Saturday, May 19, 2012

Review of Ten Imaginary Years

I am a huge fan of The Cure. So when I learned of Ten Imaginary Years that was published over twenty years ago, I had to read it. Initially this was no easy task because it was difficult to find. A used copy showed up on Amazon and I snatched it.

The book is physically large and filled with great photos of The Cure's early years. Contrary to other reviews I have seen, the book does contain color photos though they are outnumbered by the black-and-whites. For some reason the text is intent on establishing The Cure as a classic heavy drinking/drugging band. I am unsure why because most fans (myself included) love The Cure for their music and phenomenal lyrics. In this regard I would have liked to learn more about the songs, what inspired them and how they were written. Alas, it is not until we get to The Top album that much attention is paid to song meanings.A few snippets address Camus and Killing an Arab, but that is about it. There is nothing about the whole drama that unfolded between The Cure and Penelope Farmer, author of Charlotte Sometimes, when the song of the same name was released. There is not a word about The Gormanghast Trilogy and its impression on Robert Smith and a number of the band's songs. An entire section could have described the video shot in the insane asylum and what Robert found there. Sigh.

Many bad reviews of The Cure are included in the book and a quarter of a century later appear comical given the wild success of the band. A number of these clippings are so small that one needs a magnifying glass to read them. The exclamation point is used like it is going out of style and few year dates are given in the book so it is easy to get lost. But these are small annoyances.
"Ten Imaginary Years" is a must for any fan of The Cure. Just the photos alone make it worthwhile, especially those of a beanpole Robert Smith. If you only know Just Like Heaven and Boys Don't Cry, however, you will likely be disappointed by this book. Now, if only The Cure would publish "Twenty Imaginary Years," or better yet "Thirty Imaginary Years!"

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