Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Illustrated Collector's Guide to Kate Bush: Second Edition

I recently discovered that a friend of mine has the second edition of this book, and knowing that I'm a huge fan of Kate’s, she said I could borrow the book if I wanted to. I really didn’t see the point, since I knew there wouldn’t be anything in it that I didn’t already know or have – but then I thought…  No, this could make for an interesting review of sorts, especially as I did own the original first edition of this book back in the early ‘90s… until I finally decided to trash it.

I’ve also included a few pictures from the book here to illustrate some of my points along the way. So if you’ve never seen the inside of this book before, now is your chance. Some of my photos are a little over flashed, but I wasn’t going for points here. I could have scanned pages, but it's not my book to destroy.

I found this book to be extremely disappointing for so many reasons, which makes me even more glad that I never wasted any money on this thing. If this edition has one thing going for it, it’s the fact that the author decided to use full colour illustrations throughout, which is a huge improvement on the original release of this book. If you’ve never seen the original, I can tell you right now that everything was black & white, and on low grade quality paper. It looked very cheap at the time, and I’m sure if I still had my copy my opinion on it would remain the same.

My first annoyance with the book is how crammed everything is. The back of LPs and Singles are never shown, and if there's a release with a colour vinyl single, it usually lies on top of the picture sleeve blocking it entirely. Poor, poor layout design.
My second big annoyance with this book is missing information. This page is showing you the 7" singles from The Red Shoes. The picture for the Eat The Music one is presumably the sleeve for the deleted 7" single, but guess what??? There's no mention of it anywhere on this page or the previous page. See why it's important to check your work and proofread?
Since the author chose to go with full colour illustrations on this edition (even better quality paper), it makes it even more of a shame that he didn’t expand further on things by showing specific items in better detail, or more importantly, branching off into what I consider to be more relevant collecting areas. It would have benefited greatly had a lot more work been put into this “revised edition”, but this is nothing more than a rehash of the original… including the same grammatical errors, inconsistencies and downright incorrect information. Personally, I don’t see the point of attempting to do a book like this one and calling it an “Illustrated Collector’s Guide”, especially if you aren’t prepared to do some basic research to get your facts straight.    

Another huge annoyance of mine with this book. Spacing, or maybe I should say the lack of. The listings in this book are so crammed in that they aren't even in their relevant sections. Just look at the 12" single for Moments of Pleasure... it's been crammed in under the promos section. Nice!
Another annoyance of mine is pictures like this showing you Canadian promo box set for The Sensual World. Seriously, what's the point of showing what's inside if you aren't going to show it all? If I didn't own this already, I would be really irritated with this because I would want to see what the booklet looked like. If you're going to show something, do it right. That's my attitude about it, and that's why I've gone out of my way to try and show everything on my blog in every possible way that I can.
One of the more interesting things I noticed about this edition is that there seems to be items missing that were clearly listed in the original book. One example would be a bootleg box set that came out around 1990/91 called “The Can”. I remember it being clearly listed in the original edition with a photo and a breakdown of its contents. It doesn’t appear to be in this second edition at all. In fact, I can see quite a few things missing from this edition that were clearly in the first. I’m just wondering if the author chose to leave out certain items so that he would have more room for his totally irrelevant timeline on Kate’s TV Appearances (which is neither complete or in chronological order), or if there was another reason for it.

Again, everything is so crammed into this book that the entries aren't properly lining up with their relevant photo. Just another example of the poor planning and a poor layout design.
Pathetic attempt at showing you the tour programmes from '79, without really showing them to you. What's the point of that???
If it sounds like I really hate the book, then you're right... I do. It's mediocre at best. The truth is there are people out there with far, far greater collections than you see in this book, with more knowledge than this hack (in fact, they’ve probably forgotten more than this person ever knew), and I guarantee that if they had the time and the resources, they could compile a much more interesting, thorough and informative book without even trying. Actually, I would love it if a group of huge collectors got together and compiled such a book. I think the end result would be a fantastic one.  

I’m sure the book might be a useful starting point to someone that’s an absolute beginner with collecting, but to anyone else it’s quite useless. It's not well thought out or designed, and the overall layout is very awkward and crammed. It does make an alright picture book though… I guess!

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