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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 26, 1999)
The Singles 1981-1985
The Rolling Stones and the
Clash are England’s best contribu
tions to rock ‘n’ roll.
Depeche Mode is the worst
Meek attempts at synthesizer
innovation should be sufficient evi
dence for anybody with respect for
the art form. Throw in a varied array
of inappropriate barber-shop har
monies and you have new wave’s
Unfortunately, Mute Records
has further saturated the rock ‘n’ roll
market with “Depeche Mode: The
The London-based label, which
has helped launch the already vener
able careers of Nick Cave and PJ
Harvey, loses a bit of its coolness
here. “The Singles 1981-1985” is a
kind of nothingness that only appeals
to a most distasteful American phe
nomenon - Europhiles.
Before you Europhiles begin
barking at this page like Yorkshire
terriers, let’s just say this reviewer
would never take anything away
from your legendary Smiths.
Depeche Mode, on the other
hand, deserves nothing less than crit
The main reason, with meager
exceptions, is the group has always
sounded phony. And not the fun kind
of phony either.
* Critic Caroline Sullivan couldn t
have written it any better in a review
of Depeche Mode’s “Shake the
Disease” single in March 1985 Mien
she characterized the group as “foot
ball hooligans as sensitive wimps.”
These chaps are as unbelievable
Compare Depeche Mode singer
David Gahan’s form of lost-love self
deprecation to David Bowie’s
“Heroes” Brian-Eno-era style of
beautiful artifice, and one is left with
little doubt about whose music will
Bowie had an unusual-yet
grainy sense of reality. In contrast,
Depeche Mode lacks grit.
Such pretty, pretty things are
It would be surprising if even
faithful Depeche Mode fans are
lured into buying this antique piece
The opening track, “Dreaming
of Me,” is a prime example of the
group’s barren pop attempts. The
deadpan nature of the vocals fails to
bring the song to life. Furthermore,
the synthesizer work sounds incredi
bly than and immature.
The album progresses through
Depeche Mode’s early 1980s only to
expose the band’s limited scope of
blackened love, tears and sex.
It’s a bad sign when the most
intellectually stirring moment comes
in the lyrics of a song obviously
named “Master and Servant”
Even Morrissey fronted the
Smiths with an impressively honest
harmonization of the mystery of his
vocals and performances up inside
the bandVpunk edge.
Please see DEPECHE on 10
Book recognizes authors’
contributions to Nebraska
Senior staff writer
Scholars, literary aficionados and
even most dorm residents recognize
the names of Nebraska writers such as
Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz.But
these women are only two of the more
than 700 Nebraska writers document
ed in the new book, “Guide to
The book, which provides bio
graphical information on local
authors, serves as a tribute to the pro
lific and diverse community of authors
who have lived and worked in
“The sheer number of people in
the book is evidence of the Nebraska
writing community’s vitality,” said
Robert Brooke, a UNL English pro
fessor and author of the introduction to
the author’s guide.
Add in the number of Nebraskans
getting published nationally, and you
have an artistic community that may
be one of Nebraska’s best kept secrets.
However, local authors are not sur
prised by the abundance of working
i writers in the state. With so many
around, writers are bound to run into
each other and establish connections.
“Hie contact between the authors
in the state is
Gerry Cox, one
of the guide’s
off each other.
nicate well. E
mail has made
a great deal of --
Strong creative writing programs
at the Lincoln and Omaha campuses
of the University of Nebraska also
have fostered the birth and develop
ment of writers.
And creative writing collabora
tions are not limited to higher educa
tion, Brooke said. As director of the
Nebraska Writing Project, Brooke has
also seen an increase in the number of
community collaborations. In each
community he visits, Brooke sees
small groups of local writers getting
together to exchange ideas and cri
tique each other.
“They’re not trying to write the
great American novel. They’re trying
to write something that’s important to
- their community,” Brooke said.
Despite these collaborations, some
authors in western Nebraska still feel
separated from the hub of activity.
Most of the collaborations and net
working takes place in the eastern part
of the state, said Valerie Lee Vierk, a
writer who lives in Ravenna. In order
to attend events and seminars, Vierk
said, she had to take time off work,
arrange for a place to stay and make
travel plans.“I’m a little isolated,”
Though the Nebraska writing com
munity may not be completely con
nected internally, the national publish
i ing scene is eager to integrate die work
of Nebraska authors into their reper
Marly Swkk, Richard Dooling and
Paul Eggers are just a few authors
They re not trying to
write the great
They're trying to
that's important to
Nebraska Writing Project director
whose novels have been picked up by
national publishing companies.
Other authors have explored self
publishing as a means to get their work
to the public. When authors self-pub
lish, they make a contract with a pub
lishing company and pay for the use of
its press out of their own pocket
But regardless of the success of
various writers, the inevitable question
remains: Why do they work in
Their answers are as diverse as the
literature they produce.
“This is where they draw their
are born in
into their initial
they find them
ing here either
in their writing or physically.
Other writers live here to escape
the grind of writing for a living in met
“I’ve been able to work here with
out being affected by trends,” said
Robert Vivian, an Omaha playwright.
For Vivian, Nebraska provides the
time and space he needs to create.
Even though Nebraska may not
have the most active theater communi
ty, Vivian feels he has more opportuni
ties for experimentation here.
“Even the major off-Broadway
theaters - they’re not nearly as nice as
some place like the Blue Bam,” Vivian
Family, lower crime rates and lower
cost of living expenses also attract
authors back to the state, Cox said.
Vierk said Nebraska is the place
she knows best
“To me, writing is just like real life.
I feel as if this is where I’m supposed
to be and what I’m supposed to be
writing about,” Vierk said.
Whether they stay for artistic or
personal reasons, Nebraska authors
are shattering stereotypes about
“rural” writers, adding to not only the
state’s literature scene, but the national
scene as well.
“The old stereotype, ‘It’s hard for
us Midwesterners to break into the
New York scene,’ doesn’t hold true
anymore. I think eyes have opened,”
“I think the exposure of more
Nebraska authors is overpowering any
negative images that exist,” she said
A semesterbog bat at Ndraia literary culture and
die people who create it.
Nebraska Authors,” which includes short biographies of more than 700 writ
ers. Cox, 68, said the book grew from a request by the National Council of
Teachers of English for a map featuring Nebraska authors.
works done in-state
By Jeff Randall
Senior staff writer
Throngs of cattle, corn and cold
winters are common stigmas that sur
round outsiders’ perceptions of
But they’re things that people who
live in this state realize are only a small
part of the Nebraska experience -
Nebraska literature, on the other hand,
is still widely misunderstood even
A library of Nebraska writings
quietly opened last November in the
Governor’s Mansion, and dispelling
those myths is part of its mission.
“(The library) provides an
overview of books by Nebraskans and
about Nebraskans,” said Gerry Cox,
who recently co-published the “Guide
to Nebraska Authors.”
“The authors don’t always write
about the flat lands and the harsh
weather, all of those cliches about the
The library was dedicated Nov. 19,
1998, nearly 40 years after former
First Lady Darlene Brooks first
brought her plans for a Nebraska
authors library to fruition.
Fueled with books donated by
public libraries and private individuals
statewide, the library was to be the
definitive home of Nebraska’s literary
heritage. But over the years, the library
It wasn’t until the renovation of the
Governor’s Mansion began a few years
ago that the idea of a library was rekin
“So many of the books had just
been dispersed, thrown into boxes and
forgotten,” Cox said. “It took a lot of
work to start it all over.”
Then-First Lady Diane Nelson
was the force behind the library’s re
dedication and revival. With the aid of
several state agencies and organiza
tions, die library is once again gather
ing books rather than dust.
One such agency is the Nebraska
Rod Wagner, director of the com
mission, said the book gathering
boiled down to simply sending out let
ters to libraries and private donors.
“That was a few months ago, and
we’re still getting donations,” Wagner
And, just as Cox said the books
that are coming in deal with a lot more
than terrain and livestock.
“Every author has something dif
ferent to say and something different
to look at,” Wagner said. “There’s so
much to talk about. There really isn’t a
common thread to Nebraska’s
But to some extent, Cox disagreed.
“Out of all die authors I’ve spoken
to, nearly every one has said that they
are drawn back to the state,” she said.
“They just think that life is belter here.
I suppose they have that in common.”
The library, located in the Heritage
Room of the Governor’s Mansion, also
houses the doll-sized replicas of all of
the state’s first ladies and one first gen
“It’s a place where visitors to the
mansion can go not to just relax, but to
see this collection and hopefully learn
a hole more about this state,” Wagner
said. “There’Sahvays more to learn.”
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