The History Of UK Punk 1980/84
At long last we get the first tome to date that covers Britain's second
wave of punk. It's hard to believe with all the punk books out there
today that Burning Britain is the first time anyone's given this widely
undocumented scene a thorough spotlight. lan Glasper the man
responsible for this extensive insight is best known for his metallic
bassplaying and Terrorizer journalism, but has done an admirable job
in assembling this band of upstarts. With almost clinical precision and
via comprehensive interviews he delves deep into almost every corner
of the early 80's punk scene. Must've took a few years hunting down
some of the most reckless, big headed and yawningly dull bunch of
cunts your likely to read about, without going through the local police
records or the zines of the day. Sadly unlike 'It Makes You Wanna Spit'
which covered the N. IRELAND scene in full, there's zilch zine coverage
in here which is a pity? But you get more than enough to chew on with
the just bands contributions alone, to justify this book in your collection.
The 400 pages could only have been done real justice with the advent
of the Internet age. As most of the culprits interviewed wouldn't have
been found by more conventional means, let alone given a chance to
air their views in print. 99% of the bands who released vinyl during this
period get covered, with only maybe Infa Riot notable by their
Also the Anarcho wing of punk ain't included this time round, coz that
scene alone was so big that it's currently being researched and merits
a book all of it's own, hopefully due out in 2005.
But if like me you were living out your punk days to the full in the early 80's, then this book is essential for not only
giving you some good anecdotes by the bands themselves, but also some blatantly embarrassing reminders. It's
also gonna prove a big hit with the younger punks who are fans of this genre. However in the cold light of day it
does prove the second wave of UK punk was largely frequented by opportunists, weekenders and some truly
uninspiring outfits that even with the authors textual diplomacy can't hard the fact that a lotta crap got churned out!
Do I detect a stench in the air? ha! The truly outstanding personalities in this book are really few and far between,
amongst the spiky uniformity and copycat hordes. The majority just don't have the dynamics or the impact of the
late 70's pioneers to really make you wanna find out more. However this book still manages to parade a few loose
cannons who are worth your time and energy. Like Big Jim from the Ejected whose rampant sex drive was taking a
nose-dive as he auditioned girl singers. Or Animal from A.N.L. who gives us some gritty lowlife bike chain tales. And
for a laugh Peter from the Test Tube Babies bar room exploits will have you chuckling in ya lager! I hate to think
what the author had to leave out?
Burning Britain also vividly captures the doom and gloom of early 80's Britain, which is underlined very well by some
of the minor bands motives and inspirations. It's informative, it's sad (quite a few of the characters in here have
since died) and given the format which is highly readable, comes with a load of unseen photos. Burning Britain
makes on the whole makes for an entertaining read in short, sharp, bursts. But like the music, It can also get a little
tedious at times, especially when you read for the hundredth time of yet another band forming coz of boredom.
Although the monotony of the era goes hand in hand with punk I spose. But this book needed publishing if only to
show the Yanks who think this particular scene was punk Valhalla, just how squalid it really was. And more than
anything, it proves how resourceful many of the British punks really were in the face of complete rawness. The
bigger bands had some good tales to tell too, but don't really standout in this book half as much as their music.
This scene was missing real star quality at the top of the genre, which is a shame. Their thunder however is well
and truly stolen from under their snotty noses via little gems from outfits like the brilliant Cult Maniax magic
mushrooms episode, or when Olga out the Toy Dolls bought his first guitar or when the Skroteez got chased
round the flat by cops. It's rounded off by views from some of the labels of the day and a comprehensive guide to
the sounds you just read about. So lots to devour. For the completeists amongst you, you can buy an
accompanying DVD which features a varied grainy selection of the bands in their heyday and some real
embarrassing footage as they are now, Special Duties need a special mention here. So if you don't wanna burn a
hole in your skyrocket this Christmas and your into UK82 punk buy this book coz it's informative and you won't be
Cheers to Ged/Doug for passing me this copy.
PETER DON'T CARE
(2004) Cherry Red Books
£14.99 ISBN 1-901447-24-3
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