Saturday, January 24, 2009

More "Bad Vibes"

I recently wrote a long piece on Luke Haines' book Bad Vibes before completely finishing it. Now that I have read it all, let me return to it with a slight re-evaluation. I still recommend it highly, and I still find much of the book very funny. One noteworthy incident in the latter part of the book is the time that some American pal of Haines brought Metallica around to visit his tiny London flat; they were a bit "Woaahh dude". Or then there is the bit where he is visiting some friends in the country and, after a few drinks, home trepanation comes onto the agenda.

What I was more struck by on reading more of the book, though, is how un-self-serving it all is. OK, it is self-serving in the sense that Haines does a lot of talking about how he is way more talented than everyone else on the scene back then, but he is nevertheless conscious of having acted like a total cunt. There is a wonderful moment when the Auteurs are returning home from a tour in Japan, where he had been playing horrific mind-games on the various members of his band. As the plane touches down at Heathrow, Alice Readman (the band's bassist and Haines' girlfriend) starts crying – because the other people are coming home to people who love them or can at least get away from Haines for a while, but she is stuck with him. And you only know this because Luke Haines tells you the story. I am curious as to whether the whole experience, and reflecting back on it, has made him a less repulsive individual. Listening to his more recent records suggests that if it has then it has not made him any less creative.

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