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Customer Review

105 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He defends Linda McCartney, July 28, 2002
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This review is from: A Year With Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary (Paperback)
This is just a review written by a gearhead scientist with no background in art and literature, so be forewarned that I am not an expert on literature. I thought I would write this just in case anyone out there is looking for a change of pace, no matter your musical tastes or political views.
Hey -- give this book a shot. It's worth it. I read this book a little at a time over a few months. I still have it sitting around as a kind of jump-starter . . . it inspires me and makes me feel more positive.
I bought this book because it sounded intriguing and because some Amazon reviewers gave it a thumbs up. Plus, I was a fan of Brian Eno's 70's music in the 80's. If he was really popular back then, I would not have known it from the teenagers around me. So here I was, 17 years old and hearing "No One Receiving" and "Baby's On Fire" for the first time and my little teeny brain was turned inside-out. And then, like the guy who finally figures out how to view a Magic Eye picture, I started seeing Eno everywhere I looked: Talking Heads, U2, even the background music for a Nike commercial.
This guy does a little of everything. No, make that "a little of everything that I don't understand." Oblique strategies, Music for Airports, you name it. It's so ironic that this guy has done everything from Roxy Music to ambient to producing pop bands -- he's always changing, at the cutting edge, exploring -- and yet I was struck by just one phase of his career. ( I bought several of those Laraaji-type records in college -- it didn't swing for me.) So, I guess that's the big reason I liked this book . . . I admire this man of many talents, tastes, and wide-ranging interests.
Brian Eno may just be everything that I am not. I guess I have to admit that I am a political conservative on a lot of issues, including ones that were important when Eno wrote this diary (1995?). But I love to hear what he has to say. His takes on so many issues are so much more tilted towards big, activist government than mine are. But he establishes his credibility by having reasoned arguments, and just writes really lucidly and intelligently. I REALLY WISH THERE EXISTED IN AMERICA A LIBERAL PUNDIT OR TALK-SHOW HOST LIKE BRIAN ENO. Most of his pointed criticism of Bosnia policy, military build-up, state vs. free enterprise, etc. is aimed DIRECTLY at people just like me. But I didn't throw the book across the room when what he had to say made me look like an idiot or ...cold-hearted... It actually intrigued me, because for some reason it made me think. I respect the author, so I respect his arguments. I wish there were more pop culture figures who could be so funny, concise, and devoid of polemics. Julia Roberts and Alec Baldwin, take note.
Well, would this book have any interest for someone who doesn't have "Here Come The Warm Jets" in his or her CD player right now? Well, I think it might. The tone and demeanor of the book are refreshing. Take notice of the fact that he does not write about his life as though he were "The Man." This is an accomplishment, because the book has him jetting here and there, talking with Bono and chatting with Dolores O'Riordan. He admits to working so that he can make money to keep his family going, he recounts his long hours of work that sometimes frustrate him and yield no results, admits to being occasionally nervous, grumpy, misanthropic, biased, unfair, and other things. He's faithful to his wife and loves his little girl but admits his occasional frustration with both. He's frank about some "female butt" issues and computer distortions -- 'nuff said here. His bit about Linda McCartney and her Lindaburger donations really put me in my place -- I was one of those who got half the story and ran with it, making fun of a serious problem and one person's effort to help out a little bit (which is more than I did).
But the book isn't all serious and heavy. I won't spoil it (any more?) here, but you will find lots of interesting tidbits. I'll bet the footnotes and appendices thing bugged the heck out of some people, but I loved it!
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2008, 6:48:54 AM PDT
F. Kelly says:
This is a very thoughtful review. It's rare that I appreciate a review written peppered with the author's personal experiences, but you really tied them in to what about *Eno* and what about the *book* really touched and affected you. That's cool. Thanks for reminding me why I should read this book again! :)

Posted on May 13, 2009, 9:21:36 PM PDT
Thanks, man. For what it's worth, I'm preparing a 6-hour series on National Radio in New Zealand this weekend, and it helps to have such a clear review as a guide to material that might help me with my work.

Posted on May 10, 2013, 10:51:37 AM PDT
Adriana says:
I have to say, I love you very honest and refreshing review. Thanks!
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