According to Oasis Svengali Alan McGee, John Robb ‘’is as punk as The Clash,’’ which, given said band’s trajectoral stature, is quite a compliment!  Read (or wade your way through) this book, and you’ll soon ascertain as to where McGee’s coming from - for if Jon Savage’s excellent England’s Dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk was a book of analysis, Punk Rock – An Oral History is (surely) a book of love and longing and all things in-between.  

It substantiates that the punk rock explosion was the author’s lifeline to life itself: ‘’it changed everybody’s life that was touched by it,’’ a statement I find just a tad too gullible, if not intrinsically idealistic, for it’s own good; especially given the erstwhile ethos that: ‘’punk sought to booby trap its own history by making a rhetorical fetish of the slogan ‘No Future.’’’

That said, if you’re into Punk, and are keen to have it deciphered and deliberated upon by those who were at the vanguard of the movement itself, then this book’s most definitely for you.  Easy to read, hard to put down and riddled with frolics’n’facts - did you know that the term punk originally meant a prostitute, fungus, mouldy wood, a loser or someone who takes it up the ass in prison? – Robb has assembled a literary tomb to which one should and could consult on a regular basis, even if only to remind oneself that there’s more to music than upper management, upper-thighs and assorted tossers with stars in their eyes.

David Marx
Punk Rock - An Oral History
By John Robb
Ebury Press - £14.99