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This is the story of the birth of Punk, with a capital P, in the only country where it was a mainstream movement: the UK; told entirely by eye-witnesses (Heylin included) whose words, then and now, have been held up to the light of history’s hindsight.
This is also the story of the rebirth of Rock, by a bunch of bands who set out to deconstruct and destroy the form, on the island that largely invented it and reinvented it at least twice in the fifteen years before Punk.
And it is the story of the ex-Catholic, semi-Irish, snot-nosed, working-class Cockney oik who dealt the final, fatal blow to England’s dreams of empire when he became a Rotten revolutionary.
But most of all it is the story of a handful of British youths who were inspired to raise their voice in song, and allow it to echo around the world.
It is a story that, till now, has only been told piecemeal: of one band blazing a trail gig by gig, convert by convert, to the pre-set agenda – not always adhered to – of a fetish shop owner until, within a single year, the whole island rocked to the sound of ANARCHEEE.
How did this happen
and why does it still matter?
‘A speed read that mirrors the tempo of the times, an oral history from protagonists to punters. For those who weren’t there, but swear they were, now you are.’ – Richard Boon, former Buzzcocks manager
‘Heylin has done a masterful job of mapping the when, where and who’s who in the Pistols pied piper saga. He connects the dots and draws the lines … elucidating an atmosphere of England where the future of intelligent rock’n’roll heeds the call of punk … and voices it all with a tone both fun and biting, and with enough quickie obscurant references to keep all us punk rock geeks in chortle mode.’ – Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth