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This Little Ziggy [Paperback]

Martin Newell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 May 2001
This extraordinary memoir of a celebrated poet and 'failed' rock star tells how one boy grew up in the sixties, survived a British army upbringing, school, the Far East, south London and real trouble, only to go through the hell of being beaten, dabbling in drugs, overdosing, getting arrested, being busted, pop obsession and much, much more.
Joining Plod, a seventies glam-rock band, became the steadying influence in a life spinning hopelessly out of control. Told with hugely generous dollops of smut, pathos and irrepressible humour, Martin Newell's entertaining adventures make for a fast-moving page-turner for anyone who has ever dreamed of being in a band.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus; First Edition edition (7 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755102673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755102679
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 14.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,630,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Newell was born in 1953 to an army family and he grew up in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, London, Cyprus, Dundee, Chester, Singapore, Malaya and Essex. In 1973 he joined the Colchester glam-rock band, Plod. Subsequent bands were Gypp, The Stray Trolleys and Cleaners From Venus. In between jobs included stints as a kitchen porter and gardener. Martin's latest album is The Spirit Cage (Cherry Red records). In 1990 Martin began working as a performance poet and took up a poet's residency in Middlesborough. He has had seven books published: five collections of verse and two long poems, Black Shuck and Wildman of Wivenhoe. Martin is resident pop poet for The Independent, and as a result he is the most regularly published poet in the UK. He lives in north-east Essex.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest rock'n'roll star you never knew. 23 May 2001
By P. A. Murphy VINE VOICE
Martin Newell's biography covers his childhood through to his early adulthood via passionately-written and frequently hilarious tales of discovering the joys - and pitfalls - of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Like a pop version of Zelig, Newell has been, if not actually present, then at least in the audience at the birth of some of the major developments in popular Brit culture. And his enthusiasm for it now as much as then shows, with witty and consistently readable anecdotes thrown away at the drop of his Victorian top hat. Aficionados of his poetry and his music in bands such as The Cleaners From Venus and his own solo work will recognise their hero as he brings an adroit style to stories of drug abuse and violence, without ever glorifying or glamorising, yet always being entertaining and capable of deep feeling. It all makes for a highly personal account of what it was like to grow up in the sixties and early seventies. This Little Ziggy has a tang of authenticity and honesty that makes it an essential read for any student of pop music in the last 40 years. Hopefully, it will bring his music into focus at the same time. And, sir, when's the next volume coming out?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine stuff 30 Jun 2001
By A Customer
I love Newell's poetry and this is in a lot of ways an extension of the poet you get to know. It's funny, sarcastic, ironic and has the authenticity that comes with experience and intelligence combined. If you read King of the City by Michael Moorcock and this, it will make up for a lot of those awful second-hand rock and roll books the literati are turning out these days. This is the seventies as it felt like for those of us in struggling rock bands in the 70s and is worth a million rock journo's analyses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By nigeyb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This wonderful 260 page book describes Martin's life from childhood to the mid-1970s and the end of his Colchester glam rock band Plod.

Who is Martin Newell you may be asking? He is a musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, poet, author, gardener, and all round good guy.

His "career" from when this book ends to the present day probably warrants another book. It includes making music as Gypp, The Brotherhood of Lizards, The Stray Trolleys, Cleaners From Venus, and as a solo artist, in addition to his poetry, and all on his own terms. Anyway I digress, back to This Little Ziggy...

Martin Newell was born in 1953, the child of a British Army family, who moved around extensively and included stints in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, London, Cyprus, Dundee, Chester, Singapore, Malaya and Essex This made for an interesting childhood and some incident-packed teenage years, many people go a bit off the rails as a teenager but Martin's experience really is something else: drugs, overdoses, arrests, busts, bikers, violence, sex, indeed it wasn't until he joined Plod, the aforementioned Colchester glam rock band, that things started to settle down, and as he ruefully observes, there's not many people who get into a rock n roll band to settle down and get away from drugs.

This Little Ziggy is compelling, full of great anecdotes, interesting social history and some hard earned wisdom. It perfectly captures the 1960s and 1970s, and the highs and lows of life in a band. In short, it's splendid and you should read it. I don't keep many books but this is a keeper - and I am already looking forward to a re-read in a year or two.

As he states at the end of this book, in the music industry, where lack of success is not necessarily the same thing as failure, he and his Colchester glam rock band Plod had done alright really. Too right.
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