, it will get more recognition. It is a document of an ethos and way of living that is still totally marginalized in our society. And Aaron challenges his readers to confront how their own lives keep them from seeing that world and experiencing it.
arrived "too late" for its punk scene, instead hearing
the stories of my old landlord and well-known punk-scene
photographer, Larry Wolfley. I got the rave scene instead
and have my own stories.
Anyway, I saw Despite Everything on the bookshelves in
all the local bookstores, but didn't know what it was,
until a friend and coworker ** who just so happened to
be Aaron Cometbus' brother ** gave me an autographed
copy as a gift. Well, shoot, gotta read it, right?
I was completely hooked-- doubly because the in-credible
stories were actually true (you can imagine that my
friend added some "color"). You can practically feel
the trudge of the ten mile walks back to town, the
mosh pits, cops, thugs, etc. -- but you can also feel
the excitement of the time and the bands. Imagine
being there on the road with Green Day when they
were the local band... ok, it's more pot than I can
handle but you get the idea. and it's not my politics,
I'm more likely to wear a "smash capitalism" t-shirt
to a board of directors meeting, where aaron's more
of a kvetch about the commercialism type, but hey,
what's berkeley if not for bizarre political statements?
oh, and the writing is brilliant-- might of course
sound dated, but that's only because this is the
original and everybody else ripped them off.