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By John Robb
Edited by Oliver Craske
Published by Ebury Press 2006
Reviewed by Cardinal Cox


Punk Rock: An Oral History
Punk Rock: An Oral History available at

Write Dope on Pnuk part 10

Stonking great volume (over 500 pages) of interviews with the runners and riders, movers and shakers, risers and shiners of the punk age. So there are the members of the main bands (Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned, etc.), the lesser bands (Bazooka Joe, The Fits, The Pop Group, etc.), the roadies and the fans. They look back to the very roots of 'Rock 'n' Roll, what they listened to as kids, and draw a sensible line under the proceedings in Orwell's '1984'. As you might expect, sometimes the interviewees disagree about events, sometimes footnotes are supplied to correct them. So it is effectively the pub conservation you've always wanted to have.

Of course, I sometimes found myself not believing some things. For instance, Garry Bushell claiming not to realise that 'Strength through Joy' was a Nazi slogan. At other times I was forced to realise that I'd been wrong about some things for years. I know that I do tend to have a bit of a sniffy attitude to what was or wasn't punk. Now I see that my own compartmentalising is totally against the spirit of the era, which objected to the very term punk for its limitations.

On the whole, good book if you want an overview of the time with plenty of individual insights. For instance, The Stranglers local connection in recording the 'Black and White' album.


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