Fury's Hour: A (Sort-of) Punk Manifesto by Warren Kinsella (Random House Canada), 250 pages, $27 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Fury's Hour is the newest citizen of an already well-populated province of books documenting and analyzing the early years of the punk movement. Using interviews examined through the lens of his experiences as a Calgary punk in the 1970s, author Warren Kinsella tells the story of notable pioneers like the Ramones, the Buzzcocks, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and DOA. Kinsella's nostalgia for his younger years is obvious, and he talks about his idols with fanboy fervour with the exception of Sex Pistols singer Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, whom Kinsella decries as a sellout after being denied an interview in 2003.
In addition to its compelling chapter on punk extremism, hate and terrorism, one of the most interesting things about this book is who wrote it. Kinsella is a well-known federal Liberal party adviser, a Chretien aide and a top campaign strategist for conservative John Tory in the last municipal election here in T.O.
How someone with this resume can consider himself punk, and how he qualifies to call Johnny Rotten a sellout, is a complicated matter. DOA frontman Joey Shithead Keithley brings up the relationship between punk and capitalism and the right wing in an interview, but Kinsella chooses not to explore the potentially meaty subject further than that. As an overview of some of the most prominent bands of late 70s punk, Fury's Hour is certainly not the worst you could do; Kinsella's writing is clear, enthusiastic and engaging.
But if you want a broad perspective on the era, don't let this personal account be your only guidebook.