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19/09/2011 : ALAN G. PARKER - Young Flesh Required (Growing Up With The Sex Pistols)

ALAN G. PARKER

Young Flesh Required (Growing Up With The Sex Pistols)

Book
Punk

[86/100]   
19/09/2011, Dennis OHRT

 

(written with Mick O'Shea) Sex Pistols are a phenomenon that is hard to explain. But that is possibly the reason, why there are countless books and DVDs available. 'Young Flesh Required' is just not another one of these, mainly because the writer Alan G. Parker is not your Johnny Everyday trying to squeeze 25 articles into a book, he has already contributed to various books about the Pistols (including the excellent 'Satellite' about memorabilia, locations and photos) and he is responsible for the critically acclaimed 'Who Killed Nancy' documentary.

Parker takes us back to the very early 70's with Malcolm McLaren's early days and first steps on King's Road in London. The whole book is done in a chronologically, concentrating on the main events in detail. Every time an important new person who will become related to the band appears, he/she is introduced with a short biography, making it easy for people who perhaps don't know all the detail behind the Pistols. The beginnings of the band and the rather unusual way of 'organising' their instruments is dealt in depth with as are obviously the early gigs and John Lydon's introduction to the band.

But you also get an overview of the emerging punk scene and the bands that played along like Buzzcocks or The Clash and the first hardcore supporters, the Bromley Contingent. A fun chapter is the one about signing with EMI and the famous TV appearance on Bill Grundy's 'Today' show. The contracts and the deals, a strength of the book, as you'll get to know details you weren't aware of even after reading many other books on the band. Besides comments from Glen Matlock and Malcolm McLaren, former roadie Roadent offers various insights and anecdotes as well, especially on the 'Anarchy Tour' or should one say planned tour, as nearly all the gigs were either cancelled had to be moved to other venues making it a very chaotic journey throughout England. That tour alone should offer enough for a further movie in the future...

As said, there is so much stuff already out there about the Sex Pistols, especially considering that they only recorded one official studio album, but Alan G. Parker manages to keep the interest going really well. Nearly 2/3 of the 320 pages deal with the era between the formation of the band and the break-up in 1978 after a set of US gigs.

(written with Mick O'Shea) Sex Pistols are a phenomenon that is hard to explain. But that is possibly the reason, why there are countless books and DVDs available. 'Young Flesh Required' is just not another one of these, mainly because the writer Alan G. Parker is not your Johnny Everyday trying to squeeze 25 articles into a book, he has already contributed to various books about the Pistols (including the excellent 'Satellite' about memorabilia, locations and photos) and he is responsible for the critically acclaimed 'Who Killed Nancy' documentary.

The immediate afterlife of the band members is featured as well, from John's first steps as P.I.L. to Sid's gigs with various other punk icons as well as Glen Matlock playing with The Rich Kids. The reunions that have happened so far are mentioned as well, from 1996 via 2002 to the recent set of gigs in 2007/2008. Fortunately, the book is not just a celebration but the author offers critical words as well, especially of the 2002 reunion, which lead to a better reading experience. The book is rounded off with a discography and bibliography. Recommended reading, not only for the hardcore fan (for them, there is still lots of details to breathe in) but for casual Pistols and punk fans as well.

Parker takes us back to the very early 70's with Malcolm McLaren's early days and first steps on King's Road in London. The whole book is done in a chronologically, concentrating on the main events in detail. Every time an important new person who will become related to the band appears, he/she is introduced with a short biography, making it easy for people who perhaps don't know all the detail behind the Pistols. The beginnings of the band and the rather unusual way of 'organising' their instruments is dealt in depth with as are obviously the early gigs and John Lydon's introduction to the band.

But you also get an overview of the emerging punk scene and the bands that played along like Buzzcocks or The Clash and the first hardcore supporters, the Bromley Contingent. A fun chapter is the one about signing with EMI and the famous TV appearance on Bill Grundy's 'Today' show. The contracts and the deals, a strength of the book, as you'll get to know details you weren't aware of even after reading many other books on the band. Besides comments from Glen Matlock and Malcolm McLaren, former roadie Roadent offers various insights and anecdotes as well, especially on the 'Anarchy Tour' or should one say planned tour, as nearly all the gigs were either cancelled had to be moved to other venues making it a very chaotic journey throughout England. That tour alone should offer enough for a further movie in the future...

As said, there is so much stuff already out there about the Sex Pistols, especially considering that they only recorded one official studio album, but Alan G. Parker manages to keep the interest going really well. Nearly 2/3 of the 320 pages deal with the era between the formation of the band and the break-up in 1978 after a set of US gigs.

The immediate afterlife of the band members is featured as well, from John's first steps as P.I.L. to Sid's gigs with various other punk icons as well as Glen Matlock playing with The Rich Kids. The reunions that have happened so far are mentioned as well, from 1996 via 2002 to the recent set of gigs in 2007/2008. Fortunately, the book is not just a celebration but the author offers critical words as well, especially of the 2002 reunion, which lead to a better reading experience. The book is rounded off with a discography and bibliography. Recommended reading, not only for the hardcore fan (for them, there is still lots of details to breathe in) but for casual Pistols and punk fans as well.

Dennis OHRT
19/09/2011


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