Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2023 November 15 • Wednesday

Here's another absorbing David Collier book, Topp: Promoter Gary Topp Brought Us the World.

This is another of Collier's trademark mixtures of autobiography and reportage, with the focus this time on particular cultural developments in 1970s and '80s Toronto, specifically punk rock and movies, more specifically venues opened and operated by a man nanmed Gary Topp.

A young Collier himself worked for Topp and his memories are balanced with the present day Collier querying Topp about the history of his clubs and cinemas.

Several years ago Clowes dropped a sort of manifesto in an issue of Eightball after which his work took on a decidedly Nabokovian aspect. A painter named Krugg probably signals this influence and perhaps the marshalling of all available macro and micro details to serve an intensely powerful singular vision is also thus inspired.

It wasn't all that long ago that if you wanted to see what a band was like in concert you actually had to be there in front of them while they were playing.

Topp brought countless musical artists to Toronto, instigating first encounters with an incredible variety of acts, perhaps most notably the Canadian debut of The Ramones.

As important and influential as he was, it seems likely that very few people today would know about him if it weren't for documentary work like Collier's invaluable book.

Once again, I wish there were more books like this and I'm grateful to have this one.