Catholic Boy

Jim Carroll died of a heart attack this past weekend. A poet and minor rock figure, he was mostly known for his song "People Who Died" and for his book "The Basketball Diaries", which was later turned into a Leonardo DiCaprio movie. His album "Catholic Boy" is pretty damned excellent.

I still have this copy of "The Basketball Diaries", which was passed around my high school class and somehow, miraculously, made it back to me. Perfect adventure reading for the suburban 17-year-old male: plenty of basketball, illicit sex, and heroin addiction as streetwise kids run amok in NYC. It was far more compelling than the required reading at the time. "Tess of the d"Urbervilles" anyone?

While the cover design is nothing amazing, I suppose it could be lauded for its design restraint, which is not something one usually associates with the mass market format. There's even a block of unused white space running down the side. The type is stacked in that left/right/middle rag that you see on jazz albums. And Jim looks pretty cool in the photo—dressed all in black, dirty white Adidas, and a haircut one could probably have duplicated on Astor Place. Best thing about the cover? Its still attached to the book. 

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