Heres's where you get the chance to review any Punk and related books you have been reading. They can be about Punk Rock in general, a particular group or artist, the Post-Punk era such as 'Joy Division', or Simon Reynold's 'Rip it up and start again' for example or chronicling the Mod Revival, skinhead movement, Oi!, New Romantic era etc...just as long as it's linked to 'Our era and generation' be it in the North of England, London, Ireland, Europe or the USA . I welcome any good reviews...please be fair and unbiased and I will put it on here.
Thick as Thieves: Personal situations with The Jam
Ian Snowball and Stuart Deabill
Foreword by Paul Weller
Review by Tony Beesley
‘To be a Jam fan is such a wonderful thing!’
It truly is a wonderful thing to have a band like The Jam in your life. First the discovery (often by chance), then the excitement followed by obsession, unrelenting faith and influence and all of the many just rewards sent your way from being a real fan. It’s true, The Jam – like a handful of other bands throughout Rock’s illustrious history – reached the parts 1,000’s of other near-do-wells could only have dreamt of reaching. For over five captivating years of their career (and ever since) a generation of fans have held the band’s legacy to their hearts… myself included, and lived their lives to a soundtrack (and often much more than just the music – lyrics, clothes, world-views and politics also at hand) of the three-piece power trio, The Jam. The Jam were/are legends within our time and will continue to be so for new and old fans alike. To be such a band, and also, to be such a fan blessed with such a band and their legacy… is truly be a wonderful thing!
It’s also one of the hardest tasks at hand to write about your favourite band; how to capture that feeling that the music gives and resonates from one fan to the other. To manage to ensnare the band’s legacy and what they mean to their fans in the printed word form is also a wonderful thing! ‘Thick as Thieves: personal Situations with The Jam by Jam obsessives, Ian Snowball and Stuart Deabill does the trick in almost every way possible and full credit to them for giving us this special gift!
Whereas the most notable previous Jam bible – 1983’s ‘Beat Concerto’ by Paolo Hewiit gave us a richly created and presented journey through the band’s complete career, mostly via the words of band members and associates and the author’s knowledgeable overlay… and, I might add, is one of the greatest rock biographies of all time, in my humble opinion, Stu and Ian bravely and successfully hand over the reins to a regiment of Jam fan’s individual accounts (themselves included). Mixing a (mostly) chronological array of tales from a selection of some of the band’s most dedicated fans with band associates, A&R men, friends, fanzine writers, producers, musicians, and cover designers etc… and topping off with a commendable mouth-watering Jam archive of rare posters, photos and memorabilia, this is truly a Jam fan’s err… wet dream. It’s an informative, meticulously-presented document of a generation’s coming of age alongside the band and their musical journey and a real testament to the power of said band’s talents and wide-spread influence.
From early fans of The Jam’s frenetic punk era live sets, school boy epiphanies and Mod revivalists, we hear of what aspect of the band did the trick, often with differing viewpoints on which records and live events were the best. Quite possibly a little too Southern fan biased (The Jam had huge fan strongholds in the north in Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield) and maybe slightly lacking in enough early-period visuals, these minor flaws (quite possibly a result of lack of input from said factions?) does not detract in any way from what is essential reading for absolutely any music fan that has ever been touched and motivated by the music of The Jam. With a few complimentary words from the guvnor himself to set the ball rolling, what more recommendation do you need to go out and buy this book? You would be a real fool not to!
‘Thick as Thieves: personal situations with The Jam’ (R.R.P £12.99) is available from amazon.co.uk and all good book stores now.
Further Jam reading (along with numerous other bands of the punk and beyond era) from fan’s perspectives, along with rare exclusive photos, can be found in the ‘Our Generation’ trilogy of books. Available from amazon.co.uk, ebay and the official website home page
Take it to the Limit by Neil Anderson
The story of a Sheffield Rock n' Roll legend!
Available from www.acmretro.com price £12.99 (plus p+p) Review 24/10/09 by Tony Beesley
Eager anticipation has awaited this major event in local pop culture heritage literature and after just completing a full read from beginning to end, I can proudly state very LOUDLY! 'IT'S BEEN WELLWORTH THE WAIT! Local author Neil Anderson has here managed to locate and pinpoint the very essence of what made the Limit club special for its vast array of paying (or not paying) customers of the 13 years of its legendary lifetime (1978 - 1991). It quite simply was designed for the outsiders! The Punk Rockers, the floppy fringed electro wierdos, ska-obsessed Mods, rockabilly - flat tops, the Goths, rockers, techno pioneering DJ's, the New Romantics, down at heels students and the flamboyant party goer who wished to ignore the dress codes of nearby City centre straight-laced club culture and like the rest of us - the afore mentioned menagerie of youth cults - be ourselves! The soon to be famous, the one hit wonders and musical icons of all the left of centre musical genres mingled with at least an handful of the above gangs and a great time was had by all.
The story is told with a refreshingly anecdotal approach that soaks up the experiences of some of the many music fans that trood the sticky carpeted, questionably low alcohol selling venue with one of the slightest of stages this side of miniature lego land's very own theatre. The main players are given ample coverage along with their backgrounds, whilst the photos tell a story of their own: coming to life alongside countless humourous memories and stories of growing up in surroundings so dark and carefree you most likely shared drinks with strangers without even knowing it.
There are reflections on gigs from the likes of the Human League, Pulp, Robert Plant, Specials, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam and the Ants, Joy Division and many more alongside memories of lesser known acts, local neer do wells and non gig clubbing nights of the venues later days. The lay out is superb, unpretentious and easy to divulge in. there are lists of bands played, flyers, posters, tickets and photos of a priceless charachter.... just like the subject itself. It is very true to proclaim - This is a book with a real taste of the Limits spirit...
The story that this book replicates is so unique it deserves a film being devoted to it. The screenplay is already written, the stars are mostly (but sadly not all) still with us and the credits go to Neil and everyone that understood why going to the Limit was an experience that really did take you to the Limit.
The Roxy London WC 2 by Paul Marko review by Tony Beesley
A fascinating insight into the Mecca of seventies Punk Rock; the Roxy club. Worthy of many further reads.
I love this book; simple as that. Read it twice non-stop now and will certainly read again at some point.
Why is it so engrossing? Why does it merit further reading?
Paul Marko's book is a real chronicle of the early days of Punk Rock in London, charting the build up and momentum of the early punk scene whilst imposing a feeling of intoxicating excitement and almost tension building frustration within the pre-Roxy club days. The story however, does not wander into the deep why's and therefores of asking deep and meandering already covered questions as to the coming of UK Punk Rock: No the anylisation here is not aimed at Punk and its relevance as a genre, no side stepping into the wide spread ocean of Punk idealism and its' political agendas. This refreshing Punk book concentrates its agenda upon the very crux of early 1977 live Punk music - the Roxy club. The whole movie is here...every little fact that is worth uncovering and knowing and its a journey as exciting, unpredictable, sometimes nauseating, seedy, original and euphoria inducing as Punk Rock itself.
With key witness's to countless gigs and what was happening within the decrepid walls of 70's Londons' ex gay bar turned Punk haven, every aspect of the early London Punk scene is covered. We read about experiences from true genuine Punks such as Arcane Vendetta who was there throughout most of the first Roxy period taking in classic gigs from the likes of the Jam (who played a handful of sets at the club). We also find out about the often fickle attitudes from some of the more fashion concious kids who came along after reading - and believing - what the daily papers were dictating what was then Punk. Future Punk Rock stars and neer do wells mix drinks and rub shoulders with all the highs and lows of the late seventies Punk crowd. Roxy manager AndyCzezowski and partner Barry Jones set and un-set the record straight on the bussiness side of the club, while Don Letts describes how hard it was to play the very few Punk 45's that were out at the time as there simply was not enough of them...so on came reggae and Dub to the DJ 's turntable; unwittingly creating a new direction and influence upon Punk within the year that the two sevens clashed.
Gigs from the New Years day 'official opening' Clash set, through performances from the Slits, The Adverts, Damned, Wire, X-Ray Specs, Buzzcocks,Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, The Models and many more are described in first hand accounts. The second period of the Roxy when it began to be run by a far less idealistic managment level; ie crooks and underground mafia clientele, is also covered along with the many many never heard of since Punk opportunists and no-hopers of the latter part of the clubs illustrious history. Tales of colourful characters from the Punk crowd mix with hefty bouncers and Punk hating Teds who await the outpouring of the clubs goers to inflict their Punk hate anger onto the bondage clad victims... The anecdotes and experiences are priceless and so are the scores of photographic documents that also tell a story. There are moments of Punk year Zero mentality, naive involvment, fashion orientated followers and band wagon jumpers sitting aside the accounts of true innovators, creatively astute Punk fans, talented musicians and songwriters who were to go on to become an important part of Punk history. Like those era defining kids the Roxy club is also now a part of Punk folklore. Thanks to the hard work and creative insight into telling this story, a short but crucial part of our Punk culture is now permanently set in print. A superb account. Like I said I love this book: full stop.
The Roxy wc 2: A Punk History by Paul Marko is available to buy direct from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org please mention thgis site has recomended the book if ordering the book. Fat Bloke Thin Book by Arturo Bassick: review by Tony Beesley
'Refreshing and painfullingly honest and a gritty and very human story'
There aren't many totally genuine guys in the quagmire of the modern Rock music scene, but true to it's basic premise Punk rock provides one fella who is as honest as they come - Arthur Billingsley also known as Arturo Bassick...full time Lurker and 999 member and ex of the much under-rated late 70's Punk band 'Pinpoint' as well as a Blueberry Hellbellie back in the 80's. Here in 'Fat Bloke, Thin Book' Arturo tells his life story within a book that you can keep in your pocket: enabling you to pull it out and read at your own free will - on the bus, sneaking a read at work or with a can of beer in the other hand. It's small in size but massive in heart and downright honest story telling!
Art tells us briefly and interestingly - but often poignantly, sad, occasionally tragic and funny in turns - of his upbringing, his first forays into the world of Rock music via skinhead fashion through 70's Prog Rock right through to his first initiation into Punk rock and becoming first a fan of that scene and then a bass playing Lurker. The whole Punk era flys by with tales of gigs, following the Stranglers, bass playing with the Lurkers and being described by one ill-informed DJ in Lancaster of being in 'some shit Punk band from London' How wrong could the man be?.There are Art's stories involving Lurkers fan Stuart Pearce (yes that Stuart Pearce), his appearance in celebrated Punk film 'Punk In london', pissing Sting and Adam Ant off ,auditioning for the Buzzcocks and forming Pinpoint. Its all written in a 'I Can't put this book down' kind of way.
Amongst the many stories from the Punk days and onwards are many clippings from the music weeklies of the day..records and gig reviews, ads and more... followed by tales of Arturo's 80's bands and journey's through country and western with a Punk attitude interpsersed with heaps of boozed up tours and nights across the country and Europe . But it is the way the story is told that is the true atraction to this book. Arturo tells it as it is...no hairs and graces or back slapping anecdotes to fellow musicians...just a honest to the bone account of being a music fan first and talented musician second.
In addition to all of the music related tales are some of Art's poetry, his opinions on a few untapped slants into the pyschosis of Rock music fans and their often unrecognised idolising through wanting to be their heroes - some of Art's rants really do make you think and question the issues raised and can make you wonder what all of the real appeal is for loving and living with Rock music and all of it's related Rock n' Roll fantasies...Yes 'Fat Bloke Thin Book' manages not only to grip, amuse, endear and excite the reader ... but amazingly within such a small size book - full and compact with countless empthatic tales - it raises some very intriguing points; leaving you to ponder on for much time afterwards. This is a book rich in it's tapestry, Punk rock in its approach and realism and MASSIVE in its' very real human heart. Go on buy the book and make this old Punk's day!
'Fat Bloke Thin Book' by Arturo Bassick is available for the give away sum of £8 (including P+P costs) from email@example.com Please mention this site has recomended the book if ordering it from the author