A tale of early US punk, its influence on the British scene and the final collapse of anything the movement really stood for. The main theme of the book targets the sordid, drug hazed behaviour of some of the major players in the scene and in brutal truth most come out as nothing more than lowlife scum who got lucky and paid no heed to morals, the music and one another.

Self-indulgent, promiscuous and mostly 'full of crap' the people in this book are tainted with a dark, depressing angle that somehow holds attention and gives the reader a flavour of those wasteful days that have been twisted into something glamorous, something 'rock and roll'. The destruction of oneself is all well and good but to do it at the detriment of others isn't so clever but alas many characters within these shady pages do so with wild abandon and fuck all external feelings. Disrespectful to themselves and to those around them one has to wonder about the weak mental state of many persons involved in an arena ideal to lose yourself in. The drugs dominate as does the sexual lust and the ethos of the day seemed to be 'if it moves then fuck it' and if it gets you high then drop it'. If this is your idea of a hero then I pity you.

I like the reality of the text, the grimy approach and the use of quotes from a vast and varied crowd. The emotions kindled are of sadness, pity and despair and total bewilderment at the human psyche and its egocentric idiocy. I may have painted a grim portrait here but believe me this book is highly entertaining for all the wrong reasons and as such comes across as something rather special. The accounts related in the tale are somewhat unreliable has most contributors seemed to be generally bombed when the events were taking place but nonetheless this should be on your bookshelves and should be a punk guide to learn from. Maybe a definite example of the question 'what the fuck is punk anyway?'  I know one thing – I see very little of it even though many claim to be it.



A crotchety, erudite, experimental survivor or downright moody awkward twat - that is the opinion one may make at the end of this swift read. Lou Reed has certainly done things his way and along the ragged road has, in the minority, kicked dust in a few people’s faces and in the main won many admirers who want to hop in for the ride.

From drug-taking, beer swilling frustration to the re-modelled man who delights in Tai Chi, having a lucid mind and still rockin' and rollin' Lou Reed has been on a unique journey and yet throughout it all has had plenty of things to say so as to keep things dangerous, threatening and may I say...punk! The racket Lou delivers isn't predictable and isn't, as the man readily admits, successful, but he keeps on truckin' and keeps on testing different waters. Personally I'd rather listen to a pile of shite done for the right reasons than some catchy pop that is built on fraudulence but I guess that isn't the majority way of thinking!

The style of this book is just to lay out a load of quotes from the singer’s career (in chronological order of course) and to let you fill in the gaps. Far from comprehensive this is a good taster that more than likely will lead you on to a more in depth read - well I presume that's the idea. I picked this up for a good price and reckon you should seek it out too - the guy says how it is at the time and that does generate constant interest which all books should have.  Hey and he likes a bit of Poe too – can’t be bad!



A yarn around the year 1982, when the youth was at war through differences that seemed important but were in fact very pointless.  The music scene was divided, the passion was high and everyone had somewhere to belong in those ever-changing times.
Primarily this isn't no great classical account written in long winded pompous fashion by someone trying to be sagacious and give out some wisdom soaked insight into how things were.  This isn't a read that is overloaded with rose-tinted bias and looking back with a sigh of fondness or misdirected nostalgia.  Why this book triumphs is down to the fact that it is written naturally with a well balanced philanthropic/misanthropic approach liberally seasoned with a stark reality of its time.  The author was indeed there and that rises from the pages as one is returned to a time when tension was high, naiveté was wonderfully rife and a 'couldn't give a fuck' attitude was a joy and as opposed to today’s mucky social arena, was relatively harmless. 
Having grown up in the gutter when money and materialism weren't an issue and glue, noise and having a laugh seemed the only important aspects of a simple life this tale is related to with genuine ease and the spiky scribe who has put pen to paper must be applauded for his frank insight and uncluttered delivery.  The characters are exact and the switch in style from internal to external perceptions is indeed cute and brings the reader more into the drama.  Descriptive moments are kept from being overloaded with wordage and the attitudes and outlooks are readily captured.  The dancing scene in particular whilst The Cockney Upstarts are playing particularly rings true and, as is the intention throughout the book, brings memories flooding back.  

The build up to the final showdown is predictable but the pleasure from the text is high and this small niggle is easily forgotten as the words pass by.  Personal high points for me were the glue-sniffing episodes, the youthful misdirection we all have suffered from and the mention of Moon Cresta I game I remember playing with my punky mate, down the pub, dressed in the gear and not having a worry in the world - well except were the next beers and fags are coming from!

Yeah an easily digestible quickie and one that could easily be followed up - so how about it Mr Blakeston - the pen is now back in your hand!



Eagle Spits provides the words, John Dean the pictures and what we have as an end result is a neat little book that smacks of DIY fervour and undernourished talent. This could suggest anyone can do it, and so it should, but hardly anyone does do it because we live in parasitic slack-jawed times where to contribute is to lose out on the take and let's face it - taking is what it is all about to most people...but not these two.

The wordage comes thick and fast and from a disgruntled mind who has much to say and will bloody well say it. The combination of pro-Christianity, pro punk and anti-most other things is one that reflects the title of the tome and a stance that many will struggle to get to grips with (fools). We go from the stripped down basics of 'Mid 70's' and 'Rust' to the sniping feasts of 'Is Punk Just Entertainment', 'Covers Band' and 'PC Anarcho Fascists' and forward onto more erudite insights loaded with provocation such as 'Sorry Reverend Cynthia' and 'The Steps' right through to the simple sweet snippets of 'The Recording Studio's In the Pawn Shop' and 'Psycho On A Mower'. The scrawlings exhibit a man who has lived, who looks beyond the stupid, worthless upper layers and a dude who fuckin' cares. I like that! The wordage is neatly complimented by 2-tone graffiti that is suggesting, sharp and artistically vandalising. Both hearts are set to beat in one DIY unity and that is reflected in the product as a whole - this isn't professionalism, this isn't an earth, shattering profundity - no - this is two decent blokes contributing to something they believe in and wanting nothing in return only a curious eye and an attentive mind. I also like that.

Look – like I say the basic premise of punk is that anyone can do it and this is an example of just that. You really should take note and contribute something yourself because at the end of the day that is what it is all about – doing something constructive or deconstructive.  This is worth your time because the reasons behind it rock steadily and have no ulterior motive. Get it and get it or if you don't get it then get the fuck out! Here’s to many more collaborations!



A strange book this one using actual chronological facts regarding the early years of The Sex Pistols rise to fame but being nothing more than a semi-fictional tale from an utter enthusiasts viewpoint. It does come across though as a remarkably believable tale and, although lacking in high detailed description and profound meaning as well as having some quite bland dialogue, it does somehow hold attention and create many memorable scenes within the mind of the punk rock 'erbert.

I suppose the main charm of the book is the way in which the main characters/protagonists/upstarts (what you will) are portrayed and the honest and direct approach they, and their subtle idiosyncrasies, are treated via the unelaborated text. Personally I feel as though Lydon is a sinister character and always on the outside of the main group, whereas Glen is at the opposite pole but a more open and undemanding chap. Steve and Paul are just lads out for the crack and just seem to go with the flow that is always easiest and most profitable (be it in terms of beer, sex or cash). McClaren is given a rough ride and is the ultimate selfish schemer and dreamer and peripheral entities such as Jordon, Sid Vicious, Bernie Rhodes, Caroline Coon etc. add familiarity to those well-versed in these much wrote about times.

One of the main sensations that transpires from the text is that, no matter what viewpoint you come in from, the initial days of punk was for a social elite that wanted to keep it nice and cosy and were just a group of young wannabe rebels trying to cause upset. Very much a kudos pit of showmanship that seems as far away from the modern day punk pit as one could imagine (well almost). I like that aspect and the method in how this major hypocrisy and, may it be said, flaw, isn't shied away from.

O'Shea knows his stuff and the interwoven biography is cute and perhaps the most enjoyable part of this basic yet appealing read, especially the way it rekindles the spirit and feelings of when punk was first discovered - brilliant! For an exact account of what happened in those heady days then this is not the book to follow, nor does it claim to be, but for a simple read to just enjoy then why not indeed?



A basic format production regarding the incendiary period when punk was in its infancy and ready to blow. This goes through much old ground and rakes up plenty of new outlooks and so will sit well on any punk aficionado’s bookshelf. The book is a series of interviews with many of the major faces at the fore of the scene and, in many ways at the powerful rear, with some good insights given once again displaying what all the fuss was about.

The interviewee list here will hold much weight with the spiked historian with Joe Strummer, Howard Devoto, John Lydon, Malcolm McClaren, Chrissie Hynde, Legs McNeil, Jordan, Siouxsie Sioux, Viv Albertine, Adam Ant, Lee Black Childers, Tony Wilson, Mark Perry and Jonh Ingham being amongst the chosen many. The tome has a distinct 'anyone can do it' feel and even though the composite is simplistic the outcome is effective. Bare faced honesty is the key and lots of reminiscing through shit-stained spectacles is apparent but perhaps the most startling aspect is the reinforcement of the fact that, primarily, in the early years, punk rock was a southern clique and not as embracing as the warped memory of Father Time tells us. Overlooking this the book captures what went on in all its inglorious grime and gives us a tale of egotists, wayward wanderers, druggies, band wagon jumpers and the like. The in-fighting and opinions of who or what is punk, when punk started and finished is highly amusing as are the many problems encountered in society by the ones trying to be different. 

Jon Savage keeps things highly readable here by just keeping the flow as conversational as possible and not trying to be over-complicated and ridiculously flowery. The ones who will pick up this 700 page plus tome will undoubtedly be much in the know anyway but I reckon fascination will still be had and a few new nuggets of gossip uncovered. Not bad!

Page 1, 2, 3, 4