I must begin by acknowledging that I have neither knowledge about nor interest in two thirds of the subjects Johan Kugelberg writes about in his collection Brad Pitt's Dog: Essays on Fame/Death/Punk. I must further admit that having read each of the essays with as much attention as I could muster my lack of knowledge of the subjects remains intact as does my interest. I must further confess that as often as not I had absolutely no idea what Kugelberg was talking about. Given all that, let me say that at least in those parts of the book that I thought I understood, Kugelberg is one of the most entertaining prose stylists I have come across in many a day.
His flights of rhetorical flash — gems that often come three or four to a page — are more than worth the price of admission. I may have had no idea what he was writing about, but I have to say I had a hell of good time reading it. So I can't tell you if I agree with the things he has to say about punk -- I have no idea who the Flying Calvittos are and why anyone on earth would be interested in collecting their "hopelessly obscure" record "Lucky to Be an Australian." I don't know the Lurkers from the The Rings, and I wouldn't know The Dictators Girls Go Crazy t-shirt if it was hanging out to dry in the sun, let alone who Eddie Flowers is.
Moreover I have no idea what motivates collectors of fanzines, old rock posters, band t-shirts and any of the other passions that Kugelberg anatomizes with excruciating detail. Come to think of it I have no idea what motivates collectors of anything. So I can tell you I absolutely find his fetish for collecting absurd, but then I find collectors of rare books, baseball cards, and aluminum foil absurd as well.
I can't tell you if I agree with his critiques of a photographer like Carl Johan De Geer or an artist like Dash Snow, because until I read the essays I had never heard of them. I did check the internet, and I must admit that what I saw left me unenthusiastic. I have no doubt I would feel the same way about the music Kugelberg admires, although I must admit to listening to the Velvet Underground with a smile on my face. Even here, however, I don't think I could manage the same kind of fervor Kugelberg generates.