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London’s Burning: True Adventures on the Front Lines of Punk 1976-1977

Author: Dave Thompson
Review by Jeff Muendel on January 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm
Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Dave Thompson is a fun and energetic writer, and this is the tale of his experience in the London punk scene of ‘76 and ‘77. It is essentially the story of British punk rock as it happened, stripped of hindsight and future legend, and laid bare. Bands bubbling into existence include The Damned during their early gigs and The Sex Pistols swearing through their prime-time television debut. Lesser known groups like The Adverts and Tom Robinson Band are covered, the latter of which are represented by a story wherein the group leads a club full of skinheads through a sing-along anthem called “Glad to Be Gay.” Yes, there are some seriously wild and funny antics. At the same time, though, the book serves up a personal coming-of-age story of a bewildered sixteen-year-old (that would be Thompson) looking not just for fun and music, but for a cultural revolution. The amazing thing is that the author finds a legitimate one right in his back yard, and thanks to Thompson’s natural wit and sharp writing style, we are now all privy to it.


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