Psychobilly – Craig Brackenridge

I was only ever at the fringe of this 80s youth cult, through people I knew at the time, but the events in this book certainly ring true from my limited experience. Which is to be expected, looking at the other books by the same writer: a history of Psychobilly and another non-fiction book on the subject. This seems to be his only fiction, as far as I can tell, and was first published in 2009.

He’s gone for a first person perspective (I did this, I did that, etc), which is always tricky to pull off well without it all ending up reading like someone’s over-exaggerated fantasy autobiography. A lot of first person hooligan fiction suffers from this, especially when they have the main protagonist beating up a massive gang all by themselves. Fortunately Brackenridge avoids this trap, presenting a hero who knows when to run away when the odds are stacked against him rather than pull super hero type strength out of a hat whenever it’s required. The supporting cast are also well rounded.

I would have liked a bit more about the psychobilly aspect of their lives: the gigs they go to, the way they dance, etc. These were glossed over way too quickly with phrases like “The wrecking was fierce tonight, wasn’t it?” as they walked out the door having just arrived in the previous paragraph. Other than that, it’s a good addition to the genre.

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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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