Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Buzz:-->"Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer (1997)

"Those pictures you said were strange...
Out of tune.
Out of key.
It's such a shame but you never quite see."
Be-Bop Deluxe

"Above 8,000 meters is not a place where people can afford morality." An explanation one climber offers when asked how someone could possibly leave another mountain climber behind.

"Into Thin Air" (378 pages) is a thrilling true-life story about a group of variously skilled climbers attempting to tackle the "Mother of all Mountains" - Mt. Everest.

In March 1996, author Jon Krakauer joined an expedition to climb Mt. Everest for the purpose of a writing assignment for Outside Magazine. What unfolded is a first-person account of ordinary people...faced with extremely difficult challenges...and the tragedy that unfolded before the author's eyes.

We quickly learn that prolonged exposure to unbearably cold weather and the tremendous effort to overcome high altitudes with low oxygen can contribute mightily in the effort to make wise decisions...often causing serious injury and death to oneself or team member.
Mt Everest - 29,028 feet of glorious hell.
The enormous struggle for survival becomes painfully obvious and Krakauer skillfully creates a glorious and frightening picture of a location most will never know.

I purposely waited for Winter to arrive before reading "Into Thin Air" when venturing outside to scrape my windshield or shovel a snow path to the car...the freezing Kansas wind sucking the breath from my lungs like an Oreck vacuum cleaner might serve as a "very gentle reminder" of what it must have been like being exposed to the merciless mountain elements.

A silly exercise, of course...and totally unnecessary...yet it easily convinced me that I would just be another..."fool on the hill"...should I ever endeavor to posture.

A sad but tremendous read. Good stuff!


Bill Nelson was the guitarist-extraordinare, perfectionist and leader of Be-Bop Deluxe that masterfully walked the thin line between a progressive sound and a Todd Rundgren-like dalliance in pop perfection.

"Sunburst Finish" (1976) is a little-known gem from Be-Bop Deluxe...a much-forgotten band that will keep listeners entertained in its unexpected and unique approach with its balancing act.

A cross between Mott The Hoople and Yes...(and other influences)...BBD is easy to warm up to with its catchy melodies and the lovely and trippy guitar work from Nelson.

The instrumental breaks are delicious to the ear...with interesting directions that sound fresh and unexpected. A plus, "time changes" are kept to a minimum and only to further the song along.

I'm not an expert on Bill Nelson and his band...Be-Bop Deluxe by any means..but I know what I like.

"Sunburst Finish"
is a nice addition to anyone's musical crayon box. Good Stuff.
Be-Bop Deluxe:-->"Like An Old Blues" (Sunburst Finish) (1976) (Must Own)

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