Fury's Hour: A (Sort-of) Punk Manifesto

Description

296 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
$27.00
ISBN 0-679-31325-7
DDC 781.66

Year

2005

Contributor

Reviewed by Douglas Ivison

Douglas Ivison is the Graduate Coordinator, Department of English,
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay.

Review

It’s not every book on punk music that features a blurb from a former
Canadian prime minister (Jean Chrétien), but then not many books are
written by Liberal backroom political strategists like Warren Kinsella.
Unfortunately, that is the most unique aspect of an impassioned but
unfocused and rambling discussion of punk music and punk culture by
Kinsella, Liberal political strategist during the Chrétien era,
political blogger, journalist, and former punk rocker.

As a teenager in early 1980s Calgary, Kinsella was a member of a punk
group called the Hot Nasties. He brings to Fury’s Hour the passion of
the fan, the first-hand knowledge of being on stage, and the perspective
of someone familiar with historical and critical writings on punk music.
Yet, the result is not a comprehensive history or critical study of
punk, not a memoir of Kinsella’s engagement with and participation in
punk, and not a punk manifesto. Instead, it is an oddly unfocused book
that ineffectively combines those disparate approaches to the subject in
an effort to explore the politically empowering potential of punk and
its occasional dark side.

In many ways, the heart of the book is a pair of chapters focused on
politics and punk. The first celebrates the leftist tradition within
punk, while the second explores punk’s dark side. Benefiting from
Kinsella’s previous research into racist extremists in Canada, the
most interesting part of the latter chapter is his discussion of white
supremacists’ appropriation of punk as a means of propagating racial
hatred. Yet even this chapter is ultimately rambling and unfocused, and
tells us little new about punk.

Much of the rest of the book simply rehashes stories that have already
been told many times. Too much of it is superficial and lacking in
critical perspective, failing to provide its readers with any new
information or a unique perspective on punk. Nor does the book, as we
might expect, provide much information about Canadian punk, which is
often overlooked in other accounts.

Readers largely unfamiliar with punk might be driven by Kinsella’s
enthusiasm to explore more deeply the music and culture discussed in the
book. Anyone with more than a passing knowledge of the subject, however,
will find little new here.

Citation

Kinsella, Warren., “Fury's Hour: A (Sort-of) Punk Manifesto,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16991.