"1000 Gigs - A Life Well Lived"
Here's a book by a man who's obsession in life is attending gigs - lots of them. Ian Lee has included within this book with the zeal of an eagle eyed accountant, a detailed list of the gigs he has attended covering twenty years.
Much of Ian's love of Punk and Alternative music sources from the same place as many of us -the legendary late John Peel. A quick scan through the book will reveal a strong correlation between gigs visited and what JP was championing around the same time. Such was the respect and influence of the great man in shaping the music scene between the years 1978 - 1998, which happen to be the same years covered in Ian's book.
What this book is not - and this is important to point out - is a detailed review of every gig visited. This would have been a project of encyclopedic proportion but what it is instead is a list of venues and bands/artists and dates, spiced together with Ian's thoughts, notes, pictures and experiences.
This book makes for a truly unique and personal perspective on Ian's Journey, that will be relate-able for many.
I doubt whether most would remember events in such detail going back twenty years, but this book is an interesting snapshot of bygone times, that many of us let's say more mature folk, might relate to. Particularly for those that may hail from the Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Milton Keynes and surrounding districts - the mid shires of England you could say.
For the aforementioned, this book is a treasure to behold, that includes this writer. I had immense fun re-tracing and remembering events and bands that I had forgotten about, for me it has helped piece together vast parts of my lost 'rock n roll' lifestyle years. I too had shared many events in Ian's listings, in fact he has actually visited many events that I played at or promoted.
Ian's journey has lead to a deep and knowledgeable wisdom of alternative music. He starts in the late seventies with classic punk, hardcore, post-punk and goth type bands. Then through the eighties to the Manchester, scene, britpop and trash bands carefully avoiding the out and out bland commercial shite. He flirts briefly in the nineties with rave and techno outfits, then continuing with the more adventuress aspects of dub, ambient and avante garde etc. Often he returns to his roots and favourites with the odd iconic sixties and seventies classic, thrown in for good measure. Occasionally adding the odd alternative comedian into the mix as well. All bands and artist are meticulously listed - so to are the venues and places visited.
The occasional visits to 'foreign climes' including Amsterdam and a token-nary visit or two to the US of A are also included.
Embedded within are occurrences wrapped around Ian's personal life and meetings with some of Ian's personal hero's.
There are newspaper cuttings relating to some of the stories told, concert tickets and other memorabilia coupled with photographs included.
The accounts of all of this including a summing-up listing of all bands, artists and venues visited are included at the end of the book. Although one slight criticism was that I found the ticks in the columns a bit confusing and unexplained, perhaps this was an unnecessary inclusion in my humble opinion. But this aside its all there written in a chronological order, easy to understand and fascinating, Ian can be proud of his gig attending life.
The book is reminiscent of Cimaric's 'Punk Diary', although written from a very personal perspective. A kind of memoirs I guess.
Would it have a wider appeal? I have to say I doubt it in the sense of a best selling novel but at the same time it is easy to pick up and put down. I would rather see a book like this placed in a doctors waiting room than the usual 'Hello' or 'Country Life' dross the unfortunate patient has to endure. Better still it could sit happily in any discerning Punk and Indy disciples bookshelf.
Inevitably visiting so many gigs statistically would lead to unplanned occurrences such as getting arrested as a murder suspect in one case.
The more obvious, missing the last train or bus home are covered in spine tingling detail including a thirteen mile walk home from a Crass and UK Decay concert and breaking his arm in a fall on the way.
Such is Ian's love of bands and gigs that he would go to such lengths to sustain his passion.
Highly recommended !
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