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Boy About Town: A Memoir [Paperback]

Tony Fletcher
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 July 2013

'I was no longer fitting in at school. I was unsure of my friends, and they were increasingly unsure of me. I wanted to be a rock star. But while all around, voices were starting to break, acne beginning to appear, facial hair sprouting, I remained all flabby flesh and innate scruff, with a high-pitched whine and not a muscle to my name. I was the runt of the class and rarely allowed to forget it. I had no father at home to help me out, and could hardly talk to my mum. So I took solace in The Jam.'

As a boy, Tony Fletcher frequently felt out of place. Yet somehow he secured a ringside seat for one of the most creative periods in British cultural history.

Boy About Town tells the story of the bestselling author's formative years in the pre- and post-punk music scenes of London, counting down, from fifty to number one: attendance at seminal gigs and encounters with musical heroes; schoolboy projects that became national success stories; the style culture of punks, mods and skinheads and the tribal violence that enveloped them; life as a latchkey kid in a single-parent household; weekends on the football terraces in a quest for street credibility; and the teenage boy's unending obsession with losing his virginity.

Featuring a vibrant cast of supporting characters (from school friends to rock stars), and built up from notebooks, diaries, interviews, letters, and issues of his now legendary fanzine Jamming!, Boy About Town is an evocative, bittersweet, amusing and wholly original account of growing up and coming of age in the glory days of the 1970s.

Frequently Bought Together

Boy About Town: A Memoir + The Jam: Sounds From the Street: The Story of The Jam + Thick as Thieves: Personal Situations with The Jam
Price For All Three: 28.79

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann; 1st edition (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434021679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434021673
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of seven non-fiction books and one novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon, 'Dear Boy", has been named in many a Best Music Book list, and his biography of R.E.M., updated in 2013 as "Perfect Circle", has been published in over half a dozen countries. His latest biography, "A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths", was published in the UK by William Heinemann in September 2012, and by Crown Archetype in the USA in December 2012. A memoir of his South London schooldays, "Boy About Town", will be published in the UK by William Heinemann in July 2013.

Fletcher gained his entry into music journalism by founding a fanzine at his London school in 1977; by the time Jamming! ceased publication in 1986, it was selling 30,000 copies a month. Along the way he interviewed the likes of Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and U2, as well as dozens of up-and-coming, predominantly independent post-punk acts.

A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his wife and two sons on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site, serves on his local school board, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago.

Product Description


"Charming coming of age tale . An innocent's story, engagingly told." (Mojo)

"Brought back happy memories when bands and their fans were as one." (Damian O'Neill, The Undertones)

"[A] gripping account of the post-punk period ... one of the most essential accounts of this tumultuous yet highly productive period of British music ... Tony Fletcher is an extraordinary character . This book will certainly bring back scores of vivid memories for those of us around Tony Fletcher's age, and is required reading for anyone who wishes to know more about the late 1970's music scene. More than that though, is the amazing human story and vivid characterisation that will have you hooked throughout as this period once again truly comes to life." (

"[An] excellent memoir of adolescent angst and musical obsession . it is surprisingly candid, wryly funny, occasionally harrowing, yet always honest in its descriptions . brilliantly written." (All Mod Icon)

"Even if you weren't there when all this happened, the fast paced narrative will make you feel as if you were . An excellent read and I really would urge anyone with even a passing interest in punk, The Jam, The Who or what it was like being a music mad teenager in London in the late seventies to check it out." (Faith Magazine)

Book Description

Bestselling author Tony Fletcher's account of a life in love with music, taking the reader back to the glory days of the 70s.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Memories banked 26 Aug 2014
By J. Wise
ADVICE to kids: keep a diary. A few notes every day; what you did, who you saw, what’s going seems like a pain in the butt but it’ll be worth the effort. You forget, see. As you get older and the booze kills the brain cells, the memories die with them. You need it all in writing.

Tony Fletcher kept notes and lugged them about through the years – and so he can clearly recount a life lived through a golden age of Britain’s music scene. He was there, he saw it, he wrote it down. And you can live and enjoy those great days with him because he did.

Thanks, fella!
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By Julius
Finished the book and I can recommend it greatly. The great thing is that the book is a first -hand witness from one of the most exciting era's in muisc. An era which still influences today's music highly. Tony is firmly rooted in the scene, but does not jump on the bandwagons. He is too independent for that and remains an observer. This enables him to give a very accurate review of things. It is a great insiders view on the rise of punk, the jam especially
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strikes a chord 19 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you grew up during the 70's, bought the album's and saw/worshipped the band's herein then this book is for you. If you didn't then it doesn't matter, this is still a brilliantly written, witty memoir. I couldn't put it down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the form 7 Jan 2014
Refreshing and honest - this went down like a glass of Carlsberg at the end of `Ice Cold in Alex'.
Part two is eagerly awaited.
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5.0 out of 5 stars That's Entertainment! 16 Oct 2013
By dj
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a great biography. Tony Fletcher's fantastic memoir is a joyful account of his teenage rites of passage during a magical musical period in the UK during the 70s/80s. Thoroughly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Dreams Of Children 18 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So first, sorry if this review dips its grubby hand into the Pocket of Clichés & let me make it crystal clear folks, this book is anything but cliched.

Refreshing & a REAL (360) page turner is the only way i can describe this delightful read from the talented Author Tony Fletcher, who also penned contender for best ever biog, 'Dear Boy' about Keith Moon, if ever there was one & as always paints pictures with his words.

From appointments with Madame Hand & her five lovely daughters, the running of the (much missed) excellent fanzine 'Jamming' turned record company, meeting your heroes (Well, some of them),catching gigs every other night, forming a band and what that alone brings to a teenagers life (I saw Apocalypse at the Rainbow 15th of November 1980 if the old grey cells recollect, Teddy anyone?), all this and sitting them dreaded O levels, what a blast!.

A message of "Be careful what you dream of..." Well, no! not at all, in fact, sometimes, dreams do come true (If you're prepared to put the work in!).

So thank-You Tony for the already four times read 'Boy About The Town'; I will dip into it forevermore.

So, in brief, if you love the eclectic music of 1976-1980 & all it evoked, knew of certain (so called )ever changing movements from those 'Back in Day' times, then this is the book for you, enchanting, stirring stuff indeed.

Sir Eon Ballinger (DJ) France 2013
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MY Generation
A great read truly evocative of the time. Took me back to a time of Really underappreciated music.The jam where a truly life affirming live act. Read more
Published 12 months ago by steve
3.0 out of 5 stars An eye-witness account to music in the late seventies
I struggle to remember what my life was like when I reached my teens. I know I spent a lot of time hanging around with my mates and worrying about my spots and my lack of success... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bantam Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Punk Pepys
This coming of age autobiography is perfect for anyone who fell in love with music between the mid seventies and early eighties. Read more
Published 12 months ago by chepalle
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is timeless, days are long when you're young
If you ever bought a record, went to a gig, bought a fanzine, formed a band or thought about forming a band you need this book! Read more
Published 13 months ago by Fitzcarraldo
5.0 out of 5 stars Swigging from a Party Seven
First up a confession - yes, I'm name-checked in the book so perhaps I have a vested interest in it being a good read - but, in all honesty - it's a great read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by brett ascott
5.0 out of 5 stars Tony Fletcher, I want to be your friend!
Book received Thursday 4th July. Book read by Fri 5th July.

That should tell you all there is about the immediacy and likeability of Tony Fletcher's Autobiography Part... Read more
Published 14 months ago by K. S. BAGNALL
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