Book Review: A Field Guide to Punk & A Field Guide to Post-Punk & New Wave, by Steve Wide • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: A Field Guide to Punk & A Field Guide to Post-Punk & New Wave, by Steve Wide

MUSIC: A comprehensive field guide to little-understood music genres, from the history and social climate, to the artists that made it popular.

Two aligned volumes about two quintessential musical styles – for the novice and devotee.

Steve Wide is back!

Following the publication of his 6-book ‘A to Z’ biographical series on Bowie, Prince, Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, The Beatles and Freddie Mercury, Wide has now turned his attention from specific artists to broader (but still specific) music genre.

He has done this through the development of field guides. A field guide is defined as a portable book to help the reader identify objects in their natural habitat. Currently, there are two books in Steve Wide Presents – A Field Guide toone on punk, the other on post-punk & new wave.

When one says (or sees) the word punk, there are generally two schools of thought: the cinematic (Dirty Harry, asking the said punk if he feels lucky) and the music genre. The issue with the thinking around the music is that, when asked to delve deeper, most people will likely say, “That’s the music of the Sex Pistols”. Steve Wide shows us that there is so much more to punk music.

In his second volume – Post-Punk & New Wave – he goes on to identify the influences that punk had on these music genres.

Each book is a succinct, defined and informative collection, from what appears to be random quotes (teasers) to a summary of the music’s emergence. From there, it’s into a serpentine timeline and a highly detailed ‘family tree’. Onward to the albums and the artists, the look, lifestyle, influences and influencers, and wrapping up with each style’s legacy.

Wide’s field guides, while simple in design, are dense in their detail. He knows his music and has brought that knowledge to these compact tomes. The essential aspect of Wide’s books – much like his A to Z volumes – lies in their accessibility. This is exactly what is needed in a field guide: a portable work that you can bring along on your journey.

Whether you are new to the scenes of punk, post-punk & new wave, or you’re an old school lover of it, these guides will provide what you need to identify these artists in their natural habitat.

N.B. In 2021 we can look forward to two additional field guides from Steve Wide – one on Brit Pop and the other on Grunge & Slacker.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: September 2020
RRP: $29.99 each

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