Reviewer Robert 'Bob' Bluffield : Robert is a UK author/general writer and photographer living in the English Home Counties. His latest book Imperial Airways – The Birth of the British Airline Industry 1914-1940 was published in October 2009 by Ian Allan and was quickly acclaimed Book of the Month in two leading aviation magazines. Although he has a strong interest in civil aviation history; Bob also writes informatively about food, social history, current affairs, photography, travel, motoring and business for a variety of consumer and specialist publications and websites. He has previously written three other books on photography and business and is currently working on a political/social history of 'Broken Britain' during the first decade of the 21sr century as well as his first novel. Follow HERE to learn more about Robert or HERE to visit his writing site. Robert also has several blogs, one of which you can follow HERE.
Author: Bill See
Author: Bill See
The author was a member of an up and coming Los Angeles band who hit the road in the summer of 1987 in an attempt to make their impression on the music scene. Divine Weeks was a band I had not heard of in the UK but having read the book I hit the web to find out a little more about them. I discovered some of their music and performance videos that are not at all bad and these enabled me to form an audio-visual attachment to Bill See’s written dialogue.
The book describes in some detail how this group comprised of four friends rented a van, grabbed a few belongings and with very little money managed to tour minor club and bar venues along America’s North West coast and into Canada before returning via Chicago, St Louis, Kansas, Tulsa, Dallas and other cities. The author describes what it was like to be a relatively unknown band that was vulnerable to the sharks that permeated the industry. He describes how they tried to grab a token of the fame that was showered on successful bands they tried emulate such as REM, the Eagles and others who had made it big time. They lived mainly on pizzas and other fast food, slept on the floors of sometimes weird but hospitable fans, drank too much, smoked the occasional spliff, at times accepted the seedier side of what was on offer from quintessential groupies and at times doubted their own ability. Along the way they befriended other touring bands and shared the experience of being ripped off by unscrupulous gig organizers and club owners who tried every trick in the book to avoid paying for their performances. Interwoven, at times sensitively, with the personal tales that surrounded the author and other band members and how, during the trip, doubts, family responsibilities and ties to loved ones left behind threatened to end the road trip almost as soon as it had left LA. But they stuck with it, united by the tough times and though they never quite made the big time, the tour cemented the solidarity of their sometimes awkward friendships. They also evolved as stronger individuals that escaped from within their individual shells and the experience taught them a great deal about themselves and their colleagues. As such it was a positive experience.
The book is straightforwardly written in diary style and though lacking in humor it succeeds by capturing much of the spirit of being a part of a touring band. I had expected to find the book dull but as I got deeper into the text I was able to empathize with the author. After a while I found it enjoyable, more especially as Bill See has a certain knack for sharing the esprit de corps of the road that reminded me of a similar trip (though not as part of a band) that I had made across Western and Eastern Europe with seven friends during 1972. In view of my experiences I was able to associate with Bill See by appreciating the tribulations and personal conflicts that can arise by living in the pockets of others within the tight confinement of a small van for an extended period. 33 Days is certain to revive – for good or bad –the experiences of life on the road for anyone who has ever done it.
Click Here To Purchase 33 Days: Touring In A Van, Sleeping On Floors, Chasing A Dream