Tom Carson revisits a great critic's sprawling career decades after the two of them came up together in the creative world of late seventies New York.
Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs
by James Wolcott
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It would be a considerable exaggeration—and possibly misleading in other ways as well—to say that James Wolcott and I were ever friends. But we did get thrown into each other’s company a lot for a while there in the late ’70s. I was struggling to make a splash in the Village Voice’s pool of juvenile freelance rock critics, and he was the paper’s foremost young Turk—one soon to be Christianized, you might say, by Harper’s and then Vanity Fair. Even though he’d graduated from riffing it up in Bob Christgau’s music section to a slot as the Voice’s attention-catching TV columnist, he still went to a lot of punk shows.
Anyone who was there can tell you that nothing on God’s black-velvet earth was duller than waiting for the headliners to show up. Johnny Thunders obeyed no clock except heroin’s, and his coevals
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