The inimitable intro of the late John Weller that ignited the fury that followed. An unforgettable experience for anybody who ever attended these gigs and this book captures that spirit, emotion, energy wonderfully through the memories of the fans who where there. What has struck me most is just how similar the experiences and feelings were among the fans. At the time I thought this was "my" band, an absolute obsession, studying sleeve notes, tracks played to death, hitting play record - with often poor timing - on the cassette to capture any TV/Radio appearance, all four bedroom walls plastered in any image I could find of the band, Jam button badges on the school tie, first trip from south coast to the big City to buy the bowling shoes that Weller was wearing, Monday lunchtimes sneaking out of school to go buy the new single, and the BIG deal; a new album. But of course it was not "my" band it was "our' band and this book reunites that generation wonderfully. This is no nostalgia trip, it is a reminder that the events and experiences of this period of early teenage life and the impact the band had on you has made you who you are today. The debt of gratitude we have to Weller in particular for kicking us up the arse and telling us never to accept the humdrum, always to fight for what you believe to be right,never give up; and as was ultimately the reason for the bands demise; always move on and go out knowing you did as much as you could.
Unfortunately, my passion was not met by the funds to support it - the weekly financial consolidation of a paper round @ £3.50 a week, school dinner money and the occasional pocket money - so I missed so much and this book, as great as it is, has reminded me of that. Nevertheless, I got to see the band 4 times, including the last time they ever played together on 11/12/82 in Brighton and, as was common place, @ approx 3.00pm a rear door of the Brighton Centre opened and all the kids waiting for glimpse of the band to arrive for soundcheck were let in to the venue by John Weller. I among about 30 other kids stood watching, open mouthed I guess, our heroes sound check ("Move On Up" the only track I can remember) on the day that had already been declared the last time The Jam would ever play together. The only means of recalling this astonishing experience - a failing memory in a 40 something year old head; no camera (you were out on your ear if you took a camera into a venue in those days), no camera phone!
This band genuinely changed my life, if you were there it changed yours too; but you already know that.