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Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life Paperback – 24 Sep 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (24 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846687128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687129
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 714,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Music Books of the Year: Like his bass, the lows are low and the style upfront. (Ludovic Hunter-Tilney Financial Times 2009-11-28)

Rather than another tale of redemption by a spoiled celeb, this autobiography - articulate, funny and sharply intelligent - reads like a valuable cultural historiography... Jah Wobble has already created one of the most remarkable and idiosyncratic discographies of any musician in Britain during the last 30 years. Memoirs of a Geezer helps to define the questing, sometimes troubled soul behind those legendary low frequencies. (Alan Warner Guardian 2009-10-10)

There isn't a dull page in this slyly entertaining memoir. Wobble is the ultimate punk and post-punk raconteur and for those not lucky enough to spend time with the great man, this book... is a terrific substitute... [A]n influential and revered bassist... Wobble's character assessments are always entertaining... (Suzi Feay Independent on Sunday 2009-09-27)

Blackly comic (Helen Brown Daily Telegraph 2009-11-28)

He writes as well as he plays... entertaining and uplifting. (Tom Widger Sunday Tribune 2009-11-08)

An exhilarating journey...he is an agreeable and thoughtful tour guide. (Tony Russell Mojo 2009-11-01)

Riveting account of East End bassist's life...

Wobble's autobiography is extraordinary: brutally honest, often hilarious, resolutely adhering to his down-to-earth geezer principles but soul-searching and spiritual, with his beloved-but-embattled East End the recurring backdrop. While wit or received wisdom drip from every anecdote, he pulls no punches... Lucid, gripping and incredibly direct, Wobble has produced nothing less than a Cockney Chronicles.

(Kris Needs Mojo 2009-12-01)

Sharp, funny and always searingly honest account of his life to date (Jim Carroll Irish Times 2009-10-08)

Post-punk bass behemoth and former London Tube driver bares all...

It's a colourful read, full of the sort of old-school music business shenanigans you hope don't go on anymore... And Wobble can write... Very entertaining.

(Johnny Davis Q 2009-11-01)

Wobble's writing is punchy and often extremely funny... It's the terse voice of a man staking out his own territory... the greatest of recent bassists. (Derek Walmsley The Wire 2009-10-01)

A thumpingly good read. (Hot Press 2009-09-07)

It's hard not to warm to the candour with which he tracks a life story which has survived alcoholism and endless back-stabbing, to emerge with a healthy perspective on the excesses of a misspent youth... All these years after PiL imploded, anger is still an energy. (Keith Watson Metro 2009-09-22)

[A] diverting tome...Wobble is far too busy to live in the past. (Martha de Lacey London Lite 2009-09-22)

Eminently readable account of the affable East Ender's journey...perfectly mixes open humility with cavalier swagger.

In this engaging dichotomy, Wobble's personality shines through every anecdote and insight as he matches Devil-may-care visceral grit with cerebral self-analysis...

Hilarious, unflinching, self-deprecating... therein lies this particular geezer's twinkle-eyed, likeably roguish charm.

(Ian Fortnam Classic Rock 2009-12-01)

[S]prings off the page the same way a good pub raconteur ambushes you with words... (David Pollock The List 2009-09-10)

There's plenty to talk about with John Wardle...his honesty and forthrightness is the book's greatest strength...Wobble is an engaging narrator. (Joe Shooman Record Collector 2009-09-01)

Like you'd expect, gritty and witty recollections from "the nice one" in PiL (Simon Reynolds Blissblog 2009-08-07)

Jah Wobble gives a heartfelt account of himself in Memoirs of a Geezer, a beautifully observed record of much more than his time in the post-punk spotlight with John Lydon's PiL... (Simmy Richman Independent on Sunday 2009-12-13)

He writes with a punchy honesty and has a good ear for insult...an enjoyable romp through three decades of pop culture as well as an occasional meditation on working-class life and the changing face of London. (Toby Lichtig TLS 2009-12-11)

Passionate, digressive, angry, philosophical and full of (often jet black) humour... If the idea of getting as close as you can to having your ear bent by this talented but awkward customer appeals, you're likely to find things to enjoy here. (Jamie Renton Roots 2009-10-01)

Book Description

Mercury-shortlisted musician, punk rebel and genuine geezer, Wobble spills all in his autobiography

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this while catching up with things I'd bought earlier on in the year. This book had sunk down the pile after a friend who'd read it assured me it was "really boring" because "he keeps going on about religion". Luckily a few PIL sessions got me to pick it up again. I did head straight for the punk/PIL chapters mid-book to begin with, & JW tells a fascinating story. He's not afraid to name names in his view of how PIL went wrong, or in dealing more generally with the exploitative b/s aspects of the music biz.

From there i went back to the beginning, tho the "my childhood" bit in biogs can so often be a sentimental bore. Not here tho. JW's account of his family's antecedents & East End roots is really absorbing, going into great detail about the subtleties of the relationships & histories of the different communities.

Equally the post-PIL story is just as interesting, with the story of his personal evolution from speed, booze & violence to a deeper understanding of life, running alongside the stories of his different musical activities & collaborations. And to my mate who found it "really boring" - the spiritual/Chinese culture sections only account for a small part of the book actually (& they're usually in italics if you're that desperate to avoid them. I defy anyone to hold back from smiling when he recounts his pleasure at getting his compilation out on legendary reggae label Greensleeves.

There are also some great laugh-out-load moments - especially in the section about TV (don't expect to see him alongside a certain "glorified pub piano player" on Later! again), or a lovely tale of how Sean Hughes discovers that "you can take the boy out of the East End, but...
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Format: Paperback
This was a very frank and honest account of John Wardle which I found very touching. It made me laugh and relate to the places and situations John mentioned. Having worked with John during his time with Pil and being an eastender myself,I felt that this book is a very good read and well worth having. If you are or have been a keen Wobble fan this is a must read !
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By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was too young for punk and not particularly into the World Music Scene so knew very little of Jah Wobble's musical output when I picked up this book. I do like well written memoirs though, and the plaudits on the cover were enough to recommend it to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the fact that it seems an honest account of his life, that he doesn't varnish over the more unsavoury aspects of his life or personality, and that he isn't afraid to tell it like it is (or at least his perception of it, anyway). Wobble writes with energy, wit and humour and is not afraid to take responsibility for his actions, whether you agree with what he has done or says, or not.

I love his passion for London, and particularly the East End. I love his eclectic greed for influences that have clearly given him such a deep and vital creative pool to draw from in his work.

This is really visceral writing from a man who has had a rich and fascinating life, and continues to do so. Reading the book has made me research some of his music, and I was not disappointed by it in the slightest. It is as complex, rich and diverse as his life story leads you to imagine.
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Fascinating look at the music scene from the 70's onwards. Mr Wobble gives a real insight into the workings and dangers of the business. He writes well,gives entertaining snapshots of some characters and seems quite grounded after all he's been through. I likes PILL but its made me want to get some more of his stuff too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, I alternate between reading history, travel and biography. This is a cracker. It is great if you are into music, live in London and appreciate a straight up honest guy telling things as they are. Some interesting stories and the Never Mind The bit is magical...sometimes we all want to punch someone smug. Great.
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Great book. Had just read the John Lydon book and good to get the two different perspectives. Jah definitely comes across as the more balanced personality of the two. Been through a lot to get there though. My main interest was around Metal Box and the punk scene but the 2nd half of the book was great as well. Very honest and not frightened to reveal his true feelings. The section near the end on feeling a stranger in his home turf was brave and thought provoking.
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Having had the pleasure of sharing some of this mayhem with Wobble (as we in the inner circle referred to him) I can vouch that the tales are all true, the highs and the lows are graphically emparted with the honesty and wit that is the man. The wonderful colourful tapestry that has been created in the wake of Wobble will continue to morph and change as has the man himself. If you are looking for a luvvee rose tinted memoir steer well clear, if it's straight to the point well written honesty you're after then Wobble has delivered for you. Oh and while you're at it pick up the CD box set "I could have been a contender" bargain price for a three disc set of eclectic musical masterpieces (You have to hear A13, if Alan Bennet was dragged up in an East End council estate he may have written something like this)
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