The Learning Curve by Alan Fletcher

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The cover and the DIY style binding makes it look like a story about punks, but it’s really a story about a 30 year old ex-mod yearning for her lost youth. (It’s the second in a trilogy of mod-related books, so I suppose that’s fair enough).

It’s set in 1979, and there is one punk character – a sixth form schoolkid who is portrayed as a spoilt brat. It’s set in a state school, but he and his friends (mod, heavy metal dude and token speccy kid) come across more like public school twonks than council estate scum.

The punk is a Crass fan but goes to see Toyah Wilcox play live. The punks in the audience all spit on Toyah, and she ignores this and carries on singing.

Now okay, it’s conceivable that a Crass fan would also like Toyah, but spitting? That ended in 1977 when all the posers became soul-boys instead. And by 1979 Toyah would have been that famous from her TV and film roles that you would never get within spitting distance of the stage anyway.

One other oddity, the punk likes Jilted John but says he hates mod bands like The Jam. Now in 1979 I would have been about the same age as the punk character, and I can remember when The Jam were a punk band so why can’t he?

Anyway like I said, I enjoyed the book. The punk character just didn’t ring true for me. It’s more of an old mod’s idea of what punk characters should be like than anything based in reality.


About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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