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Empire of Dirt: The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music (Music Culture) [Hardcover]

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Item Number 207886  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   315
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 31, 2006
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819568104  
EAN  9780819568106  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Britain is widely considered the cradle of independent music culture. Bands like Radiohead and Belle and Sebastian, which epitomize indie music's sounds and attitudes, have spawned worldwide fanbases. This in-depth study of the British independent music scene explores how the behavior of fans, artists, and music industry professionals produce a community with a specific aesthetic based on moral values. Author Wendy Fonarow, a scholar with years of experience in the various sectors of the indie music scene, examines the indie music "gig" as a ritual in which all participants are actively involved. This ritual allows participants to play with cultural norms regarding appropriate behavior, especially in the domains of sex and creativity. Her investigation uncovers the motivations of audience members when they first enter the community and how their positions change over time so that the gig functions for most members as a rite of passage. Empire of Dirt sheds new light on music, gender roles, emotion, subjectivity, embodiment, and authenticity.

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More About Wendy Fonarow

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Wendy Fonarow is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles. She has worked for music labels including Domino, Reprise, and MCA, and is an active participant in the indie music community.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Fantastic  Sep 11, 2007
Besides the book being interesting, it was in great shape and delivered rapidly. Thanks very much!
Culture is Art  Jul 18, 2007
This book is necessary. This is for everyone from the musician to the music lover. It's for the anthropologist and the student. It's for the one who knows music is just in its accessibility to the masses and the one who insists it is popular culture and not fair game for academia. Professor Fonarow's brilliantly conceived piece of work will change your experience of any gig. You will be looking for "the zones" in every venue, redefine your conception of the "groupie," and see a sacred drama on the stage and in the audience. Fonarow allows us to understand the place indie music occupies in one's life and how aesthetics and metaphysics coexist to invite the idea of your music as your community and your culture as art. After reading this book, music will be participatory for you, whether or not you empathize with the indie ethos. The beautiful afterward (one I've read numerous times) is one of the most poetic endings of any ethnography I've ever read.
Jane Goodall of the Indie Rock Show  Dec 14, 2006
Wendy is the Jane Goodall of the indie rock show. I really enjoyed this anthropological treatment of independent music culture. She definitively describes the impossibly malleable subject of what is Indie. She identifies the zones of audience participation: from the sweaty body on body of the front, to the contemplative middle, to the indifferent bar area, and out to the home parlor of the retired fan.
A guilty pleasure for anyone who knows the scene.
EMPIRE OF DIRT helps define both the genre and experience  Sep 24, 2006
College-level students of British music won't want to miss EMPIRE OF DIRT: THE AESTHETICS AND RITUALS OF BRITISH INDIE MUSIC. Its analysis blends ethnographic and socio-historic literature on local music communities and genres, comes from a doctor who has worked in the music industry for several major record labels, and offers results from her thirteen-year study of indie rock. From gigs and performances to behavior, norms, and music perceptions from both audience and performer perspective, EMPIRE OF DIRT helps define both the genre and experience of British indie music.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
Professor Wendy  Aug 16, 2006
A brilliant read. It puts the development of modern individuals, from adolescence to adulthood, into a new meaningful perspective, as well as indie music within the greater context of human activity. I especially enjoyed the examples and anecdotes. The chapter on groupies depicts modern gender roles and attitudes that are too often overlooked in mainstream stereotypes. Her examination of musicians is hilarious as well as therapeutic and identifiable for anyone dissatisfied with the status quo. Her writing articulates the subconsciously absorbed culture and rituals with eloquence, humor, and insight. Her observations and discernment enhance the understanding and experience of music and culture. Thank you, Professor Wendy.

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