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Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax - review

Don’t touch it. Don’t even look at it. Alright, do.

Cover art for Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax

Housed in a Heavaaay! Dutaaay! cardboard slipcase and with a none-more-black inside cover, this isn’t quite as sizeable as ‘big black book’ would suggest – maybe two-thirds of your usual coffee-table whopper – but it sure is packed with a pleasingly tongue-in-cheek interpretation of Spinal Tap’ s history, from Squatney whippersnappers surviving on deep-fried cotton wool balls to Break Like The Wind, the 1992 comeback that “defied all expectations and logic”, plus a full Tapography.

Featuring pockets of facsimile memorabilia – the Themeland Puppet Show ticket, the Spinal Pap airport sign – it’s all icing on a very silly cake and it’s just as well the Scratch And Sniff card doesn’t work (Leather Jacket, Cold Sore, Explosion). But the whole package does, as a fun, and funny, read, rightfully celebrating the greatest spoof band of all time.

Sadly, though, the Stonehenge napkin isn’t actually a napkin. Just that one detail would have turned this up to a 12.

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.