The Promise of Bruce Springsteen by Eric Alterman
Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Brucie, we need you - and more than ever!
A true rock 'n' roll star in every sense and then some, Bruce has had a truly staggering career in the music business, and even as we maniacally rush headlong into the 21st Century he is more popular than ever.
This biography of Bruce is a fabulously insightful affair. Charting all the highs (coupled with the odd low) of his
thirty-odd-year career, Eric perfectly captures his own passion for Bruce's music.
Indeed, Eric openly admits that he has held a long-standing obsession/ fascination for the man, and has spent much money over the years and in the process of buying his records and flying cross-country to a grand multitude of gigs.
Alterman re-iterates how important Bruce's music has been in so many respects. First and foremost, Bruce has never dumbed down his working class background and to this day he remains a staunch supporter of human rights and sticking up for what one believes in - whether such belief is in the name of love, in the throes of retaining one's integrity whilst working hard to pay the rent and put food on the table, or in living life as a moral-bound and modest man.
1975 proved to be a defining year for Bruce and his music, as his
Born To Run album made a superstar of him and stars of his backing band:
The E-Street Band.
Whilst many fans of his will argue forever and an eternity that his earliest work -
that spans the seventies - is his greatest material, all of his
post-Born In The USA music (i.e., from the album's 1984 release date onwards)
is still truly wondrous and always thoroughly interesting and captivating -
despite being far more commercial and aimed at the masses.
Still, Bruce has never really sold out to any desperately ridiculous degree,
and albums such as the brooding and introspective Ghost of Tom Joad often spring
up and surprise even his most loyal fans. As author Alterman says,
Tom Joad is perhaps Bruce Springsteen's most uncompromising album.
It demands that we meditate, however briefly, on the lives of people most
of us attempt to keep out of sight: male hustlers, homeless people, Mexican migrants.
One of the most bootlegged artists of all time, Bruce - following
three decades of hard graft - is worth more than many small countries.
Obviously he's a very rich self-made man. He's also an icon of our times
on which his fans peg their hopes and dreams, due to Bruce's eloquent
sense of real-life drama that dominates many of his classic songs.
Ever the poet, Bruce once suggested that maybe our salvation lay not in what we
accomplish individually, but rather as a collective society. Similarly, his timeless quip that 'It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive' proves that he tends to whimsically look on the bright side even if storm clouds are realistically brewing. Likewise, it ain't no sin to sing along with his songs… in fact, it's impossible not to!
ISBN 0-316-03917-9 (Back Bay Books; first published in 1999)
Reviews, Films - Open Water By Steve Rudd
I really don't understand why this movie was ever made.
Based on true events, this follows a couple of young lovers (Daniel Travis and blonde bombshell Blanchard Ryan)
on a diving day-out as part of a vacation they're taking together.
Before we know it, they've been stranded in the middle
Reviews, Books - The Beach by Alex Garland Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless.
Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts.
Before the hit movie there was the cult novel written by an unknown
Reviews, Theatre - Fields of Gold at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough By Nick Quantrill
For some time now thisisUll.com has been bringing news
and reviews of events that are happening in Hull.
It is quite noticeable that what is going unreported is what's happening in the near-by towns
surrounding the city of Hull.
Reviews, Books - The Body by Hanif Kureishi Reviewed By Steve Rudd
I imagine that to participate in the world with curiosity and pleasure, to see the point of what is going on, you have to be young and uninformed. Do I want to participate?
This is an incredibly compelling novel from Kent-born Hanif (who proves himself to be ever-the-philosopher)
Reviews, Films - Five Children and It Reviewed by Ruth Wilson
The other day I went to the UGC cinema in Hull to see 5 Children and It.
It was a very good film, based on a book by E. Nesbit. It's about 5 children
(surprise, surprise! I can't remember their names, though!) who get sent to live
with their loopy uncle in the country during the
Kids, Reviews, Books - Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie Reviewed by Ruth Whitehouse
I have recently read a brilliant book called Friends, Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie,
a teenage book, part of the Ally's World Series. If you want me to be precise, it's number 4.
Now, onto the actual review. It is about a teenage girl called Ally who has a best
Reviews, Books - Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Reaching the top of Everest is supposed to trigger a surge of intense elation; against
long odds, afterall, I had just attained a goal I'd coveted since childhood.
But the summit was really only the halfway point. Any impulse I might have felt toward
Reviews, Books - Down Under by Bill Bryson Reviewed By Steve Rudd
As I write this review it is the height of British summertime, and as I'm staring
outside the window at 8:30 PM it's almost black dark out there and pouring it down with rain.
Which is - to extents - to be expected, given the UK's terminally unpredictable climate.
Reviews, Films - Saw By Steve Rudd
As if there isn't enough sick and twisted violence out there in the real world as it is,
there are hordes of film-makers that feel that violence is the essential ingredient to
make a winning movie. To make their movie as violent as possible often seems
Reviews, Books - Travels in a Strange State by Josie Dew Reviewed By Steve Rudd
A man called Jonathan Raban once said, The only way to travel is to travel alone.
It opens you up to the world. It puts you in the way of luck and chance.
With such a sentiment Josie Dew whole-heartedly agrees, as do I.
This fantastically written book
Reviews, Theatre - Confessions Of A Hull City Supporter at Hull Truck By Nicholas Boldock
There must be few examples of award-winning playwrights penning an entire play to celebrate a
football team winning promotion, even if that promotion took 19 long years to arrive.
After Hull City won promotion from Division 3 last term, local writer Alan PlaterRead more...