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  • By Matthew Singleton
    Whenever I buy a self-published/small press book, my main concerns are always 'How well-written is it?', and 'Will it have been proof-read properly?' (I've been stung before on both counts). Unfortunately for this book, although the author has a fantastic turn of phrase meaning I have few concerns about the former, it is let down quite badly on the latter front. There doesn't seem to have been much proof-reading done at all - spelling mistakes abound, and I lost count of the number of times I had to re-read certain sentences to either add the missing word/s that would make it make sense and/or remove the superfluous word/s that were stopping it from making sense. In addition, unless my copy is a one-off misprint, the type is too small to be easily read, and several chapters of the book are printed twice at the end. So my advice to the author would be to go back over the whole thing and proof-read it more carefully. That said, with a bit more attention paid to the above, this really... More > would be an excellent book. I very much enjoyed reading it, and laughed out loud at certain points. Although rooted very specifically in the 'Britpop' era, the general theme of a teenager's infatuation with music will ring true to anybody that has ever been a music-obsessed youngster. For me in particular, the author is almost exactly the same age as me, so reading about his musical youth brought back nostalgic memories of my own small-town adolescence. What I particularly liked was the fact that the narrative switches at certain points to include quotes from friends who were there at the time, who offer their own perspective on events. This is even extended to include soundbites from members of various bands of the era - I could have happily read a lot more of this, as most of these people probably haven't really been interviewed since their musical heyday, particularly with regards to how it all went wrong, so for a fan of the bands and the time this is absolutely fascinating stuff. I could disagree with the author on various musical points : I still love a lot of the early 90s acts that he slags off, and think a lot of them could have gone on to Britpop levels of success if it weren't for bad timing/image problems, and I'm afraid I don't share his love of Oasis and their ham-fisted oafish anthems, but that's all part of the fun. This is an excellent read with a few teething problems.< Less
  • By Jon
    A must-read for anyone who was a teenage Britpop fan rooting through record stores for new "unheard" bands and enjoying the highs and lows of the 90s. Adam captures the mood of the time perfectly by tapping into the excitement felt by many at the sudden rush of bands playing pub gigs one week and top of the pops the next. Told through the eyes of his teenage self it draws the reader into a story that touches on many shared experiences, not just the bands, gigs or songs of the time but against the backdrop of being a teenager: drinking cans in the park, going to house parties while parents were away and falling in and out of love all too easily. As well as a compulsive narrative there are some great stories shared, not just in the life of the author and his friends, but directly related by some members of the bands of the time. Anyone who cared about Blur vs Oasis or who was subject to the huge influence of the music press as at the time will find this book immensely... More > rewarding, if only as a spotters guide to obscure Britpop bands they remember and gigs they might have also seen. But the appeal is much more about the thrills of being a teenager, when the world gets a lot bigger all of a sudden and anything seems possible.< Less
  • By Dave Griffiths
    Adam Foley’s memoir about Britpop is probably the best book about teenagers’ infatuation with music I’ve read. The book is set in the small Devon town of Cullompton (about as far as you can be from the hip centres of Britpop) and covers April 1994, when the author is revising for his GCSEs, to August 1996, when he’s about to go to university. In between there’s feuding with boys, flirting with girls, reckless drinking, ludicrous trousers and, of course, music – hardly a week goes by without a song blowing him away. In one of the many laugh-out-loud lines in the book, Adam writes: ’In 1993 the vast majority of indie bands were criminally dreary and for the most part appeared to have met in some nightmarish, flea-ridden disco where the dress code was permanently set to buffoonish'. It takes a Radio One Sound City concert, featuring Oasis and Pulp, to turn his head. Oasis are a constant throughout the book. The first time he listens to them, he recalls: 'They swagger nonchalantly into... More > the room with a force of a hurricane but it was so slow, sexy, menacing, audacious and confrontational'. It is descriptions like this which convey the thrill of music at that time, so much so you're eager to find out what the young Adam will think of the next new release that comes along. It's a time of the all powerful inkies, C90 tapes, the ITV Chart Show and, what seems particularly odd now, limited edition releases. He's soon left behind the 'stolid treacle' of Smashing Pumpkins and is appalled to attend a Wonder Stuff gig where the crowd are like 'lobotomised scarecrows...lurching like dead trees in a strong wind' Adam is good on teenage fashion and that fine balance of looking trendy and (dread fear for teenage boys) - looking gay. He is not afraid to take the mick out of his young self, especially his own bands, which helps to make this book such an engaging read. He's good on friendships, too. Some have lasted to this day and Adam has interviewed some of them for their perspective on the, time as well as members of Smash, These Animal Men, Gene, Echobelly and Menswear Adam doesn't like the word Britpop - 'a mawkish, embarrassing and insufficient word that does not do justice to the greatest and most diverse flowering of British musical talent since the 60s. This wasn't about copying the 60s, it was about competing with the 60s'. This is a passionate and funny account of one of the great periods in British music told from an original and interesting viewpoint.< Less
  • By Matt Lloyd
    This book is for anyone who spent their teenage years inventing and reinventing themselves around the bands of their youth, for anyone who grew up outside of Camden or Manchester in the 90's, who hung off every word in the music press, attended gigs, agonised over finding rare issues and who made horrific fashion mistakes. Straight Outta Cullompton is a personal account of 2 years in the author's life as he attaches his teenage dreams to the greatest burst of creativity in British music since the 60s. Perfectly capturing the euphoric high, and then dealing with the inevitable come-down, it is impossible not to re-live the joy, and share the disappointment as the dreams of our author and the dreams of many of the bands around him slowly fade away. Funny and honest, Straight Outta Cullompton will leave you with an un shakable urge to move to South Devon, drink cider, create C90s complilations and wish you could listen to some of the greatest music of a generation for the 1st time.
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Product Details

Boy About Town
28 June 2013
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.41 kg
Dimensions (centimetres)
10.8 wide x 17.48 tall
Product ID
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