Tha Kulcha

TonyTyler and Charles Shaar Murray recreate the cover of Born To Run, 1975As my late mentor Tony Tyler used to say during our days at the NME, ‘the paper should be about the music … and also it should be about what the music is about.’ Coming as I did from the underground press – where music was but one ingredient in a rich stew of politics, culture, subversion, sex’n’drugs’n’rock’n’roll (indeedy!), this was – literally – music to my ears.

The end result was a paper in which you could write about (almost) anything, rather than having to leave all your non-musical interests at home when you left for the office. I wrote long pieces about Raymond Chandler and George Orwell, Marvel Comics and JG Ballard, HP Lovecraft and Elmore Leonard … which appeared alongside all the hardcore music stuff … and the paper soon grew movie, TV and book sections, as well as becoming more and more politically concerned. I know people a few years my junior who first heard of William Burroughs, Hunter S Thompson, Jack Kerouac and Philip K Dick through their teenage exposure to the NME.

I’m still basically considered to be a ‘music writer’ (type-casting, ptooey!), but I’ve always walked a wider cultural beat than that, and continue to do so. A friend of mine once called me ‘the man with the hypertext head’ because everything in my exquisitely-shaped cranium was somehow linked to everything else. Hence some of this stuff on a whole herd of different topics.

Have fun joining the dots.

Tha Kulcha menu
Kathy Acker, remembered
The OZ trial
Mick Farren: Give The Anarchist A Cigarette
The death of ideology
Dr Strangelove, revisited
Culture don’t travel …
God, America and Coca-Cola™
Alan Parker’s Evita
Cool Rules
Noir: a user’s guide
Gorillaz’s Monkey

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