Damn Terran’s Ali and her favourite books

Ali Edmonds from Damn Terran talks us through her favourite books:

Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell
I read this just before I went to both Paris and London for the first time. I realised when I got to both destinations that so much had changed – socially – in the time since this book was written. It’s about poverty in two cities. I’ve always found that poverty helps with song writing and writing in general; the stories that come with it are more interesting. This book is about living in the margins and having shitty jobs, which relates to a lot of musicians.

Just Kids – Patti Smith
Patti Smith grew up in a time when there were so many creative people living in New York, and she was fortunate to become good friends with them. The people she met were inspiring and devoted to their craft. The difference in the way society was during the 1970s and today constantly made me compare the two while I was reading it. It made me wonder if it would ever be possible to recreate that type of community/culture today. Most likely, not. Or, maybe we’re already there?

Please Kill Me – Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
This is an amazing book and anyone with a love for punk rock and rock ‘n’ roll in general needs to read it! It is filled with anecdotes straight from people like Blondie, Iggy Pop, Penny Arcade, Lester Bangs, David Bowie, Ron Asheton, Danny Fields, Edie Sedgwick, Anya Phillips and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. They all tell mad stories of a mad time. I had to read this in dribs and drabs because the tales of sex, drugs, rock n roll and self-destruction were sometimes too much to take in at once. It’s a brutal tale. One of the authors, Legs McNeil, is also part of the book – he helped coin the term ‘Punk’ with his fanzine by the same name. I haven’t finished the book yet because my dog ate the last few pages.

The Trial – Franz Kafka
Probably my favourite book ever. A very good friend lent it to me and it blew my mind. The edition that my friend lent me was also accompanied by psychedelic sketches by an illustrator whose name I can’t recall. It’s a great book to make you think about the perils of bureaucracy and how it can sometimes make the world get ludicrously out of control. The novel’s main protagonist is arrested for an unspecified crime and it portrays the story of a man living in a country with an oppressive government. It’s a good book to help you get angry and write songs against ‘the man’. I also went to the Franz Kafka museum in Prague – the sound effects at the museum were so unnerving and profound; they portrayed, aurally, how the words in this novel make you feel.

Trout Fishing in America – Richard Brautigan
Brautigan is my all-time favourite author. This is his first novel – it’s abstract and absurd and reminds me of playwrights such as Samuel Becket and Harold Pinter, and little bits of the author Flannery O’Conner. I ordered a CD from EBay of Brautigan reading some of his poetry (The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster) when I was drunk one time. It was a nice surprise when it turned up in my mailbox because I’d actually forgotten about it. His voice sounds like a muppet.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D Salinger
I’d heard a lot about Catcher in the Rye for years but I had never read it. Then I found it at a garage sale for $2. Then I read it. It changed my life. I really enjoy books written for adults that are written from a child’s perspective (the great short story writer Alice Munro is a good example of this). It’s about rebellion. I like rebellion.

You can see Ali doing her musical thang on Damn Terran’s ‘PILLS’ Tour at the following venues: 
Friday October 5- The Tote, Melbourne w/ The Peep Tempel, The Once Overs and Clavians
Friday October 12- Mum World Bar, Sydney w/ The Go Roll Your Bones and Bang Bang Rock n Roll
Friday October 19- Rocket Bar (rooftop), Adelaide w/ Bad//Dreems

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