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Punk and Post-Punk reviews 'Goudvishal'

"One of the most comprehensive archives on a specific punk scene that I have ever read"

The guys at Punk & Post-Punk have been reading 'Goudvishal' by Marcel Stol and Henk Wentink, and enjoying the depth of the coverage of the punk scene at that time.

Greg Bull recently posted this review:

"It is obvious that, upon opening Goudvishal DIY or DIE! Punk in Arnhem 1977–1990 one finds evidence of a book that encompasses one of the most comprehensive archives on a specific punk scene that I have ever read. It records, in detail, the punk scene in Arnhem of that time via a plethora of media, including personal accounts, newspaper clippings (all in Dutch), a vast array of photos, and brilliantly reproduced gig posters and flyers: many of which are in colour. The Goudvishal took over the role of the Emma/Van Hall punk squat after the demise of the infamous Amsterdam venue. And, although various Dutch punk squats were ‘legalized’ in the 1990s, according to the authors, the ‘plug was pulled’ on the Goudvishal after 23 years of existence in 2007. As such, the book is a familiar tale of those of us growing up as teenagers and young adults in the late 1970s and 1980s in a relatively provincial backwater town (Northampton, where I grew up and currently live, and Arnhem seem similar to me in many ways), away from the so-called geographical hotspots of the cultural explosion that was punk in 1977. Scarcity of records, too young to see bands, no punk venues and very little access to what was going on in the great big world out there."

"And it is here that Goudvishal comes into its own. The book is packed with a multitude of recollections and memories concerning the impact of punk, as the contributors fondly remember their youth. No punches are pulled, and personal accounts are written in an authentic voice which is both engaging and endearing. As such, it is a volume written by participants of the scene: the organizers, agitators, fanzine makers, sound engineers, photographers and printers. And it is because of this grass-roots approach that makes it special, accessible and eminently readable. This is helped by the book being packed full of photos of various bands, from the familiar (Sex Pistols, Clash, Magazine, Siouxsie, Ramones), and those who are lesser known, such as Amebix, Sedition, Smart Pils, Government Issue and many more. Indeed, I would argue that the book is worth buying for the photos alone, reproduced in high resolution from the original negatives of various photographers, with many provided by the ‘house’ photographer Alex van de Ploeg. Furthermore, the photos document the crowd and the scene, not just the bands, which is a refreshing change and adds weight to this book as an historical narrative."

"Reading the reminiscences of the 1980s it again takes me back in time to my own late teenage years, where we were collectively in fear of the bomb, the State, the police, the avoiding of ‘boneheads’ and the hoping for a better, brighter future. There is a tangible air of optimism and nostalgia for a time when many of us believed we could do anything, that anything was possible, and that change was inevitable. These young men and women made their dream of a squatted gig venue a reality, an incredible achievement. Indeed, reading through this book brought back to my mind my own personal expe- rience of the Goudvishal venue, as I played there in October 1986 and can still fondly remember parts of the gig. As a band (I was in Sedition), we were in a playful mood that evening and really enjoyed ourselves, with our hosts friendly and welcoming. My strongest memory is of dedicating a song to Jimi Hendrix as it was ‘exactly twenty years to the day when Jimi Hendrix died’. Of course, it wasn’t: I made it up on the spot."

"To return to the book, I loved it and cannot recommend it highly enough, both as a casual look at the Arnhem punk scene of the time and for anyone studying punk DIY scenes across the world. This book is an incredible archive of material and must have taken a huge amount of time, effort and dedication to produce. I must warn readers that it is not an academic book by any means, but it contains enough source material and archival material to ensure that it should be in the library of any academic institution which deals with popular culture, subcultures, music and social history. As such, I would argue that it is a must have book for anyone interested in how a group of young punks set up such a wonderful DIY scene and venue. Indeed, as the introduction notes, Goudvishal DIY or Die! is ‘a document of an era. An era of DIY punk counter- culture in Arnhem."

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