This is the third time I have sat down to write this. Two reviews remain somewhere out in the ether. Although no great fan of the Deviants I loved the Pink Fairies and enjoyed a sci-fi book put out by Mick Farren. So I saw this advertised and thought mabe it would give an insight into those times and what made a band like the Pink Fairies tick. Instead it is the worse kind of music biography. The thing with seeing Pink Fairies in 1971 as a 15 year old was that they were anarchic. It was what probably made them a prog rock band acceptable to punks. Their appearances were messy, high energy and with glimpses of stellar musicianship (Mr Rudolph in particular). they were also political in their day, the free gigs, chucking drugs and condoms at kids, playing starkers, annoying the hell out of promoters. There is a boy scout hut somewhere in Hertfordshire that still enforces a life time ban on them. Like a lot of people who blog about this band, it is a given that their music/anarchy/shambles was never effectively caught in recordings but they left some monsters to guide the way. "Do It" that would make Nike spew, their fallin' apart at the seams version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" the conga lines of "Snake and Uncle Harry". They were obviously more than punksters and good time party animals ingesting crate loads of drugs, hanging out with Hawkwind, Steve Took, Hells Angels and on occasions the Broughtons. So what does this book tell us? Not a lot. A book of lists, a chronology and list of bitch sessions. But it does not get under the skin, it does not explain what motivated them or ask deep enough questions as to why they imploded. We get the point that Twink was a pocket philosopher, a self-serving ditz- but why and to what outcome? We know Rudolph was an exceptional guitar player but that he kept to himself-then get out there and hack his phone and find out why! Farren was more a concept/happening political animal than a musician but was there other dimensions to him that have relevance as to why everyone left him-such as did he fart in the tour van with one too many curries. But we don't find out what drove them, motivated them, what rang their bells sufficiently to do the things they do. It wasn't just rock and roll, or groupies or messing with straight heads. The writer is an obvious fan, and mabe the problem is me. Mabe, I am guilty of thinking that there was more to this band and times then there was. But mabe the writer could have asked some more searching questions of the protagonists. I guess I will never know, But disappointing, this one is heading for the re-sale yards in a handcart.
The City Kids / Deviants with a cast of thousands. Lives and crimes finally put to print whooooowhooo... at bleeding last! I suppose Farren couldn't really do it being a Fairy himself "no pun intended", so it needed a man of good standing, not an insider nor a music hack but a fan yes a fan in the form of one RICH DEAKIN and what fitter tribute could be embellished onto (the underground crusaders from Ladbroke grove popular peoples freedom front) or as a python sketch may have said "wot did the hippies ever do for us!!? Well pigs from Uranus this bunch of sweeties did quite a lot. I got into the fairies at the tender age of fifteen 1975 (see my biog, PEOPLE CALL YA CRAZY WHEN YA TALK LIKE THAT) yep cheap arse book plug ...but hey Rich plugged his on my review. Anyway as you probably know the Fairies broke up and got back together more times than a Nick Cotton meets the Dingalls in a street fighting pig punching brawl in Eastenders and never got round to recording as much material as we the fans would have enjoyed but hey ho that's life. But I still shiver at Larry Wallace's metallic guitar riffs Paul Rudolf's long long feedback solo's that you just cant get away with these days "mores the pity being a bit of an old plucker myself" and Sandy's sturdy bass keeping the sometimes chaotic live set in order, not to mention the drummers Twink unt Russell Hunter. There's an introduction by Mick Farren,and if you look around theres a spoken word format available. The biog itself is written in great detail from the early beginnings of Farren's Deviants with all the references to squat culture, drug culture, the ins and out's of the underground press "IT" of which Farren was the editor for a while the bizarre and hilarious way the records where recorded in all the confusion of drugs "n" stuff, anarchy in all its glory well before the Pistols ever reared the monster that would be and spat the mothers milk of west London home grown amphetamine/tuinol laced anarchy back in the face of its surrogate mother. Up to the post punk and beyond bands such as the Rings, kicks, Lightening Raiders etc, telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth be it good or bad. Some people come off better than others but all in all I think "as only being an outsider fan myself" it's very well documented and as accurate as you need to get. A story long over due and needed telling with some great insight and story telling from all the usual suspects from the hippie days to the birth of punk and so on. So I'll stop bigging MR DEAKIN up... press the BUY IT NOW button "God knows the royalties will be well, well, well received". I'll stop quoting titles from Fairies songs and you can give a copy to ya grandkids as a history lesson. So that's it and as in the immortal words of Twink's wisdom DON'T THINK ABOUT IT IF YA AINT GONNA BUY IT!!!
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that even after the time period associated with the Deviants/Pink Fairies (60's-mid 70's) that this book was still more than able to maintain my attention thoroughly. Touches on a lot of side projects main and later era Fairies were a part of (Rings, Tanz Der Youth, even Hawkwind). Really enjoyed that Farren was present through all and his involvement with Underground politics and publishing were ever-present. Great read!