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.
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 nicely balanced tale focused on the somewhat niche movement which was the mod revival of the late '70's. I could fully identify with the writer as I was a very similar age and certainly more mod than punk.
A very funny , entertaining read , if you were a young mod in the late seventies you will love it . Totally captures the feeling of discovering mod with a very accurate "attention to detail " . It instantly took me back to my youth . Brilliant .
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 Crafty Cigarette 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.
This tale is an evocation of youth-hood, the narrator a late-seventies mod, careering through his early teens with his mod mates. It's half lived, half fantasy, which gives it a naive charm. As I began reading I thought, great story but the grammar! Run-on sentences galore, full stops where they shouldn't be and words missing from sentences. However after the first couple of chapters I realised that this was right - it's the author's voice. An authentic portrayal of a teenaged boy expressing his fears, anxieties, hopes and desires. If you were a mod in the late seventies and early eighties (as I was), or just a fan of The Jam, this is a must read. Even if you're neither, there are enough laugh out loud moments here to make this afternoon's reading a worthwhile buy.
A fantastic read! It brilliantly captures the essence of growing-up in the late 70s early 80s... what a journey Sedazzari takes his character on ... even though I am female there are so many parallels to my own teenage years: school, bands, Italian family, racism, the Mod and Punk scene. The awkwardness of youth, hanging out with your pals, that first smell of the vinyl record as you take it from its sleeve, tapes and cassettes, it paints the pictures beautifully - It hits the nail on the head!... I was overcome with acute nostalgia it created and evoked many happy memories... A brilliant reference to those times and a well worth read for anyone who has an interest in music and culture of our times. (This is A Modern World!)
Like a Betamax projection from our Modfathers into the art of growing up, this little gem of a book is a glorious paean to the navigation into adulthood through tribal identity. That identity happens to be late 70s mod culture but it’s almost immaterial as the themes of making sense of the transition from teenager to young adult really are what makes this such a lovely book. That it presents as a pre-millennium time capsule is a gift to both those who were there and those who weren’t but wish for an eyewitness account. A genuinely lovely read, full of insight, detail and acuity. And a cultural history to boot. What more could you ask for.
Great read about growing up as a young Mod in the late 70's early 80's. Love how it's written through the eyes of a teenager. Very well done. All I can say is the Author must have a great memory of being young.