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on 6 June 2017
not a goo read
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This was a really good book, full of interesting, informative facts, written by a man who was there at the time of the youth cult phenomenon.
Yep, dear old Garry Bushell, the man the middle-classes love to hate, has seen it all; bikers, mods, glory boys, skinheads, punks and, or course, those Oi! Oi! boys.
Shooting from the hip, like a man on a mission, Garry takes us on a journey, a journey via the blood spattered boots and braces of British youth culture throughout the decades. Culturally accurate, the book is littered with references to loafers, sta prest trousers, crombies and the bands of the time, as our host illuminates the dark trail of devastation and fashion left in the wake of British sub-culture.
In actual fact, the books sub-title is somewhat of a misnomer, as the tales of aggro are not the dominant theme. Nah, in my opinion it should be called Workers Revenge, or some other class orientated title, as Bushell shows how the anger of the working classes should be directed at its most obvious enemy - the ruling classes - rather than the in-fighting he goes on to describe.
The targets for Bushell's ire are wide and varied: un-hygienic anarcho punkers, such as Crass, Robert Elms, Janet Street-Porter, working-class wannabes, the list is endless. Still, rather than reading like the rantings of a grumpy old man, one finds oneself agreeing with the `Bush' as he tells it like it is.
Being a fan of Oi! I knew I would enjoy the chapters on the likes of the 4-Skins/Cockney Rejects/Menace, etc, but other chapters proved gems of delight - especially the New Romantic character assassination. Indeed, so funny was it that I laughed out loud on the train on numerous occasions, fronting down the strange looks from the suited commuters with the line "it's Garry Bushell, he's so funny".
Another thing that struck me about this book was how important Hoxton Tom was to many of the youth cults, especially Oi! and Mod.
The only complaint I have is that the book fails to go into sufficient detail of the legacy of Oi! on the German punk scene, apart from mentions of Oxymoron and the brilliant Stomper 98. I would also have listed Und Ab by 4 Promille or other bands such as Loikaemie, Die Lokalmatadore, Suspekt, Oi-Melz, The Shocks and hundreds more. One other band should also have been mentioned: Swedish superstars of Oi!: Perkele and their class CD Confront
Still, this is a minor grumble and I won't take off a star from what is a superb book, a book guaranteed to stir the old memory banks, whatever youth cult the reader may have belonged to, or, in my case, still belongs to!
I guess old punks never die, they just grow old disgracefully - and end up writing books!
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on 31 October 2015
Loved this book! I learnt a lot about other subcultures that were around when I was an adolescent and even a begrudging respect. I grew up as a metalhead, the onset of my teenage years coinciding with the rise of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal before plunging full on into the era of Thrash metal. Obviously I was aware of punks, skinheads and mods but as we all know there was very little mixing as we were so fiercely tribal. All so daft with hindsight as we all missed out on good music and there was always common ground, take Roger Daltrey & Robert Plant, at one time they looked very similar. Thankfully the kids today have more sense and Rock/Alternative venues are populated by metalheads, goths, ska fans, skins, punks, indie fans etc with no aggro whatsoever. It all seems to come under the same banner now! The landlord at my local pub was a big Northern Soul fan and he said to me "we used to fight with you guys back then" - You just couldn't imagine it now; all fans mix happily now apart from perhaps Hip Hop & Dance?

Anyway back to the book, I obviously was engrossed in the chapters on the NWOBHM which heavily focused on Maiden, Motorhead & Sabbath and on their forefathers, The Rockers but I was just as immersed in the chapters on punk, mods and skinheads. The skins and all the far left/far right politics of the times are a major part of the book. There is a fair bit of violence much of it football related. It seems that skinheads and football were very intertwined, not something that you could say for rock or metal perhaps. Its probably the subculture that interests me the most, the skinhead one - maybe because its so different from metal in the look although you do see metal fans with short cuts now. Also the later more aggressive brand of Oi and bands like The Exploited found common ground with the more extreme brands of metal. I think its all about finding the common ground and also enjoying our differences. Having said that now at pushing 50, I love Classical music too - not much common ground there too!

The book even goes back to the Peaky Blinders of old, it covers the Teds and also includes soul boys, football casuals, goths and more. I don't think any British musical youth culture is absent here so should be something for all. The framework seems often to be musical but in a lot of cases politics is a major factor especially with the skins and most of the violence is related to this too; that and the matchday.

Its just a great book - perhaps the definitive one on british musical subcultures. Id recommend it alongside John King's excellent Skinhead novel
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on 23 March 2013
Bushell may be dislikede by the liberal press but no one can deny his insider knowledge on a fair few of these youth trends from the recent and not so recent past, covering well known areas such as punk - where he gives you a fresh spin that many not there would not know about, to lesser known fads such as glory boy. A very interesting piece of social history that would of merited five stars except for the fact that it is very Londoncentric, altthough this is understandable as Bushell is from and worked in the capital, and at 99p for the Kindle edition is still a bargain.
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on 27 October 2014
Okay I've never been into football but i was into the rocker scene, had several 60s and 70s British bikes. Remember most of the groups and still have at my advanced years several punk C.D.s in fact I purchased a boxed set only last week. I saw Culture Club on the T.V. at the weekend; what a sad bunch of old cronies.

Re-form the Pistols or the Jam then we'll hear some music!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 19 April 2013
I suppose the title and the cover is designed as cheap sell. This is not another retread of scooters and safety pins.This book is extremely well researched going through every youth cult and trend from Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers, Skinheads, Punks, Glory boys, Hairies, New Romantics and even Hell's Angels. Gary Bushell was there and a lot of this book is criss-crossed by people who were there, giving a real insite into what was going on; a far cry from what the press was inventing at the time. Gary gives a fair even-handed assessment of every 'cult', their origins, class, politics(if any) left and right. The brutality of the left and their political links certainly came as a surprise to me, as did a lot of the other stuff going on behind the scenes.A class theme runs through this book and it's particularly interesting how say some trend starts off with the middle class and gets taken up by the working class and vice-versa. His observation of middle and upper class punk musicians pretending to be working class for 'Street Credibility' is a laugh. If were part of any of the scenes written about in this book you'll recognise yourself. I was a hairy and this book, years later, explains but doesn't justify why neanderthals with big boots on always wanted to rearrange my features. The 'Handy Hippy'
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on 20 June 2013
A book that evoked so many memories 1979_1984 when I was
15_20.Met and knew some of the characters.Gary tells and
writes a good story so much the better for his opinionated
view of how things were then.
Anyone around the age of 50 and interested in youth culture
and music would enjoy this.
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on 20 February 2011
This is really Gary Bushell's view on how events unfolded over the past 40 years in Music.

The title Hollies is a bit misleading as it is really how Gary Bushell perceives the developing of most major music cults in the 70's and 80's. This development was closely linked with voilence

He is dismissive of Fleet Street and the Music Press but mainly because they do not share his vision.

My recollection was that the music press on an annual basis were trying to kick start new fads almost as a justification for being so reluctant to nurture and recognize punk.

This is supported by the fact that fads like the glory boys blew over as quickly as they were identified. The book fails to mentiom power pop that the press hailed as the next big thing in 1978 featuring the Pleasures, XTC and anyone that could possibly fit into this lable.

If the music press had shown such enthusiasm pre 1977 a cult would surely have been developed around the pub rockers, a physcadelic revival hailed due to the stranglers and American Punk like Television would have had a separate label.

Bushell champions Oi as it was his media brainchild, there was nothing new about it or nothing that the second tier bands down the Vortex and Marquee could not produce in 1977. If Slaughter and the Dogs started 5 years later no doubt they would have been an Oi Band

This book is not without merit as it gives a succint history of the various musical fads, I found that it was a little to dismissive of punk and a little too reverent of Oi.

However this is the Gospell according to Gary Bushell.
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on 8 March 2013
........ and I don't mean the dogs b0!!0x, Gary might have lived the life but why pretty it up for print, FFS tell it like it was, with a title like this you want to know what it was like in the midst of it, really unconvincing, and a disappointment
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on 16 May 2013
If your interested in British youth culture then this is the book to read, informative and detailed even naming the faces at the time. Really enjoyed reading, brought back loads of memories of the 70's and early 80's mod scene that I was part of.
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