Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I am 59 years old as of today so one more year to go before the big 60. Not that I care much. It is just a number. It will mean that I am one year closer to retirement though, which will happen (the way I see it now) at 65. We shall see. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. Born in a country like Sweden in 1961 was a blessing. It was a very safe environment. We had a library closeby when I was a kid and that was a blessing too. I read books when I was 10, not just comics and stuff like that but thick books on history and of all the wonders and the mysteries of this world. In the 1960s I listened to the radio because it was the only outlet, but I was lucky in that my mother bought records that I enjoyed so I used to raid her collection. So much great stuff, Elvis, Tom Jones, The Hollies, Cliff Richard. Then you saw Elvis on TV and he certainly made an impression. Then it was The Monkees, also on TV. The first album I ever owned was an album by The Monkees. Then I got “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and without knowing it at the time (this was probably in 1970) I had now touched on the Deep Purple Family (as singer Ian Gillan sang the part of Jesus on that album). In 1971 I discovered Deep Purple and so at age 10 I dived deep into the wonderful world of rock music and radio was the natural outlet still. And friends in school that had older brothers and sisters whom owned great albums (that is how I stumbled across Purple). It was the age of great discoveries, but Deep Purple would remain the heroes.

On TV, you had a lot of Westerns. I know now that the boss of the two channels that existed back then was a huge fan of the genre, and he made sure that the Swedish people got to see all the classics (still love that stuff to this day), and we also got High Chaparral (which, along with The Addams Family surely added something to my cultural DNA). Once a week you had a detective story on TV that everybody watched. There was a bunch of them over the years that everybody loved – Columbo, McCloud, Baretta, Kojak, Cannon etc etc. The 1970s was awesome. I recall a summer (could have been 1973) when TV aired all the classic horror films and we all watched them. That introduced horror comics. The comic book scene was fantastic. So much to chose from, and so I collected a lot of titles. I used to draw comics myself, just for fun. But this interest gave way to music and in 1978 I created my first publication, a magazine called DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE. Within a year I started to write for newspapers. In 1981 I got to meet Whitesnake in Stockholm (interviews with David Coverdale and Jon Lord can be found on this blog). That changed things and within a year or two I met a lot of the artists that visited Sweden. By 1986 I started to write for major publications abroad, like METAL HAMMER in Europe and METAL (published by CREEM) in the States.

Did radio, did a lot of things. It is all a bit of a blur now but I recall a lot of it. At 30 I was a bit tired of it all so I slowed down and started another Purple fanzine, this time it was a publication called DEEP PURPLE FOREVER. This went on for 13 years and then I started to publish magazines with a much broader content (basically anything I wanted to include, with one foot in the past and one in the present). This only ended after me having done over 100 magazines a few years ago. I never gave up on music. I never stopped reading magazines and books. I felt that good bands were still coming along although the 1990s had been pretty brutal. There will always be good stuff out there. Always. If you can not find it you are not looking.

That attitude had me check out Babymetal in March 2017 (I mentioned it on this blog that very day) and My God did they surprise the hell out of me. It was like 40+ years of Rock and Metal had to happen before this could even be considered. And a lot of other cultural stuff coming out of Asia as well. Babymetal came out when the time was right and we suddenly had this wonderful weird thing that defied all logic. But it worked and it was beautiful. And they are now pulling in yet another generation into the music that I have loved for 50 years now. It will never go away. Hell, I hope it lasts forever. I need it until the day I leave this earth and I think it will always be there. The classic bands will go away but new music will come along. Just look at all the talent. Look at all the young kids that are playing their instruments on YouTube clips like they have been at it for decades. They will hopefully be in bands some day and of course many of them will. All this stuff is like positive energy to me. I think I share that feeling with a lot of people.

Wow, this turned into a bit of a rant. I guess when you look back on a lot of great things it is only natural to look forward too. I do think that art and culture is good for the soul, for our very wellbeing. I spend some time almost daily with this blog, because it is fun. Maybe some of you are here because you share some of my interests. All I know is that, for the moment this is my outlet. This is my little universe. At 59 and with everything I have seen, I think I should be allowed to rant a bit every now and then. It is like half of me is a grumpy old geezer (I loved that TV show, if you know the one I am talking about), but I still have a lot of positive energy. I try to stay positive on this blog. There is way too much negativity out there as it is.

Of course, one year from now, we either live in a normalized place again, or we are well and truly fucked…

(My top image – had to have one for this rant)

Morgan Kane

Posted: July 3, 2020 in Books, Cool stuff, Hobby

Louis Masterson may not be a household name outside of Scandinavia, but this Norwegian author sold millions of books with his Morgan Kane series. At home, he is one of the all time greats and his classic catalogue is still published to this day. No wonder then that there exists a huge book on Morgan Kane in Norway, “Den store boka om Morgan Kane” (Aller Forlag, 2014) by authors Atle Nielsen and Kjell Jörgen Holbye (in collaboration with the Louis Masterson and others). This has to be one of the best put together books about the legacy (he wrote 83 books) of a Western author. All the covers, the big picture, everything is in there. And man, the covers were awesome. Highly collectable.

(My shot of said book)

Christina Lindberg clearly had to be on the cover of “Swedish Sensationsfilms” (Bazillion Point Books, 2011) by author Daniel Ekeroth, and there she is. Anything with Christina goes straight into the old collection. Tarantino certainly draws inspiration from some of this stuff, but this era is largely forgotten now. The book captures a lot though and some of these films made headlines back in the day. There will never ever be a book about the crap that is produced in this country these days. It is all done in Norway now.

(My shot of said book)

Classics Illustrated

Posted: June 30, 2020 in Books, Comics, Cool stuff, Hobby

I grew up with the Swedish edition of Classics Illustrated (soon to be showcased here) but the original was obviously American. I was very happy when this book came out, fleshing out the history of this title in great detail. “Classics Illustrated – A Cultural History, with Illustrations” (McFarland & Company, 2002) by William B. Jones Jr., is the real deal. 272 pages.

(My shot of said book)

If you go back to the 1970s there was only two or three photographers in rock that really stood out. One of these was German photographer Didi Zill. He used to work with Deep Purple and in 2013 the first edition of his big “Deep Purple” book (436 pages) from publishers Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf saw release. It includes pictures from 1970 to 1990 (and includes solo projects), and there are a second updated version that takes it into the 2000s. This is the original. Classic stuff.

(My shot of said book)

This 1969 High Chaparral Annual from the UK is a pretty cool reminder of the good old days. Popular TV-shows used to get books like this, certainly in the UK. You get a bunch of comics, short novels (with added art) and Western mythology presented in a way that is attractive to a certain audience. I suspect these were popular Christmas presents in many families back in the day. Nice cover.

(My shot of said publication)

I have just showcased a couple of issues of Swedish publication Bild Journalen. Well, here is a book about the magazine in question. “Boken om Bild Journalen” (Premium Publishing, 2011) by authors Börje Lundberg and Ammi Bohm explore this classic title (that existed 1954-1969) over a whopping 584 pages (drop this and you are likely to hurt yourself). I really love books like this, jam packed with everything you ever wanted to see and know. Great magazine, huge legacy.

(My shot of said book)

Henry Darrow

Posted: June 26, 2020 in Books, Cool stuff, TV & Movies

Best Western show ever has to be High Chaparral. Henry Darrow portrayed Manolito, and boy did he do a good job. If you want to know more about the man I suggest this book, “Henry Darrow – Lightning In The Bottle” (BearManor Media, 2012). Co-written with Jan Pippins. 394 pages.

(My shot of said book)

Robin Hood

Posted: June 25, 2020 in Books, Comics, Cool stuff, Hobby, TV & Movies

Got to love Robin Hood. Errol Flynn captured the role perfectly in the classic film “The Adventures Of Robin Hood” back in 1938 and nobody ever eclipsed that. There were countless books and comics and the old school stuff is still the best. When this book popped up, “Robin Hood – A Classic Illustrated Edition” (Chronicle Books, 2002), I was happy to see it. Lovingly put together by E. Charles Vivian and Cooper Edens, it brings out a lot of imagery and material as well as the story itself. 176 pages. No images from movies though, so no Flynn. The cover art comes from Classics Illustrated, I know that from just seeing it. Lovely stuff.

(My shot of said book)

Buck Danny

Posted: June 24, 2020 in Books, Comics, Cool stuff

Buck Danny is still published in Norway (in some of the Tempo books), but I bought this German edition (Salleck Publications, 2012) just to have it in the collection. I mean, I can understand German up to a point but I would not read a book. It is super cool though. 188 pages in full colour. Loads of facts about the comic plus two complete adventures set to the Battle Of The Coral Sea and The Battle Of Midway. Buck Danny came along in 1947 and initially it was a WWII comic. By 1954 it changed and started to be more current. A few albums were published here in Sweden in the 1970s. Glad to see that it is still out there.

(My shot of said book)