This 750 page doorstop of a book basically a 'diary' of the evolution of punk/new wave from the release of the Stooges Funhouse and Andy Partridge from XTCs first rehearsal in 1970, to 31 Dec 1982 when the author decides punk finally ends with the release of Belle Stars 'Sign of the Times' and the first Husker Du album.
Anyway, basically this nutcase has complied a diary from all the music papers of the time, so it reads as an 'as it happened' account of the evolution of punk and what came shortly after. Every significant gig, record and seemingly every letter Morrissey ever wrote to Melody Maker during this era are documented....and many of the less significant ones too.
OK 'Englands Dreaming' (brilliant history of the era by Jon Savage) this ain't .And for goodness sake don't read the witless preamble where the writer gets the entire ethos of punk completely wrong...calling it a reaction to "..mindless disco". He even writes possibly the most damning indictment of punk I have ever read which makes it sound like really it should never have happened: "(Without punk)..we would probably have never heard of the Police, REM, The Cure, Pearl Jam or U2". Ahem...
But it is impressive in its scope and, once you get past the authors School Magazine writing style, is great fun to read. Each page you turn brings a new bunch of hapless wannabes...or maybe a nascent incarnation of future megastars. You do feel as if you are reliving the history of the music as it would have been read at the time, snippets from the 'inkie' music papers like Sounds, NME and Melody Maker.
It does manage to take in an impossible array of obscurities too. To give an example, my mate Ian's old band, Dislocation Dance, have about 7 entries (albeit of the "the band were no doubt round their mums house waiting to hear their first session for Kid Jensen" variety).
Anyway, worth having, especially if you want to be a pub quiz champ, or simply have to know what Rip Rig & Panic were doing this time 25 years ago.