Sawdust Caesar: The Pioneers of Youth Rebellion Paperback – 30 Sep 1999
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From the Author
Many thanks to the thousands who have read my work which was produced as a reaction to those - many of whom weren't born at the time - who are pouring out misinformation on the subject. The Mod 'movement' was frequently far from the sweet and peaceful fashion statement depicted by some of the so-called experts on the subject. As outlined in the prologue, all of the action in my novel is firmly based on fact and can be confirmed by anyone who might care to trawl through newspaper reports of the period.
In the book's sequel, ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE DEATH OF MICHAEL MOUSE, (Mainstream Publishing), the central character, Tommy, continues his life experience by escaping from England to journey through Europe and on into Afghanistan and Pakistan in a desperate search for his own identity. Similarly based on my own direct experience, this next novel is particularly poignant in light of the current state of World Affairs. Containing a strong mix of 'sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll' cross-fertilised with the 60's Overland Experience undertaken by many kids of that period, this book is another attempt to dispel the myths of Love and Peace as propagated (yet again) by many who know nothing of that era. Read and enjoy - it might just change your life!
From the Inside Flap
The early to mid-'60s was when youth ran wild for the first time. Unlike their Teddy Boy predecessors (who had been subject to the rigours of conscription), those in their teens openly defied society's rules.
The Teddy Boys of the late '50s were, despite their bizarre imitation of the early American Rock culture, still part of the system, and their brothers-in-arms, the leather-clad bikers, or Rockers, were dismissed by the new breed of teenagers as a hangover from the war years, troublesome barbarians who had ruled the roost for too long.
Schoolboys, school-leavers, mere kids, took to wearing brightly coloured clothes--often handmade by West End tailors - the likes of which had never been seen before: red, yellow, blue and green leather and suede overcoats, two-tone handmade shoes and boots, pastel-coloured trousers worn three inches above the ankle and gaudy shirts in a multitude of audacious styles. Imagine the ridicule they received from the older Rockers, who saw them as a pushover. But consider also the reaction of the Rockers and Teddy Boys when they discovered that many girls preferred these little Beau Brummels, and that en masse they weren't quite the weaklings that they'd hoped. In fact, they soon found out that many of these kids were of tough stock, coming from Britain's backstreets and council estates, and were more than a match for anyone who fancied a fight.
In direct contrast to the white music beloved of Rockers, these "Mods"--as they were soon to be labelled by the media--listened to little but the music of their black friends in the clubs of Soho and the basement parties of Brixton. Black and white youngsters mixed freely, becoming friends in a way perhaps unparalleled in history. Blue beat and ska dominated the subculture for years.
This was a period of spontaneous and exuberant rebellion untouched and unadulterated by market forces, which paved the way for a host of less pure but more celebrated cults; hippies, yippies and punks for example, which with the grateful help of the media bandwagon, achieved far greater and perhaps less-deserved notoriety.
In Sawdust Caesar, Howard Baker charts this little-known period of popular culture and records the fashion, the music and the ideologies of the time.
Top customer reviews
While much of the book's initial action has to do with early mod vs. rocker bank holiday battles, as Tommy starts to distance himself more from the scene, he gets involved in organized crime. The book then becomes something slightly different-portrait of the mod as a young criminal (actually as this point he's turned into a "smoothie"). Things get heavier and heavier until Tommy is forced to make a choice. His adventures continue in Enlightenment and the Death of Michael Mouse, which I have not read.
Baker hits all the important topics, including a little bit of interracial romance, with its attendant tensions, as well as the class issues, rise of the teenager, and everything else. When he does start to critique the journalists and police of the time for getting it all wrong, the book starts to lose its fictional grounding and veers into diatribe, but on the whole it doesn't suffer for it. Well worth reading if you're interested in the mod subculture and your only exposure is the film Quadrophenia.
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