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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of modern Manchester, 10 May 2006
This review is from: I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World (Paperback)
The first version of this book followed in the wake of the Granada Television documentary of the same name. This time around, version two digs deeper, provides more revelations and delves into the psyche of those who swear they were there.

So what is it all about? In a nutshell, two students would invite the Sex Pistols to Manchester, a move that would transform the local music scene in the city forever. The students in question would become better known as Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, founder members of the Buzzcocks.

The television researchers pulled together an impressive array of participants who really were there. The book itself brings together original interview transcripts recorded for the show along with brand new interviews, all linked by informative and insightful explanations and information. In this respect, the book works well and is structured to allow the story to unfold in a documentary fashion.

Beginning with a forward by Howard Devoto, we get to hear of his trip to London with Pete Shelley in search of Malcolm McLaren's shop and the subsequent invitation they made to the Pistols to play in Manchester. This they would do twice, on 4th June and the 20th July 1976, both at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. If, however, Howard didn't have the use of a friend's car one particular weekend it's likely they would never have made it to London and the whole musical revolution in Manchester, if not throughout Britain, might never have happened.

The impact of the Pistols on Tony Wilson (then the presenter of 'So It Goes' on Granada) led in turn to the Pistols appearing on the show. One interesting snippet (which wasn't mentioned in the documentary) is the confirmation that the end of the Pistols' performance of Anarchy In The UK had been doctored prior to transmission, by the director, Peter Walker. Why? The reasons are all here.

A second edition of the book seemed inevitable. The documentary coupled with the first book led to more interest and more revelations. Important parts of the jigsaw have now been filled, with important additional input from Steve Diggle, John The Postman, and (thanks to [...] the elusive Solstice, the support band at the June 4th concert, who had hitherto been impossible to find.

Contributions from the likes of Glen Matlock, Jordan, Mick Rossi and Wayne Barrett (Slaughter And The Dogs), Tony Wilson, and many more involved at either the live shows or 'So It Goes', provide a sense of balance as the sea change caused by the Pistols' first appearance at the Lesser Free Trade Hall swept all before it, including the truth in some cases. Often highly amusing (Clive James gets a good trashing!) the book contains some stunning rare photographs that originally appeared in the long forgotten fanzine, Penetration. These pictures help bring the accounts of the night to life. Just check the cover shot - a crowd of confused and bemused punters look on bewildered as the Sex Pistols turn the world upside down.

With the subject being scrutinized like never before; no myth is taken for granted. An inspired piece of work that will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the Sex Pistols, punk rock, or the birth of the Manchester music scene.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evokes a time when we thought music would change the world, 11 July 2001
By A Customer
Thus book is full of magnificent memories and quirky information about two nights that changed the folk history of Manchester. When the Sex Pistols visted the city in 1976 they inspired Joy Division, The Fall, The Smiths,the Hacienda nightclub, Factory Records, and every youth culture craze right up to Oasis. Their first night audience was small but David Nolan shows how almost everyone went on to form a band - and many of them became icons of popular culture. The style is easy and readable, the characters are painted in a grubby, safety-pinned technicolor, and there are some cracking one-liners. Take yourself back to 1976, kick yourself for missing the gigs, and learn enough detail to pretend you were there. The perfect stocking filler for a difficult 40-something.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How one summer changed Manchester c/o Sex Pistols, 11 July 2001
By A Customer
The book follows in the wake of the Granada Television documentary of the same name. Where as the documentary was (initially) limited to the Granada region only, the book will enable those that were not lucky enough to see it, to understand why the subject matter was felt worthy of an hour-long feature.
So what is it all about? In a nutshell, two students would invite the Sex Pistols to Manchester, a move that would transform the local music scene in the city forever. The students in question would become better known as Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto, founder members of the Buzzcocks.
The television researchers pulled together an impressive array of participants that really were there! The book itself brings together the interview transcripts recorded for the show, linked by informative explanations and information. In this respect the book works well and is structured to allow the story to unfold in a straightforward yet entertaining manner.
Beginning with a forward by Howard Devoto we get to hear of his trip to London with Pete Shelley in search of Malcolm McLaren's shop and the subsequent invitation they made to the Pistols to play in Manchester. This they would do twice, on 4th June and the 20th July 1976, both at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. If however, Howard didn't have the use of a friend's car one particular weekend it's likely they would never have made it to London and the whole subsequent musical revolution in Manchester, if not throughout Britain, might never have happened!
The impact of the Pistols on Tony Wilson (then the presenter of 'So It Goes' on Granada) led in turn to the Pistols appearing on the show. One interesting snippet (which wasn't mentioned in the documentary) is the confirmation that the end of the Pistols performance of Anarchy In The UK had been doctored prior to transmission, by the director, Peter Walker. Why? The reasons are all here.
The book is full of new information from the likes of Glen Matlock, Jordan, Mick Rossi and Wayne Barrett (Slaughter And The Dogs), Tony Wilson, and many more involved at either the live shows or 'So It Goes'. Often highly amusing (Clive James gets a good trashing!) and containing material that didn't make it to the finished film plus some rare photographs, this book will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the Sex Pistols, punk rock, or the birth of the Manchester music scene...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 20 Jun 2006
This review is from: I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book that should be required reading for all those who want to understand Manchester music during the dawning of punk, and in the aftermath of the Pistols visits to Manchester in Summer 1976.

The fundamental strength of the book is that it retells events through oral history - and includes, rather than glosses over, the contradiction and confusion in memories about the events witnessed. In doing this, the book also nails the facts at the core of these experiences, leaving us the most truthful accounts possible.

This second edition introduces new oral evidence from the support band at the LFTH 4th June 1976 gig, Solstice, and is a brief but fascinating insight into the effect of punk on local low-key 70s rock bands facing changing public and record company tastes. There is a real need in popular music histories to move away from the usual suspects in developing an understanding of previous music eras. This book does this very well - whether in discussing the audiences or performers involved.

David Nolan has a light touch leaving much of the evidence to speak for itself. However, when he does intervene, reflect on or add additional explanatory material, his insights are often funny and/or revealing - it would have been good to hear more from this authorial voice ...

Finally, with this book in circulation, there should be no more excuses for historical innacuracies ... of which there are many in the published accounts on Manchester music in the post-punk period.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I'd been there!, 7 Jun 2006
By 
K. Macfarlane (SCOTLAND) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World (Paperback)
Unfortunately far too young at the time to witness this life changing event, but David Nolan's book made it all come alive for me. The interviews with key players are great, with some wonderful insights from them (and the author). As well as being informative, the book is very entertaining and all in all,a great read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex Pistols play Manchester & the aftershock it created, 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
A spin-off from the Granada T.V. programme.This book gives you everything you need to know about the Sex Pistols early gigs in Manchester in 1976 and their first ever T.V. appearance on 'So It Goes'. A great read, David Nolan's book answers all those nagging questions with recent interviews with those who really were there! Complete with never-before-seen photographs, read this book and you will understand why the aftershock of these events 25 years ago are still being felt today. Informative, amusing and and a very English tale of inspiration and energy in desperate times...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 20 Nov 2008
This review is from: I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World (Paperback)
A great account of the gig - just as I remember it. No, really, I swear I was there...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I swear I wish I had been there, 28 Feb 2013
By 
Tom Spiller (Frankfurt am Main) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World (Paperback)
Great work, a must-have for pop aficionados! (13 more silly words are required here, but I've nothing more to say!)
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I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World
I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed the World by David Nolan (Paperback - 1 Jun 2006)
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