Henry Rollins - The Portable Henry Rollins (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Henry Rollins

The Portable Henry Rollins (1998)


Just saying 'Rollins' is like walking into a fight. He's everything to everyone, isn't he. Some old hardcore kids make him synonymous with names like Ian MacKaye, while others accuse him of compromising his integrity, selling out, and generally of being a bad, bad man.

Upon reading the first few pages of this book, I thought only of one thing. Chixdiggit were bang on. Henry Rollins is a lot of things. He's a talented writer, an emotionally disturbed poet, and a powerful voice of dissent. But he isn't any fun. Of course, if you wanted something funny, you'll read Douglas Adams, Calvin and Hobbes, or maybe MRR.

Not to say that the book isn't an engrossing read, as it is. Though Mr.Rollins tends to go off on tangents about cockroaches, heating, and Guns'n'Roses. Of course, these little diatribes are occaisonally welcome, as they relieve a little of the tension. Nevertheless, taking this trip into Henry Rollins soul makes you want to take a shower.

Once again, I'm not criticizing. The kind of book that makes you feel somewhat sick, somewhat relieved, and selfishly happy to not have to go through what Henry did, is definitely a good one, albeit a little disturbing.

The book itself is a cross-section of Henry's writings, and as such, is a little smoother to read than some of his more disjointed stuff. Personally, I think he excels when he's telling stories, less so when he's indulging in his poetic side. And that's where this book fails for me. Because of the scrapbook style, it's hard to read it cover to cover, and while a sick attraction to his misery keeps you coming back, it's impossible to read it for any extended period of time.

So Henry's book is both good and bad, and I suppose that addresses what everyone has to say about him.