HATE RATES....       ***** BIBLE     **** TABLOID     *** COMIC     ** CHIP PAPER     * PULP
A Punk History
By Paul Marko

After last years expected deluge of 30th
anniversary cash ins failed to materialise it
was great to see a book true to the original
spirit of punk completed at last and available
to Joe public. Independent, self financed, in
the end self published its taken punk nostalgia
from a previously neglected (until now) angle.
The early drafts of the Roxy story were originally intended
as an update for the authors own "Punk 77" website but as
this complex story began to unravel and the different
layers began to reveal themselves
, the author realised that
this story was just too big a tale to be restricted to a few
pages on a punk resource and required the respect that
only a no holds barred book would allow it.
In October 07 the long awaited tome finally arrived and its
no disappointment, containing more previously untold
ground level punk history than possibly any other punk
related book published since the essential "It Makes You
Want To Spit" back in 2003.
A major plus point for me is the minimal inclusion of the
"Pistols, Clash, McLaren" axis and tales of woe which have
been regurgitated so many times over the years that
they've become an over exposed bore.
It was enlightening to read a story that when it boiled down
to it I really didn't know as much as I thought about the
Roxy. And its refreshing that a majority of the distant
memories documented here in print and many for the first
time are from a new cast of previously unknown characters
who were there instead of the usual motley crew of jaded
talking heads who appear every time the word punk is
Every punk worth his salt knows off the Roxy, the name is
iconic in punk mythology and surprisingly I found quite a
few similarities between the Roxy and my own Belfast punk
scene at the legendary Harp bar.
Back in September 01 I did a feature on a typical night out
at the Harp bar back in 78/79 from my perspective for a
french punk website so I related totally to the Roxy punks
similar memories of attending their grotty but much loved
club when I read them in the book, as we covered a lot of
the same unexplored territory in the beginning. But I think
you'll agree that Belfast was a much more dangerous
place than London.
Credit to Mr Marko for digging deep into the shadowy
history of the Roxy and for transforming what could have been a good 10 page magazine
feature into 511 pages of entertaining reading featuring good guys like Andy Czezowski, Barry Jones and the punks (hooray!!) and alleged bad
guys like Kevin St John (boo!!) who I hadn't previously heard of until now.
This book may look like a daunting commitment for the casual punk reader as there are so many pages but take it from me once you start
reading its hard to put the book down.
The story is captivating even though its centred around this one dilapidated crumbling venue, but at no time does the author have to stretch
the story to breaking point to fill out space. There is more than enough substance within its 500 plus pages to hold the readers attention and to
carry the story through to its conclusion and the long overdue demise of the Roxy itself.
This book effectively bridges the information gap between the long out of print and overrated picture book "100 Nights At The Roxy" and "The
Punk Rock Movie".
Joe Donnelly (Belfast) 23/2/08