5.0 out of 5 starsA world of possibilities and camaraderie
4 December 2017
I was recently researching a map about the literary scene in Walton-on-Thames and amongst authors/screenwriters/poets like William Thackeray and Dirk Bogarde I found the work of Matteo Sedazzari. It was a delight to find that his book 'A Crafty Cigarette' was not only full of the colour and ambience of the Mod era but also was a humorous and evocative read. Although I had never cruised the streets of Walton on a scooter, nor worn the smart attire of a Mod his book transported back to a time that felt alive, a world of possibilities and camaraderie. Sedazzari was the only living writer we included in the map (commissioned by Elmbridge Council) Walton-on-Thames Literary Walking Map (Elmbridge Map Series) and he deserves his place amongst some of the great authors who have graced the streets of Walton-on-Thames.
3.0 out of 5 starsa good naive scribe as would have been in these times ...
3 October 2016
I was seduced by the reviews and also the foreword being scripted by John Cooper Clarke and being a Mod at the time this was recorded I expected possibly more about the actual scene the author found himself in...a good naive scribe as would have been in these times from a schoolboy though.
I was recently researching a map about the literary scene in Walton-on-Thames and amongst authors/screenwriters/poets like William Thackeray and Dirk Bogarde I found the work of Matteo Sedazzari. It was a delight to find that his book 'A CraftyCigarette' was not only full of the colour and ambience of the Mod era but also was a humorous and evocative read. Although I had never cruised the streets of Walton on a scooter, nor worn the smart attire of a Mod his book transported back to a time that felt alive, a world of possibilities and camaraderie. Sedazzari was the only living writer we included in the map (commissioned by Elmbridge Council) Walton-on-Thames Literary Walking Map (Elmbridge Map Series) and he deserves his place amongst some of the great authors who have graced the streets of Walton-on-Thames.
It is essentially about a young lad discovering music and all things mod and his experiences whilst growing into the 'scene'. It featured a lot of situations that I indentified with. The language used is down to earth and easy to comprehend yet creates vivid images.It is a fast paced read and very believable, in fact I think it maybe an autobiography without really meaning to be. This years best book ever if you were a mod in the late 70s early 80s - an absolute pleasure to read, I highly recommend
'A CraftyCigarette' is a brilliant coming-of-age story for anyone who has felt like an outsider growing up in the 1970's and early 1980's. A great first-person narrative, with a hint of sly black comedy from the perspective of a teenager, discovering good music, fashion and literature, as well as the subculture that goes with being a Mod. A very enjoyable read and a great debut by author Matteo Sedazzari.
I really loved this book and was eagerly awaiting it as I had been a fan of Matteo Sedazzari (MS) and his writing for some time for Zani, an online magazine covering my very favourite things in life - music, culture and football. A CraftyCigarette tells the tale of a youngster's rites of passage journey from child to knowing (and naughty) youth, against the backdrop of the late 70s Mod revival which rose from Punk and New Wave. Two things immediately got hold of me - First...This was a journey I had taken at the same time as MS, albeit I was a few years older and had spent my feckless youth searching out Ben Sherman Shirts and Tonic Suits, riding a Vespa Scooter, building up a collection of Motown and Stax Records and spending anytime I could at gigs by The Jam and Secret Affair. Secondly it's set where I have lived for 20 years, Walton on Thames, and bought up my three children, and (cough) now love my young Grandson, little Modboy of the future..(How did that happen?)...I could obviously relate to it massively on these factors alone....
But, written at a fast and frantic piece, full of warm, sometimes laugh out loud vignettes, and also dark observations (Heard of The Walton Hop?? The stalking predatory arena for Jonathan King and his fellow paedos), anyone can enjoy this and I felt it very reminiscent of the Danny Baker autobiogs...warm, human and full of joy and discovery.Indeed I feel a TV adaption (albeit slightly shorter than Cradle to the Grave) would be a very fine thing.
Looking back, this was a very key time in British history. Thatcher was just getting her claws into British society, and no picnic for the caring and compassionate humanity that lived through it I can tell you. The moment The Jam went straight into number one with Going Underground and the video beamed out at us kids into our living rooms, was one momentous life changing occasion. That moment is beautifully captured in the narrative. Transported me back in time. Beautiful.
Indeed the passion for The Jam that runs through this book is one of its strengths.. When you saw the hundreds flocking to the recent About the Young Idea Exhibition at Somerset, you realise how important they were and are. They shaped good people with positive life ideas and a conscience. I know I can say that for myself and MS comes across strongly in this vein too.
Not so beautiful is my memory of 'The Pub Man' as described to a tee by MS. Some Dennis Waterman looking type in a brown leather jacket who would take you on just because you had a suit, jam shoes and a pretty girl on your arm. Many a time I returned home with my features splattered across my face having been attacked by said pub man. Always satisfied though if my lady was ok and my suit hadn't got torn.'We don't care cos we know we're right'.......
The mayhem in the denouement at Rydens School (where my kids all went and where i visualised myself at parents evening as all hell breaks loose in the book) is riproaringly funny.
If you're an embracer of mod culture and /or a Jam fan this is a dead cert...but if not still give it a punt. It's great.
With such high praise from John Cooper Clarke and Irvine Welsh, I was really looking forward to reading A CraftyCigarette. Sadly, it just didn’t do anything for me. It was like an angrier version of Adrian Mole. I found it hard to empathise with our protagonist and any of the things that he was going through as I felt that he put himself in those positions on purpose. I just didn’t get the point of the story.
A CraftyCigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod by Matteo Sedazzari is available now.
There is a lot to like about CraftyCigarette, from the subject matter, youth culture and the impact it has on a youth, the decade, the late 70s and the early 80s, a period that we witnessed vast political, social and economic changes in the UK and the narrative, as stated on the cover, as seen through his eyes. As you delve further into the novel, you start to feel that you are transported to that period, along with the author’s emotions, how he managed to capture the voice of a young teenager in an authentic and amusing manner, is remarkable. CraftyCigarette reminded me so much of one of my favourite books, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where I spent an imaginary summer on the Mississippi River, thanks to the narration by Twain as Finn. I noticed that summer holidays featured a lot in CraftyCigarette, but I suppose when we were kids, this is when we went through a huge emotional transactional stage, starting in a new year or new school, a new you, after six weeks of fun, just like in CraftyCigarette.
This book is an absolute treat. The foreword is written John Cooper Clarke, an ex-mod himself. It's a powerful coming of age story of an aspiring young mod growing up in a Surrey suburbia during the late 70s and early 80s when the The Jam were at their highest peak. Matteo writes in an unapologetic excited manner that comes from the heart at times i laughed out loud. The mod era was a key time of British History, Thatcher was intoxicating Britain.... and the author was having a craftycigarette. An absolute joy of a book. Well written, a great trip down ol' memory lane for any mod. I feel there may be a tv adaption coming soon, and if there is n't why is n't there?!
As a lad growing up ,The Jam were my obsession ,the clothes ,the music and the family we all were at gigs up and down the country."A CraftyCigarette " has captured the mood and the teenage angst of these times like no other book on this sort of subject .Matteos writing is plainly from the heart and told with honesty and wit that has made this one of my favourite books to date .Quite simply its superb