One day I will finish my novel that is set in Detroit. Until that day, I relish each book I come across that has Detroit at it's heart. I'm upset that I lost my signed copy of The Mental Machine by Charles Johnson who is better known as Electrifying Mojo. Mojo was *the* DJ in Detroit when I was growing up and he reigned over the Midnight Funk Association, his reference to the cult of listeners that tuned in to his late night radio show. Sometime in the nineties, Mojo published a book of "narratives, poems and prose." I remember the day that Paul came home with a signed copy of the book and told me how he'd met Mojo at a bookstore in the New Center area. I flipped out. "You saw Mojo?" I screamed. Mojo had always been cloaked in mystery; the lore was that no one had ever seen him and certainly no one in my world could describe him. "He looks normal," Paul said. "Average brother." Paul told Mojo how much I loved his show and he signed the book "To Renee"....something something something. Sadly, I can't remember the inscription.
I see that used and collector copies of The Mental Machine are on Amazon and I may have to go ahead and buy another one.
I also wish that I had purchased a copy of a book that collected the quotes of Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young. I remember flipping through the book, which was small and perhaps self-published or published by a small press. I should have gotten it then but I didn't. Mayor Young was a colorful political character who liked to cuss. Two of my favorite quotes of his are these: "
"Swearing is an art form. You can express yourself much more exactly, much more succinctly, with properly used curse words." ANDIf anyone knows where I can find that book, please let me know.
"Aloha, Motherfuckers" (said to Detroit journalists as he spoke from Hawaii)
In the mean time, there is a just published graphic memoir set in Detroit that looks dark and weird and lovely. It's titled Stitches by David Small and the NYTimes had a nice review of it over the weekend.
And if you're into books on music, I enjoyed Dan Sicko's Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk which follows the evolution of Techno music from it's beginnings in Detroit to its embrace overseas in Europe and elsewhere. There are priceless photos in the book, like one of DJ Ken Collier spinning at a party in 1981.