Author

Roel Bentz van den Berg

Roel Bentz van den Berg studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and began publishing articles on popular music, cinema and American literature in the daily NRC Handelsblad in 1982. His first book of essays, De luchtgitaar (The Air Guitar, 1994), was illustrated by Peter Pontiac, who has been publishing illustrations and comic strips since 1969, mainly in such underground magazines as Aloha/Hitweek, Anarchy Comix (USA) and El Vibora (Spain). Bentz van den Berg has since published two more essay collections, De overdaad (The Excess, 1999) and Zapdansen (Zapdancing, 2005), the latter of which was awarded the Jan Hanlo Essay Prize. In 2004 he published a novel: Dagen van vertrek (Days of Departure).

The Air Guitar

The Air Guitar

(J.M. Meulenhoff, 1994, 176 pages)

‘Making music was never my ambition. What I wanted was to be music,’ writes Roel Bentz van den Berg at the start of his collection of reflections on rock music, De luchtgitaar. He could not have given a more telling self-portrait. For Bentz van den Berg the invisible guitar is an instrument of the imagination. In this book, comprising forty-five essays on American popular music between 1948 and 1992, the writer identifies so completely with the lyrics and music of diverse immortal soul, rock and folk hits that he makes the reader feel like a witness to the birth of these songs.

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