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Mama Said There'd be Days Like This: My Life in the Jazz World
Mama Said There'd be Days Like This: My Life in the Jazz World
by Valerie Wilmer
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 27 Nov. 2013
This is a rare insider view of the arrival of black musicians in an unprepared London. It is all the more valuable as it is from a female perspective and so simultaneously illustrates the racial and sexual prejudices which were (and in many cases still are) prevalent. Val Wilmer has a clear love and respect for the music and musicians mentioned, and writes engagingly. She is also a top-rate photographer. This is social and cultural history of the utmost relevance and importance and still manages to be very amusing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2014 11:12 AM BST

London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945
London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945
by Barry Miles
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 13 Nov. 2013
A rehash of all the other soho books, for this one is largely centred, for the first few chapters on soho, and the circle of painters and bohemians which were attract to it.
The main problem is the title; misleading to say the least, how can you claim to write a book about 'counterculture' in London and hardly mention The Little Theatre Club, Ronnie Scott's Old Place, the improvised music scene which flourished in the 60s in London. In his introduction Miles uses the disclaimer that he never really was interested in that scene; if so then use a different title for a book. There is little here that readers of Dan Farson, Deakin, Jeff Bernard etc will find new, not enough else to attract others. Nothing either on an artist like Lynton Kwesi Johnson... No mention of Julie Driscoll, nor Mike Garrick, central to the jazz poetry movement. The sixties is covered in a very anecdotal style and dwells too long on the indulgences of Jagger, McCartney et al, without analysing what the 'counterculture' signified in any depth. I would suggest that Barry Miles retitle his book 'My experience of London's Artistic Bohemia' which would at least have the merit of being clear.

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