Book Review: An Intimate History of Rough Trade by Neil Taylor

Published in the January 2011 issue of Rolling Stone Australia.

Book Review: ARTicles

A Critique on Critics

Somewhere lodged between the business and the style section is a few pages reserved for arts criticism. These reviews act as a short glimpse into the critic’s taste and unique personality, but what if we were to dig deeper?

Critic gives the reader a more dilated view of the lives of a variety of critics; some prove to be dull and analytical while others flare with the natural wit and comedy a storyteller is supposed to have. The piece serves as more of an instructional manual for aspiring critics rather than a series of entertaining (yet informative) short stories from the lives of critics. The book is a compilation of essays written by virtually every type of art critic; some essays include humorous anecdotes of being pied in the face for a bad review, the deep shame that comes with having lowbrow taste for liking Duran Duran, and how pop culture is so “tightly woven into the fabric of our existence” we feel the consuming want to wave at Julia Stiles when we see her on the street. Other less exciting essays were on topics such as the lack of architecture criticism in the field and a pop critic’s snarky response to hate mail.

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