'The Psychic Soviet: Expanded Edition'
By: Ian F. Svenonius - Akashic Books, $18.95
Description: A new, expanded collection of essays and articles from one of the mainstays of the Washington, DC, underground rock and roll scene, 'The Psychic Soviet' is Ian F. Svenonius’s groundbreaking first book of writings.
Verdict: Simply put, Ian F. Svenonius has a unique, post-modern style that transcends, even today, quite a considerable amount of idealisms and so-called contemporary indie-chic hipster views - and all contained within a formidable little pink, removeable plastic-covered book that you can carry around in your pocket!
Containing a selection (now expanded) of essays, music and "faction," The Psychic Soviet is as entertaining as books come, meticulously layered with, at times, skewered observations that are both ironic and paranoid in equal measure.
The selections are written in a lettered yet engaging style, filled with parody and biting humor that subvert capitalist culture, and cover such topics as the ascent of the DJ as a star, the “cosmic depression” that followed the defeat of the USSR, how Seinfeld caused the bankruptcy of modern pop culture, and the status of rock and roll as a religion.
As aforementioned, the pocket-sized book is bound with a durable bright-pink (albeit in some light, red-tinged) plastic cover, recalling the aesthetics of Mao’s Little Red Book, and perfect for carrying into the fray of street battle, classroom, or lunch-counter argument.
So what we get here is a book much in the tradition of politically inspired trickster/poet types, such as Bob Dylan, where Svenonius can be obscure, self contradicting, non-committal and at times ridiculous, all within the same sentence structure!
In truth, Svenonius' political approach is more that of a poet rather than that of a true ideologue. In other words he plays at political ranting to paint a picture which isn't really propaganda, although it uses Marxist/ proto-Marxist language and analysis at times.
Furthermore, at times, his writing is more like a wild abstract painting of 20th century pop culture than a functional call to action.
In closing, I would implore people to read 'The Psychic Soviet' like an obsessed teenager consumes rock & roll, not like a political adherent consumes rhetoric. For this is pure madness imbued with total genius from start to finish!
Table of Contents:
Instructions - The Psychic Soviet - Vampirism & Vampirology - The Bloody Latte - Beatles vs. Stones - Rock ’N’ Rolligion - The Responsible Use of Rock ’N’ Roll - Eat the Rocument - Time As Money - Seinfeld Syndrome - Rock ’N’ Roll As Real Estate - Warning to Swedish Girls - Scion-tology - Mordor Dearest - Camp Exploitation - The Stilyagi - The Seduction of Paolo Hewitt - The Mix Master Race - You Can’t Always Get No Satisfaction - Personal Inscription - Afterword (to the second edition) - Epilogue: The Psychick Psketchbook.
About the Author - Ian F. Svenonius is the author of the underground best sellers Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group and Censorship Now!!
He was also the host of VBS.tv's Soft Focus, where he interviewed Mark E. Smith, Genesis P. Orridge, Chan Marshall, Ian MacKaye, and others.
Living in Washington, DC, as a musician he has created more than twenty albums and countless singles in various rock and roll combos (Chain & the Gang, Weird War, The Make-Up, The Nation of Ulysses, etc.).
Official Book Purchase Link