Friday, 29 June 2012
Babylon on a thin wire ONCE UPON A TIME IN JAMAICA
Babylon on a thin wire, my father's seminal long read article for Rolling Stone mag about political gangsterism (and much more) in 1970s Jamaica has been published as a book by French publishers Patate Records. It was a book before but has been outta print for donkeys.
The very fine looking Patate coffee table-type tome is littered with wonderful images by ace photographer Adrian Boot. Below, find a few hastily snapped examples I've taken with my CrackBerry - needless to say they don't do 'em full justice. For no particular reason I seem to have picked out the ones of well-known reggae artists smoking weed but rest assured there are more 'grown up' snaps in it. The book also comes complete with a new intro by Thomas.
I'm bringing this book to your attention because for anyone even half-interested in Jamaica, reggae, His Bobness Robert Nesta Marley, Caribbean politics and/or urban street culture this simply is a MUST BUY. It goes w/o saying that I'm somewhat biased but I can assure you I'm not writing this post under any duress.
Buy it from Patate here.
If any bloggers/book reviewers out there are interested in a review copy please send firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com an electronic mail.
Intro from Patate:
Do you know why, although ska is just a beat, a dead simple nagging upbeat, so simple only illiterate Jamaicans can play it, the Rolling Stones never got it right? What did the CIAga graffiti stood for? Why Fidel Castro never stood a ghost of a chance against Big Youth when it comes to chatting 'pon the mike? What was tram-hopping all about and what made it such a good sport? Bob Marley's answer when someone had the cheek to ask, "how come a shantytown Rasta like him is driving 'round in a BMW"?
If you already know the answers to these questions, don't waste your time here. If not, then you better hurry and grab your own copy of Babylon on a Thin Wire, the best book ever written on Jamaica and reggae. First published in 1976, when the world couldn't care less about the sound comin' out of Kingston, then republished in 1982 under the title Jah Revenge - Babylon Revisited when the western medias were desperately seeking Marley's successor, this seminal book has been out of print for almost a quarter century. Here it comes again and for the very first time, it's also available in a French translation, and further enhanced with a foreword by Michael Thomas and an updated photo selection containing some previously Adrian Boot unseen shots.
Blurb on Boot:
Boot is one of Britain's best-known music photographers, and has worked for various UK music magazines and newspapers - NME, Melody Maker, The Times, The Guardian, The Face. He was a physics teacher in Jamaica at the time of the book.