No Flash, Please! Un­der­ground Mu­sic in Toronto 1987-92

Derek von Essen and Phil Saun­ders, 255 pgs, Anvil Press, anvil­press.com, $28

Broken Pencil - - Book Reviews -

No Flash, Please! can ei­ther read like draw­ings by cave­men left on a rock or a fun walk down mem­ory lane, de­pend­ing on which side of 1995 you were born on. As some­one who was born in the late 1980s, I can say it is a won­der­ful snap­shot of a time my (kind of) older friends talk about with a twin­kle in their eye.

The en­tire book fo­cuses on the Toronto un­der­ground mu­sic scene from 1987-92. It is filled from cover to cover with black-and-white film pho­tos, taken by one of the au­thors, Derek von Essen. These pho­tos are filled with at­ti­tude, life and a whole lot of his­tory. Thank­fully, lo­cal mu­sic writer Phil Saun­ders, who was doc­u­ment­ing the mu­sic scene at that time, has won­der­ful in­sight into most of the bands that are fea­tured. His text, which ac­com­pa­nies the pho­tos, helps bring an aware­ness and splash of colour that is truly en­gag­ing for any­one who, like me, loves to dig deep into the roots of the un­der­ground scene.

Some rare and un­ex­pected mo­ments grace the pages too many to name, but I will let you know Nir­vana, the Ra­mones, Di­nosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop and many, many more all have sto­ries in this book. If you are a rock lover, a punk lover or just a photography lover, I am sure you will find some ap­pre­ci­a­tion with this piece of Toronto’s long mu­si­cal his­tory. (Shelby Monita)

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