Quick Book Review: “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk and Post-Punk Graphic Design” by Andrew Krivine

This is a big, heavy coffee-table book about the graphic design of the punk music scene.  The author, an American, became obsessed with UK punk in 1977. (I did, too, so I can relate.) He found the graphic design of punk records, posters, buttons, and fliers fascinating, and he began collecting them.  His collection grew to massive proportions.  This book contains hundreds of graphic images from his archives, which is arguably the largest collection of punk and post-punk graphic art in the world, as well as a few short, incisive essays by him and others.  The genres covered are fairly broad: some proto-punk (Velvet Underground, NY Dolls), American hardcore, goth, post-punk, etc., but the main focus is on UK punk.  Music, fashion, and graphic design have always been linked, but the graphics have probably not been so tightly associated with one particular genre of music as much as it has with punk.  Many British punk bands forged enduring partnerships with graphic designers and art directors (as opposed to the 50’s and 60’s, when record labels had salaried design staff that were expected to create covers on a piecework basis, with minimal focus on the genre or performer.) This wasn’t as common in the US as it was in the UK.  The printing and paper stock is high quality.  Seeing the graphics of the bands that I loved at the time (The Clash, Sex Pistols, Jam, X-ray Spex, Buzzcocks) brought back great memories, and also increased my appreciation for the talent of these designers. For punk fans who appreciate graphic design, or for graphic designers who appreciate punk.  Whatever.  It’s a great book.  

1 Comment

  • Bohni Kempton
    Posted January 22, 2022 2:34 am 0Likes

    Great share. I stumbled upon your blog after reading the article in Catster about cats with constipation issues. My best buddy, 19 year old Maine Coon cat has had issues lately. I am a very spiritual person and had a reading done by a cat whisperer who said the reading was very different from the norm as my bud kept telling her to play music for me. (My cat has a tumor in his intestines or near, X-rays don’t show much, but my vet thought surgery would be too much for him.) I’m a former Chicagoan now living in Maine who had a female punk band in the 80’s and followed so many of my favs like Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys etc,. I loved your reference to this book. And my cat keeps taking me to my piano, guitars, bass etc. reminding me that music is still an integral part of my life which I am grateful. I also want to thank you for reminding me that when you have a passion for something, to keep following that passion no matter where it leads.

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