Cherry Red Books, 3 a Long Island House, Warple Way, London, W3 0RG, United Kingdom, www.cherryredbooks.co.uk
This was a sucker to get thru! If you look for a good read, dont read this book, if you look for a overdetailed reference book on the early UK hardcore scene, you need to get this! Ok, lets look at it a bit closer: the author sectionald the UK in 11 areas (westmidlands, northeast, etc.) and then spoke with over 80 (!) bands (& 4 labels) from back then. And speak did he do…. over the book it gets so boring to find out how „Scummy from the Blah’s met up with Tim to practice in some dump to have a good laugh and a few pints….“ it is overdetails like this that make the book – as a whole read – so longbreathed.
Dont get me wrong, it is a good book, if you are a fan of one or a few of the bands, you get all the information you can ask for and that is great! But if you are not really interested in knowing about that kind of stuff say from Gutrot – you are fucked, or you have to skip bands. It is amazing how many groups Glasper dug out, many of them I have never even heard the name, some have never had a release, some are still around today – so you see, you get the whole pot, not just some selected meals.
Some of the better known bands are: Napalm Death, Doom, Heresy, Hdq, Stupids, Snuff, Ripcord to name just a few. And I had also plenty of good times reading this, got remembered on old bands, people and memorys. How the UK hardcore scene (like the scenes in the rest of europe) emerged out of the punk scene. How metal/punk crossover infected the scene, not only musically, but also with a wrong attitude. How bands built up a DIY network, traded tapes, traveled the UK or came over to mainland Europe and where blown away by what the hardcore-scene had built up there. Since I did read the whole book I came to the conclusion that not much of what was „built up“ back then still exists today.
As a matter of fact, not so much was built up back then in the UK: there never was a functioning independent network of alternative venues/ bookers where bands could play and get a treatment like it is mandatory in the rest of Europe. The independent labels that startet out either folded for various reasons or went metal/commercial. Alot of the bands had nothing to say nor a message to their audience, but mainly wanted „to have a good laugh“, which meant in alot of cases to act like dumbasses and get drunk or take drugs and often, when traveling over to mainland europe, abusing the positive structures of the european hc-scene. Dont get me wrong, there is and was still great bands and people from the UK that did and do great things, but it seems they are the minortiy, unfortunally – like everywhere else.
The book has + 500 pages, small print and the layout gets so close to the edge that you can not hold it without covering up the print. Before every chapter there is photos/flyers and a introduction from Ian Glasper, which in alot of the cases is the most intersting part, since it sums up of what was going on in the region about to be featured in detail. Maybe a stripped down/edited version of the book could be published, but then again, the author is obsessed with detail information so be it. And, it is a must have for fans of UK hardcore and needs to be part as a reference book of every book collection. I have been told, the other 2 books of Glasper ( „Burning Britain“ and „The Day the Country Died“ ) about the early UK punk / anarcho scene are as detailed – so be warned or be prepared…… you choose. Paperback. 14,99 pounds (dolf)
[Trust # 145 December 2010]