Glamour Profession?

Glamour Profession?
Reviewer: SteveJ
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Eminent Hipsters:
176 pages
October 22, 2013
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

A witty, revealing, sharply written work of memoir and criticism by the cofounder of Steely Dan

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen is one strange book. Ostensibly about the people, places and things that shaped him growing up, it mostly serves as an extended bitch session on things that annoy Fagen. It’s a pretty long list. Which, by the way, might have been a fun read. This one? Not so much...

My favorite chapter was the all-too-short take on Henry Mancini’s music. Smart, funny and enlightening, this is what I was looking for! Ditto his pieces on "In The Clubs,” Ray Charles and Ike Turner; in fact, most of the music bits are worthwhile reads. The Ennio Morricone "interview" is classic Steely Dan; is Fagen serious or is he taking the piss out of you?

“With The Dukes of September,” the longest chapter by far, offers, according to the book flap, “a cranky narrative” and “hilarious account” of life on the road. It's a lot more of the former, but I will admit it is, at times, as hard to put down as it is to read. Mostly Fagen comes across as a diva with a profound dislike for his audience. I found none of the wicked humor that is in his best songs, just misplaced anger and loathing. Perhaps I am missing the humor in describing a Dan fan who “wanted to hear our seventies radio hits” as “a rude, ignorant, incurious racist douchebag that his parents should have been ashamed of conceiving.“ Whoah.

There were a couple of good lines and observations (I wholeheartedly agree with his take on the annoying trend of filming shows on cell phones) but most of it, particularly when it comes to his fans, comes off as mean-spirited. Putting out an album every five years, while Classic Rock radio perpetually humps your back catalog of hits, and touring with a review of faded stars that plays old R&B and soul classics ain’t exactly the best way to grow a younger or new audience, Donald. Throw out your gold teeth and see how they roll…

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