Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best and they don't come simpler than this. 'The England's Dreaming Tapes' transcribe the interviews that Jon Savage conducted with every significant figure involved in the rise of punk, on both sides of the Atlantic, verbatim and (seemingly) unedited - all the Pistols, McLaren, Devoto and Shelley, Strummer, Legs McNeill, Mary Harron and other New York faces, people who worked in Let it Rock, then Sex, the Gltterbest and Roxy crowds, the Bromley contingent, Chrissie Hynde... recorded much, much closer to the original events than we are now, these recollections don't come through the usual self-justifying, self-aggrandizing prism of hindsight, but have all the freshness of those unforgettable, fantastic times. Tremendous read, much better than the book they led to (which I always thought lacked the grubby vitality which this has in spades), probably the best book I've ever read on the punk era. For anyone who was there, or just wants to understand what all the fuss was about, can't recommend this too highly.
Essential reading for anyone who has read Englands Dreaming England's Dreamingand who has an interest in the Punk Explosion. I guess the good thing about this is that the intervews are more of that time...rather than people looking back 40 years or so ...and recounting what went on at the time..if they really can remember!!! The choice of interviewees is also interesting...some usual suspects yes...but also people who worked "behind the scenes" as it were. And of course..Jon Savage was right in the midst of all the mayhem..unlike some authors I've read..who may well have been just out of short trousers... I think this flows much better than Englands Dreaming...but I guess the two books are different in their approach...this one isn't following a time line A very well put together work which I think covers all the bases very well! What is important I think is that when it all kicked off..there wasn't a generic punk rock sound...there were loads of really different bands..it didn't all sound the same..and it wasn't "punk uniform" time....Over time I think this has been forgotten and distorted..oh yes and there was a degree of ART(y-ness) to it all..and the importance of moving on...stylistically and musically....but not necessarily losing sight of what it was all about and why they got involved in the first place. Make your own minds up about who I might be referring too...
Listeners of the recent radio 6 Punk World Cup might have heard Captain Sensible speaking some home truths about this...!!! Blimey...I remember we had a song called "Englands Dreaming" in my first yes "Punk Rock" band....
All going so well until I spotted a date error so close to my heart...Joe Strummer did not die in 1992...it was 2002...we would surely have missed some good sounds from Joe if he had gone then
I read the lead up book to this (Englands Dreaming) a few years back, which I thought was ok. When I saw this, the follow up, I wasn't sure if it was going to be just a retread of the first book. However I decided to buy it - and am I glad I did! Its ten times better than the first Englands Dreaming, takes you right back to those heady exciting days of Punk! For anyone who was there (like myself- Hey my town even gets a mention when we were one of the few places not to ban the Anarchy Tour - Cleethorpes!!), and for anyone who loved the original and only Punk scene (1976/77), its a deff must! Brilliant read.
I read the original over ten years ago, again only last year and will probably read it again a really enjoyable read. I loaned it to a friend who read it within a day or two and loved it. So when I spotted this I bought it for their birthday. They were over the moon and got stuck in immediately. Feedback from him is that it's a great read! I think it's my turn to borrow this time!
"The England's Dreaming Tapes will surely become the final word..." as the blurb round the back cover says. A bold claim when p. 721 states that "Joe Strummer died in 1992." Picking the nit aside, the book's a hell of a lot of fun to wade through [if not hernia-inducing].