Will Work for Drugs

January 01, 1970

(Akashic Books)

 

www.akashicbooks.com

 

BY STEPHEN M. DEUSNER

 

 

 

Never trust anybody who proclaims they “just don’t give a
fuck.” Especially if they do so in ALL CAPS. If that declaration were true, they
wouldn’t actually have to make it. Lydia Lunch does just that in the first
piece in her latest book, Will Work for
Drugs,
which gathers short rants, ravings, polemics, demagogueries,
autobiographies, interviews, and fictions published in small journals over the
last few years.

 

Best known as the frontwoman for the No Wave act Teenage
Jesus & the Jerks, Lunch is one of many self-made women to emerge from the
rundown New York
of the late 1970s, with a cross-media approach that involves not only singing
and writing, but filmmaking, photography, spoken-word, and performance art. For
better or worse, she writes prose that shrieks from the page, brutally
descriptive and pungently evocative. She’s most compelling when tethered to
even a loose narrative, as in “1967” and “The Beast,” whose elusiveness
suggests the haziness of either memory or narcotics. But mostly, Will Work
for Drugs
is full of rambling quasi-essays about how awesome New York was, how war is
a cancer on society, how new mothers are always self-involved, and how Jerry Stahl
is a fucking genius, goddammit.

 

These entries grate, not simply because her riffing becomes
repetitive and not simply because her vitriol quickly grows comically
hyperbolic (unintentionally so, I’m assuming), but because Lunch writes not to
understand the world, but to make sure the world understands her. She really
does give a fuck.

 

Leave a Reply