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Issue punk zine reviews The Scene

Great to see that Neil Duncan, the editor of Issue punk zine, has finished reading his copy of 'The Scene That Would Not Die' by Ian Glasper. He certainly seemed to enjoy it, and the accompanying double CD too. You can read what he had to say in Issue's 113 and 114, and in the text below.

THE SCENE THAT WOULD NOT DIE, by Ian Glasper, on Earth Island Books:

I’m sure that you all must have seen references to this book or even gotten your own copy by now. Mine arrived just before Christmas, but as I was focused on trying to finish Issue#112 and do my ‘End of Year’ report for work, it remained untouched, save for a cursory flick. In that ‘flick’ I had decided that this was not a book for ‘reading’, but a book to be ‘dipped’ into from time to time, as the mood took me.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, with my decks a little more cleared and I had my first ‘dip’. I appreciate that Ian has very sensibly opted to organise the contents, alphabetically by group, but it was an inspired coincidence that the first band featured is 2 SICK MONKEYS.

We all know these guys and I dare say we all love them, as they are lovable for so many reasons. They are also text-book examples of a post-millennial, DIY punk band – who have lived the dream and experienced all it has to offer, good, bad and indifferent.

So I started reading, not dipping, but reading every word and I did not stop, (well obviously I did stop to eat and do other stuff, you know what I mean), with 2 SICK MONKEYS, I moved onto 16 GUNS, who I did not know so well, but saw a few times and was interested in their back story and it just kind of snowballed from there. Each chapter features a band, essentially telling their own story and often recounting experiences I either shared with them, or shared similar with other similar bands. And before I knew it, I was reading the whole book, from cover to cover. (Well, at time of writing, I have only got to page 405 and am just about to tuck into a slice of PIZZATRAMP, but again, you know what I mean.)

The book is massive. It clocks in at over 600 pages and features 111 band interviews and stories. As well as the text, there are some top quality photographs, the best of which I feel are at live shows, capturing the vibrant energy and raw power of a DIY gig unleashed. There are also lots of other little gems, like gig flyers and other visuals which help to build a picture of an active and exciting sub culture seen.

And the bands, what an amazing collection! I appreciate that it wasn’t all just choice, more were asked, but for whatever reason did not respond (in time?) – so may be extra’s were called in to fill up the gaps, but whatever the process, the list is long and amazingly diverse. Diverse geographically, diverse in terms of members, diverse in terms of definition of what ‘punk’ means to them and diverse in terms of time period – some date way back, way, way back to the very dawn of the scene. Others are comparative new-comers, with everything in between.

Basically, the book is covering the 20 years of the 21st Century, which also covers my return to the scene after a dozen year absence where I was experiencing a ‘normal’ life. The story it tells is a wholly positive one. Bands are born and die and some just bumble along doing their own thing, but over all it is an amazingly vibrant scene, organic and diverse. But you all know that. That’s why you are here in the first place.

I have seen over half the bands with my own eyes, some I have had the honour to share a stage with. Most of the rest I have heard some studio work for, so there are only a handful of bands that were unknown to me. (These I now have every intention of checking out, cos if they are featured in this book – they must be worth checking out!) I am also delighted that in many of the interviews, the featured bands have mentioned other bands (not featured) and even that little thing is fantastic. So to the 100+ bands interviewed, you can probably add another hundred bands who get mentioned.

I wasn’t aware that Ian Glasper has written a number of other books on punk, I think starting at the very start. I am definitely minded to try and get hold of these if I can, because I am enjoying this one so much. I also believe that there has been a re-print of this one cos demand was so great. I can highly recommend it, but any reading can only be fully appreciated if you (a) listen to a ton of studio material by the featured bands, and, (b) Get yourself to live shows, as soon as we are able to do that sort of thing again.

So a huge thanks to Ian Glasper and Earth Island books for putting this together, it is really appreciated. Also to all the bands featured, most of whom have brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction, in a world which can be really shitty sometimes.

I seem to have filled a page!

Compilation – “The Scene that Would Not Die Collection” – Double CD Album on Engineer Records.

As if the amazing book wasn’t enough, EARTH ISLAND BOOKS have now added the double album to the mix. It was an obvious thing to do, cos as much as bands like getting mentioned, well, anywhere – boosting their music is even better. Whilst I got the CD after the book, there is a pretty sweet deal to get them both at the same time, which seems too good an opportunity to miss. This double album pretty much sums up UK punk in the 21st century, there are 59 tracks by 59 of the awesome bands featured in the book. I dare not mention any band names, if I can’t list them all, as they all bring something to the party. There is about 2½ hours of diverse, exciting music, a no brainer for any road trip. Obviously I already own a fair few of the tracks, but there are still plenty of bands to check and no doubt I will be making enquiries in the coming months as I get more familiar with the songs. Well worthwhile getting.

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