Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: Perfect Youth - The Birth of Canadian Punk

Perfect Youth - The Birth of Canadian Punk by Sam Sutherland (ECW Press)

 When I first heard about this book in the making, I immediately thought about the daunting task at hand. Tracking down people, phone numbers, email addresses, seemed to be difficult at best, never mind the sheer size of the geography and the decades that had elapsed. This young Sutherland surely had his work cut out for him.
 As the title suggests, this book is indeed about the birth of punk in Canada from Coast to Coast. Context and historical fact are given equal importance. He adequately describes how long it took for punk to reach this large and sparsely populated land. There is expectedly much ink given to the prime movers and shakers (Teenage Head, Diodes, Viletones, D.O.A. etc.) and then good coverage of all the bigger cities, but what is most impressive is the pages dealing with punk in the isolated parts of Canada. The Prairies, the Maritimes and Newfoundland were all under-documented but the author managed to scrape up bits of information and anecdotes from first-hand sources. Chapters dealing with the importance of female and homosexual involvement in the early scene interesting and will also no doubt educate many readers.
 As well-read as I thought I was on the subject, I still managed to learn plenty so this book gets high recommendation. My only wish is that this work deserves to be twice its length. A great read indeed.

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