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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Hard Core Logo

Michael Turner

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To purchase Hard Core Logo

Title: Hard Core Logo
Author: Michael Turner
Genre: Novel
Written: 1993
Length: 197 pages
Availability: Hard Core Logo - US
Hard Core Logo - the film, on DVD (US)
Hard Core Logo - the film, on VHS (US)
Hard Core Logo - UK
Hard Core Logo - Canada
  • Hard Core Logo was made into a film in 1996, directed by Bruce McDonald, with Hugh Dillon as Joe Dick (and a cameo by Joey Ramone as himself)

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Our Assessment:

B : attractive though very slight novel of Canadian punk nostalgia

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Hard Core Logo tells the story of the reunion of "the seminal punk band / Hard Core Logo". Founded in 1977 by Joe Dick, the band disbanded long ago, but in the early 1990s gets back together for a reunion show and then a somewhat successful little tour -- the subject of this book.
       The story is presented as a series of very brief vignettes, a pastiche of letters, journal entries, telephone answering machine messages, songs, inventories, food orders, faxes, dedications, interviews, and more. It is vaguely billed as a novel-in-verse, but that seems stretching definitions -- though there is a reasonable amount of free-ish verse (and those lyrical songs) in the book.
       In American Whiskey Bar (see our review), Turner writes:

Company Town and Hard Core Logo are both narratives that could just as easily have been written as banal realist novels. But I chose to write them in verse in order to subvert the varying misconceptions poetry carries (i.e. it is 'difficult', 'romantic'). The idea, here, was to (...) in the case of Hard Core Logo, contrast the boredom of a touring punk rock band with a heroic -- or even epic -- form. Something like that.
       Something like that indeed. Turner's vignettes and morsels around the band and from the tour are fairly effective: the pace is fast, the material varied (and only in a few cases is any single item over a page in length), different perspectives are offered. Photographs are also interspersed with the text, as well as other items (facsimiles of a contract, of a scrawled note, etc.) spreading things out even more. It makes for an attractive volume.
       The story itself is also reasonably entertaining. Hard Core Logo was -- so Joe Dick -- "the populist band", and they "made a career out of breaking up". They get together for a benefit, and since no one has really had much success in their post-band days they decide to go on the road again. Among the novels amusing conceits: the punk band decides to go acoustic.
       The tour is a typical messy band-tour -- and, of course, doomed from the beginning. Since everybody is a bit older (including the audience) things aren't quite as wild as in the good old days either. Still, they enjoy some success -- something they also feel ambivalent about. As John notes in his diary, after a gig at which everything went wrong:
Still, the crowd loved it. They were going wild. And that's what really bugged me the most.
       The band is a motley crew that don't get along very well, leading to some amusing (and some sad) clashes. A feeling of over the hill nostalgia pervades the pages, and the end and next dissolution comes fast and hard.
       Hard Core Logo isn't the world's most convincing punk band (but, hey, its Canada, right ?). Herd it Through the Bovine is a pretty good album title, but some of the lyrics sound far too tame:
You had no time for corruption
You felt that the world
Was an unsafe place
You worked towards a solution
But the best you could do
Was to send me away
       (Note that many of the songs from the book were then turned into actual songs in the 1996 movie version.)

       A quick, slight read, Hard Core Logo has its moments -- but Turner doesn't do enough with the material (or rather: he doesn't offer enough material). It is clever enough, but ultimately there is just too little here. Still, it is a very attractive book, and it does make a decent read.

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Hard Core Logo: Reviews: Hard Core Logo - the movie: Reviews of Hard Core Logo - the movie: Reviews of Hard Core Logo - the play: Michael Turner: Other books by Michael Turner under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Michael Turner is a Canadian author.

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