Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, November 28, 2022

Review: Multiple authors – Čovek patka: Pekinška Patka – svedočanstva

Multiple authors – Čovek patka: Pekinška Patka – svedočanstva

Publisher: Multimedia Books

Year: 2022

There is a line in this book, written by the most prominent creative force of Pekinška Patka, guitar player and main composer Mr. Sreta Kovačević, as a reply from a friend of his who suggested that Sreta should write a book about Pekinška Patka. All of that because Sreta is unhappy about his brainchild being mentioned in another book about the new wave in his hometown. So, Mr. Kovačević turns to his wife in order to dictate his testimony.

Which is twenty pages long.

Out of which, eight concern the comeback gig at Exit Festival 2008.

With two more that talk about the band refusing further offers from other festivals.

The whole story of the band goes on for seven and a half pages…

Not much more should be said about this book. The quality of it, that is. Basically, it’s a booklet. A pamphlet whose one purpose should be to inform people that once there was a band called Pekinška Patka. In the above mentioned text, Mr. Kovačević declares that he is sick and tired of people telling him what he was inspired by, what made him become a musician, what he wanted to express, etc. Which is, in turn, one of the instigators of his desire to write. But he is as far as possible from explaining it himself. Short, concise column, mostly based on biographical details and the short-lived return of the band in 2008. Of course, it couldn’t have gone without bashing the vocalist, but that’s the story that is all too familiar to anyone who even slightly brushes against Pekinška Patka.

Perhaps it would’ve been a good idea to hear Mr. Čonkić’s side of the story as well. Instead, we have a couple of other members of the band, filling more pages with stories and anecdotes regarding the few years of the band’s early existence. Before the soap opera plot took over. Still, seeing how punk bands, then as well as nowadays, seem to last for quite short amount of time, Pekinška Patka and their three years fit the bill.

Anyway, the story of the band here is told by the people who were involved at the time. Aside from the three actual members, you can read about festival organizers, music critics, producers, radio and television presenters, etc. All of them share their memories, about the band’s gigs mostly, recordings and, of course, the infamous show in the shopping centre’s front window. Unfortunately, all of them are rather short. Even more unfortunately, one cannot quite call most of the people who contributed to this book real writers. You can clearly read who was a man of words (such as the legendary music critic, Mr. Peca Popović) and who was not. For instance, the introduction to the book, written by Mr. Vitomir Simurdić, former music editor of Novi Sad Radio station, displays an often incoherent word jumble in desperate need of a lector. Furthermore, while the man is obviously knowledgeable when it comes to music, he writes from a perspective of an annoying know-it-all.

Another terrifying mistake that should never see the light of day is the solution often used instead of correcting the typos. These typos have apparently been found prior to printing the book and then simply crossed and printed like that. Like in many of the above listed cases, most of all it shows that the book wasn’t carefully prepared, but rather done in haste without much consideration of the worth of the final product.

Now, styling aside, the texts within the book absolutely justify the title of it. These are the testimonies of the band’s contemporaries, their collaborators, those who helped make the band what it has eventually become. One of the most influential bands and the building block of what is even these days the most fervent punk cities in Serbia. Novi Sad. “Čovek patka” should be treated as a group of nostalgic scriptures. Regrettably, there are so many shortcomings that do not do justice to the band, its legacy and influence.

Simply put, Pekinška Patka deserves to have its story told. They really are incredibly important and not only as the pioneers of punk in old Yugoslavia. Their importance branches into new wave and rock ‘n’ roll in general. But this is not the way. “Čovek patka” is a book that will appeal to the generation that remembers the years of the band’s activity. Just so they can read and reminisce if they forgot some details. Other than that, this is a waste of just under a hundred pages of neat paper.

By the way, there aren’t even that many rare or previously unseen photos inside. Really poor effort. Luckily, the book is fairly cheap. Unluckily, it doesn’t only concern its price.