Thursday, December 4, 2008

Iain Ellis

Iain Ellis teaches in the English Department at the University of Kansas and writes regular columns on “Alternative Rock Cultures” and “Subversive Rock Humor” for PopMatters.

His new book is Rebels Wit Attitude.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Recent reading for me has revolved around research for the book that I hope will be the British equivalent/sequel to Rebels Wit Attitude, tentatively titled Britwits. Andy Medhurst's book A National Joke has been a terrific discovery for me, as it offers a cultural studies perspective to the rich tradition of English comedy, which is not dissimilar to what I want to do with the history of British subversive rock humorists. It also centralizes social class identity in its various analyses, which is also key to my own arguments. Lastly, Medhurst does some fantastic analysis of some of my fave brit humor, particularly Mike Leigh's films and the extraordinary 90s sit-com The Royal Family.

Having recently worked on essays on heavy metal humor and Swedish rock humor led me to immerse myself in the literature surrounding these 2 fields, which doesn't amount to much in the way of books, though I'd like to give a shout-out to Ian Christe's The Sound of the Beast, which is an incredibly comprehensive historical survey (and analysis) of heavy metal from Black Sabbath to the present. For the generally uninitiated (i.e. me) this book has been very helpful and entertaining.
Read more about Iain Ellis' Rebels Wit Attitude--and its discussion of Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Ramones, the Talking Heads, the Beastie Boys, Missy Elliott, Madonna and others--at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue