Two Stories by Jean Smith

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Family Swan and other songs
by Jean Smith
isbn 0-9697112-5-5
$10

Smith ascends to a new level of willingness to reveal accounts of family tension giving readers a new vantage point to view their own history from. Specific and personal, the adult does the remembering. Family Swan is powerful – anger, pain and funny recollections are allowed to surface. Most of these pieces are on “The Family Swan” the new Mecca Normal CD, out August 20, 2002 on Kill Rock Stars. Jean hand printed her lino-cut cover at Community Print in Olympia, Washington with the assistance of Nikki McClure.

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Best known as something of a mid-wife to the Riot Grrrl movement, many might not know that Vancouver’s Jean Smith (Lester’s band mate in Mecca Normal) is also an accomplished author and zinester. Good to know! Literal to the point of tears, Smith’s Two Stories is just that–two tales that in a weird, roundabout way mirror the aggressive and artsy nature of Smith’s music but with a whole lot more humour and a heaping helpin’ of street smarts. Firstly, the fabulously-titled “Carton of Creamo and Red-Jell-o Setting” tells the story of helping and humping in the computer age, with seriously sexy results. Secondly, “In the End He Says ‘Attraction is Ephemeral'” speaks of mini-skirts, kitchenwares and other musts for the modern man. Aesthetically speaking, both works share a headspace and drip with a weirdo relationship humour that’s miles away from the tripe you’d see on network television. Smith does well by keeping these stories short and razor sharp, prodding at the reader with a seasonal blend of black humour and heart. Amusement is paramount and Two Stories definitely will strike a nerve with hipsters and other indie art fans looking to bust a gut. – Cameron Gordon, Broken Pencil, 2007

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