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Author – Paul Hallam Part 2

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Old Dog Books

01. Tell us about Sleeping Dogs Books an offshoot of Old Dog Books?

Old Dog is focussed on Pulp Fiction. I don’t want it to deviate from that and become just another book imprint. But Garry Bushell had this great idea of putting out 2 books with me. So I thought let’s do something as a sideline and call it Sleeping Dogs (that name was actually invented by Danny Decourtelle).

02. What about Streetsounds, whats the set up and who is involved?

About four years ago The Bushell said the music press needs a new title. Something that is about what we did then but also about what is going on right now. A voice for the bands who can’t get in NME or Mojo. And that’s how it started. I went along with him thinking this will last 2 issues at best. 4 Years on and we are the biggest selling music magazine in the UK. We got some great writers who do it all for love not money.

03. What type of stuff do you cover within Streetsounds?

It’s mainly all the old stuff that Mojo may not want to talk about – so lots of Oi!, Punk, Mod bands etc, but also we are also covering current stuff. Plus all the specialist festivals – Punk Rock Bowling, Skamouth etc, that are getting thousands of people though the doors so to speak, but will never make the pages of the mags on the shelves of WH Smiths.

04. Tell us about you latest offering for Sleeping Dog Books?

20 Shades is a compilation of short stories written by regular Street Sounds Contributors. We have Left-Wing poet Tim Wells, Football Factory author John King, the legend that is Mr Bushell himself, Old Dogs author Craig Brackenridge and Joe Pasquale amongst others. A real mix as they say!

05. What is peoples re-action to the Streetsounds growth and spread?

It still amazes me. Street Sounds is a chaotic affair – down to me, not GB. And if we are a few weeks late with the quarterly issue people get on the case wanting to know where it is. It is a real labour of love and we need help from our readers. We need people to be helping us getting it into independent shops around the country. We have a piece on this next issue.

06. How can folks get a copy of Streetsounds?

streetsoundsonline.co.uk and also in good record shops up and down the country. You can even find us on Social Media too!

07. Do you have more follow ups planned for the ‘20 Shades of Psycho’ format?

Not yet. We really want to do a book based on Garrys’ heavy metal articles from Sounds this year. Like the 2-tone one and the Mod Revival one. That will go on Sleeping Dogs.

08. How about your own Book that you recently released, how is that doing?

It’s basically a book of my old mod photographs. It’s quite insane really. I was 16-20 years old and took my old Olympus Trip to mod clubs. 30 plus years on I’m being told this is History. You can buy it HERE! Later this month I’m doing a thing at the Photographers Gallery in Soho. People like David Bailey do that – not me…

09. How will England do in Euro 2016 in France?

Quarter Finals. I’m a North Korea fan and as they aren’t allowed to enter the Euros I’m not too excited.

10. Where can folks grab a copy of the ‘2O Shades of Psycho’ Anthology?

From the excellent Old Dog Books Website and The Pip! Pip! Amazon page.

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 11, 2016 By : Category : Culture DozenQ Features Front page Interviews Literature Music Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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Author – Paul Hallam

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Old Dog Books

01. How did you get started in the world of words?

I started my own fanzine ‘Sense of Style’ in 1983. It was sposed to be the professional word for the mod scene. It was all layed out to look like a mag rather than a fanzine. I think we spent too much time on the look and not enough on the content.

In 2011 I set up countdown books a publishing company with Eddie Piller and Cass Pennant. A year later myself and Garry Bushell began publishing Streetsounds magazine – now onto issue 13.

Old Dog Books is my latest imprint specialising in pulp fiction.

02. Has it been a struggle getting your first book published?

As a publisher I’ve never had one of my own published til now, with this photographic book of 80s mods. That came about in a weird way. Channel 4 contacted me to talk bout the mod scene back in my day. I showed the director Ewan Spencer my photos and he asked to borrow them. A week later he came back and said he wanted to publish a glossy art book using them. BUY HERE!

03. Where did you see the first piece you had written in print, how did that feel?

I wrote short stories about my youth for various books. I think my favourite pieces were in the book by Pete McKenna and Ian Snowball – Once Upon a Tribe. Since then I’ve written for quite a few books mainly about growing up a mod.

04. What was the main reasons that you started to write seriously?

I don’t often see the word serious and Hallam in same sentence.

05. What’s a typical working day like when you are writing?

There are no typical days.

06. What were your teenage experiences that helped to shape your later mindset?

All of them. Everybody has a story. I think it should be compulsary for every person in this country to be interviewed in their 50s and their
memories preserved.

07. What was it like to be an 80s involved in Modernism, what were your pointers and outlook?

For me it was amazing. It took me from being an average kid in suburbia and put me behind dj decks all over the UK and a large part of Europe. It gave me the confidence I exude today. It also gave me a big chunk of my close friends who are still here with me 30 plus years on.

08. What was that 80s period in London like for you as a young man outside of the Music world?

It was dangerous. the world hated mod for some reason. Every trip into a big town could be threatening. I got into more fights as a young mod than I ever have done at Millwall (usually on the loosing side). It was quite common to park my scooter outside my first job in Feltham and come back to find it kicked over.

09. How did the Media distort what was going on with youth culture at that time?

By the time I got involved 1980-81 the press had tired of mod. Occasionally they would write about something like the Untouchables band or do a bad story if somebody from eastenders had confessed to being a mod 20 years earlier – I think the Sun ran a story where Anita Dobsons head was stuck on a photo of Eddie Pillers parka in the mid 80s. Other than that they left us alone.

10. What music, films and books helped you to the pathway of all things alternative?

Music for me went in this order. Tommy Steele, Beatles, Solo Beatles, songs that the Beatles recorded by others leading on to…. the originals. So I would hear tracks from Please Please Me album. and then go check out Arthur Alexander, The Cookies, Isley Brothers. Which I guess lead me to mod indirectly.

Half A Sixpence is the best film ever. Quadrophenia. Loved it in 1981. Hated it in 1985. Finally understood it in 2012. Richard Barnes Mods book shaped my life. Why else would I have ever started drinking coffee?

11. What other books do you wish you had written?

I wish I had written all the books on Old Dog. I don’t have the attention span to write a whole book tho I do have an idea…

12. How has the internet changed what you do?

Makes things easier and yet harder. If I had started Countdown/Streetsounds or Old Dog Books back in the 90s I’d probably be selling 10 times more than we are now. But the other side of that is, we would have to be relying on shops and distribution etc. None of this mail order online stuff back then.

13. Do you have any advice for wannabe authors?

Do it with passion but for fun. Not many authors sell as many books as
JK Rowling.

14. Please tell us about your exciting new venture Old Dog Books?

There was an article in Streetsounds about 2 years ago on 70s Pulp books. Richard Allen skinhead books etc. Craig Brackenridge met up with me January 2013 and showed me a short story he had written called Pyschobilly. I read it in an afternoon. I loved it. I asked Matteo to write me a short fiction story based on growing up Mod in suburbia last September. I then forgot bout it. 8 months later he messaged me and said ‘’ve nearly finished the book!’ I read the first draft. Loved it and thought why can’t we do this for all music genres?

So Craig got out Psychobilly. Rewrote it. Added some more chapters and that became book number 2. Steve Pipers story is even odder. He turned up at my 50th birthday with his draft novel – all printed out and bound nicely and said read this. I did and bang that’s book number 3 sorted!

15. What has been the re-action so far?

Terrific. We thought lets print 1000 copies of each book. Sell online and in a few shops but we now have a sales/distribution company working for us so the books will be in shops all over the country in the new year. Id like to produce 6 a year – 3 in late spring 3 for Christmas. Long plan is to get some or all them made into short TV plays/Films.

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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November 30, 2015 By : Category : Features Tags:, , , ,
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Garry Bushell talks to Eyeplug

Garry Bushell should be well-known to most of you eyeplug readers for at least one of the many hats he wears. His work as a TV and music critic, podcaster, front-man for the Gonads (and it’s offshoot the Skanads), father, author and even band manager have kept him busy and in the public eye for over 30 years now. His recently published book Time For Action, The Mod Revival 1978-1981 has received many positive reviews and been most happily welcomed from those of us who regularly read Garry’s writings all those years ago. When the big shots at eyeplug offered me the opportunity to get in touch with Mr. Bushell (as he is known by the Inland Revenue Service) I jumped at the chance. Enjoy. I know I did. Thanks Garry!

Interview with Garry Bushell

01 What was it that brought you to doing the Time for Action book at this point in time?

I’d written the Dance Craze book about 2-Tone at the end of 2011, which was quite therapeutic – when you get to my state of antiquity, the old memory cells start to die, but going back to my old notebooks and diaries refreshed them all. Through doing it I met up with Neville Staple, Charley Anderson and a lot of the old 2-Tone stars (I’d stayed in touch with Rhoda Dakar and to a lesser extent Pauline Black anyway). So when Paul Hallam and Eddie Piller asked if I’d do the same for the Mod Revival/Renewal bands I jumped at the idea. Also, I’ve always felt that those bands were never given a fair hearing by the music press. I wanted to try and capture the thrill and the fun of being young and moderately stylish at the end of the seventies.

02 While doing your research and collection for the Time for Action book were there any bands that you rediscovered and found that you re-evaluated in terms of their relevance then and now?

I’d completely forgotten how much I’d loved the Small Hours and how funny Paul Weller could be. He’s painted as a complete grouch these days, but the Jam were fun to be around – as well as being the most talented band of the late 70s. I’d also forgotten Speedball who were great live, much better live than on record. The Chords were more influential than they realise, quite a few pop-punk bands in the US cite them as an influence. I met up with Buddy last year. We hadn’t seen each other for 26 or 27 years and it was like we’d never been apart. I’d been in touch with Dave Cairns from Secret Affair and Tony Morrison from Long Tall Shorty for years (Tony was in my band); and I’d filmed the Purple Hearts a couple of years ago now.

03 That is interesting about Paul Weller. Someone just sent me a link to him playing at John Varvatos and at the beginning of the piece he talks about how filthy CBGBs was and meeting Blondie, the Ramones and the like. Nowadays he shows up as guest and with other young “stars” but back then they (the Jam) really did seem to live in a bubble or be at odds with most other bands – apart from the odd young group or two. I must admit it often left me wondering.

CBGBs was filthy! It was a shithole, a loveable one of course, but not as loveable as the good old Marquee or the Bridgehouse.

I can’t pretend to speak about Paul as he is today, I haven’t spoken to him for decades, but when I knew him he was completely down to earth. He recorded with Mick Geggus from the Cockney Rejects. He smiled. He was also very principled. I think he was flattered by the Mod Revival bands but also wary of them. He never wanted to be a leader. He wasn’t Jimmy Pursey.

The Jam upset the punk elite (© Dave Cairns) by burning Sniffin’ Glue on stage; and the NME had it in for them too – one of their writers moaned that Weller was “writing songs for an imaginary jukebox” as if that was something terrible. So in a way they were in a bit of a self-contained bubble at the end of the 70s.

You’d probably get a better idea of what he’s like now by chatting to Eddie Piller or Grant Fleming who were in touch for most of those years.

04 Of all the recordings that came out of the revival/renewal period what are the ones that you think are the strongest?

Secret Affair’s singles but especially Time For Action and My World, Purple Hearts’ Millions Like Us is still a monster anthem, The Chords’ British Way of Life, and Small Hours The Kid/Midnight To Six.

05 I am still amazed at the quality and maturity of Secret Affair’s records. And what, they were all of about 19 or 20?

I think from memory that Ian was only 18; Dave is three years younger than me so he’d have been 20 at the start of 1979. Very young, as you say, to be crafting such enduring songs as Glory Boys, and young too to be so bitter, but they’d been signed as the New Hearts two years before. What they did was to marry Motown rhythms and pop sensibility with rock guitar and marinade that mix in their own sussed youth cult mythology. Extraordinary. They would have made it irrespective of the Mod revival.

06. Young bands – if they are going to survive – usually need a mentor of some sort to help them find their way. You certainly were a great benefit to many by supporting them through your writing but who were the others that had some sort of pull in the industry do you think?

With the Mod bands, Jimmy Pursey was certainly seen as a mentor, although some of the bands found him too controlling and disruptive. From the music press, Robbi Millar was one of the few who gave the bands a fair hearing. Some of the Polydor execs were helpful, especially Dennis Munday, their A&R guy.

07 As the 80s wore on and the kids matured, faded away, changed hairstyles or became disillusioned the scene came to rely more on DJs, parties and the like. Nowadays the style – though not necessarily the sound – is everywhere. What’s your take on the great big “mod” world nowadays?

It seems odd to see the Times using Bradley Wiggins as a peg to run a two page feature on Mod sensibility. But Mod as a mind-set has endured better than most. It’s possible to argue that the Mod legacy, be it Motown/Stax or The Who/Small Faces/Kinks/Jam etc is so strong and timeless that it would be more odd if young people weren’t influenced by it. Modern bands like Missing Andy clearly owe a debt to the giants whose shoulders they are standing on. They write angry and passionate lyrics but manage to marry them to decent tunes. You won’t beat Pete Meaden’s definition of Mod as “clean living under difficult circumstances” and circumstances are as difficult now as I remember them ever being.

08 Agreed. Let’s talk a bit about that if you don’t mind. I was thinking the other day – and I don’t mean to get all misty about the good old days (whatever they were really about anyway) but when you were working for the weekly music papers – and I was reading them – it always seemed to be quite a big deal, and a nice bit of excitement, each week as the new papers came out. To see something about some new band, or one of one’s personal favourites, being featured inside or on the cover that help to propel one along into the future – or at least into the weekend! Maybe it’s just part of being young? Nowadays its blogs, forums, the odd zine, product/label websites and those types of things that people seem to turn to. Kinda hard to glue the whole thing together, no?

I agree, even though theoretically it’s a lot easier now to record songs and post them online it’s a lot harder to be heard than it was in the late 70s, early 80s. The rock press wasn’t without its faults, of course, but we did provide a focus for things that were happening at street level, and you quickly got to work out whose opinions to value and whose not to take any notice of. I’ve actually lost count of the people from the USA, Australia and Europe who have told me how much Sounds used to mean to them, how it informed their tastes and tickled their interest. We broke bands, we covered youth cults… luckily we had no idea of the power we had.

09 The other thing I wanted to talk a bit about is, sorta, life in general now in terms of drink/drugs, violence and youth culture. The “tribes” clashed fairly frequently back then and drink certainly played a part in all of that. When you look out at the “kids” now do you see much of the same or is it a whole other thing do you think?

Booze and speed… those were the days. Violence seems amplified now because of knife and gun culture and in a way that’s a return to territorial gang clashes, the way things were with Teds in the early 50s. Music seems a less important part of the equation today, but I don’t go to the places ‘youth’ hang out.

You see the occasional young skin who looks like a sixties skin rather than the bald punk, the occasional young Mod or punk but they’re the exception not the rule. I do see kids who look like today’s equivalent of Casuals – smart, sharply dressed – but I can’t pretend I know what they do or what they listen to.

10 How do you consume and listen to music these days Garry? Are you an iPod type of guy?

I did have an iPod, but my wife stole it. I’m not against iPods or Kindles, I just prefer CDs and books. I don’t like the concept of ‘virtual’ ownership. I’m so old school I even have a vinyl record player, which is handy as a lot of European and Yank punk bands only release 7ins these days.

11 Back to the Time for Action book… My understanding is the book launch a couple months or so ago was a good night. Any idea how the sales are going thus far?

Yeah the launch was at the Golden Bee a couple of months back, great venue and a terrific turn-out of old faces including Mr Cairns, Buddy Ascott, Grant Fleming, Buster Bloodvessel, Gary and Simon from the Purple Hearts… plus Hoxton Tom, Jennie Bellestar, Max Splodge, Carrie from Buster Shuffle, Cass Pennant, Terry Rawlings, Bev Elliott, quite a lot of old Mods and other assorted reprobates. Over 300 in and a fantastic atmosphere. I’m not sure of the exact sales (Paul Hallam could tell you) but I do know that it’s sold well and has already broken even.

12 Now what about you yourself playing music. Did I read that you’ve put an end to live performance as the Gonads?

Not quite, the Gonads will be playing live all this year (we have dates in USA and Germany, as well as the more exotic and erotic Bletchley); what we have said is this is our last year of gigging “in the current format”, the meaning of which will become clear in 2014. As well as the Gonads, the Ska spin-off called the SkaNads play their debut in March, and I released a solo album called ‘Just The Filth’ at Christmas, which I hope to follow with ‘Beyond The Filth’ sometime in the next 18 months. The SkaNads released a four track debut ep on vinyl last year.

Links:

garry-bushell.co.uk
the-gonads.co.uk

Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Interviews Music Tags:, , , , ,
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Book Reviews – Nov 2012 by Colin Bryce

Garry Bushell: Time For Action, The Mod Revival 1978-1981 (Countdown Books)
Garry Bushell was not only one of the first music press people to write about the Mod “Renewal” of the late 1970s but he was also one of the very first champions and supporters of the bands and their fans. While many of the other writers for the weekly music papers were quick to dismiss, laugh at, and deride the bands and their music, the fashions, and the very idea that such a thing could indeed be worthy of their precious ink, Garry Bushell was going to the gigs, talking to the kids and giving them the support and press inches they deserved. Thanks for that Garry. We owe you one.

So what we have here now, courtesy the fine folks at Countdown Books, is a collection of Garry’s music press writings on all things pertaining to the Mod Revival era circa 1978-1981. The Jam, the Jolt, Chords, Purple Hearts, Teenbeats, Killermeters, Secret Affair, Back to Zero, Modettes, Lambrettas, Small Hours and many others are featured and sit alongside some great period photos, modernist history, current insights, wisecracks and much more. If you weren’t around back then I can tell you that these articles were extremely important to those of us who supported the scene. The music press isn’t anywhere near as important as it was back in the 70s and going to the local shop and getting the latest collection of music papers was a big deal for many of us and even bigger when your favorite bands were featured inside or happened to make the cover!

Time For Action is one of the absolutely essential reads for fans of the bands, modernism and the mod revival period. It’ll fit in nicely next to the Influential Factor, Saturday’s Kids, the Mod Chronicles series, Mods, and those rare copies of Maximum Speed fanzine. Don’t delay, get it today from: www.countdownbooks.co.uk or HMV…

Russ Bestley and Alex Ogg: The Art of Punk (Omnibus Press)
It would appear that now is the time to have a look back at all things punk and that is fine by me. I’m not sure where this release sits in terms of books on the subject but I don’t really care. I’d hate the kids of today to miss out on some fabulous art and the music and people behind it.

Author Alex Ogg is well-known for his writings on all things punk and his partner here, Russ Bestley, is a lecturer on graphic design and history of popular culture at the London College of Communication. Together they have done a fantastic job and compiled some wonderful visuals. From proto-punk to the 70s New York crowd and the London scene to post-punk, hardcore, international acts, current projects and beyond you will find it here. This is cover to cover posters, record sleeves, promotional materials, paintings and zines as well as critical discussions of the work, the artists, the history and inspiration of the art, the audience and more. My guess is they could have swung a second volume with all the incredible stuff that is out there and it must have been a real challenge to select what would make the cut. (224 pages)

Paul Buck: Performance (Omnibus Press)
Author Paul Buck has done a fine job of telling the story of the making of this 60s film classic. The literary, film and visual references are all expertly dissected and the various personalities so essential to the on and off screen activities receive detailed introductions and discussion.

The story of the film is pretty much as twisted, debauched and heady as the film itself. Performance really is a little bit of art imitating life. The gangsters, rock stars, moneyed, privileged business folk and arty players of all sorts that make up the back story here are pretty much as wacked as the film characters; at least from the perspective of my little world and after reading this I must say that I don’t feel any great love or empathy for any of the major players. The late 60s, for many people, was a very dark time and in many ways the film and its story is easily as dark as the time.

For those of us who missed all the arty subtleties and that sort of malarkey – coz I’m pretty sure that like the majority of viewers you really didn’t care about all that and just wanted to see Anita Pallenberg’s breasts and a get a healthy dose of violence anyway – this book will be a very helpful guide indeed. And for those of you who just want the movie bizness round and round? Well there is that too and it’s much the same as ever. (320 pages)

Mick Farren and Denis Loren: Classic Rock Posters, 60 Years of Posters and Flyers 1952-2012 (Omnibus Press)
Here is another great book from Omnibus Press featuring page after full-colour page of art advertising gigs, bands and releases. From the earliest days of rock’n’roll and rhythm & blues to current hip hop, alternative and metal acts, you’ll find it all here from stylish boxing style package tour promo to photo-shop and cut and paste wizardry.

Legendary writer, raconteur and rocker Mick Farren alongside Detroit born artist Dennis Loren have compiled and annotated this superb collection and apart from the odd bit here and there where the period itself seemed to produce some atrocious work (yes, the 80s mostly) I would say the inclusions are well-chosen and wonderful. The point being that yes, at the time they worked (I guess) but the 80s things just haven’t stood the test of time as well as some other periods.

You will definitely find a few things that appear in other books relating to the discussion of this kind of art but fair is fair and the likes of Jamie Reid, Malcolm Garrett, Barney Bubbles, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, Martin Sharp and Gary Grimshaw fully deserve all the attention they get.

For fans of the 50s and 60s the first few chapters include some absolutely wonderful examples from the time and the psyche heads will marvel at the trippy inclusions from the Fillmore(s), Grande and Avalon ballrooms. Fans of the current alternative scene will surely be ecstatic for inclusion of the work of Emek, Burwell, van der Ploeg and a host of other highly talented individuals and design teams. (256 pages)

Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Front page Literature Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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