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Askew Review 15

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by Ben Weasel. 2002. 176 pages. Hope and Nonthings Publishing. This book is a collection of twenty-five columns, articles, and essays written by Ben Weasel for various publications spanning 1991-2001. Most of the columns are about Ben’s past experiences with jobs, touring with his band, and teenage hyjinx. Also included is a piece written after the death of MRR’s Tim Yohannan, and “Maximum Style,” which includes the infamous “Punk Rock Dress Code.” The book concludes with a musicians look at creative and business sides of being in a band.
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. However, this should come as no surprise as I love Ben Weasel’s now defunct band, Screeching Weasel, and loved his first book “Like Hell.” Most of the stories are funny and entertaining, especially if you enjoy cynicism. However, there are a few long winded pieces that just ran on and on for too long, i.e. “The Nanny and the Rock Star.”  Although these writings span about ten years, there is a theme going on that makes me wonder if there is anything that Ben truly enjoys. Even when he writes about stuff he likes, Ben always points out and focuses on the negative aspects. Perhaps Ben enjoys the negative side of things? My favorite piece, “The Runaway,” details the first time Ben, at age fourteen, ran away with a friend of his and the trouble they encountered. A number of stories detail Ben’s past work experience, all of which never seemed to last that long. For reasons I can’t explain, I love reading/hearing about people’s work experience. I find these stories and memories most entertaining, and sometimes intriguing. Fans of Mr. Weasel will undoubtedly enjoy this read. For those who don’t know Mr. Weasel, therefore not knowing his attitude, you will ask yourself “What the fuck is this guy’s problem?” But, in the end, even the non-fans will most likely enjoy this book. – Denis Sheehan



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