The music fan’s library is ironic. While the music collection is a pristine archive of only the best and most pure specimens of whatever artists comprise the fan’s taste, books amassed on the subject are sometimes of poor quality, contradictory, or little more than ghostwritten, sugar-coated, 200 page press releases.
Why do we, as fans, settle for such poor histories? Because we have no choice. Unreleased music is a lot easier to steal, bootleg, download and trade than the internal thoughts or eyewitness accounts of those who were there, wherever there is/was. Sometimes, we get lucky: we get the down and dirty gossip of Angie Bowie’s _Backstage Passes _or Boy George’s _Take It Like a Man_, or the meticulous documentation of Mark Lewisohn’s _Complete Beatles Recording Sessions_, thanked by the Apples in Stereo in the liner notes of their Fun Trick Noisemaker album. Sometimes we don’t like what we hear or reject what careful research is presented to us, like in Albert Goldman’s Lives of John Lennon. And when the subjects themselves speak out, we are usually disappointed by the lack of revelation, like George Harrison’s I Me Mine.
Andrew Loog Oldham has never been one to play the game according to someone else’s rules, and his autobiography is no exception. Both Stoned and 2Stoned are written as a series of vignettes that follow no discernible order, no chronology beyond Loog’s associative remembering and recounting. Lifted from interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and fellow scenesters, Loog assembles history as he sees fit, sprinkling his entries with colourful speech and turns of phrase that are far too exciting and full of personality to be the work of a ghostwriter. He doesn’t waste time with paltry introductions; he just lays his account out alongside the anecdotes of others, commenting on, supplementing, or contradicting them entirely. Loog recognizes the importance of other viewpoints in a manner that allows him to be salaciously bitchy and brutally honest.
Loog is a catty narrator, and has no problem telling it as he saw it, sentimentality be damned. Reading 2Stoned is like running into Loog at a party: if you can’t say something nice about a person, sit next to him.