Punk Rock – Richard Allen

Holy fucking sheep shit on a stick! If you thought Richard Allen was clueless about skinhead culture, wait until you see what he thought punk was all about in this 1977 cash-in title.

Here are a few of the things I learnt about punk from reading this book:

1. Punk girls stuck safety pins in their tits and liked being tied up and whipped.

2. Fanzines were published by rich pornographers who lived in mansion houses.

3. Fanzines were advertised on national TV.

4. All punk musicians were extremely rich and only sang about being poor to make money.

5. Skinheads teamed up with teddy boys to go punk bashing.

6. In 1977 it cost £10 to see a punk band (which probably explains why they were all rich).

All of this wouldn’t be so bad if he had written it in the same style as the Joe Hawkins Skinhead series, from the perspective of an actual punk character. He could have had them spitting on grannies, being sick at airports, worshipping Satan, all the other things the newspapers at the time said punks did, but at least it would have been fucking interesting.

Instead of that we get some boring as fuck newspaper reporter writing an expose on punk rock. Being a typical 1970s newspaper reporter, instead of talking to some real life punks, he starts by asking a few teddy boys what they think of punks, and then approaches some plastic pop star cashing in on the punk bandwagon to ask if he can follow him around for the day. The plastic punk says things like “It’s the age, man –  Aquarius” and goes to orgies where 14 year old girls stick safety pins in themselves. And yes, he does also say “Shit on that” quite a lot.

There are no actual punk characters in the entire book until right at the end, in the epilogue, when two French punks get attacked by a gang of teds. That is also the only bit of violence in the book (or aggro, as Richard Allen calls it).

So all in all, it’s a great big pile of fucking shite so don’t waste your money on it. Here is the only line in the entire book that is actually worth reading (which is, admittedly, a line of pure fucking genius and I’m jealous as fuck for not writing it myself):

“His head throbbed like a dozen punk bands were playing discords over his eyeballs.”

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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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