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This Case Is Closed: The Enduring Enigma of Tom Verlaine

One of the great punk records is Marquee Moon by Television. Of course, that's a contradiction. There's nothing punk about Television really, except that they appear at the right time, in the right place, and Richard Hell is briefly in the band, and he has some claim to be the inventor of the punk look, with the spiky hair and the safety pins. But there is only one TV in Television, and Hell is gone long before Marquee Moon appears. Marquee Moon doesn’t need a category. It’s a record of jagged imagery in which the voice is a nagging shadow and the guitars - of Verlaine and Richard Lloyd - do the talking. Patti Smith compares Verlaine’s guitar to a thousand bluebirds. What they are talking about, I still can’t fathom. Marquee Moon is a timeless mystery. I talk to Tom Verlaine on the phone. This is probably better than talking to him in person. On a transatlantic phone line there is an excuse for the delays and the hesitations and the awkward silences. We are talking a full

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