The eight pieces have a depth and expansiveness that transcend their origin as book reviews, several of them cannily commissioned by someone at the London Review of Books who saw his potential as a long-form essayist. They are linked in their search for “a vanished world”, in which black and white musicians intermingled and distilled a “cross-colour” alchemy of sound. Whether that idea holds up or not isn’t important. What gets us home, as it were, is Penman’s verve, and his eagerness to make us listen to the records as attentively as he does... This neat volume shows there is still life in the back pages of one survivor, and should be snapped up by anyone who loves genius phrasemaking. Frank Zappa’s famous quote will never die: “Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.” But he plainly never encountered Ian Penman.
Dopeworld: Adventures in Drug Lands
"To its credit, Dopeworld is nothing if not ambitious. Vorobyov states as much himself, describing it bombastically as ‘true crime, gonzo, social, historical memoir meets fucked up travel book’. That is a lot to cram in. If sometimes he drops the ball (the..."
— The Spectator